9 thoughts on “Mary McCarthy

  1. Not sure this interview is ‘amazing’, she seems artificial to me. The Group was almost as influential as de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. American women writers: I prefer Dorothy Parker and her acerbic wit, Carson McCuller’s writing and Lilian Hellman’s forthrightness. But what a cat fight between McCarthy and Hellman! How times have changed since 1963!

    • So my paper is on Elizabeth Bishop and McCarthy, and the different takes they had towards autobiography – all while both coming from Vassar – one year apart – and knowing each other quite well during that time. I had not engaged in McCarthy reception at all until this week where it looks like my proposal may have been accepted and what I found “amazing” was the reaction by the talk show host. I mean that’s where my focus is – the way both Bishop and McCarthy interacted with the reading public, and honestly, I did not expect this, clearly not as well read in McCarthy reception as you are. I had only read (some of the) novels. I mean this is quite something.

      And “The Group” – that’s the book specifically focusing on Bishop’s circle of writer friends (and possibly Bishop herself, if “Lakey” is indeed Bishop) – and it is THIS book which is discussed in these terms, which to Bishop must have been such an enormous turn off, for lack of better words.

    • Mary McCarthy is more or less forgotten today (unlike de Beauvoir). Bishop has won her place as a poet in the American canon…

    • Well there’s a brand new, two volume Library of America edition of McCarthy’s novels, so there’s that. But that’s a point I do address: does the different approach they took influence their reception?

    • Another remark – good poetry gets more recognition in the long run. For a novel to survive it has to be outstanding. Probably because so many novels come and go, poetry is perhaps the higher ART and more of a rarity.

    • Politics may have played a part for McCarthy as well as her colourful private life. However Elizabeth Bishop’s private life must have been received with shock in those days. Just checked on them both in Wikipedia. Interesting how differently they are described in the contributions…

  2. Must be fascinating. Two so very different thinkers/writers with such different lives. I am surprised they had anything to say to each other!

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