Joyce Carol Oates

Sto­ries, Plays and Other Writ­ings by Carson McCullers, edited by Car­los L. Dews Com­plete Nov­els by Carson McCullers, edited by Car­los L. Dews. The Lonely Hunter: A Bi­og­ra­phy of Carson McCullers by Vir­ginia Spencer Carr

The New York Review of Books - - Contents - Joyce Carol Oates

Sto­ries, Plays and Other Writ­ings by Carson McCullers, edited by Car­los L. Dews.

Li­brary of Amer­ica, 667 pp., $40.00

Com­plete Nov­els by Carson McCullers, edited by Car­los L. Dews.

Li­brary of Amer­ica, 827 pp., $35.00

The Lonely Hunter:

A Bi­og­ra­phy of Carson McCullers by Vir­ginia Spencer Carr, with a fore­word by Ten­nessee Wil­liams. Univer­sity of Georgia Press,

600 pp., $39.95 (pa­per)

Too read­ily clas­si­fied, or dis­missed, as a South­ern Goth­icist, Carson McCullers (1917–1967) is one of the most rad­i­cal writ­ers of the Amer­i­can mid-twen­ti­eth cen­tury. Among, for in­stance, her fe­male con­tem­po­raries, a re­mark­able gath­er­ing that in­cludes Jean Stafford, Mary McCarthy, Eu­dora Welty, Harper Lee, Flan­nery O’Connor, and Shirley Jack­son, it is McCullers who dared to take on sex­ual taboos, vi­o­lated het­ero­sex­ual con­ven­tions, and re­fused to pun­ish her char­ac­ters for their sex­ual de­vian­cies. (Though her char­ac­ters might be cru­elly pun­ished for other rea­sons.) A pre­co­cious writer, McCullers wrote sev­eral of her most mov­ing short sto­ries (“Sucker,” “Wun­derkind”) in her late teens, hav­ing no idea how dar­ing and sub­ver­sive she was.

In an era of fic­tion writ­ing in which the height of sex­ual trans­gres­sion might be an adul­ter­ous affair be­tween het­ero­sex­ual adults, as in block­buster ma­cho nov­els like James Jones’s From Here to Eter­nity, McCullers lav­ished in­ti­mate, warmly de­tailed at­ten­tion upon what we now call same-sex re­la­tion­ships; with a pas­sion­ate sym­pa­thy un­matched in twen­ti­eth-cen­tury Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture she ex­plored the bi­sex­ual psy­che not as se­ri­o­comic grotes­querie (as O’Connor might have done) or satir­i­cally (as McCarthy might have done), but as an al­to­gether nat­u­ral bond—“a joint ex­pe­ri­ence be­tween two per­sons” as McCullers de­fines love in “The Bal­lad of the Sad Café.” The in­creas­ing at­ten­tion given to trans­gen­der is­sues in re­cent years would have been an ir­re­sistible sub­ject for her—to ex­plore from the inside. In­deed, McCullers seemed to have iden­ti­fied with what­ever is trans- in the hu­man psy­che, see­ing it as the very fuel of de­sire:

[Cap­tain Pen­der­ton’s] per­son­al­ity dif­fered in some re­spects from the or­di­nary. He stood in a some­what cu­ri­ous re­la­tion to the three fun­da­ments of ex­is­tence—life it­self, sex, and death. Sex­u­ally the Cap­tain ob­tained within him­self a del­i­cate bal­ance be­tween the male and fe­male el­e­ments, with the sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ties of both the sexes and the ac­tive pow­ers of nei­ther . . . . He had a sad pen­chant for be­com­ing en­am­oured of his wife’s lovers.

McCullers’s re­bel­lion against sex­ual and gen­der con­stric­tions, her par­tic­u­lar con­trari­ness, seems to have been nour­ished rather than sti­fled by the Vic­to­rian-era mores of her small-town south­ern back­ground; she was born in Colum­bus, Georgia, and re­turned to her mid­dle-class home, and her dot­ing mother, for so­lace and com­fort in­ter­mit­tently through her life. Un­like her younger con­tem­po­rary Flan­nery O’Connor, who grew up in a small Georgia town and lived (as an in­valid) with her mother for most of her adult life, McCullers spent as much time in the North as she could, in New York City and the writer’s colonies Yaddo and Bread Loaf; un­like O’Connor, who re­mained a de­vout, con­ser­va­tive Catholic with a pu­ri­tan­i­cal dis­taste for sex, McCullers was in­quis­i­tive and open to ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, and mar­ried ro­man­ti­cally young in 1937. In the posthu­mously pub­lished mem­oir Il­lu­mi­na­tion and Night Glare, McCullers re­called her naive eigh­teen-year-old self from the van­tage point of her late for­ties:

