資料彙整   /   作家  /  Shirley Anne  Jackson  雪兒麗•安•傑克森
Shirley Anne  Jackson
雪兒麗•安•傑克森
圖片來源:
主要文類:Novella and Short story
資料提供者:Kate Liu/劉紀雯;Ray Schulte/蕭笛雷;Julia Hsieh/謝佩璇
關鍵字詞:modern American short story writer;Introduction to Literature,1998

雪兒麗•安•傑克森

1919-1965

Julia Hsieh 謝佩璇

儘管她的名字不如她的作品一般出名,她在文壇具影響力卻毋庸置疑地在五○、六○直到八○年代發光發熱。她一生中,生活始終保持十分低調,也往往拒絕任何形式的訪問。她的讀者只能從她以及夫婿撰寫的粗略的作者簡傳中對她的生活、創作的歷程以及她的想法略知一二。


 早期生活背景




A.家庭生活
  傑克森生於一九一九年十二月十四號一個加州舊金山富裕的家庭,她的父親萊斯理.哈第.傑克森經營石板印刷公司而母親潔若婷則是傳統的家庭主婦。傑克森童年在加州的柏林蓋姆,不過傑克森始終無法如其父母的期望融入社區人群,她對於身處於上流社會的社群總覺得格格不入,也十分厭惡社會上層階級生活中表面一片祥和,實際上充滿虛偽、勢利的祕密生活。她相信自己具有靈媒的特質可以透析人們心中邪惡的一面。傑克森的首部小說可能就是描寫柏林蓋姆的居民給予她的印象。
 
B.教育背景
 


傑克森家在她十多歲時舉家遷徙至紐約州的羅徹斯特定居,她也因此在羅徹斯特完成高中學業。自兒童時期,傑克森便開始創作,她創作的詩篇在十二歲的時候就曾經獲獎。完成了高中學業後,傑克森前往羅徹斯特大學就讀。然而兩年後,她受嚴重的憂鬱情緒、精神崩潰而被迫休學。復原之後,傑克森轉進雪城大學,並在英文系得到她的文學學士學位。在雪城大學就讀期間,傑克森認識了她未來的夫婿史坦利.艾格.海曼。海曼在學生時代便是校園雜誌《幽靈》的編輯、書評,傑克森在求學時期因為優異的稿件已在步出校園之際,漸漸獲得文藝界的注目。

 

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 她的作品


A.自都市叢林中退隱


年輕的傑克森從大學畢業以後,與當時的年輕學子職場新鮮人一樣投入社會,然而經過一連串不順遂並且惱人的工作經歷之後,她毅然決然退隱開始寫作生涯。海曼曾經在傑克森傳記資料中提及她甫出社會工作時碰到的不公平不愉快的工作待遇,從而促使她回到家庭,專心致力於她的創作上。一九四○年,傑克森與海曼結婚,婚後,他們倆一起住進新罕布夏州一處無水電等現代設施的森林小屋,開始隱居山林的生活。

經過一年全神貫注的寫作,傑克森賣出第一篇短篇故事《與 R.H. 梅西同住》,僅僅二十五元的收入卻不只是她隱居寫作生涯的第一份稿費,也進而激勵她以創作為畢生職志的決心。海曼曾提及傑克森習慣性的寫作、專注的態度,讓她儘管往往精神狀態不佳而稍作停頓,但她總仍勉力維持每天寫作至少一千字的好習慣。在這般努力之下,至四○年代中期,傑克森的故事已可見於各大出版雜誌中。一九四二年,她與海曼的第一個孩子勞倫斯出生,三年後,女兒瓊安.萊斯理接著誕生。在女兒誕生前,傑克森與海德曼倆帶著勞倫斯住在紐約,但隨後懷著第二胎的她,因為夫婿上任位於佛蒙特州貝寧頓市的教職,而搬離紐約。當她回憶那一段離開紐約的日子,曾經感到不自在,總是想回到紐約,至少在數月之間會回到城市裡走走看看。不過不久之後,傑克森便完全融入家庭,習慣了靜謐安寧的鄉村生活之後,她便鮮少進城,也不再有想再與熱鬧的都市生活有所交集。此後,海曼在貝寧頓學院執教時,她便專心在家寫作、照顧孩子們。海德曼在接受教職以前,在當時已是著名的 紐約客 雜誌的專欄作家與評論家,曾有不少傑克森的研究學者指出海曼給予其妻傑克森的鼓勵、刺激等正面影響之外,事實上,他也或多或少掌控、操縱著她的生活。夫婦倆的另外兩個孩子,莎拉.潔若婷與貝利.艾格分別在一九四八與一九五○年誕生。當時 ,傑克森不只是個作家,她同時也為廣播電台執掌劇本,並活躍於孩子們的學校裡的家長會,為學校活動、表演撰寫劇本。

