- Jean Stafford
Jean Stafford (
July 1, 1915– March 26, 1979) was an American short story writer and novelist, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fictionfor " The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford" in 1970.
Born in California, her first novel, "Boston Adventure" was a best-seller, earning her national acclaim. She wrote two more novels in her career, but her greatest medium was the short story: her works were published in "
The New Yorker" and various literary magazines.
Stafford's personal life was often marked by unhappiness. Her first marriage, to the brilliant but mentally unstable poet
Robert Lowell, left her with lingering emotional and physical scars. She was seriously injured in an automobile accident with Lowell at the wheel, a trauma she described in one of her best-known stories, "The Interior Castle," and the disfigurement she suffered as a result was a turning point in her life. A second marriage to "Life" magazine photographer Oliver Jensen also ended in divorce. Stafford enjoyed a brief period of domestic happiness with her third husband, A. J. Liebling, a prominent writer for " The New Yorker". After his death, she virtually ceased writing fiction.
For many years Stafford suffered from
alcoholism, depression, and pulmonary disease. By age sixty-three she had almost stopped eating and died of cardiac arrest in White Plains, New Yorkin 1979. She was buried in Green River Cemetery, East Hampton, New York.
Several excellent biographies of Jean Stafford were written following her death: David Roberts' "Jean Stafford, a Biography" (1988), Charlotte Margolis Goodman's "Jean Stafford: The Savage Heart" (1990), and Ann Hulbert's "The Interior Castle: The Art and Life of Jean Stafford" (1992). Among these, Goodman's deals most successfully with Stafford as a proto-
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