Workshop 2017: Cormac McCarthy and Philosophy

This workshop was organised in association with the British Society for Phenomenology and Nottingham Trent University by Patrick O’Connor (NTU).

Date: July 26

Location: The Coal Room, People’s History Museum, Manchester, UK.

Facebook Event: click here

Podcast Series

This event was recorded and is being released on our podcast. You can view the episodes here or by subscribing to our podcast on iTunes, TuneIn, or any podcasting app. Links for how to subscribe are available on the podcast website.

Photographs of the Event

We’ve hosted some photos of the event on our Facebook page.


In conjunction with  the British Society for Phenomenology and Nottingham Trent University, we will be hosting a special one day workshop in Manchester to discuss interdisciplinary perspectives on McCarthy’s most explicitly philosophical work to date.

Throughout his literary career, Cormac McCarthy has frequently explored the intersection of philosophy and literature. We see a constant preoccupation with philosophical questions: violence, law, alienation, nihilism, nature, the nature of the self, chaos theory, and language. McCarthy’s work exists in the hinterland between literary, scientific, and philosophical registers. With the publication in March 2017 of his new philosophical piece ‘The Kekulé Problem’ in the popular science magazine Nautilus, with its investigation of language, evolutionary theory, and the unconscious, McCarthy opens up new lines of inquiry for understanding his work.


This event is free, but for catering, accessibility and logistical concerns, we ask that you register by clicking here. We also ask that you consider joining the society, although this is not a requirement.


10:00 – 10:30: Tea/Coffee/Welcome

10.30 – 11:10: Patrick O’Connor | Nottingham Trent University | “The Phenomenology of the Unconscious in Cormac McCarthy’s Kekulé Problem”

Chair: Matthew Barnard

11:10 – 11.40: – Chris Thornhill | University of Nottingham | “Language in Benjamin, Agamben and McCarthy.”

Chair: Will Large

11:40 – 12:20: Katja Laug | University of Warwick | “Kekulé, or McCarthy’s Physicality of Dreaming”

Chair: Patrick O’Connor

12:20 – 01:00: Matt Barnard | Manchester Metropolitan University | “The Silent Call: Heidegger and McCarthy on Talking to Yourself”

Chair: Adonis Frangeskou

01:00 – 02:20: Lunch

02:20 – 03:00 Julius Greve |University of Oldenberg| “‘The Kekulé Problem’ in Cormac McCarthy’s Concept of Nature”

Chair: Keith Crome

03:00 – 03:30: Tea/Coffee

03:10 – 03.50:  Dan O ‘Hara | New College of the Humanities | “Some Aesthetic Implications of McCarthy’s Conception of the Role of the Unconscious in the Evolution of Forms”

Chair: Katja Laug

03.50 – 04.30: Will Large | University of Gloucestershire | “Before language there is language”

Chair: David Deamer

04.30 – 05:00: Informal Discussion towards an Annual Summer School

Podcast Interview

An interview of Patrick O’Connor talking about this event and his research on Cormac McCarthy is available on the BSP Podcast. You can subscribe via iTunes and find it on the podcast website here.


For further information please contact Patrick O’Connor at [email protected]