“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.
“Her first book was the first of the confessional diaries ever writ- ten in this country, and it was a sensation.” —New York Times
“One of the most fascinatingly self-involved personalities of the 20th century.” — The Age (2011)
“Mary MacLane comes off the page quivering with life. Moving.” — The London Times
“The first of the self-expressionists, and also the first of the Flappers.” — The Chicagoan
“I know of no other writer who can play upon words so magically. Mary MacLane is one of the few who actually knows how to write English. She senses the infinite resilience, the drunken exuber- ance, the magnificent power & delicacy of the language.” —H.L. Mencken
“A girl wonder.” —Harper’s Magazine
“A pioneering newswoman and later a silent-screen star, consid- ered the veritable spirit of the iconoclastic Twenties.” —Boston Globe
“She was an extraordinarily gifted girl. . . She had a natural gift for crisp and concise expression, a keen, undisciplined intelligence and the emotional sensibility of a true artist.” —New York Tribune
“A pioneering feminist. . . A sensation.” —Feminist Bookstore News