Today, 1 June is the birthday of author Jean Stafford (1 June, 1915 – 26 March, 1979. Ms. Stafford was an American short story writer and novelist who was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford.
1 ) During her career Ms. Stafford wrote three novels. The first, Boston Adventure, was a best seller.
2 ) Ms. Stafford’s first marriage to poet Robert Lowell ended badly with her suffering both physical and emotional scars.
3 ) In her story The Interior Castle Stafford describes her trauma from a serious car accident she was in and in which she suffered disfigurement (Lowell was driving).
4 ) Stafford’s second marriage to Oliver Jensen, a Life Magazine photographer, also ended in divorce. Third time’s a charm, Ms. Stafford finally found happiness being married to The New York Times writer A. J. Liebling.
5 ) After Liebling’s death, about four years after the marriage, Stafford stopped writing fiction.
6 ) During her life Stafford worked as an instructor at Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri, at the Southern Review and as an adjunct professor at Columbia University.
7 ) Even though Stafford was the youngest of four children, her writing mostly focused on alienation.
8 ) Tragedy seemed to follow Stafford. In college she witnessed the suicide of a roommate, she was severely injured in a car accident (see #3) and her brother Dick was killed in a car accident in France during World War II.
9 ) Ms. Stafford’s short stories appeared in The New Yorker, Vogue, Mademoiselle, Harper’s Bazaar and magazines of literary themes.
10) Stafford suffered from depression, pulmonary disease and was an alcoholic (she died in a rehab center).
Zohar – Man of la Book