In this no-holds-barred memoir with a foreword by Elizabeth Hardwick, the bestselling author of The Group recalls her early life in New York, revealing the genesis of and genius behind her groundbreaking fiction
Mary McCarthy is a married twenty-four-year-old Communist and critic when this memoir begins. She’s disciplined, dedicated, and sexually experimental: At one point she realizes that in twenty-four hours she “had slept with three different men.” But she believes in the institution of marriage. Over the course of three years, she will have had two husbands, the second being the esteemed, much older critic Edmund Wilson. It is Wilson who becomes McCarthy’s mentor and muse, urging her to try her hand at fiction.
McCarthy’s powers of observation are on witty display here, as the seventy-something writer recalls events that took place half a century earlier. Her eye for the revealing detail will be recognized by readers of her novels as she describes marching in May Day parades, attending parties for the Scottsboro Boys, and witnessing firsthand the American left wing’s response to the Moscow trials and the Spanish Civil War.
Picking up where How I Grew left off and unfinished at the time of her death in 1989, Intellectual Memoirs is a vivid snapshot of a distinctive place and time—New York in the late 1930s—and the forces that shaped Mary McCarthy’s life as a woman and a writer.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary McCarthy including rare images from the author’s estate.