B.特別的興趣


身為一個慈愛盡責的母親,傑克森始終與她的家庭保持十分親密的關係。在她的自傳簡介中,她對於家務事、與家人的關係、和孩子相處的情況之中,表達出負責任成熟的態度,但是在音樂、藝術等等領域之外,才華洋溢的傑克森最令人驚奇的是,許多她寫作的靈感來自於她的特殊興趣:巫術。海曼曾經在傑克森傳中證實,她在家中的巫術相關藏書許多,也時常運用她收藏的招魂板和塔羅排練習巫術。傑克森相信自己具有巫術、靈性,對超自然事件有著濃厚的興趣,也可能因為這些特殊的興趣、才能,她在鋪陳作品的時候,對於小說或故事中的背景、人物總是充滿神祕、詭譎的特殊氣氛。

 

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她的文學名聲與作品風格


在佛蒙特的寧靜生活的日子正是傑克森創作最多作品的時候。她的第一部小說《穿牆之路》在一九四八年出版,不少書評認為傑克森將故事背景設在加州一個神似她童年背景的社區,旨在描寫她所厭惡的墮落上流階層社會中,她所觀察到人性中的偽詐、頑劣性格。隨後,傑克森於同年六月二十六日出版在 紐約客 的短篇故事《樂透》引起讀者廣泛的注意, 紐約客 隨後收到數百封信件表達對這篇故事的關切、反感與好奇。故事描寫一個平凡的小鎮看似平靜的生活之下有著可怕的樂透抽獎儀式,撿選出來的居民將受到如暴民般的其餘住民的亂石投擲,成為被犧牲的代罪羔羊。許多讀者因為覺得故事中栩栩如生的情節背景描述感到好奇,寫信詢問故事發生的地點,也有一些讀者因為對《樂透》所描寫的人性可憎的弱點以及憂慮其可能造成的負面影響而產生極大的反感,寫信抗議並取消訂閱該雜誌。次年,《樂透》與其他短篇小說被一同出版成為《樂透;又名,詹姆士.哈理斯的冒險》,傑克森的作品集受到很好的評論,並且因她特殊的寫實作風而受到很高的評價,特別是她的短篇故事;另一方面,也因為她的故事形態以及過於寫真的人性墮落、邪惡的黑暗面而為她帶來負面形象。

一九五○年,《漢斯蒙》出版,背景描寫掙扎於過去創痛回憶與眼前進退兩難的大學生,在幻想的世界與現實世界之間產生的矛盾、無助與痛苦。傑克森將這小說獻給她的孩子們,並且持續嘗試不同的創作。事實上,除了她所著名的歌德式的黑色冷峻而陰森可怕的故事之外,她也將家庭紀事以十分幽默風趣的方式呈現在故事情節中,《與野蠻人共生》便是一例。

傑克森的下一部小說《鳥之巢》中所敘述多重人格的精神分裂者展現了她對精神、心理學的研究。在一九五八年發行的《日晷》中,她描寫一群深信世界末日就要來臨的人們群居隱世並且將發生在他們之間的詭譎現象一一解釋為末日預兆。她的下一本小說《山丘上的鬼屋》描寫一名在社會邊緣與正邪力量的爭鬥中最後被犧牲的年輕女主人翁經歷的種種試煉考驗。這本小說在發行的當年榮登 紐約客 的最佳小說。

