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Charles R. Jackson
Born April 6, 1903(1903-04-06)
Summit, New Jersey
Died September 21, 1968 (aged 65)
New York, New York
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Genres fictional prose

Charles R. Jackson, Charles Reginald Jackson, (April 6, 1903- September 21, 1968) was an American author, best known for his 1944 novel, The Lost Weekend.

Contents

Career

Jackson's first published story, titled "Palm Sunday", appeared in the Partisan Review in 1939. This story focuses on a debauched organist of a church the narrators attended as children.[1]

In the 1940s Jackson wrote a trio of novels, the first of which is The Lost Weekend, published by Farrar & Rinehart in 1944. This semi-autobiographical novel chronicled a struggling writer's five day alcohol drinking binge. This work earned Charles R. Jackson lasting recognition.[2]

The following year Paramount Pictures paid $50,000 for the rights to adapt the novel into the a film version. The Academy Award winning film was directed by Billy Wilder and starred Ray Milland in the lead role of Don Birnam.[3] See the main article: The Lost Weekend (film).

Jackson's second published novel of the 1940s, titled The Fall of Valor, was released in 1946 and takes its name from a passage in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. It is a personal account set in 1943 and details a professor's obsession with a young, handsome Marine. The Fall of Valor met praise from critics and was a financial success.

Jackson's third published novel of the 1940s, titled The Outer Edges, was released in 1950 and deals with a struggling writer obsessed with a gruesome murder. The Outer Margins was much less successful and met with little praise from critics.

After his early success, Jackson continued to write various magazine stories, articles and two novels, though few of his works approached the commercial and critical successes of his earlier novels. These later works include The Sunnier Side: Twelve Arcadian Tales, a 1950 collection of short stories, Earthly Creatures, a 1953 novel, and A Second-Hand Life, his final novel published in 1967.

Life

Charles R. Jackson was born in Summit, New Jersey in 1903. He graduated from Newark High School in 1921. As a young man he worked as an editor for local newspapers and in various bookstores in New Jersey, Chicago and New York prior to falling ill with tuberculosis. Jackson spent the years 1927-1931 in sanatoriums and eventually recovered in Switzerland. His successful battle cost him a lung and served as a catalyst for his alcoholism. He returned to New York at the height of the Great Depression and his difficulty in finding work spurred on his binge drinking. His battle to stop drinking started in late 1936 and was largely won by 1938, the year in which he married. During this time he was a free-lance writer and wrote radio scripts.

The 1944 publication of The Lost Weekend catapulted his career toward success. He moved briefly to Hollywood in the Summer of 1944 and shortly thereafter to New Hampshire with his growing family, including his two young girls. He lived on and off at his home in New Hampshire for ten years. At the height of his career, Charles R. Jackson lectured at various colleges. In the mid-1950s he begain struggling with finances and moved with his family to Connecticut.

Jackson spoke about alcoholism to large groups, sharing his experience, strength and hope. A recording of his talk in Cleveland, OH in May 1959 is available (vide infra xa-speakers). He was the first speaker in Alcoholics Anonymous to openly address drug dependence (Barbiturates and Paraldehyde) as part of his story.

After relapsing into alcoholism Jackson became estranged from his family and rented an apartment in New York City that was shared with his lover in 1965.[4] Jackson suffered from Chronic Lung Disease and committed suicide via an overdose of sleeping pills in his room at the Hotel Chelsea in New York City on September 21, 1968.[5]

Whether he was gay or bisexual is unclear; Anthony Slide, a modern scholar, asserts "Charles R. Jackson [was] identified as bisexual late in life."[6]

Bibliography

  • The Lost Weekend (1944)
  • The Fall of Valor (1946)
  • The Outer Edges (1950)
  • The Sunnier Side: Twelve Arcadian Tales (1950)
  • Earthly Creatures (1953)
  • A Second-Hand Life (1967)

Footnotes

  1. ^ Austen, Roger. Playing the Game: The Homosexual Novel in America, (New York, NY: Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc), page 103.
  2. ^ Stryker, Susan. Queer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback, (San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books), page 14.
  3. ^ Slide, Anthony. Lost Gay Novels: A Reference Guide to Fifty Works from the First Half of the Twentieth Century, (Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press), page 101.
  4. ^ Slide, Anthony. Lost Gay Novels: A Reference Guide to Fifty Works from the First Half of the Twentieth Century, (Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press), page 106.
  5. ^ "Guide to the Papers of Charles R. Jackson, circa 1920 - circa 1970". Dartmouth College. http://ead.dartmouth.edu/html/ms1070.html. Retrieved 1 May 2009. 
  6. ^ Slide, Anthony. Lost Gay Novels: A Reference Guide to Fifty Works from the First Half of the Twentieth Century, (Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press), page 3.

References

  • Austen, Roger (1977). Playing the Game: The Homosexual Novel in America (1st ed.). Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company. ISBN 978-067252287X. 
  • Bronski, Michael (2003). Pulp Friction: Uncovering the Golden Age of Gay Male Pulps (1st ed.). New York, NY: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0312252676. 
  • Connelly, Mark (2001). Deadly Closets: The Fiction of Charles Jackson (1st ed.). University Press of America. ISBN 978-0761819127. 
  • Gunn, Drewey (2009). The Golden Age of Gay Fiction (1st ed.). Albion, NY: MLR Press. ISBN 978-1608200481. 
  • Slide, Anthony (2003). Lost Gay Novels: A Reference Guide to Fifty Works from the First Half of the Twentieth Century (1st ed.). Binghamton, NY: Harrington Park Press. ISBN 978-156023413X. 
  • Stryker, Susan (2001). Queer Pulp: Perverted Passions from the Golden Age of the Paperback (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0811830209. 

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