Mary McCarthy

(7212 words)
  • Sean Witters (Brandeis University )

Mary McCarthy emerged out of the “New York intellectual” scene of the 1930s to become a mainstay of the literary culture of the Cold War era. From her first novel to her posthumous memoir, McCarthy explored perception, intimacy, social dynamics, gender roles, ideology, and culture with cutting wit, deliberate prose, and terrible honesty. While the defining feature of McCarthy’s life might have been her commitment to speaking and writing “on the contrary”, she was not content to simply celebrate dissidence, using her writing, instead, to study the way public and private dissent conditions the individual's identity.

Mary Therese McCarthy was born June 21, 1912 in Seattle, Washington to Roy McCarthy and Therese “Tess” …

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Witters, Sean. "Mary McCarthy". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 March 2008
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]