A Libidinal Exploration of Metaphysics and Cosmology Through Cormac Mcarthy’s Blood Meridian
“The very sediment of things contained yet some residue of sentience. As if in the transit of those riders were a thing so profoundly terrible as to register even to the uttermost granulation of reality”
Blood Meridian, page 207
“Death is a problem that interrupts the judicial process”
Nick Land, After the Law, Fanged Noumena, page 244
“The judge had his entire head in his grip like an immense and dangerous faith healer”
Blood Meridian, page 201
“Anthropomorphic molar representation culminates in the very thing that founds it, the ideology of lack.”
Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia vol 1, page 295
Blood Meridian is popularly considered Cormac McCarthy’s magnum opus, and its complexity coupled with stylistic grandeur has resulted in heavy inquiry into the novel. Academic commentary spans from brutalist and baroque aesthetics and their metaphysical implications to biopolitical commentary on American frontiers, states of exception, and sovereignty.
It would be a lie to say that Blood Meridian has plot structure, as it instead provides an overabundance of poetic language accompanied by sentences that span pages and loose spontaneously connected lines of thought. To quote essayist and writer Steven Shaviro from “The Very Life of Darkness”, Blood Meridian “sings hymns of violence”, a universe in which “there is only war. There is only the dance”. The novel follows three main characters: The kid, referred to solely as such up until the near end where he graduates to “the man”, John Joel Glanton, the leader of the scalp hunting tribe of which the kid accompanies, and Judge Holden (the Judge), a seven feet tall, entirely hairless man who also loosely accompanies Glanton and his men as they traverse the western plains. The libidinal, metaphysical, and cosmological implications of the book are often revealed by the narrator’s description, but most of all in the doctrine of the men themselves and their dialogues.
Blood meridian conceives of the universe as a godless, violent, and annihilationistic cosmos emptied of all the distinct divine. Annihilationism is the Christian belief that the damned would entirely cease to exist after the last judgment, as opposed to eternal suffering. This alludes to the cosmology of French philosopher and poet Georges Bataille, furthered and commented on by English writer Nick Land.
“Men are born for games”(BM 209), “all games aspire to the condition of war for here that which is wagered swallows up game, player, all” (BM 209). This is distinctly Bataillean, a universe where work and seriousness are transgressed upon into the realm of play, the cosmos of Nietzschean dance. “Work” “seriousness” and “play” must not be thought of here in the logic of restricted economy, that of utility and scarcity, in which individuated beings make spatiotemporal considerations that work by deciding upon the future in the present. This has ties to Bataille’s notion of “discontinuity”, defined by Nick Land as “a precarious distance from death”(FN 245). When we transgress into the general economy, we move from work to play. Play that is characterized by war. To quote Nietzsche in The Will to Power:
“The intention was to deceive oneself in a useful way; the means, the invention of formulas and signs by means of which one could reduce the confusing multiplicity to a productive and manageable scheme”(TWTP 315).
The notion of utility in regards to production is precisely what Gilles Deleuze, Félix Guattari, Georges Bataille, and Jean Francois Lyotard aim at with the concepts of production and expenditure (although not be confused as synonymous). The reductionist approach taken up by the utilitarianism of the scarcity doctrine initiates a productivist civilization (a restricted economy). Scarcity must not only be thought of in typical resources, but also in time. This type of reducing the “confusing multiplicity” also happens to be precisely what Deleuze and Guattari accuse psychoanalysis of.
Glanton’s men “carried no tantamount goods and the disposition to exchange was foreign to them” (BM 108), and thus they disrupt the western logic of utility and production. Glanton also “seemed to take little account of the wealth they were amassing”(BM 220). In this way, he moves without notions of utility and rather turns to notions of expenditure. The actions that lead to all the devastation in Blood Meridian can thus be characterized as what Bataille calls “non-productive expenditure”. Unmotivated positive movement (or one might say negative, as it is pointed towards 0, or nothingness), non-representational production distanced from the traces of metaphor, and joyous transgression all plague the men of the novel. “Everybody don’t have to have a reason to be someplace”(BM 277).
“War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of the unity of existence. War is god”(BM 209). War represents the groundlessness of the earth. War is the unity that comes in the nomadic movement in Blood Meridian’s general economy.
“Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows too that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent in the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. [A]ll games aspire to the condition of war” (BM 209).
The men that move in the desert against the horizon of redness have no “seriousness” as they slaughter and collect scalps. They move towards no goal, towards no destiny, and from no origin. They move towards 0, towards groundlessness, past judgment, etc. ”that which is wagered swallows up game, player, all”(BM 209). The war of Blood Meridian is the general economy, in which man is reduced to the flow of energy fueled by solar excess (the sun gives more energy than necessary without demanding anything in return). There remains no game to be played, and no players to play. This quote is exemplary of the annihilationist doctrine contained in Mccarthy’s book, it is a return to nothing.
Violence in Blood Meridian is unreachable, it takes hold of the men.“Here beyond men’s judgments all covenants were brittle”(BM 209). This violence is groundlessness. As the men unearth, they unearth judgment. Rather than beginning with one (just as Plato did with the forms), they move towards zero. “For even if you should have stood your ground, he said, yet what ground was it”(BM 258). Why is Judge Holden known as the judge while he represents no law and order but rather the opposite? This question is naturally left very open-ended but it can be said that the judge and the rest of the men ‘have done with judgment’. The doctrine of judgment can be historically traced to religion but also of categories, or forms, of platonism. War, however, exceeds judgment, as war is “a passage to the unknown”(FN 250) and thus this movement towards the end (or edge) of war signifies death, where judgment is insignificant. This type of movement is precisely one that unearths the ground of judgment and one that descends to zero. It holds no essence. It is a movement “without utility, ideology or motivation”(FN 258). “After the law, across the line of unknowing”(FN 258). The security of “truth” under ideology is what halts this nomadic movement, such truth that forms a dogmatic image of thought.
Blood Meridian not only allows for speculation of a Bataillean cosmos and war but also of Nietzscheanism demonstrated in the judge. In one of his many speeches, Judge Holden addresses two types of men in his eyes. The first being the man that believes in certain secrets of the world being forever hidden, the superstitious being. This alludes to a Kantian epistemology, essentially the splitting of the world into the noumenal and phenomenal realms, that which transcends perception (is unknowable) and that which is verifiable by sense perception. The Judge sees this as weakness, that “the rain will erode the deeds of his life”(BM 167) and suggests an alternative, that of the second man, the man that “sets himself the task of singling out the thread of order from the tapestry” (BM 167), the man that takes charge of the world and effects “a way to dictate the terms of his own fate” (BM 167). Blood Meridians radical (or transcendental) empiricism alludes to a very Nietzschean way of life, one of taking charge and leading it to liberatory measures. Judge Holden lays claims marked by “pockets of autonomous life”(BM 166).
The “Ubermensch” or overman was also an idea first spoken of by Friederich Nietzsche, and although it is hard to speak on what he “meant” as his writings are filled with contradictory beliefs, the overman is a way of life with distinct characteristics. One of these could be the very move past judgment and moral critique that the Judge’s Nihilism (or radical non nihilism, as it is affirmative) characterizes. This movement is also a movement past regret. The second and most important one would be self-affirmation. Not relying on others is incredibly important for Nietzsche, as negation and reliance on the will of others prevent the self-affirmation that leads you to a more liberatory life.
Not only does the judge’s presence in the plot absolutely dominate the narrative on the level of descriptive language, but he also dominates the other characters. As he is first presented in the novel, stepping into the “nomadic house of god”, “all watched the man”(BM 4).
“It makes no difference what men think of war…War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting the ultimate practitioner”(BM 208).
War is evidently not conceived as something that humans contain within themselves and express but something that comes from an inconceivable distance and takes hold of them. “If God meant to interfere in the degeneracy of mankind would he not have done so by now?”(BM 127). For anybody who considers themselves to be a member of one of the Abrahamic religions, namely Christianity, to think of god as war, as a force of disgusting splendor that disrupts peace would be highly disturbing, and this is what is precisely what is expressed in the universe of Blood Meridian.
