Cover image for A bolt from the blue and other essays
A bolt from the blue and other essays
McCarthy, Mary, 1912-1989.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New York Review Books, 2002.
Physical Description:
xvii, 389 pages ; 22 cm
Introduction to Theatre chronicles -- Class angles and a Wilder classic -- Shaw and Chekhov -- Eugene O'Neill : dry ice -- A streetcar called success -- A new word -- The American realist playwrights -- Elizabethan revivals -- A bolt from the blue -- Burroughs's Naked lunch -- J.D. Salinger's closed circuit -- On Madame Bovary -- Hanging by a thread -- On rereading a favorite book -- Acts of love -- The fact in fiction -- Ideas and the novel : lecture I -- America the beautiful : the humanist in the bathtub -- Mlle. Gulliver en amérique -- My confession -- Up the ladder from Charm to Vogue -- Letter from Portugal -- The home program -- Philip Rahv (1908-1973) -- F.W. Dupee (1904-1979) -- The very unforgettable Miss Brayton -- Notes of a resident of the Watergate -- The moral certainties of John D. Ehrlichman.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3525.A1435 B65 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Mary McCarthy was one of the leading literary figures of her time. In addition to the novels and memoirs for which she is best remembered, she was also a tireless literary and social critic. Starting out as a theater reviewer forPartisan Reviewin 1937, she quickly distinguished herself for her witty and fearless commentary on topics ranging from McCarthyism to the French New Novel to women's fashion magazines. McCarthy was an eager controversialist, unsparing in her dissection of anything she found phony or hypocritical. Her reviews are sharp, sometimes malicious, and often very funny, but her criticism is also informed by deep erudition and enlivened by an inexhaustible capacity for enthusiasm. Her political writings, critical in equal measure of the Cold War consensus and of its critics, are less concerned with finding correct positions than with exploring the often absurd circumstances in which agonizing moral decisions are made. While the soundness of McCarthy's judgments can sometimes be doubted, her curiosity and intelligence cannot. The intellectual brio and acute judgment that characterizes her best fiction is vividly displayed in this selection of essays, which span McCarthy's career from the late 1930s to the late 1970s. It includes her writings on topics such as fashion magazines, Eugene O'Neill,A Streetcar Named Desire,Look Back in Anger,Pale Fire, J.D. Salinger, Madame Bovary, Italo Calvino, and Watergate. The volume constitutes not only a valuable record of the ideological and cultural controversies that dominated American intellectual life from the Moscow trials to the Watergate hearings, but will also introduce a new generation of readers to a uniquely forthright and vibrant critical voice.

Author Notes

Mary McCarthy was born in Seattle, Washington on June 21, 1912. She studied literature at Vassar College, where she graduated with honors at the age of twenty-one. She worked as an editor at Covici Friede Publishers from 1936-1937 and Partisan Review from 1937-1938. She was a theatre critic for the Partisan Review from 1938-1962. She taught or lectured at Beard College, Sarah Lawrence College, University College in London, and Vassar College.

She wrote seven novels including The Company She Keeps, Birds of America, Cannibals and Missionaries, and The Group, which was made into a movie in 1966. She also wrote critical works, travel books and the autobiographical Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood. She received several awards during her lifetime including the Edward MacDowell Medal, the National Medal of Literature, and the first Rochester Literary Award. She died of cancer on October 25, 1989 at the age of 77.

(Bowker Author Biography)