Intellectual Memoirs: New York, 1936-1938
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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Intellectual memoirs: New York, 1936-1938User Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
In this volume of her memoirs, McCarthy vividly recalls her early years in New York before she began writing novels and stories. At that time, she wrote reviews for the Nation and the New Republic ... Read full review
Possibly I would have appreciated this book more if I'd read more of McCarthy's other books first; I've read only two of her books before this one, and none of her novels. This was McCarthy's last book, and her friend Elizabeth Hardwick, who wrote the forward, thinks it was originally supposed to be continued. Among other things, it discusses the people and events in her life that made it into her fiction. But it was still fascinating. Part of the book was about McCarthy's first two marriages and her various other friendships and love affairs, but most of it was about exactly what the title would suggest: the intellectual life McCarthy lived in her mid 20s. So we've got the conflict between the Stalinists and Trotskyites (which I think I understand intellectually, but which at a gut level seems about as distant to me as the Dreyfus affair), and left-wing theater (the first performance of "Waiting for Lefty", for example), and coming to grips with Eliot and Joyce, and the founding of Partisan Review. It ended up making me envious. I don't think we have the institutions today that made it possible for that sort of public intellectual to exist.