Children of the Night: Shirley Jackson’s Domestic Female Gothic

  • Andrew Smith


Shirley Jackson was one of the most popular writers working in America from the 1940s to the 1960s. During her lifetime (she died in 1965 at the age of 48) she published six novels, a collection of short stories, two books of non-fiction focusing on her domestic life, and three books for children. Although it was not her first tale in print her literary career was effectively launched by the publication of her short story ‘The Lottery’ in The New Yorker in June 1948 which dealt with the inner tensions and murderously arbitrary rules of what otherwise appeared to be a ‘civilised’ community, and caused some considerable controversy at the time. Her work is often either explicitly Gothic or contains a strong interest in the sinister. It is, however, only since the 1990s that critical interest in her work has flourished.


Female Child Short Story Literary Legacy Subsequent Reference Domestic Duty 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Darryl Hattenhauer, Shirley Jackson’s American Gothic (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Steven Bruhm, ‘Gothic Sexualities’ in Teaching the Gothic, eds Anna Powell and Andrew Smith (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006), 93–106Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Roberta Rubenstein, ‘House Mothers and Haunted Daughters: Shirley Jackson and the Female Gothic’, in Shirley Jackson: Essays on the Literary Legacy, ed. Bernice M. Murphy (London: McFarland, 2005), 127–49.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House (London: Constable [1959], 1999), 6.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Nancy J. Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1978), 103.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Harmondsworth: Penguin [1962], 1984).Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Shirley Jackson, Life Among the Savages (Harmondsworth: Penguin [1953], 1997), 13.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    Shirley Jackson, Raising Demons (New York: Scholastic Book Services [1957], 1967), 12Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (Harmondsworth: Penguin [1963], 1992), 9.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    Shirley Jackson, The Witchcraft of Salem Village (New York: Random House [1956], 2001), 37.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Andrew Smith 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GlamorganUK

Personalised recommendations