Ep 15 Classic Paperbacks - The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

This is the second of a series of occasional podcasts focused on what I consider to be a "classic paperback". A classic paperback is one that has influenced a generation of readers and has sold phenomenally well (although classics aren't always bestsellers). These are paperbacks that changed our worldview significantly and are still relevant for contemporary readers. 

Our choice for this episode is The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It was first published by Viking Press in 1959 (hardback).  The first paperback publication was by Popular Libary in 1963. The novel was very popular and was nominated for a National Book Award (it lost). The book was made into a very successful movie (The Haunting) by Robert Wise in 1963. Ironically, many people today have seen the movie, but have never read the book. 

Shirley Jackson, photographed in 1940, Erich Hartmann Magnum Photos

We cover Shirley Jackson's bio during the writing of HOHH in the first part of the podcast. You can find out more details of Shirley's life in the excellent 2017 biography, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin. If you want a shorter bio, there is an excellent Wikipedia entry on Shirley. There's a nice short bio of Shirley Jackson at shirleyjackson.org as well.

Popular Library, 1963

Popular Library Movie-tie-in, 1963

Haunting of Hill House in Paperback
Popular Library published the first paperback. That same year a movie-tie-in version of the paperback was published which is much easier to find for readers/collectors today. This version was reprinted several times over the next 10 years. Penguin Books picked up the reprint rights and published a trade paperback edition in 1984 (with a dreadful cover). Since then, there have been many reprintings of the paperback with much better covers. We mentioned the awesome Centipede Press hardback edition in the podcast. This edition features Shirley's ground for Hill House, her essay, "Writing and Experience", and an introduction by noted horror author Caitlin R. Kiernan. You can find out more about it here

Special Guest MARTHA WELTY

Martha Welty 

My co-host on this episode is my good friend and avid reader, Martha Welty. Martha Welty is a retired librarian and an actor who has appeared in numerous productions with many theatre companies in the Phoenix area. In her younger days, Martha played the role of Eleanor Vance in a production of The Haunting of Hill House. She lives in Phoenix Arizona with her sister Lisa and her cats, Archie and Benny. Australia.

You can find out more about her on her Facebook page