When I asked my mother about sex she asked me to come be­hind the holly tree and said with her sub­lime sim­plic­ity, “Sex, my dar­ling, takes place where you sit down.” I was there­fore forced to read sex text­books, which made it seem so very dull, as well as in­cred­i­ble.

In fact, there are no “sex” scenes in McCullers’s fic­tion, nor even pas­sages of erotic in­ten­sity. There is plenty of pas­sion but there are no char­ac­ters whose pas­sion­ate feel­ings for oth­ers are re­cip­ro­cated. Tran­scribed with hal­lu­ci­na­tory vivid­ness are soli­tary in­tro­spec­tive episodes in which an in­di­vid­ual—a “lover”—fan­ta­sizes, of­ten with mount­ing de­spair, about the “beloved.”

The ini­tial note is struck in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, pub­lished when McCullers was twenty-three and had been mar­ried for sev­eral years— in­deed, the very ti­tle sug­gests iso­la­tion, alone­ness. “In the town there were two mutes, and they were al­ways to­gether.” Though McCullers al­legedly knew noth­ing about deaf-mute per­sons, she spins out of her imag­i­na­tion a para­ble­like tale con­joined with a more con­ven­tional com­ing-of-age novel cen­tered upon the epicene Mick Kelly. Hunter is an evoca­tive tragedy of adult dis­so­ci­a­tion linked, at times awk­wardly, to a young adult novel that re­sists a happy end­ing: “There were these two things [Mick] could never be­lieve. That Mis­ter Singer had killed him­self and was dead. And that she was grown and had to work at Wool­worth’s.”

The deaf-mute who is the fo­cus of Mick Kelly’s ad­mi­ra­tion is named John Singer, a jew­eler’s as­sis­tant who, in his si­lence, pos­sesses a mys­te­ri­ous charisma; in Singer’s ap­par­ent placid­ity oth­ers in the small Georgia town find com­fort as they con­fide in him. (Singer can read lips.) He is a Christ fig­ure, per­haps. (It is even sug­gested by an ob­server that “Mr. Singer is a Jew .... I rec­og­nized his race the first time I saw him. From his eyes.”) But he is a sav­ior who can­not save him­self. It is his fa­tal ob­ses­sion with his com­pan­ion deaf-mute that de­stroys him—the se­cret he can’t con­fide even to his friend Mick Kelly that he is hope­lessly in love with the obese, unattrac­tive, seem­ingly men­tally re­tarded An­ton­apoulous, who never re­cip­ro­cates Singer’s feel­ing for him.

McCullers’s in­sis­tence upon por­tray­ing An­ton­apoulous as un­wor­thy of Singer’s friend­ship, let alone his devotion, gives the novel a will­ful, per­verse qual­ity; if the reader is baf­fled by Singer’s devotion, it is pos­si­ble that, like Christ, he loves with­out qual­i­fi­ca­tion and with in­fi­nite for­give­ness. It is enough to love; one can­not ex­pect to be loved in re­turn. In the col­or­ful clothes Singer has given him, An­ton­apoulous re­sem­bles an icon, a Bud­dha:

An­ton­apoulous was more enor­mous than [Singer] had re­mem­bered. The great pulpy folds of his ab­domen showed be­neath his silk pa­ja­mas. His head was im­mense against the white pil­low. The placid com­po­sure of his face was so pro­found that he seemed hardly to be aware that Singer was with him. When An­ton­apoulous dies of Bright’s disease Singer is stricken with grief and kills him­self with a pis­tol, to the as­ton­ish­ment and sorrow of the towns­peo­ple.

