"Carson's heart was often lonely and it was a tireless hunter for those to whom she could offer it, but it was a heart that was graced with light that eclipsed its shadows."-Tennessee Williams
"Until now, no one had won the approval of McCullers's literary executors to allow publication of Illumination and Night Glare. Carlos Dews, a daunting and meticulous scholar, has done just that, and the results are astounding; moreover, he was allowed to publish the 'war letters' of McCullers and Reeves, her ill-fated husband, a feat that throws important new light on their ambivalent relationship during the years between their anguished divorce and remarriage. Surely, this important book will lead readers and scholars alike back to McCullers's remarkable fiction."-Virginia Spencer Carr, author of The Lonely Hunter: A Biography of Carson McCullers
More than thirty years after it was written, the autobiography of Carson McCullers, Illumination and Night Glare, will be published for the first time. McCullers, one of the most gifted writers of her generation-the author of The Member of the Wedding, Reflections in a Golden Eye, and The Ballad of the Sad Cafe-died of a stroke at the age of fifty before finishing this, her last manuscript. Editor Carlos L. Dews has faithfully brought her story back to life, complete with never-before-published letters between McCullers and her husband Reeves, and an outline of her most famous novel, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.
Looking back over her life from a precocious childhood in Georgia to her painful decline from a series of crippling strokes, McCullers offers poignant and unabashed remembrances of her early writing success, her family attachments, a troubled marriage to a failed writer, friendships with literary and film luminaries (Gypsy Rose Lee, Richard Wright, Isak Dinesen, John Huston, Marilyn Monroe), and her intense relationships with the important women in her life.
When she was interviewed by Rex Reed in the Plaza Hotel on her final birthday, McCullers revealed her reason for writing an autobiography:
"I think it is important for future generations of students to know why I did certain things, but it is also important for myself. I became an established literary figure overnight, and I was much too young to understand what happened to me or the responsibility it entailed. I was a bit of a holy terror. That, combined with all my illnesses, nearly destroyed me. Perhaps if I trace and preserve for other generations the effect this success had on me it will affect future artists to accept it better."
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