Saturday, October 22, 2016

A real pro …

… The Odd Appeal of Shirley Jackson - Washington Free Beacon. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… now, just over 50 years since her death, what are we to say about her? There are limits to the women-had-it-so-bad-in-the-1950s line that Ruth Franklin pushes in Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life. It doesn’t explain—and even seems to preclude—the genuine success that Jackson found. For that matter, the deeper one reaches in the biography, the less one trusts that Jackson was driven by her times. She was an odd girl, by the standards not just of her day but of any day. And she grew into a talented woman whose writings may have originated among her anxieties but are not fully explained by them.

Somerset Maugham gauged his place in literary history as "in the very front row of the second-rate." Of course, as he pointed out the truly first-rate are people like Shakespeare.

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