This review is based on the version collected in the Petrarca Press
edition of [b:Human Days: A Mary MacLane Reader|13266635|Human Days A Mary MacLane Reader|Mary MacLane|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1324376021s/13266635.jpg|18279424]. I am adding my review here solely because of my reading of the Introduction written by [a:Jessa Crispin|6561741|Jessa Crispin|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1430328539p2/6561741.jpg] included in this publication published by Melville House
. In some ways I do see similarities between these two women. I believe it can be found in the determination both share in living their lives the way they personally see fit to do, and refuse every mediation generally attached to most, if not all of us. In literature Jessa Crispin seems to me to be our most interesting of contemporary female sword fighters, and one who is not at all hesitant to brandish her steel whenever she feels it necessary.
I have to agree with H.L. Mencken who said, “Mary MacLane is one of the few who actually knows how to write English.” Couldn’t be truer, even in today’s world. How refreshing to read this sensational confessional and feel first-hand her astounding power in her words. Her strength is extraordinary. From the very beginning of her manuscript it took no time at all for me to realize I had stumbled onto something quite magnificent and meaningful. Within the first few pages it was obvious to me that Mary MacLane was far far ahead of her time. (I had the same experience while reading Jessa Crispin’s [b:The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries|24000166|The Dead Ladies Project Exiles, Expats, and Ex-Countries|Jessa Crispin|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1425657099s/24000166.jpg|43600371].) MacLane’s audacity and brazen attitude even toward potential admirers of her work struck me as quite remarkable. My reading of this text only furthered my interest in learning everything I possibly could about this fascinating woman. Surely it must be unfortunate to find myself so enamored with a young woman who is destined to always refuse my love for her, a blazing fervor that will regretfully remain unrequited.
There are few young people today as sophisticated, well-read, and talented as Mary MacLane. Back when she wrote this diary there was also no guarantee her words would ever be published, or if she would have even a smidgen of an audience in which to have it read. In spite of it Mary MacLane became a star, and not due to anything resembling today’s internet social media. Of course, she did later write articles for publications such as New York World
which catered to these same types of people who love gossip, sordid behavior, and innuendo. Though only nineteen years old when she wrote this first book MacLane displayed a maturity and confidence usually absent by others her age.
Much has been made of MacLane’s love for the Devil. Not once did I ever feel she was evil or bad in any way. She simply did not want to be like the other women she witnessed in her life. She did not want to be kept by a man, but rather taken, for one day, in ecstasy. Her happiness would depend on each moment of wickedness, the ravaging delight discovered in all her senses, likened to her enjoyment of an occasional charcoal-grilled rare Porterhouse steak smothered with steaming onions and mushrooms. So phooey on her love for the Devil (whatever that is). She simply wanted to be alarmingly ignited and thus alive enough to feel. …And so I want a fascinating wicked man to come and make me positively, rather than negatively, wicked.