life spurts out with no remedy.
Now I set out bowls and plates.
Every bowl will be shallow.
Every plate will be small.
And overflowing their rims,
into the black earth, to nourish
the rushes unstoppably
without cure, gushes
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind."
#10 :: Harlan Ellison
(my top 20 favorite “e” things)
Great question, and thanks for asking! I always love to share the McCarthy love.
A while ago I considered doing a thesis on McCarthy, and while I was doing preliminary research I ran across the quote in A Cormac McCarthy Companion: The Border Trilogy, edited by Edwin T. Arnold and Diane C. Luce.
Here’s the full excerpt as it appeared in the book:
"More and more language seemed to me to be an aberration by which we had come to lose the world. Everything that is named is set at one remove from itself. Nomenclature is the very soul of secondhandness… . When I began to think that way I began to see the true extent of our alienation. What if there existed a dialogue among the lifeforms of this earth from which we had excluded ourselves so totally that we no longer even believed it to exist? Could it be that dialogue which we still sense in dreams? Or in those rare moments of peace when the world seems in some sense to be revealed to us and to be proper and right? I knew that dreams were prelingual… . Language is a way of containing the world. A thing named becomes that named thing. It is under surveillance. We were put into a garden and we turned it into a detention center."
-McCarthy, “Whales and Men,” 57-58.
You can read the excerpt also by looking at the book on google books here: http://books.google.com/books?id=NLaFJLG1uEcC&lpg=PA37&dq=cormac%20mccarthy%20dreams%20prelingual&pg=PA37#v=onepage&q&f=false
You can also search for the term “Whales and Men” within that book and it will bring up a couple more quotes and references, such as plot details. Hopefully it gets published one day, I would love to read the whole thing.