Tagged: Nelson Algren
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29 Oct 2015 at 8:11 pm #7837
Richard L. says:
“And. if I recall (and lord, I do not trust my memory of it now), we saw an advanced reading copy of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN here, way back when, and among the things we critiqued was the anachronistic electric chair in the opening section.
I think McCarthy’s publisher sent an answer, implying that the mistake was intentional, saying that was just McCarthy’s way of keeping readers on their toes, or some other infinite jest. Perhaps he was already in the know on Max Tegmark’s mathematical multiverse, in which it would make perfect sense.
Anyway, I would not be surprised if the source of that electric chair was Nelson Algren.”
Memory is a tricky thing. According to my notes, in the unpublished screenplay for “No Country For Old Men” Sheriff Bell says, “I’ve sent five men to the electric chair at Huntsville. My arrests and my testimony” (p. 61).” In both my ARC and the published novel NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN the opening sentence reads, “I sent one boy to the gaschamber at Huntsville” (P. 3). There was no electric chair mentioned. The “mistake” was not “anachronistic” but arose because no executions had been carried out in Texas using a gas chamber. This was aired by Dwight Garner in his “Inside the List” column in The New York Times Book Review, August 7, 2005. Garner related that, “When asked about the line, McCarthy said through his publicist at Knopf, ‘I put it in there to see if readers were on their toes.'”
When the pirated script for the screenplay “The Counselor” appeared, it contained a bit of dialog between the COUNSELOR and WESTRAY that was cut from the published text. It would have appeared on about page 111.
“COUNSELOR Why his mother making me the heavy?
WESTRAY Your head tends to get muddled at the prospect of death and dismemberment, doesn’t it? What is it that you imagine she won’t she won’t say to stay out of the electric chair at Huntsville?”
However I agree that McCarthy was likely influenced by Algren.
wesmorganQuote31 Oct 2015 at 7:17 am #7848
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