Reflections in a Golden Eye is an­other tragic tale of ob­ses­sive and un­re­quited love set in a small Georgia town. McCullers’s more will­fully grotesque and self-con­sciously Gothic sec­ond novel lacks the lu­mi­nous voices of Hunter, as well as its verisimil­i­tude; it is re­lated in a cu­ri­ously Olympian tone that makes lit­tle ef­fort to be po­etic and is of­ten heavy with the irony of fore­bod­ing:

An army post in peace­time is a dull place. Things hap­pen, but then they hap­pen over and over again .... At the same time things do oc­ca­sion­ally hap­pen on an army post that are not likely to re­oc­cur. There is a fort in the South where a few years ago a mur­der was com­mit­ted. The par­tic­i­pants of this tragedy were: two of­fi­cers, a soldier, two women, a Filipino, and a horse.

The “mur­der” is rather more an im­pul­sive act of self-de­fense, when the dis­traught Cap­tain Pen­der­ton dis­cov­ers an en­listed man crouch­ing by his wife’s bed­side in the night; the en­listed man, Pri­vate Wil­liams, has been mes­mer­ized by the cap­tain’s volup­tuous wife and has stolen into their house nu­mer­ous times sim­ply to ob­serve her sleep­ing: “He squat­ted in the moon­light, his eyes half-closed and a wet smile on his face.” (Of the wife, Lenora, the nar­ra­tor says bluntly: “Like all very stupid peo­ple she had a predilec­tion for the grue­some.”)

But the pri­mary ob­ses­sion of Reflections in a Golden Eye is that of Pen­der­ton him­self with the young pri­vate, with whom he has had puz­zling en­coun­ters that leave him fran­tic with an in­de­fin­able emo­tion. Pen­der­ton feels no de­sire for his wife but rather con­tempt and re­vul­sion for her fe­male phys­i­cal­ity; he can­not ac­knowl­edge his de­sire for the young soldier. Pri­vate Wil­liams is a tac­i­turn young man who “did not smoke, drink, for­ni­cate, or gam­ble,” a tab­ula rasa that McCullers tries to in­scribe with mean­ing, to ac­count for the deeply re­pressed ho­mo­erotic yearn­ings he has stirred in his su­pe­rior of­fi­cer. The novel’s most strik­ing im­age is a vi­sion the cap­tain has as he sinks into a sleep in­duced by Se­conal, an an­tic­i­pa­tion of

a unique and volup­tuous sen­sa­tion; it was as though a great dark

bird alighted on his chest, looked at him once with fierce, golden eyes, and stealth­ily en­folded him in his dark wings.

The “golden eye” would seem to be the all-see­ing eye of fate, reflecting an in­di­vid­ual’s deep­est, un­ac­knowl­edged de­sires.

Though it con­tains strongly writ­ten set pieces, in­clud­ing ec­static de­scrip­tions of horse­back-rid­ing, Reflections in a Golden Eye is a cu­ri­ously life­less work of fic­tion, pop­u­lated by zom­bielike in­di­vid­u­als who, on a US Army base, seem to have noth­ing to do but in­ter­act with one an­other in shrill melo­dra­matic scenes. Vir­ginia Spencer Carr’s ex­cel­lent bi­og­ra­phy of McCullers tracks the young writer’s emo­tional in­sta­bil­ity at the time of the com­po­si­tion of this sec­ond novel, much of which was writ­ten at the Bread Loaf Writ­ers’ Con­fer­ence, it­self a lit­er­ary hot­bed of un­sta­ble emo­tions. McCullers wor­ried, with jus­ti­fi­ca­tion, that her sec­ond novel would be a dis­ap­point­ment to the many ad­mir­ers of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; she could not seem to sum­mon the in­spi­ra­tion she’d felt for Hunter, per­haps be­cause Reflections was prompted by an anec­dote she’d heard about a voyeur at a south­ern army base, and McCullers knew (and cared) lit­tle about the ac­tual lives of mil­i­tary of­fi­cers, in con­trast to her fa­mil­iar­ity with the towns­folk of Hunter.

