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Notes on Blood Meridian

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  275 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Blood Meridian (1985), Cormac McCarthy's epic tale of an otherwise nameless "kid" who in his teens joins a gang of licensed scalp hunters whose marauding adventures take place across Texas, Chihuahua, Sonora, Arizona, and California during 1849 and 1850, is widely considered to be one of the finest novels of the Old West, as well as McCarthy's greatest work. The New York ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by University of Texas Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Matthew
Nov 25, 2010 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: texana
If you are a fan of 'Blood Meridian' this is a must-read. It's basically the recipe for McCarthy's book, characters and events separated and traced back through books and history.

It's one of those wonderful books that dramatically increases your reading list.

For example, one of the main inspirations for 'Blood Meridian' seems to be a confession written by one Samuel Chamberlain, who rode with Glanton's gang and survived the Yuma ferry massacre, a source which is the only historical reference to
...more
Nick Black
Sep 07, 2011 Nick Black rated it really liked it
certainly one of the more eclectic and discursive reader's guides i've come across. well worth it for fans.
Robert Beveridge
John Sepich, Notes on Blood Meridian (Bellarmine College Press, 1983)


Isn't it always the way? The first truly indispensable book of 2001 and it's impossible to find. Even bookfinder.com doesn't list a copy.


Cormac McCarthy's 1985 novel Blood Meridian is one of the finest novels in the English language, and the realization that much of the book is based on true events of 1849-1850 makes McCarthy's achievement even more harrowing. John Sepich gives us an overview of Mcarthy's cources as well as a l
...more
Austin
Dec 19, 2014 Austin rated it it was amazing
In 2006 the New York Times Book Review ranked Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian 3rd in a 2006 survey of the best American fiction since WWII. But the book's vernacular, complexity, and gory subject matter make it a daunting task for most readers (unless you're a masochist like me). Enter John Sepich's Notes On...Blood Meridian, a vital tool to understanding some of the book's arcane symbolism, historical context, and it's most difficult passages.

