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Jean Stafford


Jean Stafford was born in Covina, California, in 1915. She was the youngest of four. Her father wrote Westerns. He sold the family walnut ranch and lost the money in the stock market. The family moved to Colorado but they were continually struggling financially. She went to the University of Colorado at Boulder and then studied philology at the University of Heidelberg. She moved in with a Bohemian couple, Lucy and Andrew Cooke, but when Lucy committed suicide, Jean never quite got over it. In 1940 she married the poet Robert Lowell but it was not a happy one, not least because of a car accident which badly injured her face. She was married twice more – to Oliver Jensen and finally to A J Liebling.

Stafford gained fame with the publication of her first novel Boston Adventure, which became a best-seller. She wrote two other novels but mainly wrote short stories. She also wrote children’s books and a biography of Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother. In later life, she suffered from alcoholism, depression and pulmonary disease. She died in 1979.

Books about Jean Stafford

Charlotte Margolis Goodman: Jean Stafford: The Savage Heart
Ann Hulbert: The Interior Castle: The Art and Life of Jean Stafford
David Roberts: Jean Stafford, a Biography

Other links

Jean Stafford
Jean Stafford, Antisocialite
Jean Stafford, Diamond in A Rough Lifes
« In Which She Absorbed A Lot From Robert Lowell


1944 Boston Adventure (novel)
1947 The Interior Castle (story)
1947 The Mountain Lion (novel)
1952 The Catherine Wheel (novel)
1953 Children Are Bored on Sunday (stories)
1962 Elephi: The Cat with the High I.Q. (children’s)
1962 The Lion and the Carpenter and Other Tales from the Arabian Tales Retold (children’s)
1964 Bad Characters (stories)
1966 A Mother in History (biography of Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother)
1969 Collected Stories