一九六一年傑克森的短篇故事《露依莎,請回家》獲得恐怖大師愛倫波獎的殊榮。次年,她完成最後一部小說《我們一直都住在城堡裡》。她在這部小說裡充分融入她對心理學、巫術以及社會疏離的知識使讀者很輕易的經歷、同理主人翁布萊屋姊妹所受到的歧視、迫害,也進而得到感動。許多書評認為傑克森書中描寫的被迫害女主人翁姊妹與其他書中的其他女性主人翁所受到的不平等對待、被疏離、受欺壓等等情節都再再說明她對於女性議題的重視。也因此,傑克森也被認為是當代女性主義作家之一。


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 晚年


儘管傑克森自童年便感受到自己特異獨行的社會邊緣性格不見容於偽善的所謂上流社會之中,儘管她甚至不顧父母親的反對與傾左派猶太後裔的海曼結婚,儘管她犀利的筆觸諷刺描繪上層階級生活中充滿的偽善、私領域道德淪喪的風氣與人性的黑暗面,這位深謀遠慮的作家在ㄧ生中卻經常性的受到精神疾病的折磨。除了十八世紀文學,像是珍奧斯汀的作品之外,傑克森大量閱讀關於精神學、心理學、巫術、神祕主義、超自然主義的書籍,這些知識一方面幫助她鋪陳故事背景人物,卻也一方面使她的精神、身體狀態日益惡化。諷刺的是,直到去世之前,傑克森才在心理醫師的協助之下,精神情況逐漸好轉。她在一九六五年時因為心臟衰竭辭世,享年四十五歲。

 

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Shirley Anne Jackson

1919-1965
Julia Hsieh 謝佩璇
 

 Early Background

 Her Works

 Her Reputation and Styles

 Last Years


 Early Background


A. Family

Jackson was born on December 14 th, 1919, to an affluent family in San Francisco, California . Her father Leslie Hardie Jackson ran a lithography company and her mother, Geraldine, a home-maker. Jackson spent her childhood mostly in Burlingame, California . Unlike her parents, Jackson did not find her life agreeable in an upper-class community. She abhorred the snobbishness and clandestine life of her class and believed that she had the psychic capacity to discern the viciousness in people. The production of her first novel was possibly aiming at the village people there in Burlingame .

B. Education


As Jackson turned teenager, the Jacksons moved to Rochester, New York, and she went to high school there in Rochester . Jackson started to be engaged in writing when she was still a child. She won awards for poetry back in her teens. When she graduated from high school, she continued her study in University of Rochester . Two years later, she dropped out of school due to severe mental distress and depression. When she was ready to return to school, she enrolled into Syracuse University and eventually received her BA in English. While there, Jackson met Stanley Edgar Hyman who was then a critic and editor for campus magazine Spectre, for which Jackson contributed her fine works and obtained high recognition in literary achievement.


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 Her works

A. Retreat from the City Jungle


Young Jackson threw herself into the job market as most university graduates, but found herself badly treated, trapped and tormented by dead-end working status. After working two different jobs, she decided to return to family. In 1940, Jackson married Hyman and they lived in a reclusive shack, without electricity or plumbing, in New Hampshire .

A year-long devotion in writing in the secluded woods rewarded Jackson twenty-five dollars with her first publication of short comic story "My Life with R. H. Macy" and her determination of making writing her life-long career. She thence formed a habit of writing at least a thousand words every day whenever she was sober and capable of writing. In the mid-forties, Jackson's stories mostly appeared in magazines. Her first son, Laurence was born in 1942, and after that, her daughter, Joanne Leslie in 1945. Before she gave birth to Joanne, Jackson and her family lived in New York . Then the family moved to Bennington, Vermont, in view of Hyman's new teaching position offered by Bennington College . Before he took the teaching position, Hyman was then an author, critic and the staff writer for The New Yorker . Jackson had once indicated that on first leaving New York, she had an anxiety of returning to the city every few months, and then the yearning for the city subsided as she grew to be accustomed to the undisturbed life in Vermont . Jackson's other two children, Sarah Geraldine and Barry Edgar were born in 1948 and 1950. By the time, she had certain recognition as not merely a writer, but a radio program writer and an active PTA participant for her children.

