Memories of a Catholic Girlhood

Front Cover
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1957 - Biography & Autobiography - 245 pages
19 Reviews
This unique autobiography begins with McCarthy’s recollections of an indulgent, idyllic childhood tragically altered by the death of her parents in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Tempering the need to fictionalize for the sake of a good story with the need for honesty, she creates interchapters that tell the reader what she has inferred or invented. Photographs.

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Review: Memories of a Catholic Girlhood

User Review  - Charlie - Goodreads

Orphaned, abused, rescued, educated in a convent then an Episcopal seminary—precocious Mary McCarthy's childhood reads like a novel. It's a good thing she became a novelist and learned how to tell it ... Read full review

Review: Memories of a Catholic Girlhood

User Review  - Tom Leland - Goodreads

Some of the religious stuff, the Shakespeare section and the Caesar part was over my head, but really enjoyed it -- its section about how she began doubting and then losing her faith is probably the best on that subject I've ever read -- Read full review

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About the author (1957)

Mary McCarthy, 1912 - 1989 Writer and critic Mary McCarthy was born in Seattle, Washington. At the age of six, she was orphaned when both her parents died of influenza. She was brought up in a strict Catholic environment by two sets of wealthy grandparents. She attended Annie Wright Seminary in Tacoma, WA and Vassar College in New York, where she studied literature. She graduated with honors at the age of twenty-one, married her first husband, and moved to New York. McCarthy worked as an editor at Covici Friede Publishers from 1936-37 and Partisan Review from 1937-38. She taught or lectured at Beard College, in Annendale-on-Hudson, New York from 1945-46 and 1986; Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York in 1948; University College, London in 1980; and Vassar College in 1982. She was a theatre critic for the Partisan Review from 1938-62. McCarthy was a member of the American Academy and the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1938, she married critic Edmund Wilson, her second husband, with whom she had her only child. McCarthy's seven novels appeared between 1942 and 1979. McCarthy's best selling novel, "The Group" (1963), was a sexual depiction written about classmates at Vassar and their lives following college. It was made into a movie in 1966. Her first book, "The Company She Keeps" (1972), is a satire about New York intellectuals who search for their identity through psychoanalysis after the failure of marriage. "Birds of America" (1971) focuses on a boy and his mother, who refuses to accept modern conveniences. "Cannibals and Missionaries" (1979) explores the psychology of terrorism. McCarthy has also written critical works, travel books and the autobiographical "Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood" (1957). McCarthy received several awards, which included the Edward MacDowell Medal (1982), the National Medal of Literature (1984) and the first Rochester Literary Award (1985). McCarthy also had honorary degrees from six universities. On October 25, 1989, Mary McCarthy died of cancer in New York.

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