The Roxanne M. Kaufman Lecture
Known to millions primarily as the author of "The Lottery," Shirley Jackson (1916–1965) has until recently been curiously absent from the mainstream American literary canon. A genius of literary suspense and psychological horror, Jackson plumbed the cultural anxiety of postwar America in novels such as The Haunting of Hill House (1959) and We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962). Placing Jackson in the tradition of Hawthorne and Poe, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life argues that Jackson’s unique contribution to her genre came from her focus on domestic horror, with novels and memoirs chronicling the exploitation and desperate isolation of women in American society. With archival documents and other rare materials from Jackson’s private life, Ruth Franklin’s talk will give a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the creation of her acclaimed biography, illuminating her subject in a new way.
Speaker: Ruth Franklin
Ruth Franklin is a book critic and former editor at The New Republic. Her book Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life (2016) won numerous awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2016, a Time magazine top nonfiction book of 2016, and a “best book of 2016” by The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, and others. She is also the author of A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction (2011), which was a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Writing. Her criticism and essays appear in many publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Review of Books, and Harper’s. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in biography, a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, a Leon Levy Fellowship in biography, and the Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism.