When McCarthy told her what it was, Arendt simply said, “Oh.” The look of dismay lingered on her face a moment longer, but the incident was never brought up again.
Still, McCarthy knew she had crossed a boundary in her friendship with Arendt. “She did not wish to be known in that curiously finite, and as it were, reductive way,” McCarthy wrote in the obituary. “And I had done it to show her I knew her—a sign of love, though not always—thereby proving in the last analysis that I did not know her at all.”  It seems odd that Arendt was so deeply uncomfortable with McCarthy’s deed at this juncture in the friendship. Blücher died in the fall of 1970, meaning that the women had known each other for over 25 years at the time of the visit. That Arendt sought refuge in McCarthy’s home during a period of intense mourning is a further testament to her love for and trust in McCarthy. Furhermore, even if the women had been mere acquaintances, McCarthy’s contribution of a favorite delicacy would hardly feel, to most, like an invasion of privacy. Mostly, it comes across as a thoughtful gesture, hardly cause for alarm. Perhaps even more striking than Arendt’s bizarre reaction is McCarthy’s validation of the response in her recounting of the story. After all, even under the questionable premise that buying a friend a food she likes oversteps the parameters of familiarity, the way in which McCarthy performed the gesture in fact does show a deep respect for boundaries within friendship. Though McCarthy put great care into purchasing anchovy paste for Arendt with the knowledge of Arendt’s love for it, she was keenly aware that Arendt would prefer to enjoy it on her own. Because of Arendt’s inclination toward solitude, McCarthy went so far as to provide her with a private apartment. If anything, McCarthy’s presentation of the anchovy paste displays a high prioritization of privacy within her friendship with Arendt. In light of the gesture’s consideration not only of Arendt’s dietary preferences but also her need for personal space, it is interesting that McCarthy chastises herself for it and justifies Arendt’s response. McCarthy’s rationalization of Arendt’s behavior reveals, in addition to her deep respect for Arendt, the extent to which emotional distance was prioritized in their friendship. It is telling that even as McCarthy asserts that she did not truly “know” Arendt, her analysis of the anecdote in the eulogy serves as evidence of how well she understands Arendt. To most, Arendt’s reaction to the anchovy past would come across as inappropriate and even hurtful, but McCarthy understands the complex reasoning behind the response and the workings of Arendt’s mind. McCarthy makes the intimacy of buying Arendt anchovy paste even more intimate by using the moment to demonstrate not only her profound understanding of Arendt’s sensibilities, but also her inherent inability to fully grasp Arendt. McCarthy’s strategic use of emotional detachment to convey the closeness of the bond is significant in light of their friendship as a whole. It was Arendt and McCarthy’s mutual unknowability, and their respect of the boundaries of intimacy, that brought them together. Arguably, McCarthy’s explanation of Arendt’s reaction characterizes the nature of their friendship as a whole. As tight-knit as the two women were—they kept a near-constant correspondence and frequently visited each other’s homes—the boundaries that Arendt and McCarthy set played a crucial role in keeping them close. Arendt and McCarthy spoke and wrote openly about their personal lives, but it was a core reservedness, on both parties’ accounts, that sustained and even intensified their bond.
In the many elite New York social circles to which they belonged, Arendt and McCarthy were individually regarded as notoriously aloof, unapproachable, and even coldhearted. Much in the same way, they both assumed emotionally distant personae in their writing. This frigidity, which manifested itself differently in each woman, was far more than an image, though; it was a lifestyle to which Arendt and McCarthy strictly adhered. Neither woman aligned herself with the community-based political movements of their day, and both could be scathing in social situations. Arguably, the women’s shared tendency toward solitude was in part a response to the culture of solidarity that infiltrated leftist circles in the postwar period, particularly in New York during the 1950s and early 1960s. During this era, social justice movements advocated empathy and a strong sense of group identification as a means of political progression. Arendt and McCarthy recoiled from the dialogue of fraternity that pervaded the politics of the time. It was not, as was a common misconception during the postwar period, that Arendt and McCarthy disagreed with the goals of leftist social justice movements. In fact, the women, and Arendt in particular, had many of the same views as radical civil rights groups of the day. Rather, it was that their approach to attaining these goals and their general understanding of equality and freedom differed drastically from the popular beliefs of the time. McCarthy and Arendt felt that a touchy-feely approach to attaining social justice simply masked the truth, thereby preventing movements from addressing the roots of the problems they aimed to solve. Instead, the women committed themselves to wholeheartedly embracing the truth, regardless, and perhaps precisely because, of how brutal it was.
A discourse of pain emerged during the postwar period; social justice movements—particularly socialist, Marxist, and labor movements—spoke optimistically of healing the psychic wound of America, which had been created by the trauma of war, through solidarity and social power. Arendt and McCarthy shared an interest in facing the pain of the past head-on, and they regarded the notion of recovery from emotional damage through mutual support as anesthetic. The women felt that society’s excessive interest in recovery was numbing the population to pain. They felt it was crucial that people experience pain, because for them, and especially in light of their deeply difficult pasts, pain was reality. Contrary to the day’s popular sentiment of togetherness as a remedy for suffering, and the expectation that these communal moments be deeply emotionally moving, pain, for Arendt and McCarthy, had to be experienced in solitude and was best confronted with reticence. This unemotional acceptance of pain, or truth, manifests itself in Arendt and McCarthy’s writing, which depicts suffering as ordinary and moreover, necessary for attaining a clear view of the world. 
The women’s shared interests in aloofness and isolation, ironically, bonded them and helped to sustain their long-spanning friendship, much of which was maintained through written correspondence. Brock Bower summarized the nature of the friendship by saying, “they found that on any number of public questions they always ended up on the same side and ‘usually alone.’”2 The sentiment rings true regarding Arendt and McCarthy’s unconventional approach to political issues, but also their friendship as a whole. The women consistently situated themselves alone on the same side, together but also a comfortable distance apart, as evidenced by the anchovy paste anecdote, in which McCarthy deviates from this dynamic and the friendship is momentarily destabilized. Another significant deviation from the friendship’s model of simultaneous solidarity and solitude occurs in an early and famous anecdote about a party that took place at the home of the literary critic Phillip Rahv in the spring of 1945. There, McCarthy declared pity for Hitler, and Arendt, who in 1940 had been interned in Camp Gurs in France, found the comment deeply offensive and refused to speak to McCarthy. The story marks a digression not only from the women’s usual dynamic of detached agreement—here, they are at complete odds with each other—but also from the personalities they usually undertook. Arendt and McCarthy seem utterly unlike themselves here. It is hard to imagine the merciless McCarthy declaring pity for anyone, even if her comment, as critics have suggested, was intended flippantly. Additionally, it is surprising that Arendt became exasperated by McCarthy’s comment, even though she was a Holocaust survivor, because of Arendt’s usual rejection of a narrative of victimization and suffering. In her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism, Arendt presents Stalinism and Nazism as equally oppressive and argues that anti-Semitism was a proxy for—rather than the reason behind—the Holocaust. Arendt’s portrayal of the genocide as symptomatic of delusions of grandeur rather than deep-rooted anti-Semitism is striking in light of Arendt’s personal history. Arendt, who received much criticism for her viewpoint, consistently dismisses a narrative in which Judaism is the motivating factor for the actions of the Nazis.  Though Arendt’s objection to McCarthy’s comment is certainly understandable, especially because of her harrowing background, Arendt’s depersonalization of the deeply personal is notably absent in the anecdote. In fact, had Arendt reacted coolly to McCarthy’s comment, McCarthy may very well have liked her instantly. McCarthy, too, had a traumatic youth, having been orphaned at the age of six and placed under the care of an abusive aunt and uncle, but she refused to dwell on—or even consider—the ways in which her childhood may have affected her. Instead, she eschewed the narrative of unhappy childhood, which she considered mawkish, and viewed the hardships she faced as standard fare.
The culmination of the argument four years after the party, too, is not reflective of the trajectory of Arendt and McCarthy’s friendship: Arendt approached McCarthy on the Astor Place subway platform after a meeting they’d booth attended and famously declared something to the effect of, “Let’s end this nonsense. We think so much alike.” In her analysis of the friendship in her book Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World, Claudia Roth Pierpont calls this statement “a richly productive lie.” Pierpont proposes that Arendt and McCarthy did not, in fact, think very much alike at all; they wrote very differently, and they often disagreed on politics. Pierpont suggests that Arendt’s proclamation of likeness was useful in fostering a bond between McCarthy and her, but that ultimately, it contained an element of falsehood.3 I will argue against Pierpont and assert that despite their ostensible differences, Arendt and McCarthy thought very much alike. Though the genres, subjects, viewpoints, and styles of their work differ immensely, the women took many of the same approaches to given subjects. One particular pattern of thought that runs through both women’s writings on friendship, in both formal and informal works, is the renouncement of fellowship in favor of one concerning isolation, and particularly emotionally detached encounters with suffering in isolation. Arendt and McCarthy, the latter more explicitly than the former, developed their understandings of friendship in their writing over the course of their careers. Once their perspectives evolved, both women explored the notion of camaraderie, especially female camaraderie, in their professional writing. Over time, Arendt and McCarthy grew increasingly comfortable addressing the topic of emotional intimacy within friendships. Their personal correspondence, too, demonstrates an increasing proclivity toward emotional vulnerability on both parties’ accounts and a growing willingness to share their secrets and personal thoughts. However, at the center of Arendt and McCarthy’s musings on and exemplifications of friendship, is the same core value of detachment and privacy that manifested itself throughout their relationship. Over the course of their careers, though, Arendt and McCarthy became more explicit in addressing the alienation that was at the heart of their bonds (both in their writing and their lives). Subsequently, they understood the paradoxical importance of establishing certain boundaries in order to create intimacy in friendships. I will argue that what allowed Arendt and McCarthy to find solidarity through their respective solitude was not their shared value of independence (though this certainly played a role in their bond) so much as their mutual and often public confrontation of the emotional distance at the core of their interpersonal relationships. Both women refused to discuss their pain, perhaps because of their traumatic pasts, but they did learn to address the isolation that hindered them from connecting too deeply with others. It was this shared expression of their inherent unknowability, and through writing no less, a medium both women understood intimately, that forged the bond between Arendt and McCarthy, which arguably, had its own unique register of intimacy.
At the very beginning of her writing career, McCarthy already demonstrated a strong interest in depicting bonds that did not quite cohere. Her book, the 1942 novel The Company She Keeps, tells six stories about the life of Meg Sargent, a character heavily based on McCarthy herself. The Company She Keeps is indeed about company rather than closeness or friendship. Many characters from various New York City social circles make appearances in Meg’s life, and while her interactions with them are diverse and often entertaining (if only because of their uncomfortable nature), Meg consistently fails to create meaningful connections with the people she meets. In most of the stories, Meg is in social settings, including parties, bars, restaurants, and trains, surrounded by people who attempt to forge bonds with her, sometimes even sincerely. Yet a distinct sense of isolation runs through the novel, as Meg remains dissatisfied with the contrived nature of social interactions and preoccupied with her own psychology.The fourth story, “The Genial Host,” takes place at a New York dinner party with an eclectic group of guests hosted by the eccentric and infuriating Pflaumen. Upon being invited to one of Pflaumen’s infamous dinner parties, Meg long-windedly expresses her disdain for Pflaumen, a theme that recurs throughout the story. Meg describes the host, whose mere physicality revolts her, as “soft and self-indulgent” and says that he has an “energy that undid him as a society man by making him over-demonstrative, over-polite, over-genial, like a comedian who produces an effect of fatigue in his audience by working too hard at putting his gags together.” While no doubt, Pflaumen seems unpleasant—he is deeply self-interested, duplicitous, and utterly lacking in charisma—it is striking that among Meg’s first objections to Pflaumen is his overt interest in relating to his dinner guests. Because Pflaumen is blatantly eager to form connections with the attendees, Meg is immediately distrustful of and revolted by him. What bothers Meg most about Pflaumen is his transparency; already, it is clear that restraint is a key aspect of the character’s interpersonal relationships. Additionally, it is interesting that the only context in which Meg knows Pflaumen is his dinner parties, at which he purposefully gathers together people from many different social scenes and walks of life. Meg seems to be disgusted, too, by his proclivity toward the social, which in her eyes, is, in addition to unpleasant, highly contrived. Meg’s rejection of the artificial falls in line McCarthy’s lifelong concern with facing reality. Pflaumen’s orchestration of elaborate dinner parties in the hopes of fostering connections between guests likely strikes Meg as anesthetic, an easy remedy for those too weak to face the harsh reality of alienation.
