18 April 2008

Cormac McCarthy. Blood Meridian; Or, The Evening Redness in the West, 1985

Cormac McCarthy. BLOOD MERIDIAN. OR, THE EVENING REDNESS IN THE WEST. Random House., New York, 1985.

Current Selling Prices
$2000-$3000 /£1000-£1500

Regarded as McCarthy's finest book and apparently about to be filmed by Ridley Scott. He has been collectable for over a decade and with movies being made from his books (including this year's Coen Brothers Oscar success 'No Country for Old Men') his star is in the ascendant. Being selected as an Oprah author may have dramatically widened his fanbase. Mostly his books can be found in first edition and a very decent completist collection could probably still be put together for $10K which would include a signed book or two. An assiduous ebayer, sniping and searching could do it for $5000. He or she probably wouldn't get the luxury one of 50 signed 'Cities of the Plain' or a limpid example of 'Suttree'. Ebay has, actually been the home of some spectacular results for CM with a copy of 'Meridian' signed to a family member (his father?) reaching over $12000 2 years back before it was withdrawn, possibly in order for the buyer to accept an unrefusable sum, possibly because it was found wanting in some aspect.

The highest terrestrial auction result was $8000 for a copy of 'Meridian' signed to one 'Corin' in the Maurice Neville sale at Sotheby's New York, Nov 16, 2004, it was a review copy and included a letter to travel writter Larry Millman. A signed copy came up last year and made $4400 at Swann and at the same sale a slightly used signed 'Suttree' signed by McCarthy (with a letter from the publisher presenting the copy to Robert Penn Warren) made $3500. His 1965 novel 'The Orchard Keeper' made $2000 as long ago as 2001 in 'in rubbed & soiled d/j.'

The worthy official site of the Cormac McCarthy Society has this to say of the book:-
Critics have compared Cormac McCarthy's nightmarish yet beautifully written adventure masterpiece, Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West, with the best works of Dante, Poe, De Sade, Melville, Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor and William Styron. The critic Harold Bloom, among others, has declared it one of the greatest novels of the Twentieth Century, and perhaps the greatest by a living American writer. Critics cite its magnificent language, its uncompromising representation of a crucial period of American history, and its unapologetic, bleak vision of the inevitability of suffering and violence.

The novel recounts the adventures of a young runaway, the kid, who stumbles into the company of the Glanton Gang, outlaws and scalp-hunters who cleared Indians from the Texas-Mexico borderlands during the late 1840's under contract to territorial governors. Reinvisioning the ideology of manifest destiny upon which the American dream was founded, Blood Meridian depicts the borderland between knowledge and power, between progress and dehumanization, between history and myth and, most importantly, between physical violence and the violence of language...
Value? Fine copies can be found online at between $2000 and $3000. Watch out for a remainder mark on the top edge, sometimes faint--this can take about a $1000+ off the price. An almost fine copy awaits a buyer at Ebay right now at $2500.

Outlook? Despite one dealer trying to offload a maimed ex library copy for a king's ransom with the words 'almost impossible to find' the book is relatively thick on the ground at present, but may not always be so. As the winner of the National Book Award, National Book Critics Award, Pulitzer Prize and Academy Awards + the thumbs up from Oprah, Harold Bloom and Brad Pitt (who reads 'Cities of the Plain' on CD) he is, seemingly, on his way to canonization as one of the greats and his prices are likely to remain firm and may drift up, especially if more movies are made.

No comments: