Neglected Writers Forum discussion

2 neglected masters....

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message 1: by Doug (new)

Doug May | 1 comments Just wanted to comment on a pair of short-story writers who have largely fallen off the literary map in recent years, Jean Stafford and Peter Taylor.

Even in her hayday, when she was a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Jean Stafford was more famous for being married to Robert Lowell than for her own exquisite literary gifts. "The Catherine Wheel" is one of the most perfectly written short novels I've ever encountered. It literally builds from the opening sentence to the final, hair-raising conclusion with nary a wasted word. There are thematic similarities with Carson McCullers, but the New England milieu sets her apart. Her short stories are also fantastic, and are collected in a single large volume from Farrar Straus Giroux.

The other master--probably less neglected because of the success of "A Summons To Memphis"--is Peter Taylor. He wrote some fine novels, but no American author has surpassed him in the realm of the short story. Things like "The Old Forest," "A Spinster's Tale" and "Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time" are perfectly judged studies of a certain segment of Southern society. His approach is often light and ironic, but there is usually a disturbing gothic element just beneath the surface. Anyone who loves the stories of Chekhov or Henry James will find Peter Taylor enthralling.

More later.....

message 2: by CasualDebris (new)

CasualDebris | 6 comments I've read some Jean Stafford, recently a story called "The Scarlet Letter," a bittersweet story of youth & coming of age. Quite funny, actually, before it gets sad. IBList has it entered: but its the only thing of hers so far entered on their database.

Don't know Peter Taylor, though there is a story of his called "A Friend and Protector" in "The Art of the Tale," one of my favourite anthologies. I'll check it out when I get a chance. Thanks.

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