Upon being invited to the dinner party, Meg explains Pflaumen’s pragmatic approach to social gatherings and his belief that going out is for the sake of broadening one’s social circle rather than enjoying the company of friends. “No doubt this was at least half true,” Meg admits, “since with your real friends you seemed to prefer those whose spheres of interest were larger rather than smaller than your own—or at any rate, to see more of them, if you could—but in those cases you were sure that you liked them for themselves.” Despite her annoyance with the synthetic nature of Pflaumen’s parties, Meg reveals that her own social life, too, carries traces of inauthenticity, despite her genuine appreciation for her friends. The suggestion seems to be that friendship, according to Meg, is contrived by nature; she takes advantage even of her “real friends’” convenient social connections. In light of this, it is perhaps surprising that Meg is a regular guest at Pflaumen’s dinner parties, especially considering her clear disdain for them. It is evident that Meg is not above keeping company for the sake of making connections that might advance her career; this approach was one that many New Yorkers took when attending the social events that studded urban life in the 1940s. Meg’s attitude also presents to readers McCarthy’s notion of friendship at this point in her career. Meg holds that she likes her friends “for themselves,” and while this may be true to some degree, she also purposely seeks out “real friends” who can potentially introduce her to people in positions of power. This, along with the general sense of alienation woven throughout The Company She Keeps, makes evident that the young McCarthy took an unemotional and pragmatic approach to forming interpersonal relations. Still, the alienation in the novel is not rooted in any sort of emotional bond like the one that McCarthy would later share with Arendt. In The Company She Keeps, Meg is not “alone on the same side” as anyone; she is simply alone.
For Arendt, too, friendship bore an element of pragmatism. She nearly titled The Human Condition, her universally celebrated 1958 account of the history of human existence, Amor Mundi: Love of the World. Arendt would go on to reframe the notion of “amor mundi;” she would later come to define it as “the public bond,” or a businesslike friendship based in politics created specifically to benefit the careers of both parties involved. Arendt contrasts the notion of amor mundi with the theme of love. Arendt considers love to be generally “unpolitical” because of love’s tendency to cause those engaged in it to withdraw from the outside world. In contrast to love, of which there are many varieties and which is instinctive, Arendt presents amor mundi as artificial and carefully orchestrated. Arendt never publicly defined her friendship with McCarthy, nor did she attempt to categorize any of her several other high-profile friendships, but the intimacy of the women’s bond as evidenced by their decades-long correspondence suggests that it was based upon a form of mutual love rather than either woman’s career-oriented goals. Nonetheless, Arendt’s assertion that sociality can be purely practical works like Meg’s confession of intentionally seeking out well-connected friends in that it serves as a reminder of Arendt’s belief that friendships need not be centered on emotional intimacy. The friendship between Arendt and McCarthy was certainly no amor mundi; being part of each other’s inner circles undoubtedly had its perks, but the women in fact shared a deep connection. However, their relationship in some ways worked like an amor mundi in that as close as they got to one another, they intentionally denied their relationship a level of emotional availability that is the cornerstone of most long-lasting friendships.
Still, the letter correspondence between Arendt and McCarthy, starting in 1949 and ending less than a month before Arendt’s death in 1975, tracks the growth of the women’s comfort with one another and the blossoming of their friendship. The very first letter in the correspondence, addressed to McCarthy on March 10, 1949, reads:
I just read the Oasis and must tell you that it was pure delight. You have written a veritable little masterpiece. May I say without offense that it is not simply better than The Company She Keeps, but on an all together different level.
Very cordially yours,
The letter is surprisingly warm in tone, especially considering that it was written right around the time that Arendt initiated her reconciliation with McCarthy. Arendt seems genuinely moved by McCarthy’s work and in calling it a “masterpiece,” doesn’t mask her enthusiasm. She also takes some precaution not to insult McCarthy’s previous work by prefacing her judgment of The Company She Keeps with an assertion that she does not mean to offend McCarthy. That said, even as Arendt sings the praises of McCarthy’s work in this initial letter, her accolade of McCarthy reads a bit like a backhanded compliment. By stating that The Oasis, McCarthy’s second book, a satirical novel about the failure of a utopian intellectual community, is “on an all together different level” from The Company She Keeps, Arendt is essentially telling McCarthy that she hasn’t been invested in McCarthy’s career until this point. Even at this very early point in the women’s friendship, it is clear that for Arendt and McCarthy, affection often came with a denial thereof.
