It's a matter of privacy. Not the privacy of my secret details, which are on display in public much of the time, and they don't matter anyway. The privacy is in the ownership and exercise of ones own life. When her choice is private, then her judgements have value and importance. Every woman has the innate private right to live and die like Carson McCullers. And within the bounds of free reciprocity, all have the right to value that as it is. If she, and if I, then we. Anything else is, at best, a relationship with a Human being that isn't as valuable as that of my relationship with my cat. And if that's our relationship with people, we aren't very Human at all.
1917: Lula Carson Smith is born on February 19 at 423 Thirteenth Street in Columbus, Georgia, the first child of Lamar and Marguerite Waters Smith.
1926: Lula Carson begins piano lessons at age ten.
1930: Upon her return from a visit to her aunt and uncle, she drops the use of Lula from her double name. She decides to become a concert pianist and begins piano lessons with Mrs. Albert S. J. Tucker.
1932: As a senior in high school, she suffers from rheumatic fever, which is thought later to have contributed to her crippling strokes in life. She announces to her friend Helen Jackson that she has decided to become a writer instead of a concert pianist.
1933: Carson graduates from Columbus High School and begins to read the works of Dostoevski, Chekhov, Tolstoy, and O'Neill. She has begun writing plays (in which she casts her brother and sister), the first of which is called The Faucet. She writes her first story called "Sucker," which she tries unsuccessfully to sell.
1934: Carson leaves Savannah, Georgia at age seventeen and travels to New York City, where she enrolls in creative writing courses at Columbia University.
1935: Carson meets James Reeves McCullers, Jr. through her friend Edwin Peacock.
1936: Her first published story, "Wunderkind," appears in Story magazine. She develops the idea for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter while recuperating from a serious illness.
1937: On September 20, Carson (age twenty) and Reeves (age twenty-four) are married in the home of mutual friends. They return to Charlotte, North Carolina and move into Reeves's apartment. Carson begins work on her first novel.
1939: Carson finishes her first novel in April and entitles it The Mute. She writes a second novel entitled Reflections in a Golden Eye. She begins conceiving the plot for The Member of the Wedding.
1940: On June 4, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (formerly called The Mute) is published by Houghton Mifflin. On August 14, she attends the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Middlebury, Vermont and meets Louis Untermeyer and Eudora Welty. Reflections in a Golden Eye is published in two parts in October and November in Harper's Bazaar for five hundred dollars. Carson is ill for most of the winter.
1941: In February, Carson is stricken with impaired vision, stabbing head pains, and partial paralysis. She visits the Yaddo Artists' Colony in Saratoga Springs and meets Katherine Anne Porter and Newton Arvin. At Yaddo, she writes The Ballad of the Sad Café. She initiates divorce proceedings against Reeves. Her first published poem, "The Twisted Trinity," appears in Decision. She suffers her second major illness of the year with pleurisy, strep throat, and double pneumonia.
1942: On March 24, Carson is awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Though she wants to take her prize money and write in Mexico, her poor health prevents her.
1944: Carson suffers a severe nervous attack in addition to influenza and pleurisy. Her father dies in August of a heart attack.
1945: On March 19, Carson and Reeves remarry in New City, New York.
1946: Houghton Mifflin publishes The Member of the Wedding on March 19. She receives her second Guggenheim Fellowship on April 15.
1947: Carson suffers a serious stroke in August and another stroke in November which paralyzes her left side.
1948: In March, Carson attempts suicide and is hospitalized in Manhattan. In the summer and the fall, she adapts and revises The Member of the Wedding into a play while in Nantucket with Tennessee Williams.
1950: On January 5, The Member of the Wedding opens at the Empire Theatre on Broadway. It wins the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for the best play of the season.
1951: Houghton Mifflin publishes The Ballad of the Sad Café.
1953: Carson and Reeves experience severe marital problems. Reeves attempts suicide and tries to convince Carson into committing a double suicide. She flees to France in fear of her life. On November 19, Reeves kills himself in a Paris hotel.
1955: Carson travels with Tennessee Williams to Key West in April to work on three manuscripts: the dramatization of The Ballad of the Sad Café, The Square Root of Wonderful, and Clock Without Hands. On June 10, her mother dies unexpectedly and this loss utterly devastates Carson. She works frenetically on The Square Root of Wonderful to cope with her mother's death.
