David Holloway's titular phrasing "late modernism" has an effective ring. It captures the theoretical underpinnings of his recent book, The Late Modernism of Cormac McCarthy, evoking Fredric Jameson's work, on which Holloway heavily relies, while also situating McCarthy precisely where he wants him to be, historically and culturally. According to Holloway, McCarthy's fiction constitutes an important redoubt against the diminishing of modernism's once-valorous stance by forging a productive opposition to what he sees as a final stage in capitalist expansion. At the heart of Holloway's project is his concern to restore an oppositional vitality to literary production, or what he terms a "perspective of estrangement" (2). Following certain poststructuralist accounts of language's inherent instability and the related impossibilities of narrative, Holloway sees McCarthy as a writer whose singular prose at once foregrounds and incorporates the deathliness of language in his stories of an evacuated yet thoroughly commercialized American West—a topos and a space defined, Holloway suggests, by the ravages of globalization.

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2004 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article first appeared in Modern Fiction Studies 50:3 (2004), 755-757.

Please note that downloads of the article are for private/personal use only.