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message 1: by Matt, e-monk (last edited Feb 22, 2010 09:34AM) (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
from Salon:

Salinger: "Recluse" with an ugly history of women
How we've all found a convenient way of avoiding the truth about his troubled past

In all of the many heartfelt (and deserved) eulogies about author J.D. Salinger, who died last week at 91, one word appears over and over. It is, of course, "recluse." The headline on the Los Angeles Times blog post about his death read, "J.D. Salinger, reclusive author of 'The Catcher in the Rye,' dies at 91." New York magazine called him "the world's most celebrated literary recluse," and the New York Times said that the author had "lived in seclusion for more than 50 years."

I find these portraits of Salinger as a noble loner curious. They certainly aren't accurate. There is ample evidence that he did not lead a solitary life apart from the rest of humanity. Salinger was married three times, and had numerous other long- and short-term romantic engagements. He seduced Joyce Maynard after seeing her on a magazine cover. He dated actress Elaine Joyce during the 1980s while she was appearing on such shows as "Fantasy Island," "Magnum, PI," "Simon and Simon" and "Murder, She Wrote." He had three grandchildren. He went into New York for dinner with friends. He was apparently active in his community, greeting clerks at the store, attending church suppers and town meetings, and shopping at Price Chopper. He spent a lot of time with his lawyers. And this is just the stuff we know about. One wonders if Emily Dickinson, that other famous literary recluse, now sees how much she could have gotten away with and still maintained her recluse cred.

Continue Reading
It's not hard to see why the idea of J.D. Salinger as an asocial genius appeals. Living in a world of tabloid television and gossip Web sites, it is comforting to think of a higher intellect who has rejected it all. Verlyn Klinkenborg's New York Times editorial celebrated this romantic ideal: "There was a purity in Mr. Salinger's separation from the world, whatever its motives, whatever his character. His half-century of solitude and silence was a creative act in itself, requiring extraordinary force of will." Insisting on Salinger's reclusiveness has given us an antihero nearly as influential as Salinger's greatest creation, Holden Caulfield.

But I think there is another, more insidious reason that the literary establishment is so invested in the fictional, reclusive Salinger. It is a convenient cudgel with which to silence any discussion of Salinger's personal life, particularly any revelation of unsavory truths about one of America's most revered authors. Both Joyce Maynard and Salinger's daughter Margaret were vilified for violating the great man's privacy when they wrote about their own experiences with him and exposed his predatory, controlling relationships with women. Instead of exploring the insights these revelations might bring to readings of Salinger's work (not to mention the women's right to tell their own stories), critics dismissed their books as exploitative, attention-seeking stunts. When Maynard decided to sell some of the letters Salinger had written her -- letters that confirmed her story of their affair -- the response was even more bitter. A typical reaction was that of author Cynthia Ozick, who wrote that Maynard "has never been a real artist and has no real substance and has attached herself to the real artists in order to suck out his celebrity." This sort of backlash is not exclusive to Salinger -- when Pablo Picasso's former wives and lovers began to expose him as a physically and emotionally abusive man, they were subject to similar criticisms.

As feminists have long known, the personal is political, and women who tell unpleasant truths rarely find a receptive audience. Anyone who got into an argument about Roman Polanski this past year knows how desperately fans can cling to their icons, despite clear evidence of wrongdoing. Acknowledging the experiences of Margaret Salinger or Joyce Maynard would mean deviating from the Salinger myth. To shut such conversations down, we're told to be rational and to "separate the art from the artist." But those insisting on this separation aren't rejecting biographical details as part of how we understand works of art, they are merely insisting we use their narrative, in order to reach their conclusions.

Continuing to believe in the mythically reclusive Salinger and disallowing the presence of the women in his life doesn't do anyone any good. We need to be able to appreciate art in all of its complicated contexts. Artists -- both men and women -- have personal lives, and they are often messy. Picasso painted compelling portraits of women he had abused. Roman Polanski assaulted a young woman and made taut, thoughtful films. J.D. Salinger went to church suppers and hooked up with actresses. I hope that in the wake of J.D. Salinger's death, his real story can now be told. Let's leave the fiction on the shelf.