1957: The Square Root of Wonderful opens on October 30 on Broadway but closes prematurely after forty-five performances. Carson suffers acute depression over the premature closing of the play.
1959: Carson becomes unable to work on her manuscripts like Clock Without Hands and the musical adaptation of The Ballad of the Sad Café so she begins writing children's verse.
1961: Clock Without Hands is published by Houghton Mifflin on September 18.
1962: By 1962, Carson spends most of her time in a wheelchair. She does little writing in 1962 because of her health. She undergoes an operation to remove a cancerous right breast on June 6. Surgery is also performed on every major joint of her paralyzed left hand.
1964: In the spring, Carson breaks her right hip and shatters her left elbow. Her collection of children's verses, Sweet as a Pickle, Clean as a Pig is published by Houghton Mifflin on November 1. She signs her last will and testament on November 8.
1966: Thomas Ryan completes his screen script of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and reads it to Carson. She works with Mary Rodgers on adapting The Member of the Wedding into a musical.
1967: On April 30, Carson is named winner of the 1966 Henry Bellamann Award, a one-thousand-dollar grant recognizing her "outstanding contribution to literature." On August 15, she suffers her final stroke, a massive brain hemorrhage, and lies comatose for forty-seven days. Carson McCullers dies on September 29 and is buried on October 3 in Oak Hill Cemetery, on the bank of the Hudson River.
American author who examined the psychology of lonely, isolated people. McCullers published only eight books. Her best known novels are THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER 1940), written at the age of twenty-two, and REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE (1942), set in a military base. Both of the books have been filmed. Although McCullers depicted homosexual characters and she has female lover, the theme of homosexuality is placed in a wider context of alienation and dislocation.
Lula Carson Smith (Carson McCullers) was born in Columbus, Georgia, as the daughter of a well-to-do watchmaker and jeweller of French Hugenot extraction. From the age of five she took piano lessons, and at the age of 15 she received a typewriter from her father. Two years later she moved to New York to study piano at Julliard School of Music, but never attended the school - she managed to lose the money set aside for her tuition. McCullers worked in menial jobs and devoted herself to writing. She studied creative writing at Columbia and New York universities and published in 1936 an autobiographical piece, 'Wunderkind', in Story magazine. It depicted a musical prodigy's failure and adolescent insecurity.
In 1937 she married Reeves McCullers, a failed author. Before the wedding she him told her parents that she did not want to marry him until she first had experienced sex with him. "The sexual experience was not like D.H. Lawrence," she later said. "No grand explosions or colored lights, but it gave me a chance to know Reeves better, and really learn to love him." They moved to North Caroline, living there for two years. During this time she wrote The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, a novel in the Southern Gothic tradition. ...
[John Huston writes:] "I first met Carson McCullers during the war when I was visiting Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith in upstate New York," said Huston in An Open Book (1980). "Carson lived nearby, and one day when Buzz and I were out for a walk she hailed us from her doorway. She was then in her early twenties, and had already suffered the first of series of strokes that made her an invalid before she was thirty. I remember her as a fragile thing with great shining eyes, and a tremor in her hand as she placed it in mine. It wasn't palsy, rather a quiver of animal timidity. But there was nothing timid or frail about the manner in which Carson McCullers faced life. And as her affections multiplied, she only grew stronger."
McCullers's marriage turned out to be unlucky. They both had homosexual relationships and separated in 1940. She moved to New York to live with George Davis, the editor of Harper's Bazaar. In Brooklyn McCullers became a member of the art commune February House. Among their friends were W.H. Auden, Paul and Jane Bowles, and the striptease artiste Gipsy Rose Lee. After World War II McCullers lived mostly in Paris. Her close friends during these years included Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams.
Carson McCullers suffered throughout her life from several illnesses - she had contracted rheumatic fever at the age of fifteen and a series of strokes left her a virtual invalid in her early 30's. She died in New York on September 29, 1967, after a stroke and a resultant brain haemorrhage.
We have a duty to accept the rights and responsibilities of other, and to let them come and go as they will. To do so is, according to me, of value to all. In our time it means combatting Islam. When this battle's fought and won there will be other battles for those who come after us. We can fight this battle to free all the girls who might have loved us if only they did. And if we win and if they chooose, then us; and if we win and they choose others, then we'll know they and we and us are open and closed to others freely.
Carson and I, we would have hit on all the girls.