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.
About the Author
MARY MACLANE was born on May 1st 1881 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her family moved to Minnesota while she was young, then again to Montana after the death of her father and remarriage of her mother. She began writing for her school paper in 1898 and published her first book, I Await the Devil's Coming, under the title The Story of Mary MacLane, in 1902 at the age of nineteen. She published two further books, including the memoir I, Mary MacLane in 1917; also in 1917 she wrote and starred in an autobiographical silent film, Men Who Have Made Love to Me. She died in mysterious circumstances in Chicago in 1929, at the age of 48, and her works fell almost immediately into obscurity.
“MacLane deserves canonization alongside Virginia Woolf and Emily Dickinson and Gertrude Stein.” —Emily Gould, author of And The Heart Says Whatever and Friendship
"One of the most fascinatingly self-involved personalities of the 20th century." —The Age (2011)
"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 exuber- ance, 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, consid- ered the veritable spirit of the iconoclastic Twenties.” —Boston Globe
“A milestone… Heartwarming, sensual and candid, I Await the Devil's Coming offers reflections that likely were quite scandalous in their time and remain evocative and powerful today." —California Bookwatch
“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