ABSTRACT

Overlaying Michel Foucault's early “archaeological” works—The Order of Things, The Archaeology of Knowledge—with Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian reveals remarkable similarities between not only Foucault and the historical and fictional versions of Judge Holden, but McCarthy and Foucault as historiographers of the West's senescence. Building on Michael Lynn Crews's demonstration that McCarthy was reading Foucault during the drafting of his “western,” this article posits that McCarthy was also grappling with Foucault's justification and expansion of the neoliberal economics that was then emerging in the West, in the United States in particular, by embedding Foucault's thought (and in some ways the thinker himself) in his novel in a critical way. In so doing, McCarthy one-upped the philosopher, showing readers how Foucault's late economics were problematic both on their own terms and likely contributed to the very “End of Man” that Foucault seemed to be anticipating with glee and that made its way into several of McCarthy's late novels.

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