Mikki Halpin is a freelance writer who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. She is currently at work on a book about fandom



message 2: by Matt, e-monk (last edited Feb 22, 2010 09:16AM) (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
here's my problem(s) with this

a)there's a difference between not doing publicity and refusing to publish and being an actual hermit - anyone reading pieces on Salinger's post publication activity (like those of Ron Rosenbaum that Ive posted in the files) would not be surprised to find that he was engaged in his community and occasionally had dinners in town etc - no one ever claimed that he was living in Howard Hughes like seclusion

b)having your daughter call you 'predatory and controlling' is not the same as being a rapist or physically abusing so why are we comparing him to Polanski or Picasso? The headline screams 'ugly'! Here was a summary of what Margaret Salinger wrote about her father, according to that very sympathetic Slate piece on her:

"He was by turns an uncondescending playmate, a wiseacre older-brother type, and a lively travel companion. But Peggy's all-too-human needs proved too much for him, as they did for her mother, and when the daughter reached eighth-grade the parents (now divorced) parked her at boarding school."

c) in the midst of this attack on Salinger Halpin says of Polanski:"Roman Polanski assaulted a young woman and made taut, thoughtful films" Really? This whole story is about white washing legacy and you say: "assualted a young woman" when it should read "drugged and raped a minor"? let's have some balance here.

d)'ugly history of women'? his daughter didnt like being sent to boarding school and his affair with Joyce Maynard had a sour ending? if this constitutes 'ugly history of women/men' who here hasnt had one?




message 3: by Ry (new)

Ry (downeyr) | 173 comments Is the person who wrote this a literary critic? Does she know that there are different types of criticism that can lend themselves to the inclusion of biographical details when criticizing an author?

Plus, if you want to talk about biographical details, how about discussing the effect that his participation in World War 2 had on Salinger...I mean, he was at Utah Beach on D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge...that's bound to screw some people up.

I guess I'm wondering what her point is...this seems to me to be a rambling article accusing a celebrated author of being an abusive husband/father while masking it to sound like a plea to stop considering Salinger a recluse and hermit. Is her main point about the "recluse" moniker given to Salinger or is it about his personal life?


message 4: by Matt, e-monk (last edited Feb 22, 2010 11:14AM) (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
here's the writer's response after several pages of very critical reader response:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 06:50 AM
quick note from writer
Whoa! you guys get up early. Thanks for reading the piece. A few things I want to clarify:

--The piece does not equate Salinger's actions with those of Picasso or Polanksi. They are offered as hyperbolic examples of other great male artists who had ugly personal lives. As a corrective, I'll add a great female artist who had an ugly personal life: Anne Sexton.

--"Rape" has no legal meaning. Polanski was charged with sexual assault and he pled guilty to a lesser count of assault.

--My title for the piece was "J.D. Salinger, Recluse. Really?" Dunno if that context makes the piece read differently.

--I love Salinger's writing! But I don't think honoring him for something he was not aids our understanding of his work.

Thanks again--Mikki

—mhalpin
Read mhalpin's other letters
Permalink



message 5: by Matt, e-monk (last edited Feb 22, 2010 11:25AM) (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
that's all - and it smacks of bs - "there is no legal meaning of rape"? "the piece does not equate..."

the piece is above judge for yourselves. Me? I think when you make a list and include an item on the list you are probably doing something like equating - that's how I use language - I dont for instance make a list like this: orange, apple, banana, mayonaise - unless I have something very particular in mind - it is however telling that the author then added Anne Sexton - are we confusing a list of things that have penises with a list of people who were f-d up or is she? and how is Anne Sexton, allegedly the victim of abuse, sufferer of bi-polar disorder and eventual suicide like Picasso or Polanski either? a little tone deaf on Halpin's part




message 6: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Hmm... In the Light in August thread, Hugh posted a little contemporary summary written about Faulkner in which it was noted he had a fondness for corn liquor.