This is perhaps further evidenced by the fact that McCarthy did not write Arendt until two years later, in the March of 1951, with regard to Arendt’s book The Origins of Totalitarianism. At this point, though, the women were presumably already friends; McCarthy makes refers in her letter to time she and Arendt recently spent together. McCarthy’s first letter to Arendt begins:
I’ve read your book, absorbed, for the past two weeks, in the bathtub, riding in the car, waiting in line in the grocery store. It seems to me a truly extraordinary piece of work, an advance in human thought of, at the very least, a decade, and also engrossing and fascinating in the way that a novel is: i.e., that it says something on nearly every page that is novel, that one could not have anticipated what went before but that one then recognizes as inevitable and foreshadowed by the underlying plot of ideas. 7
Like Arendt, McCarthy sings the praises of her correspondent’s work, a response that may have been unexpected in light of McCarthy’s reputation for being extremely critical and highly judgmental, even more so than Arendt. In the early letters of their friendship, the women seem to circumnavigate the trap of sentimentality by discussing their emotions and praising one another only in the context of literature, and specifically their own work. Because they had not yet had time to establish a close bond, it was perhaps crucial for Arendt and McCarthy to commend one another’s work, possibly even to an excessive degree, in order to demonstrate a shared appreciation of each other as people. Their writing conveniently allowed the women to avoid speaking too personally in their letters; instead of telling each other that they admired one another, a sentiment far too mawkish for the pair, particularly at a relatively new point in the friendship, Arendt and McCarthy had the advantage of complimenting one another’s work in order to convey an emotional connection.
That is not to say that the women’s mutual appreciation of one another’s writing was merely a guise—far from it. Arendt and McCarthy’s letters suggest that they genuinely regarded each other highly as writers. The women solidified their bond by sharing their work with one another, often to receive feedback in the prepublication stages. Furthermore, because Arendt and McCarthy could both be elusive in their interpersonal relationships, reading one another’s writing allowed them to get to know each other without revealing too much of themselves. McCarthy’s recollection of reading The Origins of Totalitarianism in her letter stands as proof of her intimate relationship with Arendt’s work: McCarthy readily admits to having been so engrossed by the book that she read it during events and in intimate places not especially suited to reading (most notably the bathtub, which might support a lesbian reading of the friendship, a theory I have dismissed based on my research). McCarthy feels comfortable sharing the details of what seems like a deeply personal experience with Arendt’s book because they exist under the assumption that Arendt’s ideas, rather than Arendt herself, captivate McCarthy. In the early years of their friendship, Arendt and McCarthy seem to have regarded their bond intellectual rather than personal. On the Astor Place subway platform, after all, Arendt uttered the phrase, “We think so much alike,” rather than, “We are so much alike.” As these boundaries collapsed and the women became confidantes rather than close colleagues, the active creation of emotional distance between the friends, ironically, became a more crucial aspect of the friendship, and one which may have brought Arendt and McCarthy even closer together. The depersonalization of the friendship is evident even in McCarthy’s first letter to Arendt. Just after praising The Origins of Totalitarianism, McCarthy writes, “My remarks on the style at lunch (which were largely second-hand) I utterly withdraw; there are a few barbarisms , such as the use of “ignore” to mean “be ignorant of” that are of no consequence but might be corrected in another edition. I would make one large criticism […]”7 This is McCarthy at her most Mary McCarthy. Not only does she abruptly switch from praising Arendt’s work to critiquing it, but she also seems utterly unable to stop herself from providing Arendt with suggestions even as she hesitates to do so. Initially, McCarthy actually apologizes for having criticized the work at an earlier time, but even as she does, she dispenses some new copy edits for Arendt. The judgment of the work escalates until finally, McCarthy presents an argument multiple paragraphs long against one of the core tenets of Arendt’s book. This very well might have been McCarthy’s unusual way of showing love; if so, Arendt seemed to accept it.
By 1956, the letters between the friends, which over the years covered topics ranging from fascism to furniture shopping, Marilyn Monroe to Marianne Moore, had grown undeniably personal, particularly on McCarthy’s account. McCarthy, who had a notoriously active sex life, had begun an affair with Englishman named John Davenport. She had made plans to meet Arendt in Amsterdam that October, but she wrote Arendt to tell her that she would be staying in London with Davenport instead. In her letter, McCarthy enclosed several postcards addressed to her then-husband, Bowden Broadwater, and asked Arendt to mail them to him to uphold the illusion that the women were traveling together. Arendt complied, but by the following spring, she became weary of McCarthy’s escapades. It had become abundantly clear to both women that Davenport was a pathological liar and an alcoholic, yet McCarthy still wrote, “I still care about him, just as much as ever, though perhaps this feeling would not last if I saw him in actuality. […] Oh, Hannah, isn’t it awful? I still would do anything for him […] but what can I do?” Arendt, ever intolerant of self-pity, replied:
He did not want to be saved by you either. And this is the reason why I think you were right not to see him. […] [Y]ou had to be frightened away; and he must have known that it would take rather drastic measures to achieve this. Certainly, there is a great deal of cruelty in all this; but then you can’t expect someone who loves you to treat you less cruelly than he would treat himself. The equality of love is always pretty awful. Compassion (not pity) can be a great thing, but love knows nothing of it.
