Sunday, April 2, 2017

the last book I ever read (Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, excerpt two)

from Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin:

Stanley had hoped to write fiction himself, but once he met Shirley, he realized that he could not compete. Stanley “wrote painfully, it was a tedious, forced thing, whereas she—the thing flowed like you turned on a faucet,” said June Mirken, Stanley’s old friend from elementary school, who graduated a year behind him and Shirley at Syracuse. “He talked a lot but she wrote better,” another of their college acquaintances recalled. Instead, he would be the cool-headed intellectual who helped Shirley realize her full creative powers and then interpreted her work to the world: a perfect symbiosis. Between them, the criticism flowed largely in one direction. Shirley would comment on Stanley’s writings, but she rarely worked them over with the same gusto he brought to hers. Throughout their marriage, he gave her detailed pages of notes on all of her novels and many of her stories. She would dedicate The Road Through the Wall, her first novel, to “Stanley, a critic.” It became their custom to present each other with leather-bound editions of their own works, inscribed “To S with love from S.”

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