There is a part of me that longs for the days of not knowing every damn thing about people.

A big part.

I like my writers larger than life, full of unknowable flaws that make them *human* ... since that's what they are.


message 7: by Ry (new)

Ry (downeyr) | 173 comments Shelby wrote: "Hmm... In the Light in August thread, Hugh posted a little contemporary summary written about Faulkner in which it was noted he had a fondness for corn liquor.

There is a part of me that longs for..."


Amen to that, Shel!


message 8: by Matt, e-monk (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
I actually thought this was a more incendiary way of getting conversation flowing, guess not

I miss the old files a bit (no offense to those of you game enough to join in here)


message 9: by Bonita (new)

Bonita (NMBonita) | 120 comments I don't know much about Salinger, and have never really been interested gossip or scandal. But what I would like to know more about is - when do we get to read all the stuff he refused to publish?


message 10: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (last edited Feb 23, 2010 08:51PM) (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Matt wrote: "I actually thought this was a more incendiary way of getting conversation flowing, guess not

I miss the old files a bit (no offense to those of you game enough to join in here)"


Well, if you want incendiary, here's the more incendiary version of my opinion: I think this is bullshit.

I think that lambasting someone's life after they're DEAD is just silly. Not because they can't respond, but really just because... it's all OVER. Leave the guy ALONE. He's gone. He can't FIX it to your liking.

I feel the same way about this article as I did about the critique of Thoreau - in my opinion, the fact that he had friends bring him food did not take away from the power of his work, and the attempts to detract from Salinger's "mysterious" life are really just the author's way of trying to gain traction for herself.

In general, I just hate revisionism.

So there. Sorry if that's not incendiary enough. ;)


message 11: by Jonathan, the skipper (new)

Jonathan | 609 comments Mod
. . . these kind of stories always leave me ambivalent . . . i have no trouble imagining that salinger was a dickhead, i just want to believe that there's some correlation between a writer's greatness and his humanity . . .but history always foils this belief . . . hamsum, celine, etc. etc . . .


message 12: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
JE, that's a pretty big statement about a writer's greatness and his humanity. I'm interested in your take. What does that mean, exactly?


message 13: by Jonathan, the skipper (new)

Jonathan | 609 comments Mod
. . . well, so much of what i respond to in a writer is his/her ability to empathize . . . and when a writer can do it so well they can make you cry, i'd like to think that the humanity is something they can just turn on and off, you know? . . . i mean, if they can really walk a mile in anybody's shoes, that means they've got the capacity to be an amazing person . . . it bugs me to think some people have it and just use it for their art . . .


message 14: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (last edited Feb 23, 2010 09:14PM) (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Yeah - I guess empathy with the state of humanity as a whole and individuals is where it's at. Otherwise, how can you get at the emotional heart of a character, and really, how can we as humans relate to one another at all without tuning into it?

Empathy, in my opinion, is just energy willingly exchanged/shared.

I never thought of it as something to use for art. It's hard enough to manage in every day life.


message 15: by Bonita (new)

Bonita (NMBonita) | 120 comments But wouldn't you agree that one could learn a lot about a person from his writing? Because who we are goes into what we write/paint/imagine/sculpt etc. Of course I hope that he was a good man and lived a good life... and at the same time... it's hard to know for sure because most authors have lived through some pretty rough times to say the least and sometimes that's what makes them good writers. I don't know. I'm rambling. Time for bed. Night!


message 16: by Matt, e-monk (last edited Feb 23, 2010 09:32PM) (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
no, no, it's too late... worthy try though... (lol)


message 17: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Matt wrote: "no, no, it's too late... worthy try though... (lol)"

Sorry to let you down. I tried to be incendiary... I think I just got kinder and gentler when the tan and grey design took over the bright blue and white one... ;-)

I don't know if I can learn a lot about a person from their writing. I don't know how much anyone would learn about me from what I write. I kinda hope, not much of anything, because I want people to be relating to my characters, but that depends on the genre, right? I mean, I might, say, write anonymously for blogs and while you can learn about the "me" I present, I'd have to be pretty careful to cover my actual identity.

