Seeing Mary Plain

Seeing Mary Plain

A Life of Mary McCarthy

Book - 2000
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From her Partisan Review days to her controversial success as the author of The Group, to an epic libel battle with Lillian Hellman, Mary McCarthy brought a nineteenth-century scope and drama to her emblematic twentieth-century life. Dubbed by Time as "quite possibly the cleverest woman America has ever produced," McCarthy moved in a circle of ferociously sharp-tongued intellectuals--all of whom had plenty to say about this diamond in their midst. Frances Kiernan's biography does justice to one of the most controversial American intellectuals of the twentieth century. With interviews from dozens of McCarthy's friends, former lovers, literary and political comrades-in-arms, awestruck admirers, amused observers, and bitter adversaries, Seeing Mary Plain is rich in ironic judgment and eloquent testimony. A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2000 and a Washington Post Book World "Rave".
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2000.
ISBN: 9780393038019
Branch Call Number: AB 92 MCCARTHY
Characteristics: 845 p. L ill. ; 24 cm.


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Oct 23, 2013

Thank you so much Shwayfet for your comment! I always check out memoirs, which is why I am here, and am now very excited about this book.

Oct 22, 2013

I am going to make a comment before reading this book. I am delighted to know about it. Mary McCarthy has influenced my life ever since "The Group" came out although I was relieved that I did not have to be one of them.

Many years later, I read an article in an anthology about her childhood in Seattle and subsequent anecdotes about the death of her parents in 1918 while the family were traveling from Seattle to St. Paul, MN where they intended to make their home. The mother, née Preston, was born here and the father was from St. Paul. When they died of the flu, an uncle came to collect the children and arrange for the bodies to be taken care of. The three boys, of whom the actor Kevin McCarthy was one, went to St. Paul to live with uncles. Mary was sent back to Seattle to grow up with her Preston grandparents.

Her grandfather was a banker in downtown Seattle. The family lived in Laurelhurst. Her grandmother was Jewish and not accept by the grandames of Seattle society. She spent her days at Frederick & Nelsons going from Department to Department where the sales women were kind to her.

Mary attend Forest Lawn (I hope that is right.) It was in the building in south Mountlake, somewhat in the Louisa May Boren forest/park, that until the Nasqually earthquake housed the Hebrew School. Structural damage to the building caused it to be closed.


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