The Interior Castle
The Art and Life of Jean Stafford
First US edition, first printing hardback in dustwrapper. 24 × 16.5cm, 430pp.
Ann Hulbert's biography of Jean Stafford, the American writer raised in Colorado, the daughter of a failed writer of Westerns, who came of literary age in the East, yet maintained her connection with her provincial background, forging the unique style that marked her highly acclaimed first novel, Boston Adventure; and the following The Mountain Lion and The Catherine Wheel; and the stories she published in The New Yorker and elsewhere, which were honoured in 1970 with a Pulitzer Prize. Hulbert describes Stafford's early experiences to which she returned again and again in her fiction, and which helped shape her disenchanted vision—her father's sudden loss of his fortune; her shame as an adolescent, living in a boardinghouse in Boulder run by her mother; her aesthetic experimentation as a member of the intellectually maverick "Barbarians" at the University of Colorado; her exciting but troubling Wanderjahr in Nazi Germany, where she watched civilization crumbling. We see her take her place as a forceful, attractive, witty, yet also insecure woman among a group of spirited young writers who were learning from and challenging their older mentors—the increasingly powerful Southern critics and the Partisan Review circle in New York. With her marriage to Robert Lowell at twenty-four, she embarked on a feverishly creative but ill-fated course that held auguries of his and his fellow poets' tragic paths: she struggled with Catholicism, confronted domestic violence, battled with alcoholism and mental instability, and throughout it all wrote formally impeccable fiction.
A good copy. The book itself is in sound shape, the dustwrapper is a little knocked and faded to the spine.