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Mary McCarthy Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Company She Keeps (1942)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Oasis (1949)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Groves of Academe (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Charmed Life (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Group (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Source of Embarrassment (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Birds of America (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cannibals and Missionaries (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Memories of a Catholic Girlhood (1946)Description / Buy at Amazon
Venice Observed (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sights and Spectacles (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Stones of Florence (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vietnam (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hanoi (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
Medina (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mask of State (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Ideas and the Novel (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Occasional Prose: Essays (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
How I Grew (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Intellectual Memoirs: New York, 1936-1938 (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Between Friends (With: Hannah Arendt) (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Cast a Cold Eye (1950)Description / Buy at Amazon
On the Contrary (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writing on the Wall and Other Literary Essays (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hounds of Summer and Other Stories (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Novels 1963-1979 (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mary McCarthy: The Complete Fiction (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Short Story Masterpieces: 35 Classic American and British Stories from the First Half of the 20th Century(1954)Description / Buy at Amazon
Women Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews(1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writing Women's Lives(1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
First Fiction: An Anthology of the First Published Stories by Famous Writers(1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writing New York(1998)Description / Buy at Amazon

About Mary McCarthy

Mary McCarthy was a highly talented and successful American author. She possessed a unique gift for creating captivating characters and compelling stories through her use of vivid narratives and lively dialogue. Her most acclaimed novel, The Group, won numerous awards. She would herself win the prestigious Horizon Prize in 1949, serving as an inspiration for her fellow writers.

Throughout her career, McCarthy was the recipient of various other awards including two Guggenheim Fellowships, in 1949 and 1959, the National Medal for Literature, the Edward MacDowell Medal in 1984, and multiple honorary degrees. She also became a member of both the National Institute of Arts and Letters, along with the American Academy in Rome, as well as delivered the Huizinga Lecture at the University of Leiden in 1973.

On top of her impressive accolades, McCarthy was also known for her long-standing feud with fellow playwright, Lillian Hellman, along with her friendship and correspondence with influential thinker Hannah Arendt. All in all, Mary McCarthy was a gifted writer who crafted characters and protagonists that made her stories entertaining and fun to read, and possessed the skill of creating stories with engaging and unique narratives.

Early and Personal Life

Mary Therese McCarthy, born in Seattle on June 21, 1912, lost her parents at an early age due to a flu epidemic. She and her three brothers were taken in by their Catholic paternal grandparents in Minneapolis, which she later described as oppressive. They were then taken in by their maternal grandparents, who were of Jewish descent and brought her up in Seattle. Both of her grandfathers were renowned in their professions; one was a successful attorney and co-founder of a law firm, and the other was a judge.

Mary received a Catholic convent school education as well as attendance at the Annie Wright Seminary, and went on to graduate from Vassar College with an A.B. degree in 1933. Her younger brother, Kevin, then became an actor.

Mary married four times throughout her life, first to Harald Johnsrud, an actor and playwright, then to fellow writer, critic, and philosopher Philip Rahv, followed by Edmund Wilson, a famous author and critic. The pair had a son, Reuel, and Mary later married Bowden Broadwater and later James R. West.

At times, Mary was an open-minded and liberal voice who refused to conform to the values of the time. She became an atheist and moved in ‘fellow-traveling’ communist circles in the 1930s, later denouncing Soviet-style Communism and Leon Trotsky. An enthusiastic and effective contributor to several magazines and journals, including The Nation, The New Republic, Harper’s Magazine, and The New York Review of Books, Mary consistently challenged and argued with conventional societal and cultural values. In the 1960s, she ardently opposed the Vietnam War and even went to the country to report on it from her anti-war perspective.

Mary Therese McCarthy was an influential voice and writer who never shied away from articulating her opinions. She passed away from lung cancer on October 25, 1989 at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

Writing Career

Mary McCarthy was an esteemed American author whose literary contributions earned her much acclaim. She made her debut in 1942 with the novel The Company She Keeps, esteemed for its honest reflection of the New York intellectuals of the late ’30s. It was further acclaimed for her short story “The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt,” published by Partisan Review the year before.

The success of McCarthy’s work was affirmed by the popular success of her later novel, The Group, which stayed on the New York Times Best Seller list for a remarkable two years. Her ability to blend fact and fiction in a refined form that resonated with her readers was unmatched.

McCarthy’s influence extended beyond her writing. In 1954, her time spent teaching at Sarah Lawrence College inspired Randall Jarrell to create Pictures from an Institution. What’s more, the contentious feud between McCarthy and fellow writer Lillian Hellman, going back to the ’30s, became the basis of Nora Ephron’s play Imaginary Friends. This disagreement, sparked by ideological differences and Hellman’s allegiance to Joseph Stalin, was settled with her death in 1984.

McCarthy’s connections also extended to the premier intellectuals of the day, such as Dwight Macdonald and Hannah Arendt. She was Arendt’s literary executor and prepared her unfinished work The Life of the Mind for publication. She even lectured at Bard College from 1946-47 and again in 1986-89, while visiting and teaching Sarah Lawrence College in 1948 for a single semester.

The Group

Published in 1963, Mary McCarthy’s influential novel ‘The Group’ was released by Harcourt, Brace and went on to achieve great literary acclaim. This stand-alone book was eventually adapted into a film in 1966 by Sidney Lumet. Since then, ‘The Group’ has gained a legendary status among literary circles, earning McCarthy awards for her work.

The story follows the lives of eight Vassar graduates who call themselves ‘the group’. They reunite after graduation to witness Kay Strong’s wedding. As they embark on their adult lives, each woman finds love, heartbreak and success in different areas. Despite growing apart at times, the group maintains a bond and stands firm of not following in their parents’ footsteps. When tragedy strikes, the group reunites, facing the loss of someone dear.

Hearts were broken and laughter was shared in Mary McCarthy’s classic ‘The Group.’ Told with McCarthy’s witty and dry humour, this work earned her awards for its representation of modern society with a timeless relevance that still speaks to readers today. Readers will find themselves crying, laughing and deeply empathizing with this memorable group of friends.

The Company She Keeps

In 1942, Mary McCarthy released her debut novel, ‘The Company She Keeps.’ It went on to become a highly applauded success, bringing recognition to the renowned author. The novel introduced McCarthy to the literary world, firmly establishing her name among celebrated writers of the time.

Mary McCarthy’s debut novel presents a timeless outlook into the life of Margaret Sargent, a young female living in 1930s New York. Set against the backdrop of impending war, the stories within offer a captivating look into a fascinating social circle and its lost loves. Through six thoughtful and beautifully written episodes, readers experience Margaret’s journey first-hand.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Mary McCarthy

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