B. Atypical Hobbies


As a loving and devoted mother, Jackson was close to her family. In her biographical material, she disclosed her responsible attitude toward domestic chores and her faithful relationship with her children. A talented woman that developed diverse heed toward arts, Jackson also admitted her inquisitiveness in sorcery, and Hyman, her husband, has conveyed her particular absorption in witchcraft, black magic and supernatural issues. When she was in good condition, Jackson indulged herself in Ouija board and Tarot deck with her knowledge in witchery and magic. It is possibly this adjacent to the psychiatric study that helped her employ the setting and characterization in her stories and novels with discrete temperament.



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 Her reputation and styles

Years of serene life in Vermont somehow thrived Jackson's writings. Her first novel The Road through the Wall came out in 1948, with the setting in California . Many believed that Jackson was depicting the depraved upper-class community that she resented. In this novel, she focused on the bigotry and hypocrisy in human nature. "The Lottery" published on 26 th June the same year in New Yorker actually drew the public's attention on her. The publisher received mails and inquiries of consternation about the short story about the dark side in humanity evoked vile deeds of lynch mob in a normal American village. The year after, the short story was published along with other short stories as The Lottery; or, The Adventures of James Harris and it was well-reviewed, and Jackson was made instantly famous with her remarkable writings, short stories in particular, and yet perhaps infamous as well, with her portrayals of the vicious humanity underlying in people.

In 1950, Hangsaman came out, the setting of this novel is regarding a college girl striving through her traumatic past life and current dilemma of her imaginary world and the reality. Jackson dedicated this work to her children, and meanwhile, she continued to work on other short stories. Disregard her gruesome Gothic stories, Jackson also wrote family chronicles with extraordinary humorous tone of narration; Life among the Savages is one example.

The Bird's Nest, her next novel, is about schizophrenia and multiple identities of the character, which she demonstrated her engagement in psychological study. In 1958, The Sundial was published, and this time, Jackson dealt with a group of people convinced in Armageddon and interpreted the occult happenings around them as omens. The next novel, The Haunting of Hill House was slightly similar to the previous but different in the way that Jackson invented the socially unfit young heroine to be sacrificed while fighting against the evil power. The novel itself was a success and won the best fiction of the year by the renowned New York Times Book Reviews .

In 1961, Jackson's short story, "Louisa, Please Come home" won the Edgar Allan Poe Award. The following year, she finished writing We Have Always Lived in the Castle, her last novel. Jackson pulled in her effort of her study in psychology, occult study and social alienation into this novel that draws the reader's empathy toward the heroines: the Blackwood sisters. Critics regard her portraits of the two persecuted and desperate sisters a result of Jackson's intense concern for woman issues. Some deem her novels, including this last one, feminist novels in which the poor Blackwood sisters almost become victimized under the suppression of the scheming malignant villagers in an overwhelming encompassment of ambiguity and enigma.
 


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 Last years

Ever since her childhood, Jackson did not feel like fitting into her community. She married Hyman, a left-wing Jew, against her Protestant parents' expectation, and she had a reputation as a somber writer commenting on the decadence and depravity of humanity. This ruminative writer, however, suffered from depression and mental disintergration that disturbed her till later years. In addition to 18 th century literature, such as the classics of Jane Austen's works, her extensive knowledge toward necromancy, paranormality and supernatrualism helped her writing, but tore her apart in a way as well. With psychiatrist's treatment, Jackson's disturbed mental condition was improved only at her early forties, a few years before her death. She died on August 8 th, 1965, of a heart failure. Three years after Jackson deceased, Hyman collected, rearranged and published her last works some of which she had never thought of publishing.
 


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Reference


Hattenhauer, Darryl. "Shirley Jackson's American Gothic." New York : SUNY Press, 2003.

Hall, Joan Wylie. "Shirley Jackson." New York : Twayne, 1993.

"Shirley Jackson." Contemporary Authors . Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003.

Sullivan, Jack. "Shirley Jackson." Supernatural Fiction Writers. Vol. 2 . The Scribner Writers Series. Charles Scribner's Sons: 1985. 1031-1036.

"Shirley Jackson." Contemporary Literary Cirticism .
 

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