An absorbing look at the early beginnings of one of America's finest writers, The Mortgaged Heart is an important collection of Carson McCullers's work, including stories, essays, articles, poems, and her writing on writing. These pieces, written mostly before McCullers was nineteen, provide invaluable insight into her life and her gifts and growth as a writer. The collection also contains the working outline of "The Mute," which became her best-selling novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. As new generations of readers continue to discover her work, Carson McCullers's celebrated place in American letters survives more surely than ever. Edited by McCullers's sister and with a new introduction by Joyce Carol Oates, The Mortgaged Heart will be an inspiration to writers young and old.