By this time too McCullers, although still mar­ried, had fallen pre­cip­i­tously in love with a Swiss woman named An­n­marie Clarac-Sch­warzen­bach, to whom Reflections is ded­i­cated. Sus­cep­ti­ble to sud­den, ill-ad­vised in­fat­u­a­tions, in­clud­ing one with the coolly dis­dain­ful Kather­ine Ann Porter, McCullers ap­pears to have been grat­ingly im­ma­ture and self-ab­sorbed; she was also drink­ing heav­ily in her early twen­ties, and would con­tinue to abuse al­co­hol for the re­main­der of her life. It is im­pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine if McCullers was nat­u­rally prone to ill­nesses (flu, pleurisy, in­fec­tions, blind­ing headaches) or whether her drink­ing short­ened her life. She would suf­fer her first stroke at twen­ty­four; her fi­nal, fa­tal stroke at fifty. Af­ter the pub­li­ca­tion of Reflections, which re­ceived mixed re­views, McCullers im­mersed her­self in an­other anec­do­tal tall tale told in an Olympian voice, per­haps her most idio­syn­cratic work of fic­tion—the novella “The Bal­lad of the Sad Café” (1951). Here, the im­pos­si­ble, ob­ses­sive love is that of the moon­shiner Miss Amelia, “a pow­er­ful blun­der­buss of a per­son more than six feet tall,” for her cousin Ly­mon, “a weakly lit­tle hunch­back reach­ing only to her waist.” If there is some­thing forced and ar­bi­trary about Miss Amelia’s in­fat­u­a­tion, which seems less prob­a­ble even than that of John Singer for his mute, men­tally re­tarded com­pan­ion, McCullers ex­plains:

Love is a joint ex­pe­ri­ence be­tween two per­sons—but the fact that it is a joint ex­pe­ri­ence does not mean that it is a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence to the two peo­ple in­volved. There are the lover and the beloved, but these two come from dif­fer­ent coun­tries. Of­ten the beloved is only a stim­u­lus for all the stored-up love which has lain quiet within the lover for a long time hith­erto. And some­how ev­ery lover knows this. He feels in his soul that his love is a soli­tary thing. He comes to know a new strange lone­li­ness and it is this knowl­edge which makes him suf­fer. So there is only one thing for the lover to do. He must house his love within him­self as best he can; he must cre­ate for him­self a whole new in­ward world—a world in­tense and strange, com­plete in him­self . . . . It is for this rea­son that most of us would rather love than be loved . . . . The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of rea­sons. For the lover is for­ever try­ing to strip bare his beloved.

It’s as if “The Bal­lad of the Sad Café” is an il­lus­tra­tion of McCullers’s no­tions about love rather than a work of art in it­self.

Hand­i­capped by the de­tached al­l­know­ing voice, the tale strains credulity; we lose our sym­pa­thy for Miss Amelia, who’d been at the out­set a brave and au­da­cious “freak” in her com­mu­nity but who be­comes, in the end, a hum­bled and ridiculed fig­ure when Ly­mon cru­elly be­trays her with her ob­tuse ex-hus­band Marvin Marcy. What might have been lyric tragedy be­comes a sort of ru­ral slap­stick, end­ing abruptly with an un­gen­er­ous sum­mary of life in the small south­ern town from which the hunch­back has fled: “The soul rots with boredom.”

McCullers’s most fully re­al­ized and heartrend­ing work of fic­tion is The Mem­ber of the Wed­ding (1946), pub­lished when the au­thor was thirty-nine and at the height of her imag­i­na­tive pow­ers. This short lyri­cal novel is a mas­ter­piece of Amer­i­can ver­nac­u­lar prose—a valen­tine to the loss of in­no­cence and the re­solve to sur­vive that loss. Though sat­u­rated with the minu­tiae of small-town south­ern life in “the sum­mer when Pat­ton was chas­ing the Ger­mans across France,” The Mem­ber of the Wed­ding is not sen­ti­men­tal but toughly re­al­is­tic. The open­ing plunges us into the restive mind of the pre­pubescent Frankie Ad­dams:

It hap­pened that green and crazy sum­mer when Frankie was twelve years old .... She be­longed to no club and was a mem­ber of noth­ing in the world. Frankie had be­come an un­joined per­son who hung around in door­ways, and she was afraid.

Des­per­ately Frankie wants to be some­one—any­one—else: “I wish I was some­body else ex­cept me.” Be­yond a fear of lone­li­ness she is in ter­ror of her own body:

It was the sum­mer of fear, for Frankie, and there was one fear that could be fig­ured in arith­metic . . . . This Au­gust she was twelve and five-sixths years old. She was five feet five and three quar­ter inches tall, and she wore a num­ber seven shoe. In the past year she had grown four inches .... If she reached her height on her eigh­teenth birth­day...she would grow to be over nine feet tall . . . . She would be a Freak.

