Mary McCarthy's writing not only reflects a life lived across most of the twentieth century, but in its depth and breadth reveals a writer deeply engaged in the sociological, historical, and literary concerns of that tumultuous century. As America rapidly urbanized and commercialized and as its citizens embraced or rejected these developments, McCarthy's writing followed in step. McCarthy produced short stories, novels, and drama reviews as well as cultural and artistic critiques of modern America. Her fiction and nonfiction pieces are often deeply interrelated and share a profound concern with counterbalancing traditional approaches to race, class, and gender with more egalitarian cultural values. McCarthy's life defied conventional expectations for women living and working in the early decades of the twentieth century, and her writing mirrors her adventurous and forward-looking perspective. Though McCarthy openly wrote and lived against the grain, she was widely respected for her intellect, her sense of humor, and her wide-ranging literary contributions.Less
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