Not The Great American Novel But Its Jungian Shadow

Meghan O’Gieblyn at n+1:

MARGUERITE YOUNG SPENT EIGHTEEN YEARS of her life writing Miss MacIntosh, My Darling, the amount of time it requires to raise a child. She began the novel in 1945, in the shadow of Hiroshima, and proceeded for the next two decades to work on it each day, putting in a reliable eight hours. She wrote in Iowa City, where she taught creative writing and often unnerved her students by pausing to invite Henry James or Emily Dickinson into the classroom. She wrote in New York, from a cramped Greenwich Village apartment filled with dolls, carved angels, and an antique carousel horse. She wrote at Yaddo, where she spent summer evenings drinking with Truman Capote and Carson McCullers and running wild through the moonlit rose garden. FDR gave way to Harry, to Ike, to JFK. She was working on Miss MacIntosh at the time of Jackie Robinson’s first game, and throughout the spring of the McCarthy hearings, and the winter the Beatles first arrived in the US. None of these events appear in the novel, which is not interested in cultural or political landmarks, or, for that matter, linear time.

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