Mary McCarthy

Mary
McCarthy
1912
1989

American Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Critic and Political Activist

Author Quotes

I kept pouring water over her head.

Life is a system of recurrent pairs, the poison and the antidote being eternally packaged together by some considerate heavenly druggist.

To be disesteemed by people you don?t have much respect for is not the worst fate.

I once started a detective story to make money?but I couldn?t get the murder to take place! At the end of three chapters I was still describing the characters and the milieu, so I thought, this is not going to work. No corpse!

Our anti-Communism came to us neither as the fruit of a special wisdom nor as a humiliating awakening from a prolonged deception, but as a natural event, the product of chance and propinquity. One thing followed another, and the will had little to say about it. For my part, during that year, I realized, with a certain wistfulness, that it was too late for me to become any kind of Marxist. Marxism, I saw, from the learned young man I listened to at Committee meetings, was something you had to take up young, like ballet dancing.

We all know in our gut that art educates. In other societies, they're aware of the power it has of speaking directly to the masses, teaching them to be better socialists, better citizens. The trouble is that with us it's fallen into the wrong hands. Forget the speculators... The concept of the collector is so rotten by now that it stinks.

A novelist is an elephant, but an elephant who must pretend to forget.

I really tried, or so I thought, to avoid lying, but it seemed to me that they forced it on me by the difference in their vision of things, so that I was always transposing reality for them into something they could understand.

Our mission is to provide legal services to impoverished individuals, and advance the rights and protections of the immigrant population.

We all live in suspense, from day to day, from hour to hour; in other words, we are the hero of our own story.

A society person who is enthusiastic about modern painting or Truman Capote is already half a traitor to his class. It is middle-class people who, quite mistakenly, imagine that a lively pursuit of the latest in reading and painting will advance their status in the world.

I was able to compare the sexual equipment of the various men I made love with and there were amazing differences, in both length and massiveness. One handsome married man, who used to arrive with two Danishes from a very good bakery, had a penis about the size and shape of a lead pencil; he shall remain nameless. In my experience there was usually a relation to height, as Philip Rahv and Bill Mangold, both tall men, bore out. There may be dwarfish men with monstrously large organs, but I have never known one. It was not until later, after my second divorce, that I met an impotent man or a pervert (two of the latter)... None of my partners, the reader will be relieved to hear, had a venereal disease.

She considered [her] life, which had not been a life but only a sort of greeting, a Hello There.

We are the hero of our own story.

An unrectified case of injustice has a terrible way of lingering, restlessly, in the social atmosphere like an unfinished question

If [she] had come to prefer the company of odd ducks, it was possibly because they had no conception of oddity, or rather, they thought you were odd if you weren't.

The American character looks always as if it had just had a rather bad haircut, which gives it, in our eyes at any rate, a greater humanity than the European, which even among its beggars has an all too professional air.

We will need much better intelligence on this facility before we seriously consider any options.

As happens with sports and hobbies, his enjoyment was solemnized by expertise, the rites of comparing, collating, a half-deliberate parody of scholarship like the recitation of batting averages.

If someone tells you he is going to make "a realistic decision," you immediately understand that he is going to do something bad.

The American, if he has a spark of national feeling, will be humiliated by the very prospect of a foreigner's visit to Congress -- these, for the most part, illiterate hacks whose fancy vests are spotted with gravy, and whose speeches, hypocritical, unctuous, and slovenly, are spotted also with the gravy of political patronage, these persons are a reflection on the democratic process rather than of it; they expose it in its process rather than of it; they expose it in its underwear.

What I really do is take real plums and put them in an imaginary cake. If you?re interested in the cake, you get rather annoyed with people saying what species the real plum was.

Being abroad makes you conscious of the whole imitative side of human behavior. The ape in man.

I'm afraid I'm not sufficiently inhibited about the things that other women are inhibited about for me. They feel that you've given away trade secrets.

The Crucifixion and other historical precedents notwithstanding, many of us still believe that outstanding goodness is a kind of armor, that virtue, seen plain and bare, gives pause to criminality. But perhaps it is the other way around.

Author Picture
First Name
Mary
Last Name
McCarthy
Birth Date
1912
Death Date
1989
Bio

American Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Critic and Political Activist