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Quotations From MARY MCCARTHY


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  • In violence we forget who we are.
    Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author, critic. Characters in Fiction, On the Contrary, pt. 3 (1961).
  • The horror of Gandhi's murder lies not in the political motives behind it or in its consequences for Indian policy or for the future of non-violence; the horror lies simply in the fact that any man could look into the face of this extraordinary person and deliberately pull a trigger.
    Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author, critic. On the Contrary (1961). "Gandhi," pt. 1, first publ. (1949).

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  • It has to be acknowledged that in capitalist society, with its herds of hippies, originality has become a sort of fringe benefit, a mere convention, accepted obsolescence, the Beatnik model being turned in for the Hippie model, as though strangely obedient to capitalist laws of marketing.
    Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author, critic. "Language," Hanoi (1968).
  • I do not mind if I lose my soul for all eternity. If the kind of God exists Who would damn me for not working out a deal with Him, then that is unfortunate. I should not care to spend eternity in the company of such a person.
    Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author. Memories of a Catholic Girlhood, ch. 1 (1957).

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  • Anti-Semitism is a horrible disease from which nobody is immune, and it has a kind of evil fascination that makes an enlightened person draw near the source of infection, supposedly in a scientific spirit, but really to sniff the vapors and dally with the possibility.
    Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author, critic. "Settling the Colonel's Hash," pt. 3, On the Contrary (first published 1954, repr. 1961).

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  • In politics, it seems, retreat is honorable if dictated by military considerations and shameful if even suggested for ethical reasons.
    Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author, critic. "Solutions," Vietnam (1967).
  • The immense popularity of American movies abroad demonstrates that Europe is the unfinished negative of which America is the proof.
    Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author, critic. repr. In On the Contrary (1961). "America the Beautiful," first published in Commentary (September 1947).

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  • 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.
    Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author, critic. repr. In On the Contrary (1961). "America the Beautiful," Commentary (New York, Sept. 1947).
  • The happy ending is our national belief.
    Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author, critic. "America the Beautiful: The Humanist in the Bathtub," pt. 1, On the Contrary (first published Sept. 1947, repr. 1962).

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  • Every age has a keyhole to which its eye is pasted.
    Mary McCarthy (1912-1989), U.S. author, critic. (First published 1953). "My Confession," pt. 1, On the Contrary (1961).
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