Cormac McCarthy Correspondence, 1976-1985
The collection consists of handwritten and typed letter correspondence between Cormac McCarthy and fellow writer John Fergus Ryan between the years 1975 to 1986. The authors discuss their successes and disappointments for publication. The correspondence begins with John Fergus Ryan congratulating Cormac McCarthy on his earning the Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Writing in 1969. The author’s conversations are companionable and short.
The material in this collection is in English.
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0.25 Linear Feet
The collection consists of letter correspondence between Cormac McCarthy and fellow writer John Fergus Ryan between the years of 1975 to 1986. The writers discussed their daily life, successes, and disappointments.
Charles Joseph “Cormac” McCarthy Jr. was born in Providence Rhode Island to Charles Joseph and Gladys Christina McGrail McCarthy. He was the third of six children, the eldest son. Cormac is Gaelic for Charles and was used by the family to refer both to him and to his father. In 1937, he and his family relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, where his father worked as a lawyer and, later, as chief legal counsel for the Tennessee Valley Authority. McCarthy attended St. Mary's Parochial School and Knoxville Catholic High School.
McCarthy enrolled in the University of Tennessee in 1951 but left a few years later to join the U.S. Air Force. He returned in 1957, where he majored in English, but never completed his degree. He had two short stories published in the Phoenix, the campus literary magazine - “A Wake for Susan” (1959 inaugural issue) and “A Drowning Incident” (1960). McCarthy left college in 1960 to pursue writing full time.
His first novel, The Orchard Keeper (1965), received positive reviews and won the William Faulkner Award. In 1979, McCarthy published his semiautobiographical novel Suttree, which he had written over 20 years before, based on his experiences in Knoxville during the 1950s.
A MacArthur Fellowship enabled McCarthy to travel to Texas, where he researched and wrote his fifth novel, Blood Meridian (1985). He experienced widespread success with All the Pretty Horses (1992), for which he received both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was followed by The Crossing (1994) and Cities of the Plain (1998) which completed The Border Trilogy.
Several of his novels were successfully adapted into film including The Road which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The film adaptation of his 2005 novel No Country for Old Men received four Academy Awards.
McCarthy was married three times: Lee Holleman (1961-divorced 1962); Anne DeLisle (1966-divorced 1981); and Jennifer Winkley (1997-divorced 2006). He fathered two sons: Cullen with Holleman and John with Winkley.
In The Passenger and Stella Maris (2022), McCarthy returned to the site of Oak Ridge Tennessee for the setting of what would be his final novels. McCarthy passed away on June 13, 2023 at the age of 89.
John Fergus Ryan (1930-2003) was also a Tennessee writer. Born in Arkansas, Ryan grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and then joined the United States Army. Ryan was a graduate of Memphis State University in 1957. He wrote two plays and three novels. John Fergus Ryan’s most famous work is The Redneck Bride, which was published in 1982. John Fergus Ryan passed away in Memphis, TN from the combined travesties of Parkinson’s Disease and diabetes complications.
The collection is kept in the original arrangement. Sorted chronologically and by recipient.