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Presented in partnership with the Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Collected Stories includes both volumes of the National Book Award–winning author Shirley Hazzard’s short-story collections—Cliffs of Fall and People in Glass Houses—alongside uncollected works and two previously unpublished stories
Shirley Hazzard's Collected Stories is a work of staggering breadth and accomplishment. Taken together, these twenty-eight short stories are masterworks in telescoping focus, ranging from quotidian struggles between beauty and pragmatism to satirical send-ups of international bureaucracy, from the Italian countryside to suburban Connecticut. Hazzard's heroes are high-minded romantics who attempt to fit their feelings into the twentieth-century world of office jobs and dreary marriages. After all, as she writes in "The Picnic," "It was tempting to confine oneself to what one could cope with. And one couldn't cope with love." And yet it is the comedy, the tragedy, and the splendor of love, the pursuit and the absence of it, that animates Hazzard's stories and provides the truth and beauty that her protagonists seek.
Hazzard once said, "The idea that somebody has expressed something, in a supreme way, that it can be expressed; this is, I think, an enormous feature of literature." Her stories themselves are a supreme evocation of writing at its very best: probing, uncompromising, and deeply felt.
Shirley Hazzard (1931-2016) was born in Australia, and in early years traveled the world with her parents due to their diplomatic postings. At sixteen, living in Hong Kong, she was engaged by British Intelligence, where, in 1947-48, she was involved in monitoring the civil war in China. Thereafter, she lived in New Zealand and in Europe; in the United States, where she worked for the United Nations Secretariat in New York; and in Italy. In 1963, she married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994.
Ms. Hazzard's novels are The Evening of the Holiday (1966), The Bay of Noon (1970), The Transit of Venus (1981) and The Great Fire (2003). She is also the author of two collections of short fiction, Cliffs of Fall and Other Stories (1963) and People in Glass Houses (1967). Her nonfiction works include Defeat of an Ideal (1973), Countenance of Truth (1990), and the memoir Greene on Capri (2000). She lived in New York, with sojourns in Italy.
Brigitta Olubas is a professor of English at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She is Shirley Hazzard's authorized biographer and recently edited Hazzard's We Need Silence to Find Out What We Think: Selected Essays.
Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and lives in Australia. She is the author of five acclaimed novels, and her essay On Shirley Hazzard was published by Catapult in March this year. De Kretser now lives in Sydney with her partner, the poet and translator Chris Andrews.
Robert Pogue Harrison is the Rosina Pierotti Professor of French and Italian literature at Stanford University, and the host of the "Entitled Opinions" podcast. Harrison is the author of Juvenescence: A Cultural History of Our Age, and Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, among other books, and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. Harrison was a close friend of Shirley Hazzard's, and lives in California.
The collections of Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library span more than 4,000 years, from Biblical papyri and ostraca to the archives of modern writers like Amiri Baraka and Lydia Davis. Columbia is an important collecting repository for American publishing history, holding the records of Random House, Harper Brothers, and W.W. Norton, as well as the personal papers of Barney Rosset (Grove Press), Bennett Cerf (Random House), Dick Simon and Lincoln Schuster, and many other editors and literary agents. Columbia stewards a rich collection of Shirley Hazzard manuscripts, correspondence, and other personal papers, including a number of unpublished short stories.