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Desmond MacCarthy: Wikis


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Sir Desmond MacCarthy (1877-1952) was an English literary critic.

MacCarthy was born in Plymouth, Devon, and educated at Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge.[1] At Cambridge he got to know Lytton Strachey, Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore and though often thought to be a member of the "Bloomsbury Group" he in fact had a wider circle of friends including Logan Pearsall Smith. He became a journalist in 1903 with moderate success and during World War I spent some time in Naval Intelligence. He joined the New Statesman as drama critic in 1917 and in 1920 became its literary editor. He wrote a weekly column under the pen-name "The Affable Hawk". During this time he recruited Cyril Connolly to the paper. By 1928 he was losing interest in the New Statesman, and became the first editor of Life and Letters.[2] Other periodicals he was associated with were New Quarterly and Eye Witness. MacCarthy became a literary critic for the Sunday Times, and several volumes of his collected criticism were published. He was author of the short ghost story "Pargiton and Harby", reprinted in the Fourth Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories.

MacCarthy married Mollie, the daughter of Francis Warre Warre-Cornish. She was a highly respected literary figure in her own right. Her sister Cecilia married William Wordsworth Fisher.

He is buried at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge.



  1. ^ Maccarthy, Charles Otto Desmond in Venn, J. & J. A., Alumni Cantabrigienses, Cambridge University Press, 10 vols, 1922–1958.
  2. ^ Jeremy Lewis Cyril Connolly: A Life Jonathan Cape 1997

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