This paper integrates archival and biographical evidence to explore the nexus of the personal and the professional in the genesis and composition of Outer Dark. Before he began Outer Dark, McCarthy had written editor Larry Bensky a long defense of his strategies in The Orchard Keeper in hopes of avoiding revision. As he composed the second novel, he was considering the objections Bensky had raised to the first and attempting to forestall similar criticisms of Outer Dark. At the same time, he was dealing with his impending loss of Lee McCarthy and his newborn son Cullen. Thus he wrote the novel under emotional and professional stress, the evidence of which surfaces in various ways in the “Rough/ First Draft” and the “Early Draft.” McCarthy gradually refined his strategies for making Culla's inner life exterior, revising from his monologues through a sequence of his dreams and finally to scenes of the triune as the walking manifestation of Culla's inner life. The novel itself may be seen as an objective correlative for McCarthy's own inner life, a working out of his grief and guilt over losing his son.

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