Through this, the novel also expresses its post-humanism. “…the company sat among the rocks without fire or bread or camaraderie any more than banded apes.” (BM 128). The men of Blood Meridian continually degenerate from our humanist perspective. “The savages so slathered up with gore they might have rolled in it like dogs” (BM 50). “They once again began to hoot and pummel each other like apes” (BM 60). We’ve distanced ourselves from animals and nature as a dignified, and more importantly, moral race, but Mccarthy aims to highlight how we are nothing more and nothing less than “the animals” through the nihilist destruction of man holding moral prescriptions. This is reminiscent of Baruch Spinoza’s conception of everything as nature and its modes+attributes. In his immanent conception of nothing above or below nature, he is distinctly atheist in the same vein as Mccarthy. Although holding (arguably) atheistic beliefs, Spinoza believed in “god”, not as a distinct being, but rather as the whole of nature and its infinite expression that we find in everything. Spinoza’s belief is directly mirrored as the Judge states that god “speaks in stoned and trees, the bones of things” (BM 104). There is not an inch of the earth in all its complexity that god is not univocally expressed, and that is precisely what makes Spinoza, and the judge, atheists.
“Spinoza changes the sense of desert religion: no longer a religion sprung from the desert, it becomes a desert at the heart of religion. Spinoza’s substance is a desert God. God as impersonal zero, as a death that remains the unconscious subject of production.”(FN 269)
To quote Nick Land once more, this time from The Thirst for Annihilation:
“The heresy of annihilationism […] this god is the antagonist of zero, and therefore the fortress of identity, personality, individuation. To be exiled definitely […] is to relapse into indivisible non being, de-created into the nihil”. (TTFA 71)
This is the precise “return to nothing” that was previously spoken of, and this nihilistic decreation is put to scene in the philosophy of Georges Bataille and the plot of the novel.
The language of Blood Meridian, while being overwhelmingly poetic, lyrical, and convoluted, is also immanent and material, and it sets up an entirely nonhuman perspective on the earth. It is a “hecatomb of words without gods or reason to be”(FN 215).
“Like some ignis fatuus belated upon the road behind them which all could see and of which none spoke. For this will to deceive that is in things luminous may manifest itself likewise in retrospect and so by sleight of some fixed part of a journey already accomplished may also post men to fraudulent destinies.” (BM 107).
Mccarthy highlights how no faith exists outside of humanist artificiality, but rather a constant nihilistic distrust in all forms and appearances of authority, and this distrust, this disruption, this “will to deceive” is inescapable, and embraced by Glanton’s men.
Blood Meridian, although known as a virulently “nihilistic” novel in the majority of literature circles and academia, is not nihilistic in the slightest in the same vein of its virulent nihilism. The way in which the novel conceives of war is leaving nothing more divine. : “War is the truest form of divination. It is the testing of one’s will and the will of another within that larger will which because it binds them is therefore forced to select”(BM 210). This is distinctly Nietzschean.
In war, the degrees of man are striated into “slave” “free man”. “War” is exemplary of Nietzsche’s will to power and eternal recurrence as a selective principle. Although Nietzsche failed to rigidly define the will to power in his work, leaving it open to many different interpretations, it can nonetheless be said (by specific interpretation) that it is what constitutes the state of things, as an entropic force that is connected to the eternal recurrence. As spoken of by the Judge: “These ruins wondered at by tribes of savages, do you not think that this will be again? Aye. and again?” (BM 127). The principle of eternal recurrence is defined as such by Deleuze in Nietzsche and Philosophy:
“The present must coexist with itself as past and yet to come. The synthetic relation of the moment to itself as present, past, and future grounds its relation to other moments. The eternal return is thus an answer to the problem of passage [between past and present, or present and future].” (NP 48)
The eternal return is an affirmation of becoming and thus a synthesis of being and becoming, as a solution to the “problem of passage”. The eternal recurrence coexists with what Nietzsche calls “will to power” forming a principle that functions off the basis of pure becoming and as an explanation of the reproduction of diversification. The will to power is better understood not ascribed to any subject but rather what lies under the quantitative differentiation of forces. “Whatever you will, will it in such a way that you also will its eternal return”(NP 68). However, the eternal return also functions as a synthesis of the nihilistic will. The will to nothingness could possibly not function as a negation of life but rather of radical affirmation. The notion of utility is undoubtedly a reactive/negative phenomenon, but how can the will to nothingness be reactive while simultaneously distancing itself from reactive forces? Affirmation must result in univocity, but the coherence between an annihilistic drive and affirmation is demonstrated by the men of Blood Meridian. They can be “nihilistic” but they are not reactive or negative. The notion of “resentment” is nowhere to be found in the novel. The nihil may will death as passive, but expenditure affirms it. The Judge even addresses Tobin (the expriest), a character whose doctrine is pitted against Holdens in the narrative, as a nihil, demonstrating the Nietzschean attack on nihilism in favor of a turn towards affirmation, however nihilistic it may seem in the decreation of morals and judgment basis.