Arendt’s response is strikingly calculated and unemotional, especially in juxtaposition to McCarthy’s highly dramatic plea. Arendt never understood the appeal of promiscuity for McCarthy, but over the course of their correspondence, she made it a point to neither condemn McCarthy’s choices nor invite her to feel sorry for herself. Arendt’s differentiation between compassion and pity, and her subsequent rejection of pity, are relevant to the friendship as a whole. To her, compassion, which notably, she says can be a great thing, meaning she does not believe it to be crucial, meant mutual understanding, whereas pity entailed a certain indulgence in emotion. In her friendship with McCarthy, Arendt seemed to have eschewed pity in favor of compassion, but for Arendt, compassion often meant tough love, as evidenced by her detached approach to McCarthy’s personal problems. By 1968, the correspondence had grown downright sentimental. That winter, McCarthy was living in New York and Arendt was in Paris, feeling deeply depressed, possibly because of her husband’s poor health. The last line of a letter from McCarthy to Arendt read, “I must stop. I miss you very much. More than ever recently.” Arendt replied with, “Each time I receive a letter from you I realize how much I miss you. Times are lousy and we should be closer to each other.” 7 This is quite possibly the most forthright and vulnerable exchange in the women’s entire correspondence. It reveals something surprising about their relationship: that when circumstances became unbearable, both women were willing to collapse their friendship’s trademark boundary in order to make room for compassion. Notably, these uncharacteristic manifestations of pure affection only occurred during times of emotional pain. In this particular correspondence, Arendt and McCarthy’s loving exchange is not anesthetic or a means of denying suffering; rather it allows them to face their pain together. Considering the fervor with which both women denied themselves the capacity the grieve for the pain of their pasts, perhaps one another’s friendship—occasionally unbridled by their fierce independence—was exactly what they needed to survive.
1. Carol Brightman, “Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy 1949-1975.” (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1995)
2. Shin Chiba, “Hannah Arendt on Love and the Political: Love, Friendship, and Citizenship,” The Review of Politics Vol. 57, No. 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
3. Michelle Dean, “The Formidable Friendship of Mary McCarthy and Hannah Arendt,” New Yorker, June 4, 2013
4. Kathleen B. Jones, “Hannah Arendt’s Female Friends,” Los Angeles Review of Books, November 22, 2013
5. Mary McCarthy, The Company She Keeps (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1942)
6. Mary McCarthy, “Saying Good-bye to Hannah (1907-1975)” in Occasional Prose. (San Diego: Harcourt, 1985), 74-75
7. Deborah Nelson, “The Virtues of Heartlessness: Mary McCarthy, Hannah Arendt, and the Anesthetics of Empathy.” American Literary History 18.1 (2006): 86-101
8. Claudia Roth Pierpont, “Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy,” in Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World. (New York: Random House Inc., 2000), 251-287
9. Dana Villa, The Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)
 Mary McCarthy, “Saying Good-bye to Hannah (1907-1975)” in Occasional Prose. (San Diego: Harcourt, 1985), 74-75
 Deborah Nelson, “The Virtues of Heartlessness: Mary McCarthy, Hannah Arendt, and the Anesthetics of Empathy.” American Literary History 18.1 (2006): 86-101
 Claudia Roth Pierpont, “Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy,” in Passionate Minds: Women Rewriting the World. (New York: Random House Inc., 2000), 251-287
 Michelle Dean, “The Formidable Friendship of Mary McCarthy and Hannah Arendt,” New Yorker, June 4, 2013
 Mary McCarthy, The Company She Keeps (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1942)
 Shin Chiba, “Hannah Arendt on Love and the Political: Love, Friendship, and Citizenship,” The Review of Politics Vol. 57, No. 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995)
 Dana Villa, The Cambridge Companion to Hannah Arendt. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000)
 Carol Brightman, “Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy 1949-1975.” (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1995)
 Kathleen B. Jones, “Hannah Arendt’s Female Friends,” Los Angeles Review of Books, November 22, 2013