McCullers is the poet of freak­i­ness— the feel­ing of be­ing in a body not your

own, nei­ther fe­male nor male, but some in­de­fin­able, teas­ing mix­ture of both that is most keenly felt in ado­les­cence. What more ap­pro­pri­ate im­age of de­sire than the wed­ding—the pub­lic rit­ual bind­ing lonely in­di­vid­u­als to­gether. Frankie falls help­lessly in love with her brother and her brother’s fi­ancée and with the wed­ding it­self, in this beau­ti­fully pre­cise pas­sage:

She stood in the door­way, com­ing from the hall, and the first sight of her brother and the bride had shocked her heart. To­gether they made in her this feel­ing that she could not name. But it was like the feel­ings of the spring, only more sud­den and more sharp.

Like John Singer, Cap­tain Pen­der­ton, and Miss Amelia, Frankie Ad­dams has hap­pened upon the object of her ro­man­tic yearn­ing seem­ingly by chance. Though she scarcely knows her older brother Jarvis and doesn’t know his fi­ancée at all, she projects upon the charis­matic young cou­ple her own need­i­ness, not for sex­ual con­tact (which, oddly, if not very con­vinc­ingly, Frankie seems to have had, just one time, with a neigh­bor­hood boy, and found re­pul­sive: “The sin made a shriv­el­ing sick­ness in her stom­ach, and she dreaded the eyes of ev­ery­one”) but for an emo­tional or spir­i­tual re­demp­tion. Naively, em­bar­rass­ingly, Frankie pleads with the as­tounded cou­ple: “I love the two of you so much and you are the we of me. Please take me with you from the wed­ding, for we belong to be to­gether.” Ti­tled The Bride dur­ing the sev­eral years that McCullers was work­ing on it, The Mem­ber of the Wed­ding seems to have shifted its fo­cus from an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with the bride to an iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with the wed­ding and the mar­riage more gen­er­ally: “The wed­ding was like a dream out­side her power, or like a show un­man­aged by her in which she was to have no part.”

In­evitably, Frankie must be disil­lu­sioned, hum­bled by the adult world. She can­not be a “mem­ber” of the wed­ding—she is the freak left be­hind when the young cou­ple de­parts. But by the novella’s end Frankie has ma­tured into “Frances”: “Frances was never once to speak about the wed­ding. Weathers had turned and it was in an­other sea­son.” There fol­lows the ex­cru­ci­at­ing death of Frankie’s six-year-old cousin John Henry, as if to un­der­score the ir­rev­o­ca­ble na­ture of her ex­pe­ri­ence; Frankie can­not quite be­lieve that the child is dy­ing, that the child dies, of menin­gi­tis af­ter ten days of hor­rific suf­fer­ing. She hears

in a spell of hor­ror, but a part of her could not be­lieve. John Henry had been scream­ing for three days and his eye­balls were walled up in a cor­ner, stuck and blind. He lay there fi­nally with his head drawn back in a buck­led way, and he had lost the strength to scream. He died the Tues­day af­ter the Fair was gone, a golden morn­ing of the most but­ter­flies, the clear­est sky.

That “weathers turn” and life con­tin­ues af­ter the wed­ding, and af­ter the death of John Henry, is a fact of life that Frankie, that’s to say, Frances, will learn to ac­cept with a “shock of hap­pi­ness.” By this time in her per­sonal life McCullers had be­come in­ti­mately ac­quainted with grief. Her fa­ther had died (in 1944) and her mar­riage to James Reeves McCullers Jr., al­legedly idyl­lic at the out­set, had grad­u­ally de­te­ri­o­rated as a re­sult of heavy drink­ing on the part of both McCullers and Reeves. The two were in­volved in an in­tense re­la­tion­ship with the bi­sex­ual com­poser David Di­a­mond that did not end hap­pily. Reeves was jeal­ous of McCullers’s suc­cess and of her friends; he pil­fered money from their house­hold as early as 1940 (“At that time we’d been mar­ried for four years and I could not be­lieve that he would do evil,” she wrote in Il­lu­mi­na­tion and Night Glare) and he forged checks with her name. Sus­cep­ti­ble to bouts of delir­ium tremens, Reeves threat­ened to com­mit sui­cide, and sev­eral times tried to co­erce McCullers into com­mit­ting sui­cide with him. He and McCullers of­ten lived apart; they sep­a­rated nu­mer­ous times, were di­vorced, and (un­wisely, as she might have sur­mised) re­mar­ried; their re­la­tion­ship was al­ways stormy, verg­ing upon the psy­cho­pathic. Reeves’s alarm­ing and desta­bi­liz­ing pres­ence in McCullers’s life seems cer­tainly to have ex­ac­er­bated her ill health, as she de­scribed in her mem­oir, re­fer­ring to a stroke she suf­fered in Paris in 1946:

