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.
More about Mary McCarthy on this site
- The Company She Keeps
- The Group
- Memories of a Catholic Girlhood
- The Stones of Florence
- Intellectual Memoirs: New York, 1936-1938
- Mask of State: Watergate Portrait
Autobiographies and Biographies
- Mary McCarthy Books
- Special Collections: Mary McCarthy Online Exhibit
- Reader discussion of McCarthy’s books on Goodreads
- McCarthy’s Amazon page
Articles, News, Etc.
- Remembering Mary McCarthy: A Woman of Intellect and Style
- McCarthy’s ‘The Group’ is the Definitive Young Woman’s Sex Narrative
- 12 Must-Read Collections of Famous Authors’ Letters
- McCarthy Archive and Papers –Vassar College
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