Which gets at the question of identity vs. the real insides of a person.

I suppose I can learn those things if that's what I'm looking for, but I also hope that writers pop out of their own experience to empathize with a whole other kind of person. I am not that good a writer.

Or not learn/empathize, as the case may be. I don't know how much empathy I can really drum up for Joe Christmas, for example, even if I feel the inevitability of his path in life. And I do wonder how Faulkner created him, from what nightmare he was born.


message 18: by Patty, free birdeaucrat (last edited Feb 24, 2010 10:44AM) (new)

Patty | 896 comments Mod
Mikki Halpin wrote:"I hope that in the wake of J.D. Salinger's death, his real story can now be told. Let's leave the fiction on the shelf."

Mikki Halpin is a freelance idiot.

He was a novelist. His novels are what we give shit about. They stand on their own. That was the whole point of his "reclusiveness" or whatever you want to call it. They are not window's into Salingers life. Salinger's life is not a window into the novels.


message 19: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments Jonathan wrote: ". . . well, so much of what i respond to in a writer is his/her ability to empathize . . . and when a writer can do it so well they can make you cry, i'd like to think that the humanity is somethin..."

I really like this statement, Jonathan.


message 20: by Jonathan, the skipper (new)

Jonathan | 609 comments Mod
. . . see, i feel like my novels ARE a window into my soul . . . i'd feel like i was lying if they didn't really reflect what was going on inside of me . . . maybe because i'm sorta' crazy, i don't compartmentalize my art too well . . . am i will miller? no, but i've got roughly the same heart, and the same values . . . there are 50+ characters in WOH, and i care about all of them, even to a certain extent the villainous ones . . . i guess it's a boundary thing with me . . . the art and the life are all wrapped up together . . .


message 21: by Patty, free birdeaucrat (new)

Patty | 896 comments Mod
yeah, jonathan, but most people don't read novels to learn about their authors. i certainly didn't read lulu to gain insights about you. personally, i don't care that much about the life of nabakov. i like his writing. ms. halpin thinks we should leave the fiction on the shelf, and focus on the writer. if we do that, what's the point? why not just read/write blogs?


message 22: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
Hm. Maybe I walk the line on this one.

I think that the novel does get at something the writer feels strongly about or believes (or doesn't believe) in. Otherwise, why write it.

And it depends on the writer, right?

I typically take a naive approach, as in, I don't know and don't care about the life of the author because I want to know what the story has to say to me. Autobiographical details on the writer are not what I'm digging for, unless I'm a grad student trying to dig up something sensational for my thesis.

But books like... Portnoy's Complaint... well, it's hard NOT to see through it to the writer because that's in some ways the point. This is where ego comes into play for writers. IMO.

I see what you're saying, Jonathan, but I think the great stories have beating hearts of their very own.


message 23: by Bonita (new)

Bonita (NMBonita) | 120 comments Of course you read a novel for its story. But if you're curious as to what makes a great writer, then you may want to know where it came from. And, more often than not, (maybe always?) a good story comes from deep within, with characters we can identitfy with and feel for.


message 24: by Matt, e-monk (last edited Feb 25, 2010 11:38AM) (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
Shelby wrote: "I think the great stories have beating hearts of their very own."


