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The Montgomery Endowment
Office of the Provost
6004 Parkhurst Hall
Dartmouth College
Hanover, N.H. 03655
(603) 646-4062

Mary McCarthy

McCarthyOctober 1980

Mary McCarthy was a novelist, critic, and short-story writer. As a book reviewer and theater critic she demonstrated wit and fine powers of analysis. When she turned to fiction these traits could be devastating when applied to the pretensions she scrutinized: the intellectual life of American college communities, in The Groves of Academe (1952), or the fads that influenced women's lives in the 1930's and '40's in her best-selling The Group (1963). In a different vein were her two book-length essays on Italian art and history: Venice Observed and The Stones of Florence. McCarthy turned her attention to national politics in two essay collections, Vietnam (1967) and Hanoi (1968), that criticized U.S. policy in Southeast Asia. These collections were followed by the Mask of State: Watergate Portraits (1974), which dealt with the Nixon administration scandals. A novel dealing with terrorism, Cannibals and Missionaries, appeared in 1979. In 1985 she published a book of essays entitled Occasional Prose. (deceased 10/25/89)

Last Updated: 9/14/09