Mary MacLane's Works Return to Print
Mary MacLane (1881-1929) was the first of the modern media personalities - a pioneer in self-revelation, in defiance of established rules, in living on her own terms, and writing about it - and now for the first time the full range of her writing is available in a series of releases from Petrarca Press.
At age 19 "the first blogger" burst upon the world out of Butte, Montana with a journal of her private thoughts and longings that brought national then international attention. Through the books and newspaper articles that followed she created a completely new, individual voice decades ahead of its time. She influenced Gertrude Stein, inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald, and was hailed by America’s greatest writers and everyday people on the street. And though she inspires film, stage, and music projects to this day - though she is quoted on and off the Internet - the writer behind the writing has remained unknown until now.
Human Days: A Mary MacLane Reader brings her writings under one cover in a comprehensive anthology: the complete texts of all her books (with expurgated passages restored), her colorful newspaper writing (much of it never before reprinted), an intriguing 1902 interview, the first viewing ever of her striking personal letters, illuminating introductions to each era in her life, and comprehensive notes that open the door to her influences and the age that she came from and impacted so strikingly. A foreword from actress Bojana Novakovic provides a contemporary artist’s creative appreciation of MacLane’s still-powerful effect upon readers.
For those new to the author's powerful writing, selections from Human Days are available as single editions, deeply annotated to bring out the richness of MacLane's mastery of a broad range of popular and cultural references:
I Await the Devil's Coming - Unexpurgated and Annotated - The original, little-seen unedited version of the 1902 classic that began the confessional blog genre, presented as its author intended it, together with illuminating notes that trace the complex references through the range of classic and popular literature mastered by a 19-year-old girl in Butte, Montana who attained international notice under the book's altered title, "The Story of Mary MacLane." All expurgations and editings have been removed, making this edition unique among all those currently on offer.
I, Mary MacLane - Annotated Edition - Her final book is her testament in every way and completes the arc of her career. After years of external adventure - gambling on the Florida coast, lengthy reclusion in a repressive New England town, newspaper feature-writing in Denver, high living in Manhattan - she returned to Butte, Montana and turned within to explore her internal worlds. After the martial excitement of her first book and the deep stylistic focus of her second, My Friend Annabel Lee, her last - written from 1911 to 1917 - positions the reader in the most intimate contact she would ever permit: we are with her inside herself, in - except for the first and, movingly, a later entry - an eternal tomorrow. Her insight, subtle humor, fearlessness, and sovereign mastery of language never desert her - or us. Detailed textual notes this edition unique among all currently on offer.
My Friend Annabel Lee - Her least-known book affords a completely different view of the writer. Written in 1902-1903 after the international sensation of her first book, the 21-year-old author threw critics and public a curve. Rather than try to top the fire and thunder of I Await the Devil's Coming, she turned around completely and wrote a book of tremulous sensitivity - and ruthless self-analysis. Set in the form of dialogues, with an exchange of letters near the end, MacLane splits herself in two and has the two sides meet in friendship and battle: the gnomic, ironic, declarative, unflappable Annabel Lee and the depressive, credulous, clingy narrator, “Mary MacLane.” Nature is almost non-existent in this tale: the setting hardly ever moves from their shared apartment, and then only to return to the scene of psychic tension. A close reading of its beauties and relentless focus on style discloses her most finished book and the purest exhibition of her incipient Surrealism. The editor's notes notes make this edition - of the book she may have most written to, by and for herself - unique among all in print. With this, all of MacLane's books become available in Petrarca Press annotated editions.
Our project of uploading Mary MacLane's shorter works - and works about her - in easily-accessed Kindle editions continues.
“Mary MacLane, 1902’s Racy, Angsty Teenage Diarist, wrote long before provocative, confessional writing was a genre of its own. Her diaries ignited a national uproar, ushering in a new era for women’s voices. Her elegant, ambitious embrace of full-disclosure had opened a door to what was possible for women.” - The Atlantic, March 2013 - “She comes off the page quivering with life. Moving.” - London Times (1981 retrospect) - - “Mary MacLane’s first book was the first of the confessional diaries ever written in this country, and it was a sensation.” - N.Y. Times (editorial) - “She had a short but fiery life of writing and misadventure, and her writing was a template for the confessional memoirs that have become ubiquitous.” - The New Yorker, March 2013 - “One of the most fascinatingly self-involved personalities of the 20th century.” - The Age (Nov. 2011 feature article) - “Miss MacLane stands as the greatest sensationalist of a sensational day … She dares to tell to all the world what most people try to keep profoundly guarded … She stands for truth and dares the courage of her convictions.” - From hundreds of letters-to-the-editor on her first book - “In a pre-soundbite age she already knew how to draw blood in one direct sentence. Mary MacLane - who openly resisted the idea that she was like everyone else, of her time or any other - lived the dream, as we say nowadays, and the sun of the wide, bright world has come to shine on her again.” - The Awl, March 2013
Michael R. Brown is the foremost MacLane researcher in the world today. He published the acclaimed MacLane anthology Tender Darkness and more recently authored the well-reviewed experimental memoir She and I: A Fugue. He is completing the first book ever on MacLane’s life, career, and influence for publication in 2012. He lives in Northern California.