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Mary MacLane’s I Await the Devil’s Coming is a shocking, brave and intellectually challenging diary of a 19-year-old girl living in Butte, Montana in 1902. Written in potent, raw prose that propelled the author to celebrity upon publication, the book has become almost completely forgotten.
In the early 20th century, MacLane’s name was synonymous with sexuality; she is widely hailed as being one of the earliest American feminist authors, and critics at the time praised her work for its daringly open and confessional style. In its first month of publication, the book sold 100,000 copies – a remarkable number for a debut author, and one that illustrates MacLane’s broad appeal.
Now, with a new foreward written by critic Jessa Crispin, I Await The Devil’s Coming stands poised to renew its reputation as one of America’s earliest and most powerful accounts of feminist thought and creativity.
“MacLane deserves canonization alongside Virginia Woolf and Emily Dickinson and Gertrude Stein.” –Emily Gould, author of And The Heart Says Whatever and Friendship
“Mary MacLane comes off the page quivering with life. Moving.” –The London Times
“The first of the self-expressionists, and also the first of the Flappers.” –The Chicagoan
“Her first book was the first of the confessional diaries ever written in this country, and it was a sensation.” –The New York Times
“I know of no other writer who can play upon words so magically. Mary MacLane is one of the few who actually knows how to write English. She senses the infinite resilience, the drunken exuberance, the magnificent power & delicacy of the language.” –H.L. Mencken
“A girl wonder.” –Harper’s Magazine
“A pioneering newswoman and later a silent-screen star, considered the veritable spirit of the iconoclastic Twenties.” –Boston Globe
“She was an extraordinarily gifted girl. . . She had a natural gift for crisp and concise expression, a keen, undisciplined intelligence and the emotional sensibility of a true artist.” –New York Tribune
“A pioneering feminist. . . A sensation.” –Feminist Bookstore News