Jean Stafford: A Biography

David Roberts, Author Little Brown and Company $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-316-74998-5
Like her first husband, Robert Lowell, and many of their friends, American novelist and short-story writer Jean Stafford drank and smoked to excess, was casual about nutrition and suffered from a nearly uninterrupted gauntlet of mental and physical problems. Brought up in the West (Roberts, former eidtor at Horizon magazine, regards her as the best writer ``ever to come out of Colorado''), Stafford fled east soon after her college graduation and eventually became a member of the literary establishment. This long, faithful, depressing biography relates the relentless probing of unhappiness and loss in her fiction to the details of her own life, chronicles her three marriages, two early successful novels ( Boston Adventure and Mountain Lion ), mental breakdown and her declining last days producing ephemeral nonfiction. During her ``celebrity'' years on Long Island, she became ever more spiteful, petulant, resentful, peevish and tyrannical, according to Roberts. She suffered a stroke that caused virtually total aphasia, then, ``thumbing her nose at the world,'' she died at 63, in 1979. This sensitive book will help to fuel the rekindled interest in her work. Photos not seen by PW. (August)
Reviewed on: 08/05/1988
Release date: 08/01/1988
Paperback - 978-0-312-02934-0
Hardcover - 494 pages - 978-0-7011-3010-7
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