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The Mortgaged Heart: Selected Writings

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  253 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
An absorbing look at the early beginnings of one of America’s finest writers, The Mortgaged Heart is an important collection of Carson McCullers’s work, including stories, essays, articles, poems, and her writing on writing. These pieces, written mostly before McCullers was nineteen, provide invaluable insight into her life and her gifts and growth as a writer. The collect ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 5th 2005 by Mariner Books (first published November 30th 1970)
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Jun 04, 2013 Cecily rated it it was amazing
This collection is collated and introduced by Carson's sister and is mostly short stories. However, it also includes articles, poems, brief notes about writing and a detailed outline of her most famous novel, "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter" (

A few pieces are more relevant if you are familiar with her subject (THiaLH, Dostoyevsky, Isak Dinesen), but most are accessible to all and the short stories are a good introduction to her distinctive, lyrical style.
May 30, 2011 Eryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am a big fan McCullers' writing so I looked forward to finishing this text to have better picture of her development as a writer. Each story is accompanied with a letter from the publisher giving some insight in the editorial comments McCullers' received.
Of her early stories I the following list stuck with me: "Court in the West Eighties," "Poldi" and "Instant of the Hour After."

I liked all the stories. "Art and Mr. Mahoney," is lightweight, and not to criticize, it also trivial. "Who Has See
Oct 06, 2014 Brian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-story
One of America's finest writers
Russell James
Nov 14, 2015 Russell James rated it really liked it
Fine collection of her lesser-known pieces: journalism, essays, early stories, a few letters - though her poems disappoint. Good editorial contribution.
Hannah (fullybookedreviews)
My classic for the month of February.

I am attempting to broaden my literary horizons somewhat.
Angela Wade
Nov 07, 2010 Angela Wade rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
While it is obvious Ms. McCullers was unbelievably talented, the fifties-style dialogue in the short stories tripped me up. I have the same problem when reading Stephen King - I know that was the way people spoke back then, but it sounds so unnatural to me as to be grating, and I can't seem to get past it.

The essays were a bit heavy-handed and over the top, but I fully understand this woman's importance to the literary world now.
Lynda Spadaccini
ahhh ms mccullers, one of the best writers I have ever read, just when think i am tired and can't read anymore, carson keeps me turning the page. The Mortgaged Heart is a collection of short stories essays and a few poems. the language is so simple, yet so effective, her essays on NewYork are amazing, not only do yu feel like you are there, it makes you want to go there and see it for yourself.
Nov 29, 2009 Ginger rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, non-fiction
I enjoyed the short stories, but found the essays and poetry a bit heavy handed and difficult to read. For those who enjoyed The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and Member of the Wedding, I'd recommend the fiction portion of this collection.
I registered a book at!
Jan 20, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing
I love her short stories and poems it is as simple as that. Her non-fiction essays are just as good if not better sometimes than her fiction.
Mar 13, 2009 Melody rated it really liked it
Shelves: random-fiction
Two thumbs up for Carson. This book includes an outline of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Love reading the process behind her writings.
Jan 19, 2009 Bee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good insight into some of McCullers' early work and also lesser known, her poetry. I love her poem, 'stone is not stone.'
Apr 07, 2016 Devin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, short-stories
Her little collection of poetry at the end of the book is especially spectacular.
Mugren Al-Ohaly
I don't like stories like these which describe a negligible event in such detail
Mona Watanabe
Aug 14, 2013 Mona Watanabe rated it really liked it
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Carson McCullers was an American who wrote fiction, often described as Southern Gothic, that explores the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts of the South.

From 1935 to 1937 she divided her time, as her studies and health dictated, between Columbus and New York and in September 1937 she married an ex-soldier and aspiring writer, Reeves McCullers. They began their married life in Charlotte,
More about Carson McCullers...

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“We wander, question. But the answer waits in each separate heart - the answer of our own identity and the way by which we can master loneliness and feel that at last we belong.” 58 likes
“Love is the bridge that leads from the I sense to the We, and there is a paradox about personal love. Love of another individual opens a new relation between the personality and the world. The lover responds in a new way to nature and may even write poetry. Love is affirmation; it motivates the yes responses and the sense of wider communication. Love casts out fear, and in the security of this togetherness we find contentment, courage. We no longer fear the age-old haunting questions: "Who am I?" "Why am I?" "Where am I going?" - and having cast out fear, we can be honest and charitable.” 42 likes
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