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Mary McCarthy

Biography

Mary McCarthy was born in 1912 in Seattle. She had Protestant, Catholic and Jewish antecedents. Her parents both died in the 1918 flu epidemic and she and her three brothers were brought up by a great-aunt. The four children were treated harshly, as McCarthy describes in her memoirs, Memories of a Catholic Girlhood. Eventually, she went to live with her maternal grandparents, while her brothers went to boarding school. (The oldest of her three brothers – Kevin – appeared in the first two versions of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers). After attending convent school, she went to Vassar College, which would be the basis for her best-known novel, The Group.

After college, she moved in a liberal circles and flirted with communism. She was married four times, including to the influential critic Edmund Wilson. Her first novel was published in 1942 and she continued to publish both novels as well as works of non-fiction throughout her life. She died in 1979.

Other links

Carol Gelderman: Mary McCarthy: A Life
Frances Kiernan: Seeing Mary Plain: A Life of Mary McCarthy

Other links

Mary McCarthy
Mary McCarthy
Mary McCarthy
Mary McCarthy’s NYC
Eighty-Five From The Archive: Mary Mccarthy
Interview

Bibliography

1942 The Company She Keeps (novel),
1949 The Oasis (UK: A Source of Embarrassment) (novel)
1950 Cast a Cold Eye (later: The Hounds of Summer and Other Stories: Mary McCarthy’s Short Fiction) (short stories)
1952 The Groves of Academe (novel)
1955 A Charmed Life (novel)
1956 Venice Observed (travel)
1957 Memories of a Catholic Girlhood (memoirs)
1959 The Stones of Florence (travel)
1961 On the Contrary (essays)
1963 The Group (novel)
1964 The Humanist in the Bathtub (essays)
1967 Vietnam (reportage)
1968 Hanoi (reportage)
1970 The Writing on the Wall and Other Literary Essays
1971 Birds of America (novel)
1972 Medina (reportage)
1974 The Mask of State: Watergate Portraits
1975 Can There Be a Gothic Literature?
1979 Cannibals and Missionaries (novel)
1980 Ideas and the Novel (literary essays)
1985 Occasional Prose (essays)
1987 How I Grew
1992 Intellectual Memoirs: New York, 1936-1938
1995 Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy, 1949-1975
1999 Mary McCarthy’s Theatre Chronicles, 1937-1962
2002 A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays