Sunday, August 2, 2015

Shirley Jackson, "Life Among the Savages" (1952 First Edition)

I'm excited to see the release of Shirley Jackson's Let Me Tell You this week, so I thought I'd share a First Edition I picked up recently of Life Among the Savages. First published in 1953, Life Among the Savages collects a number of fictionalized autobiographical stories that Jackson wrote about her family for various women's magazines like Good Housekeeping. The book was followed by a sequel called Raising Demons in 1957. It's curious to see such tame, maternal stories coming out between The Lottery in 1948 and 1962's remarkably eerie We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and it's fun to consider the sinister brain behind those horror stories as the mother in these yarns about a big, clamorous family.

Here's a photo of Jackson's kids on the back, can't you just imagine these little hellions growing up to be stone throwers in The Lottery?

This summer, Penguin reissued Savages and Raising Demons in two new paperbacks with outstanding illustrated covers by Graham Roumieu:

Absolutely wonderful.

...on a broad note: I think it's important in one's collection to maintain a focus that's somewhat in reach: one of my favorite novelists, Thomas Pynchon, only has a handful of books and, although costly, it is a reasonable endeavor to try and get first editions of his whole body of work. Collecting Hemingway, on the other hand, might be a lifelong feat (and would take up a whole lot of shelf space, to boot). I recently expanded my list to include Shirley Jackson, deciding she was a perfect candidate: she's got about ten books, and while all pretty tricky to track down only The Haunting of Hill House and The Lottery are in the $250+ range. Following a purchase of The Sundial and a cheap eBay slam dunk with We Have Always Lived in the Castle, I'm on my way with Life Among the Savages.

Currently reading:
Poetry Is Useless, Anders Nilsen

Currently listening to:
"I am the Center: Private Issue New Age Music in America" (3LP)

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