Ruth Franklin is a book critic and former editor at The New Republic. She has written for many publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, and Salmagundi, to which she contributes a regular film column. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in biography, a Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library, a Leon Levy Fellowship in biography, and the Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism. Her first book, A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction (Oxford University Press, 2011), was a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.
Franklin's new book is Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life.
From the transcript of her interview with NPR's Linda Wertheimer:
WERTHEIMER: "The Lottery" is a kind of template for some of [Shirley Jackson's] other work, characters that seem ordinary, nice, normal, small-town folks but then who participate in a terrible tradition in their village. She said in one of the lectures that you quote something to the effect that simmering under the surface of ordinary life is extraordinary evil. What created this world view, do you think?Visit Ruth Franklin's website.
FRANKLIN: I think her tendency to see evil in the most mundane circumstances came from her childhood. She had a difficult childhood, a difficult relationship with her mother especially, who was a socialite who wanted to mold Jackson in her image. And it became clear quite early on, I think, that Shirley wasn't going to be the kind of daughter her mother had hoped her to be.
So I think there was this kind of fundamental conflict in which she felt unloved and unappreciated in the setting that should have been...[read on]
The Page 99 Test: Shirley Jackson.