In all of his talk of want­ing to be a writer, I never saw one sin­gle line he’d ever writ­ten ex­cept his let­ters. Reeves’ tem­per be­came more vi­o­lent, and one night I felt his hands around my neck and I knew he was go­ing to choke me. I bit him on his thumb with such vi­o­lence that the blood spurted out and he let me go. The dis­ap­point­ment and the dread­ful­ness of those days might well have caused the last and fi­nal stroke from which I suf­fered.

In 1953 the un­happy Reeves killed him­self by tak­ing an over­dose of bar­bi­tu­rates with liquor and Antabuse; as Ten­nessee Wil­liams ob­served, “Reeves died, ul­ti­mately, out of great love for Carson. His was a des­per­ate lone­li­ness. With­out her, he was an empty shell.” In “The Crack-Up,” Scott Fitzger­ald fa­mously ac­knowl­edged that he had been “a poor cus­to­dian” of his tal­ent. In her emo­tional and al­co­holic ex­cesses, Carson McCullers proved even more reck­less with her own: for all of her fame, and the bril­liance of her strong­est writ­ing, she pro­duced a rel­a­tively small body of work, col­lected here in ad­mirably com­pact Li­brary of Amer­ica edi­tions, very ca­pa­bly edited by Car­los L. Dews. An ear­lier vol­ume in­cludes the five nov­els, but the more re­cent vol­ume brings to­gether re­main­ing work, in­clud­ing the out­stand­ing short fic­tion that brought McCullers to lit­er­ary promi­nence in the early 1940s (“Wun­derkind,” “The Jockey,” “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud”) with re­prints in The Best Amer­i­can Short Sto­ries and The O. Henry Awards. Here too are es­says and poems of vary­ing de­grees of qual­ity, as well as McCullers’s stage adap­ta­tion of the highly suc­cess­ful The Mem­ber of the Wed­ding, and the plain­tively ap­peal­ing and dis­jointed mem­oir-frag­ment Il­lu­mi­na­tion and Night Glare, which was dic­tated to an ar­ray of dif­fer­ent peo­ple in the fi­nal months of McCullers’s life. “Il­lu­mi­na­tion” is McCullers’s term for in­spi­ra­tion, epiphany, sud­den insight that comes “in a flash, as a re­li­gious phe­nom­e­non”; “night glare” is her term for her ill­nesses and bad luck. It was an “il­lu­mi­na­tion” that al­lowed McCullers to re­al­ize, for in­stance, that John Singer, the sym­bolic core of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, is a deaf-mute; it was an “il­lu­mi­na­tion” that al­lowed her to see how the workin-progress ti­tled The Bride was re­ally about an en­tire wed­ding. As McCullers humbly ac­knowl­edges:

There were so many fright­ful times when I was to­tally “unil­lu­mi­nated,” and feared that I could never write again. This fear is one of the hor­rors of an au­thor’s life. Where does work come from? What chance, what small episode will start the chain of cre­ation?. . . To come back to “non il­lu­mi­na­tions,” the soul is flat­tened out, and one does not even dare to hope. At times like these I’ve tried pray­ing but even prayers do not seem to help me. I re­mem­ber the fal­low times of other au­thors and try to draw com­fort from them. I want to be able to write whether in sick­ness or in health, for in­deed, my health de­pends al­most com­pletely upon my writ­ing.

Carson McCullers, Ny­ack, New York, 1947; pho­to­graph by Henri Cartier-Bres­son

Ethel Wa­ters, Bran­don de Wilde, and Julie Har­ris in The Mem­ber of the Wed­ding, based on the novel by Carson McCullers, 1952

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