Mary McCarthy Quotes

Most popular Mary McCarthy Quotes

In violence, we forget who we are.


Every age has a keyhole to which its eye is pasted.
Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism.


You mustn't force sex to do the work of love or love to do the work of sex.


You must not force sex to do the work of love or love to do the work of sex.
— Mary McCarthy


Laughter is the great antidote for self-pity, maybe a specific for the malady.

laughter self-pity

In science, all facts, no matter how trivial or banal, enjoy democratic equality.

facts science

Love of truth, ordinary common truth recognizable to everyone, is the ruling passion of the novel.


A good deal of education consists in un-learning—the breaking of bad habits as with a tennis serve.

learning education

For both writer and reader, the novel is a lonely, physically inactive affair. Only the imagination races.


The immense popularity of American movies abroad demonstrates that Europe is the unfinished negative of which America is the proof.


If someone tells you he is going to make a 'realistic decision', you immediately understand that he has resolved to do something bad.
— Mary McCarthy


Is it really so difficult to tell a good action from a bad one?  I think one usually knows right away or a moment afterward, in a horrid flash of regret.


All neurotics are petty bourgeois.  And vice versa.  Madness is too revolutionary for them.  They can't go the whole hog.  We madmen are the aristocrats of mental illness.


The souped-up novels that are being written today, with injections of myth and symbols to heighten or "deepen" the material, are simply evasions and forms of self-flattery.


My father was a romancer and most of my memories of him are colored, I fear, by an untruthfulness that I must have caught from him, like one of the colds that ran round the family.

personal father

The return to a favorite novel is generally tied up with changes in oneself that must be counted as improvements, but have the feel of losses. It is like going back to a favorite house, country, person; nothing is where it belongs, including one's heart.

reading novels re-reading