Brown and the Farrier — A Vignette from Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian

Working on my PhD thesis, a chapter on Ian Bogost’s ideas of ‘Latour litanies’ and ‘ontography’ in his book Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing. I’m trying to show that R. A. Lafferty and Cormac McCarthy do this kind of ontographical work in their descriptions of nonhuman object’s in their fiction. The long, loving, detailed description of this beautiful gun in McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is a perfect example:



A self-contained episode from late in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian; this little vignette captures the book’s strange mix of menace and humor:

Noon he was red-eyed and reeking before the alcalde’s door demanding the release of his companions. The alcalde vacated out the back of the premises and shortly there arrived an American corporal and two soldiers who warned him away. An hour later he was at the farriery. Standing warily in the doorway peering into the gloom until he could make out the shape of things within.

The farrier was at his bench and Brown entered and laid before him a polished mahogany case with a brass nameplatebradded to the lid. He unsnapped the catches and opened the case and raised from their recess within a pair of shotgun barrels and he took up the stock with the other hand. He hooked the barrels into the patent breech…

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