Originally published in 1992.
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The trial and acquittal of Till's murderers became, in the words of one historian, "the first great media event of the civil rights movement," and since then, the lynching has assumed a central place in literary memory. The international group of contributors to this volume explores how the Emmett Till story has been fashioned and refashioned in fiction, poetry, drama, and autobiography by writers as diverse as William Bradford Huie, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Audre Lorde, Anne Moody, Nicolás Guillén, Aimé Césaire, Bebe Moore Campbell, and Lewis Nordan. They suggest the presence of an "Emmett Till narrative" deeply embedded in post-1955 literature, an overarching recurrent plot that builds on recognizable elements and is as legible as the "lynching narrative" or the "passing narrative." Writers have fashioned Till's story in many ways: an the annotated bibliography that ends the volume discusses more than 130 works that memorialize the lynching, calling attention to the full extent of Till's presence in literary memory.
Breaking new ground in civil rights studies and the discussion of race in America, Emmett Till in Literary Memory and Imagination eloquently attests to the special power and artistic resonance of one young man's murder.
Cooper evaluates all of McCarthy's work to date, carefully exploring the range of his narrative techniques. The writer's overwhelmingly distant, omniscient third-person narrative rarely shifts to a more limited voice. When it does deviate, however, revelations of his characters' consciousness unmistakably exhibit moral awareness and ethical behavior. The quiet, internal struggles of moral men such as John Grady Cole in the Border Trilogy and the father in The Road demonstrate an imperfect but very human heroism.
Even when the writing moves into the minds of immoral characters, McCarthy draws attention to the characters' humanity, forcing the perceptive reader to identify with even the most despicable representatives of the human race. Cooper shows that this rare yet powerful recognition of commonality and the internal yearnings for community and a commitment to justice or compassion undeniably exist in McCarthy's work.
No More Heroes directly addresses the essential question about McCarthy's brutal and morally ambiguous universe and reveals poignant new answers.