Shirley Jackson: Influences and Confluences (4/11/14; collection)

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Melanie R. Anderson
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Shirley Jackson: Influences and Confluences (4/11/14; collection)

For a writer as engaged in the American literary scene of the late 1940s through the early 1960s as Shirley Jackson, scholarship on her work has not fully explored the expanse of her oeuvre, other than the attention paid to her classic works "The Lottery" and The Haunting of Hill House. Her other five completed novels, an unfinished novel, two volumes of domestic sketches, and prodigious story output have received sporadic scholarly activity. Lately (developing since the 1990s), there has been a resurgence of interest in her work, both critical and in the availability of primary texts. In 2010, a Library of America volume of Jackson's fiction, including The Lottery and Other Stories, The Haunting of Hill House, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, appeared. Summer 2013 and January 2014 saw the return to print of Jackson's novels The Road Through the Wall, Hangsaman, The Bird's Nest, and The Sundial in Penguin Classic versions.

We are seeking abstracts for a proposed essay collection that will broaden the current critical rediscovery of Jackson's work and her place in American literature of the twentieth century and beyond. While essays with new perspectives on any of Jackson's fiction (or even film adaptations) are welcome, we are interested in explorations of novels or stories that have not received as much attention, and we particularly are interested in questions of influence. This collection will investigate influences in every sense, including those on Jackson's work and her influence on writers who followed her, such as Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, or Margaret Atwood, to name a few possibilities. In addition, we seek essays that place Jackson firmly in her literary cohort of the 1950s, an era that one contemporary literary critic called "the decade of Jackson." Jackson and her husband were socially and professionally linked with many writers, such as J. D. Salinger and Ralph Ellison, and there are many thematic connections that could be made between her work and that of her contemporaries (in addition to Salinger and Ellison, for example, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, or Patricia Highsmith). Intertextual readings among Jackson's works are also welcome, as well as various theoretical treatments appropriate to her wide-ranging subject matter (including, but not limited to, feminist or postmodern lenses, deconstruction, psychological angles, questions of class, gender, sexuality, or the Gothic).

Editors: Melanie R. Anderson and Lisa Kröger

Please send an abstract of 350-500 words and a brief CV as attachments to Melanie R. Anderson at by April 11, 2014. Please provide affiliation and contact information, either on the CV or in the message accompanying the submission.