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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2019

Chapter 26 - The Archives and the Tennessee Years, II: Child of God, The Gardener’s Son, and Suttree

from Part V - Archives, Critical History, Translation


This chapter focuses on the archival documents relevant to a study of McCarthy’s works completed in the 1970s: the novels Child of God and Suttree, and the teleplay The Gardener’s Son. It surveys the collections of correspondence available for these years, but concentrates primarily on McCarthy’s typescripts, identifying the relationships among the key drafts and highlighting some of the insights to be gained from the archives about the genesis, composition, revisions, and editing of these works. It shows how Child of God took its genesis from the second draft stage of Outer Dark when McCarthy repurposed material from one book for the other. For The Gardener’s Son, it surveys the documents available in the papers of McCarthy, film director Richard Pearce, and the Ecco Press Records, and outlines the changes which McCarthy made in the teleplay between its second draft and the shooting script. The Suttree section concentrates on material deleted from the novel before publication, either on McCarthy’s initiative or in response to his editor’s plea for compression. It argues that the deleted scenes saved by McCarthy in a separate folder focus primarily on the transformation of oral to literary narratives and emphasize Suttree as a writer in the making.