This article suggests that in a reading environment weighted down by the neoconservative hegemony of the time, when considered at the level of affect—as politics enacted at the level of feeling, or as ideology experienced at a level that is prior to articulation in language—the act of reading The Road might well have worked for some readers as a powerful affirmation of post-9/11 neoconservatism. This suggestion that McCarthy's prose in The Road might embody, disseminate, and assist in the naturalizing of neoconservative structures of feeling is not, then, a claim about authorial intent. Rather, this article is interested in the reception of McCarthy's work, or at least the range of possible receptions by readers—the political uses, conscious or otherwise, to which contemporary readers might put McCarthy's prose—in a specific historical time and place as a metabolizing of historical experience, or lived ideology, in the form of literary fiction.

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