Intellectual Memoirs: New York, 1936-1938

Intellectual Memoirs: New York, 1936-1938

Mary McCarthy

Language: English

Pages: 114

ISBN: 0151448205

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Bursting with the vitality both of McCarthy's personality and of her times, this work reveals the autobiographical impulse behind much of her most popular work. It reveals the checkered beginnings of her literary career, including a biting series in the Nation excoriating her fellow critics.

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many jogs, many irregularities. There was a tiny kitchen and a bath suited to a bird. It had been furnished by the owner of the building, an architect by the name of Edmond Martin whose office was on Christopher Street. I am not sure he ever built anything, but he had a genius for getting the good out of space that was already there. At no extra charge, he made me a thin, teetery bookcase to fit into one of the nine perpendiculars—he loved to be given a problem. One nice feature was that the

coming across an early review when I was doing some work in the New York Public Library. It was dazzling, a wonderfully accomplished composition, written soon after she left college. As she began, so she continued, and in the years ahead I don’t think she changed very much. There was a large circle of friends in France, England, and Italy as well as here at home, but Mary was too eccentric in her tastes to be called snobbish and I would not find her an especially worldly person. She was not

said—and spoke Russian. He remembered one day when his grandmother came home with the terrible announcement, “The Tsar has fallen,” and to him and his mother it was as if she had said “The sky has fallen.” He hurried to hide behind the counter or under his grandmother’s skirts. For several days they stayed in the house, fearfully, and this happened more than once during the civil war, as their village was taken and retaken by Reds and Whites and the people hid from both. Toward the end of the

couldn’t. Then an evening at the Jumble Shop, on 8th Street, with Filipino waiters. Philip is haranguing me about formalism and Paul Valéry, and I do not understand very well. He talks about Le Cimetière Marin. Some of his friends join us—Lionel Abel and William? Perhaps Harold Rosenberg. I cannot make out whether they are for formalism or against it, or whether they disagree among themselves. It would seem to me that if Philip is so violently opposed to socialist realism, he ought to be in

Cowley was gone, and Wilson had returned temporarily to his old post as book editor. Meanwhile, I reviewed for The Nation, where kindly Joe Krutch was book editor, assisted by Margaret Marshall. For the Herald Tribune’s weekly “Books,” Irita Van Doren, wife of Carl, told me, in her Southern voice, “We on this paper believe that there’s somethin’ good in evvra book that should be brought to the attention of evvra reader.” No hope there for me, then, and the Times Sunday book review (edited by J.

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