As I climb my way out of the infinite pit that has been finals week, I’m actually starting to be able to read things on the internet again. Daybook tells me that it’s Shirley Jackson’s birthday today. Jackson is a perennial Skinny House favorite, despite my not being able to scrape together enough time to read her entire catalog as I’d like. Maybe this winter break will finally be the time.
I can tell you that Jackson’s short story “The Lottery” is a Halloween must-read every year. But it turns out it wasn’t so popular with the readers of The New Yorker, where it appeared in 1948. Many angry subscribers wrote in to express their distaste for the tale. Not to worry, though: the stir it caused basically launched Jackson’s career. (You can read the story here.)
Jackson may have been disliked by a percentage of the magazine-reading public, but she was highly regarded by literary dreamboat Vladimir Nabokov; in his copy of stories from The New Yorker, he gave “The Lottery” an A.