Jackson, Shirley

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Jackson, Shirley

Shirley Jackson, 1916–65, American writer, b. San Francisco. She is best known for her stories and novels of horror and the occult, rendered more terrifying because they are set against realistic, everyday backgrounds and are related in the most matter-of-fact manner, often with a touch of gallows humor. Her best-known work is "The Lottery," a harrowing short story first published in the New Yorker in 1948 and widely anthologized since. Jackson's novels include The Haunting of Hill House (1959) and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962). The Magic of Shirley Jackson (1966), Come Along with Me (1968), and Just An Ordinary Day (1997) are collections of her stories; Let Me Tell You (2015) contains stories, essays, and other writings, most previously unpublished. Although she was long considered a serious and accomplished writer in the American Gothic tradition, she is now more widely recognized for her skill as a literary artist and for her portrayal of the conflict felt by mid-20th-century women who were artists but also wives and mothers. She was married to the critic Stanley Edgar Hyman.

See Shirley Jackson: Novels and Stories (2010), ed. by J. C. Oates; biographies by J. Oppenheimer (1988) and R. Franklin (2016); studies by L. Friedman (1975), J. W. Hall (1993), H. Bloom, ed. (2001), D. Hattenhauer (2003), B. M. Murphy, ed. (2005), and C. Haines (2007); bibliography by P. N. Reinsch (2001).

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