Mary (Therese) McCarthy 1912–
American critic, novelist, and short story writer.
McCarthy's critical work incorporates sophistication, wit, satire, and a caustic frankness that has also characterized much of her critically-acclaimed fiction. Much of McCarthy's criticism focuses on the weaknesses of playwrights and novelists and exhibits a contempt for modern literature.
McCarthy's first book, Sights and Spectacles, is a collection of drama reviews written for Partisan Review. It contains many of the elements of her later criticism, including her insight into the practices of the American theater and her opinionated assessment of popular dramatists. In her recent book, Ideas and the Novel, McCarthy praises "the novel of ideas" and contends that it has declined in significance beginning with Henry James and Virginia Woolf.
(See also CLC, Vols. 1, 3, 5, 14 and Contemporary Authors, Vols. 5-8, rev. ed.)