Cormac McCarthy’s Three Punctuation Rules

Monday, 28 July, 2014

“There’s no reason to blot the page up with weird little marks. I mean, if you write properly you shouldn’t have to punctuate.” So says Cormac McCarthy in stimulating Open Culture overview of his style. For McCarthy, the minimalism of James Joyce is a good model for punctuation. The comments, inevitably, are mixed.

A man seeks his own destiny and no other, said the judge. Wil or nill. Any man who could discover his own fate and elect therefore some opposite course could only come at last to that selfsame reckoning at the same appointed time, for each man’s destiny is as large as the world he inhabits and contains within it all opposites as well. The desert upon which so many have been broken is vast and calls for largeness of heart but it is also ultimately empty. It is hard, it is barren. Its very nature is stone.” Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

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