In the very same vein as they are striated in war, war continually destroys all striation. The same nomadic movement of war creates a “smooth space” conceived of by Deleuze and Guattari, a space that is inhabited by heterogeneous free-flowing energy, or forces that make up “smooth” interaction, rather than “striated” interaction.
“war is the truest form of divination. It is the testing of one’s will and the will of another within that larger will which because it binds them is therefore forced to select. War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of the unity of existence. War is god” (BM 210).
Here war is brought to a Spinozist substance, in which being is expressed univocally and heterogeneously simultaneously (this is through Gilles Deleuze’s interpretation). Attributes are harnessed through interaction, just like affirmation in the will to power, and its description as divine means nothing as it is all-encompassing, and nothing is less divine in the western plains. “We remain bound in a dance of perpetual immanence”(TVLD).
In A Thousand Plateaus (the second volume of their two-volume collaborative work “Capitalism and Schizophrenia”), a work that discusses topics from a multiplicity of ranges to the extent that the work itself could be considered a smooth space, Deleuze and Guattari discuss the political dichotomy of the state and nomads. The state creates a striated space, and in that same vein, the state is the image of thought (a place of beginning thought). Nomadic movement, being “rhizomatic”, is heterogeneous in nature and allows for an infinite potential of connection, as no being, or “space” or ideology, is above or below the other. Movement all works on the same plane, opposed, or for a better choice of word, encompassing arborescent formations. Judge Holden says “The universe is no narrow thing and the order within it is not constrained by any latitude in its conception to repeat what exists in one part in any other” (BM 206). His doctrine is mirrored by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus, as they describe smooth spaces:
“It is in principle infinite, open, and unlimited in every direction; it has neither top nor bottom nor center; it does not assign fixed and mobile elements but rather distributes a continuous variation” ( ATP 475–476).
Blood Meridian also uses multiple principles of the “rhizome” presented by Deleuze and Guattari in the introduction of A Thousand Plateaus. The first being connection. Any point in the rhizome can be connected to each other, the violence of the novel does not function in a striated model or system. Second being heterogeneity and multiplicity. The nomadic movement and schizophrenic solar surplus of energetic violence are these two principles. Third being asignifying rupture. A rhizome, just like the botanical structure, can be broken off at points, but as it holds no despot or despotic sign, the rupture can be repaired and restarted at any point through its schizophrenic connections. As war is presented as the only god, war is all-encompassing immanence. There is no despot in the war of Blood Meridian, it is nomadic violence. Not only is it nomadic in the sense of models or non-models of thought, but Glanton’s men that move in the desert are quite literally nomads. The war of the novel can not be stopped, as it has no end or beginning: “origins are become as remote as his destiny”(BM 3). Fourth, final, and most important being cartography. The rhizome is a map, rather than a tracing. This is fundamental to nomadic and smooth movement, as it diagonally interacts and adapts off the real, rather than a tracing of a map. The map does not have a beginning, unlike the tracing. The movement of the men of Blood Meridian directly interacts with the ground upon which they traverse, and they form their own cartography, rather than traversing based on an image of thought, forming a tracing. “They rose and went on. There was no trace to follow” (BM 248). The judge claims “I been everywhere. This is just one more place”(BM 279), demonstrating how his movement falls back upon no ‘lacking’, no image of thought, no map, unlike the tracing. Its cartography is characterized by heterogeneous and “aberrant movements”, coincidently a word that French philosopher David Lapoujade also uses to describe the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze.
The thermodynamic principle of entropy is what provides and necessitates these “aberrant movements” as, within the general economy, processes of organization or utilitarinizing are simply a “mere complexity of detour” in the irresistible entropic forces of dissipating energy and the consistent opening of systems, disruptions of codes (the notion of “code” is appropriated from Deleuze and Guattari and generally signifies social structure and its downstream affects), and the Nietzschean forgetting of all origins.
“There is only the thermospasmic shock wave, tendential energy flux, degradation of energy, Receipt of information — of intensity — carried downstream” (TTFA 43).
Thus entropy is neither teleological nor submitted to the cage of representation (it is not represented). These aberrant processes are as “threatening” to life as they are liberating to its forces. Our narrator describes the men as “Itinerant degenerates bleeding westward like some heliotropic plague”(BM 72). Their heliotropism can be seen as the backbone of the novel’s solar economy.
This brings us back to the libidinal flows in the violence of Blood Meridian. To say that violence is sexual is no surprise. The same libidinal exchanges and flows that take place in the bedroom also take place in the newspaper, in the street, in the banks, and in the scalpings in the plains of the west that witness evening redness. The libido we are accustomed to is one that is channeled, individuated, striated, controlled, and repressed, or more generally ideologically assembled, only to be unleashed in the bedroom (if even). This unleashing takes place in what Georges Bataille calls “limit experiences”: experiences that take us from restricted economy to general. Limit experiences are orgasmic in nature as they release us from logic, from seriousness, from work, into play and excess. Of course, for us, these are only temporary, but for the men that roam the desert, these “vaporous beings”(BM 49), these solar barbarians, they move with no motivation through pure excess, pointed towards death. Just as the man smiles during lingchi, the judge is continually described with a smile on his face. Limit experiences give a taste of death, to live in expenditure, and thanatropically drive towards 0, towards death, in the annihilation of play. In this same vein, the book turns towards violence that is merciless, and more importantly, nonsense (non sense). The transgression of the novel is an “unthinkable communication with zero” (FN 217).
A discussion of libidinal flows would be incomplete without Sigmund Freud. Blood Meridian mercilessly abolishes the Oedipal ruse through the character of the kid, who loses his familial roots entirely and is swept into a hallucinatory journey with no end. His mother is dead at his birth, and his father is abandoned, not that he was ever really there. The kid’s “origins are become as remote as his destiny”(BM 3), and just like that he is initiated (although there exists no limits, no ends) into the general economy. The “imperialism of Oedipus” as spoken of by Deleuze and Guattari in Anti Oedipus when critiquing the psychoanalytic method, is non-existent in such a hallucinatory journey, and although it may seem horribly sad and dark, there is nothing more liberating.
The judge spoke to horses and communicated with animals through their deep pulmonary breathing and movement. This is a type of communication distanced from the linguistic signifying chain to decoded libidinal flows. It is less structured, more schizo. In Anti Oedipus, Deleuze and Guattari detail a “schizo on a walk” as opposed to the neurotic sitting on the psychoanalyst’s couch. The desert journey of Blood Meridian moves beyond familial triangularization. The schizo on the walk finds himself “in the mountains, amid falling snowflakes, with other gods or without any gods at all, without a family”(AO 2). The men of the novel affirm disjunction and instead of confining themselves inside contradiction, they “open up” and release “them as so many singularities”(AO 77). They live nature as “process of production” not as object of exploitation. This is also exemplary of the novel’s vehement opposition to the Anthropocentrism that plagues the West.
This book’s general economy and cosmology is rhizomatic, as the loose connections sublate any origin or destiny, any start or end. Freud, however, is not only a theorist of lack, as a Lacanian reading would lead one to believe. As spoken of by both Nick Land and Jean Francois Lyotard, Freud indeed is an energeticist. “He does no conceive of desire as lack, representation, or intention, but as dissipative energetic flow”(TTFA 31). Land, taking Freud by his side, goes on to move towards an “unpleasure” rather than pleasure attached with the realization of one’s goals, one’s lacking.
“Unpleasure is primary excitation or tension which is relieved by the equilibrating flux of sexual behavior. there is no goal, only zero”. (TTFA 31)
Unpleasure runs through the energeticism and works of Bataille, Deleuze, and Lyotard, and in that same vein, it runs through Blood Meridian. The death drive of the men, their impulse towards destruction, reminds us constantly of Nick Lands’ words, “there is no goal, only zero”(TTFA 31). As the barman tells the judge, “What is death if not an agency?”(BM 279). The randomness and spontaneity of the destruction of the book once again come back to Lyotard’s words on the death drive in Driftworks “it is randomness”(DW 91). This death drive as spoken of by him is not one in which the negative takes any place as it does in the writings of Jacques Lacan, but rather his death drive is characterized by entropy and plurality. “The libido never relinquishes one investment for a better one, there are rather simultaneous investments in one area of the body”(DW 12). The structure or hierarchy of pleasure that necessitates negation and lack does not work for Lyotard, just like it does not work for Deleuze and Guattari, or Bataille. Desire in Deleuze and Lyotard is distinctly schizophrenic, and the schizophrenia that Bataille lacks is made up for by them. Lyotard, just like Deleuze, conceives of the psyche and all its desire lines operating “parallely”, or “rhizomatically”. The difference between Deleuze and Guattari and Lyotard rests in Lyotard’s return to Freud and insistence on a primary and secondary process, his move away from libidinal becoming, his focus on the moment, as well as an unconscious that lies deep in the subject. The solar and schizophrenic dissolution of the subject or individual is detailed throughout the novel as Glanton’s men ride on, dissolved in the western heat, pursuing unlimited inversions upon other “journeys”, reduced to “a mote struggling in that hallucinatory void, and then nothing at all” (BM 101).
“Affirm that this zero is itself […] a concentratory dispotif, where of course several libidinal positions are affirmed together […] the position of the signifier or of the other is, in the concentratory dispotif, itself an enjoyable position, that the ‘rigour of the law’ gives more than one person a hard on […] we must model ourselves an affirmative idea of the zero” (LE 5).
The last sentence of this quote is especially important for Blood Meridian’s doctrine. There must be an affirmative movement towards 0, being nihilistic all while not being reactive. These ideas led Lyotard to extremely controversial conclusions, essentially stating that the capitalist workers derive “jouissance” from the destruction of their physical body and the decomposition of their self (personal identity) and social forms.
They “enjoyed the new monstrous anonymity of the suburbs and the pubs in morning an evening”(LE 111). This is what resulted in him later denouncing Libidinal Economy, naming it an “evil book”, and whether or not that is true, the idea is important for the speculation on masochism that lingers in the back of every mind, and unleashed in the universe of Blood Meridian, revealing this precise “monstrous anonymity” that comes with the dissolution of the self in the energetic and annihilationist cosmos. It is also worth noting that this idea was particularly controversial as Lyotard (along with the vast majority of French intellectuals of the time) was known as a thinker on the left, and him denying the typical stance that workers suffer and instead stating that they enjoy said suffering severely damaged his reputation.
Blood Meridian is a nauseating and revolting experience, but there is a heart that beats throughout it, and we are compelled to follow it by some horror. Its “world-building” is cosmic in scale while entirely taking place on the ground. Its bloody darkness is not to be perceived “pessimistically”, in the vein of regret and sadness, but rather in the immense joy of limit experiences, as ‘death and dying are the very life of darkness”. This philosophy is directly reflected in Lyotards ‘Pagan Theatrics” as he says: “This pain is not a sadness or a loss of force, but the opposite. It is stamped with an expenditure of important quantities of energy” (LE 10). This expenditure lights up the darkness, and through this dual combination, leads to the limit.
AO: Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia Volume 1, Penguin Classics, 2009
ATP: Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia Volume 2, University of Minnesota Press, 1987
NP: Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy, Columbia University Press, 1983
TTFA: Nick Land, The Thirst for Annihilation: Georges Bataille and Virulent Nihilism, Routledge, 1992
FN: Nick Land, Fanged Noumena: Collected Writings 1987–2007, Urbanomic / Sequence Press, 2011
LE: Jean Francois Lyotard, Libidinal Economy, Continuum Intl Pub Group, 2004
DW: Jean Francois Lyotard, Driftworks, Semiotext(e), 1984
BM: Cormac Mccarthy, Blood Meridian, 1985 http://www.altair.pw/pub/lib/Cormac%20Mccarthy%20-%20The%20Blood%20Meridian.pdf
TVLD: Steven Shaviro, The Very Life of Darkness: A Reading of Blood Meridian, 1992, https://www.robinsonschools.com/unit2/images/users/jcook/Shaviro.pdf
TWTP: Friederich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, New York: Vintage Books, 1968