Mary McCarthy (1912-1989) was a novelist, essayist, and critic. Her political and social commentary, literary essays, and drama criticism appeared in magazines such as Partisan Review, The New Yorker, Harper’s, and The New York Review of Books, and were collected in On the Contrary (1961), Mary McCarthy’s Theatre Chronicles 1937-1962 (1963), The Writing on the Wall (1970), Ideas and the Novel (1980), and Occasional Prose (1985). Her novels include The Company She Keeps (1942), The Oasis (1949), The Groves of Academe (1952), A Charmed Life (1955), The Group (1963), Birds of America (1971), and Cannibals and Missionaries (1979). She was the author of three works of autobiography, Memories of a Catholic Girlhood (1957), How I Grew (1987), and the unfinished Intellectual Memoirs (1992), and two travel books about Italy, Venice Observed (1956) and The Stones of Florence (1959). Her essays on the Vietnam War were collected in The Seventeenth Degree (1974); her essays on Watergate were collected in The Mask of State (1974).
These essays do more than prove the permanent relevance of Homer’s great poem. They analyze the logic of war itself, and explore how intoxicating violence defines the human condition.
“Fierce, provocative, and lovely, a collection of small masterpieces, by one of the twentieth century’s most dazzling minds.” —Katie Roiphe