I, Mary MacLane
Introduction by Emily Gould
Part of The Neversink Library
“You ask me to do what is impossible. I no longer love you; you love me still, and for that reason you want to kill me.”
At nineteen, Mary MacLane was an international sensation, a prominent and provocative early feminist. Her first book, I Await the Devil’s Coming — published against her will as The Story of Mary MacLane, in 1902 — sold a hundred thousand copies, and detailed her frustration with life in backwoods Butte, Montana and her lust for the devil and Napoleon. It brought her money, fame and independence.
This follow-up, I, Mary MacLane was published fifteen years later. At thirty-four, MacLane is more worldly but no less outraged by the lack of opportunity for young women. She writes of affairs and friendships in New York and Boston, of World War One, of society life and her return to Butte, Montana, following illness. Just over a decade after I, Mary MacLane was published, its author died under mysterious circumstances in Chicago, having sunk from sensation to obscurity. This remains one of the last documents we have of her life.