On the Radio

Week of December11, 2016

Shirley Jackson

Shirley Jackson

December 11, 2016

On the centennial of Shirley Jackson's birth, we explore the great literary work that she left for us -- the stories and novels that continue to resonate in our culture.

  1. A Rather Haunted Life

    Ruth Franklin is the author of "Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life." In her book, Franklin argues that Jackson's body of work channeled women's anxieties at the time, representing "nothing less than the secret history of American women of her era."

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  2. The Daemon Lover

    We take a closer look at one of Shirley Jackson's most haunting short stories, "The Daemon Lover." Joan Wylie Hall is our guide.  She's the author of "Shirley Jackson: A Study of the Short Fiction."

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  3. My Mother, Shirley Jackson

    Shirley Jackson didn't just write haunting short stories and novels filled with psychological horror and suspense. She also wrote comic essays about her struggles to balance her writing career with family life -- her husband, literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman, and her four children. The oldest of these children is Laurence Jackson Hyman. He and his sister, Sarah Hyman DeWitt, put together a collection of Shirley Jackson's writing called "Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings."

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  4. Making My Grandmother's Story Graphic

    Miles Hyman is Shirley Jackson's grandson. He's an artist who specializes in graphic novels and adaptations of classic literature. His latest book has a lot of personal meaning for him. It's a graphic adaptation of his grandmother's most famous short story, "The Lottery."  Hyman talks about how and why he took on this challenging task. 

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  5. Under the Influence of Jackson

    Chuck Palahniuk has made a very successful career out of writing transgressive fiction. He's the author of novels such as "Fight Club," "Lullaby," and the short-story collection, "Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread." We should warn you that you may find parts of this conversation objectionable. One critic has compared reading Palahniuk's fiction to "having your eyes rubbed raw with broken glass." So maybe it's not surprising that Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" had a huge impact on Palahniuk.

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An old woman smiling in a black and white photo

Late Bloomers

December 11, 2016
(was 03.22.2015)

Are you afraid of getting old? Most people are, but studies show we're usually happier in our 60s and 70s. Aging often brings wisdom and resilience - and a new creative spark. We celebrate the fine art of aging - and hear about some artists who remade their careers late in life.

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  1. Aging Artfully

    Worried about getting old?  Amy Gorman was, so she went looking for inspiration among old women - some who were over 100.
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  2. Literary Genius After 60

    Penelope Fitzgerald is considered one of the great British novelists of the last half-century. Remarkably, she didn't begin writing until she was nearly 60 - and that's partly what attracted biographer Hermione Lee.

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  3. Why People Get Happier in Old Age

    Life gets better for people in their 60s and 70, according to lots of recent studies. Why? Geriatric psychiatrist Dilip Jeste says people often become wiser with age.

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  4. It's Never Too Late to Dance

    Renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones stopped dancing in his 50s - and recently, did something radical. He created a dance based on John Cage's ideas about chance and randomness. He felt compelled to reinvent his career at this stage of his life.

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  5. Dangerous Idea: Why We Need Outsider Writers

    John Safran says we need writers who are outsiders. Otherwise, groups will keep hiding their secrets.

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  6. Daring to Offend

    Talking about race is fraught these days, so it took guts for Paul Beatty to write his novel "The Sellout." It's a satire about a young black man who winds up on trial at the Supreme Court. And along the way, he enslaves an old friend and re-segregates the local high school.

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