David Roberts Jean Stafford

ISBN 13: 9780701130107

Jean Stafford

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9780701130107: Jean Stafford
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This is a biography of the American fiction writer Jean Stafford (1915-1979), winner of the Pulitzer Prize, 1970 and who is considered to be one of the best short-story writers of this century. It was authorized by her estate, and the author has had access to new and unpublished material. David Roberts traces her life, from her birth in a poor Colorado family in 1915, to her rise as one of group of celebrated East Coast writers which included Randall Jarrett and Robert Lowell, whom she married against the wishes of his patrician Boston family. Her stories were greeted with critical acclaim, as were her novels, including the bestselling "Boston Adventurer" and her second, "Mountain Lion". In 1947 "Life" called her the "most brilliant of the new fiction writers". Meanwhile, her marriage fell apart and she spent many months in a psych-alcoholic clinic and wrote only one further novel, though her "Collected Stories" won the 1970 Pulitzer Prize and she continued to write criticism, essays and polemic. She married again to Oliver Jensen, but this marriage too ended in divorce and her third marriage was to "New Yorker" sports writer A.J. Liebling. After his death she became something of a recluse and died in 1979. Her work is currently enjoying a revival and her "Collected Stories" and "Boston Adventurer" are both available in Hogarth.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Like her first husband, Robert Lowell, and many of their friends, American novelist and short-story writer Jean Stafford drank and smoked to excess, was casual about nutrition and suffered from a nearly uninterrupted gauntlet of mental and physical problems. Brought up in the West (Roberts, former eidtor at Horizon magazine, regards her as the best writer "ever to come out of Colorado"), Stafford fled east soon after her college graduation and eventually became a member of the literary establishment. This long, faithful, depressing biography relates the relentless probing of unhappiness and loss in her fiction to the details of her own life, chronicles her three marriages, two early successful novels ( Boston Adventure and Mountain Lion ), mental breakdown and her declining last days producing ephemeral nonfiction. During her "celebrity" years on Long Island, she became ever more spiteful, petulant, resentful, peevish and tyrannical, according to Roberts. She suffered a stroke that caused virtually total aphasia, then, "thumbing her nose at the world," she died at 63, in 1979. This sensitive book will help to fuel the rekindled interest in her work. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

By the late 1940s Jean Stafford was hailed as the best writer of her generation. She was much better known than her husband, a struggling poet named Robert Lowell. Yet by her death in 1979 she was recalled, if at all, as Lowell's long-suffering first wife. Years of writer's block and changing literary fashions led to obscurity despite a 1970 Pulitzer Prize for her Collected Stories . This biography should assist a recent revival of interest in her work. Roberts's portrait of young Stafford's early rebellion against middle-class life in Colorado is compelling. His treatment of her disastrous marriages, alcoholism, and thwarted artistry is perhaps more recitative than analytical, but general readers will find this an accessible and sympathetic chronicle of a remarkable American woman. Starr E. Smith, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780316749985: Jean Stafford: A Biography

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0316749982 ISBN 13:  9780316749985
Publisher: Little, Brown, 1988
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Roberts, David
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