Complete with biographies of all the real players,
...more
Joseph
Jan 02, 2016 Joseph rated it liked it
Long out of print, I was thrilled to pick up a copy of the UT Press reissue after paging through a copy at the Witliff Collection. Throughout the book, Sepich quotes extensively from primary sources used by McCarthy in constructing his masterpiece. There are a few iffy bits, such as describing Opuntia as barrel cactus when the genus covers various cacti, including prickly pear, and questionable examinations of the occult and symbology. Sepich's rambling essays are speculative, unconvincing and ...more
Justin Evans
Apr 21, 2010 Justin Evans rated it liked it
There's a ton of information in here, but if you want it you'll have to read it cover to cover. Not sure I've ever even seen a book this poorly organized; it's not really a companion, since it doesn't go through the book page for page, but the essays which I think (?) are meant to synthesize the facts are borderline unreadable. They aren't arguments, most of them don't even stick to a theme - but they're full of quotations and hints that you might find useful. Basically, I'd take this out from ...more
Ryan
Jul 02, 2012 Ryan rated it liked it
Thoroughly researched and impressive. It made me think, and made me want to read the novel again though I finished it just a month ago. The first few chapters are an impressive recounting of the ostensible historical bases of McCarthy's characters, events, and settings, from an almost unbelievable number of primary sources. The best essays are in the middle: chapters 5-7 are critical analyses of the characters and events of the book. I found chapter 8, particularly the section on archetypes, to ...more
Franc
May 14, 2011 Franc rated it it was amazing
The essential guide to an essential book. Just to give you an idea, until the recent publication of the Expanded Edition, used paperback copies of the book sold for $500. The first time I read Blood Meridian (at the personal recommendation of Robert Penn Warren I might add) I thought the novel was an extremely imaginative almost fantastical version of the West, but when I read it the second time later along with Sepich's "Notes" I was shock to find out this an almost scrupulous historical novel, ...more
Bruce
Feb 12, 2010 Bruce rated it really liked it
It was a revelation to discover the true history behind Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece "Blood Meridian." While I knew that the book was based on events that occurred in the Southwest during the 1840 - 50 era, I had no idea that most of the the characters in Blood Meridian - including Judge Holden! - actually lived. Yes, most of this astonishing, horrendous story happened. I will soon read "Blood Meridian" for the third time, but for the first time with the knowledge that I am reading history ...more
Mark Baumer
Oct 10, 2011 Mark Baumer rated it it was amazing
"McCarthy was faithful to his setting and his characters. In that southwest, nothing was moist but blood. The gang was as bloody and yet as innocent as are the mouths of feeding wolves. It is a romance but is not make believe. Holden is utterly right about games, projection, divination, wishes, and war. Less than thirty years ago in southeast Asia social reformers killed eyeglass wearers as political criminals."
Dustin
Oct 16, 2012 Dustin rated it really liked it
This is a must read for anyone who enjoyed Blood Meridian as it gives you fascinating background information on the real people that inspired the novel. Included are several academic essays that explore various aspects of the prose. After reading Notes, I held a much greater appreciation for depth of McCarthy's vision.
Suntantigertamer Utyro
Jan 18, 2009 Suntantigertamer Utyro rated it it was amazing
So far, an amazing companion piece to McCarthy's magnum opus. Sepich goes to great lengths to retrace the historicity of John Glanton and his band of 1840's scalpers and filibusters, and to recreate for the reader the intense amount of research that McCarthy put into every sentence of Blood Meridian.
Marc
Oct 03, 2015 Marc rated it liked it
This book has its origins in a master thesis. It is structured and reads as such. Its academic structure, conforms the information and channels its intellect. This book is insight for novices. For the expert, for the one who has visited the dire realms of the "Blood Meridian" the insights are nuanced and enlightening.
Nate
Dec 22, 2008 Nate rated it liked it
Shelves: own, literary-crit
Recommended if you're curious about the historical basis for some of the characters and settings in Blood Meridian. Also contains an insightful chapter on the aspects of divination and the arcane in the book.
Jennifer
Dec 30, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read this cover to cover, but jumped around to read the things that most interested me. I'm stunned at how much of McCarthy's book is based on historical fact and real people. Eventually, I'd like to read some of the primary sources he used. Truth is stranger than fiction.

David
Jan 25, 2009 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lit-studies
At long last this classic and obscure work has been reissued by UT. Currently reading; review to follow.
Joseph
Apr 07, 2014 Joseph rated it liked it
I'm not a fan of Blood Meridian. But this book makes the time I spent on reading BM somewhat worth it. It's more of a skimming or selecting book, of course, not the kind you read straight.
Dickdeflange
Mar 03, 2011 Dickdeflange rated it really liked it
An excellent companion to Blood Meridian. Fills in much of the real-life characters that populate the novel.
K.c.
Nov 10, 2010 K.c. rated it really liked it
Ok, I didn't read it all, but did a thorough skim today. Some excellent historical information about my current object of research, McCarthy's Blood Meridian.
Tim Wendel
Sep 04, 2009 Tim Wendel rated it really liked it
It's been years since I've read McCarthy's Blood Meridian, but I may be game again after reading this great companion book.
Hugo
Sep 06, 2011 Hugo rated it really liked it
Very informative but could have done more with the presentation to make even more interesting but I guess I and Sepich disagree on that.
Timothy Rogalski
Timothy Rogalski rated it really liked it
Dec 18, 2013
Brandon
Brandon rated it it was amazing
Feb 08, 2015
John
John rated it it was amazing
Mar 10, 2013
Julie
Julie rated it really liked it
Jan 07, 2010
Jacob Evans
Jacob Evans rated it liked it
Sep 15, 2011
Christopher Campbell
Christopher Campbell rated it really liked it
Dec 13, 2014
Chair
Chair rated it it was ok
Nov 04, 2012
Matt
Matt rated it it was amazing
May 29, 2014
James Ritter
James Ritter rated it really liked it
Jan 02, 2015
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