A social butterfly who operated according to her own ideas in social groups, Carson McCullers (along with husband Reeves until his death) was very popular with American ex-patriots in Europe, and also with European writers and artists that she met in Italy, France and England. Audacious in some ways, McCullers dropped in uninvited to writer Elizabeth Bowen and writer Dame Edith Sitwell's country estates during her travels abroad, and struck up an easy friendship with both.
Throughout the early 1950s, McCullers spent time with many of her oldest literary friends in Rome, including W.H. Auden, Truman Capote (who was much closer with Reeves by this time), Gore Vidal and Tennessee Williams. She maintained a great love of Western Europe even in her darkest hours, and made her last trip to Ireland shortly before her final stroke in 1967. Her travel was at the request of director John Huston, a close friend toward the end of her life, who was in the process of shooting the movie adaptation of Reflections in a Golden Eye.