Mary McCarthy

Mary McCarthy

Mary McCarthy (June 21, 1912 –October 25, 1989) was an American novelist, political activist and critic, born in Seattle, Washington. She endured a difficult childhood but overcame it to become a woman of strength and determination. She began her writing career as a critic, and gained admiration for her honest observations on culture and politics. In 1942 she published her first novel, The Company She Keeps, about a young intellectual woman going to college and breaking into New York City social circles.

The Group, was arguably her most popular novel — it sat on the New York Times Bestseller list for two years and was made into a popular film. McCarthy’s novels and stories are part autobiography and part fiction, as she draws on her own experiences, traumas, and successes. That, along with her writing style, made her a respected  talent in the writing community.

McCarthy had friends and enemies within literary and activist circles — she was allied with Hannah Arendt, for instance, and was locked in a bitter fued with playwright Lillian Hellman, whom she accused of being an outright liar. She died of lung cancer in New York City in 1989.

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4 Responses to “Mary McCarthy”

  1. I believe Mary McCarthy died in 1989, not 1925 as stated on your website Literaryladiesguide.com since that would have made her only 13 years old at the time. It’s quite a typo don’t you think?

  2. I first read about Mary McCarthy in an Article called “Sex & The Single Vassar Girl” (July 2013) and in her own way helped create the Chick Lit Movement which is now a Multi Billion Dollar Empire. However I also noticed that she along with Rona Jaffe (The Best Of Everything) (RIP), as well as Patricia Highsmith (The Price Of Salt) (RIP) all had the same rituals when writing their Books. They had a Desk (Of Course) A Portable Typewriter as well as A Cigarette and an Ashtray. Although everything has changed (Typewriters being replaced by Computers), and Cigarette Sales going down it was an amazing ritual that made these books so memorable. Even Grace Metalious (Peyton Place) who never went to College pretty much followed the same ritual. In the Book Version, Allison McKenzie one of the main protagonists typed an smoked a Cigarette while on the Back of A Early Version there was the Author at her Desk deep in thought while the same posed was done in the Movie Version. I think that some of today’s Writers are lucky but spoiled. They have spell check, e-mailing, meetings over Skype amongst other things but they still are classics and pioneers.

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