Authority and the Mountaineer in Cormac McCarthy’s Appalachia


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About the Book

The author uses theories on power, resistance and discipline developed by Michel Foucault to analyze the interactions of mountaineers and the authorities who have attempted to “modernize” them. The book shows how McCarthy manipulates Appalachian images while engaging in a form of archeology of Appalachian constructs.
Initially the book explores the interplay of the dominance/resistance duality. Roads provided ways into the mountains for industry and ways out for the mountaineer, cotton mill villages and regional cities served as “disciplined” destinations for Appalachian out-migrants. McCarthy’s character Lester Ballard (Child of God) represents the epitome of hillbilly delinquency.
The author explains how the iconic image of the mountaineer—a notion cultivated by fiction writers, benevolent organizations, and academics—“othered” the mountain people as deviants. The book ends by considering the ways in which The Road returns to the rhetorical and geographical region of his early work, and how it fits into McCarthy’s Appalachian oeuvre.

About the Author(s)

Gabe Rikard is an assistant professor at SUNY–Sullivan in Loch Sheldrake, New York, where he teaches American and 20th century literature.

Bibliographic Details

Gabe Rikard
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7459-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0347-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Abbreviations  vi
Preface  1
An Historical Prelude: The Whiskey Rebellion  7
Introduction: An Archeology of Authority and Appalachia  21
One. Spatializing Conduits: The Roads of Appalachia  41
Two. Modernizing Discipline: Mill Villages,
Metropolises and Mountaineers  86
Three. A Case of the Superlative: Lester Ballard,
Mountaineers, Children of God and Men  131
Four. The Construction and Maintenance of an
Icon, or Fantasizing the Mountaineer  167
Coda: Atavising the Mountaineer: The Road  207
Notes  227
References  229
Index  237

Book Reviews & Awards

“insightful examination…recommended”—Choice.