nicely put - I judge a novel by its own merits - it has to stand alone first as a novel for it to be worth even thinking about the rest of this

another way of thinking about this is that while I believe that a) Roman Polanski is a scum bag who drugged and raped a minor I also believe that b) Chinatown is one of the all-time great movies and for me there is no disconnect there

sure it might be interesting to consider how those elements of scum-baggery in Polanski's own make-up find themselves expressed in creepy old John Houston or how they initially resonated with Towne's script or how nasty a little f-ck he is in the 'nosy little kitty' scene or conversely how his own survivor experience is reflected or refracted by that very scum-baggery BUT...

those are all side conversations and dont have to have a direct correlation to my experience of or engagement with the film

in fact they could actually hinder that engagement in much the same way that constantly thinking 'hey that's Bonnie from Bonnie and Clyde' can get in my way of enjoying Faye Dunaway's performance in the film


message 25: by Patty, free birdeaucrat (new)

Patty | 896 comments Mod
Bonita wrote: "Of course you read a novel for its story. But if you're curious as to what makes a great writer, then you may want to know where it came from. And, more often than not, (maybe always?) a good story comes from deep within, with characters we can identitfy with and feel for."

why? why do you want to know where it came from? if the characters are empathetic and the story is compelling, what difference do the biographical details of the writer's life make? perhaps it makes a difference to many of you as writers. for me as a reader, the fact that an author was successful really pretty much just makes the question of how/why they were successful immaterial/uninteresting. in fact, most of the time, i'd rather not know about the life of the writer. i find that biographical details tend to diminish, rather than enhance, a story.


message 26: by Martyn (last edited Feb 26, 2010 10:01AM) (new)

Martyn | 299 comments Patty wrote: "Bonita wrote: "Of course you read a novel for its story. But if you're curious as to what makes a great writer, then you may want to know where it came from. And, more often than not, (maybe always..."

Whilst I find your "distancing" argument interesting, Patty, I don't think knowing biographical details diminishes the story...at all...in fact, they're often the genesis of all literature and enhance it to a variety of degrees. I immediately think of Ulysses and Private Carr - one of the soldiers who takes offence to Dedalus' badmouthing of the King of the England and how Joyce based him on a British bureaucrat he worked with in Zurich during WW1. It adds a layer to the text...sure, it's not primary to the novel's narrative...but it's funny!

I think the moralistic argument is most present here...was Salinger a bastard...that seems to be where the emphasis lies. Like recently in a post, I joked I bought a 1st edition of Lawrence's Etruscan Places over a collection of Ezra Pound's poems. I chose a wife-beater over a fascist...do I care about these things? Not one jot.


Whilst I enjoyed JE's talk of turning things on and off for their art, I'm not too convinced about talk of bearing the soul...if we can talk about the Heideggerian ideas of is-ness and such...but that'll just complicate things even more and make my head hurt...but it's better than talking about souls...which is silly, in my view.


message 27: by Bonita (new)

Bonita (NMBonita) | 120 comments Patty wrote: "Bonita wrote: "Of course you read a novel for its story. But if you're curious as to what makes a great writer, then you may want to know where it came from. And, more often than not, (maybe always..."

As I writer, I might want to know what inspired the story... ten or twenty years ago, I wouldn't have cared to know about the writer himself. It's just different after you make the transition from reader to 'a reader who also writes'. Personally, I don't care about what the author had for lunch or how many women he's been with. I'm interested in the style of writing and what I can learn from it.

Why doesn't the audience want to look into the magician's toolbox after the show? Maybe because it would spoil the magic? I suppose it could take the fun out of it for some people.


message 28: by Matt, e-monk (last edited Mar 04, 2010 05:54PM) (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
and another thing

in her apologia Halpin says: "I love Salinger's writing! But I don't think honoring him for something he was not aids our understanding of his work"

can anyone else spot the scarecrow wobbling down the yellow brick road and singing "If I only had a brain!" here? Strawman indeed - who the hell is honoring him for being a recluse or for that matter for being saintly towards women? Did I miss something?

Do you know what actually might aid our understanding of his work? an investigation of why he chose to stop publishing and/or dealing with the media in general - with her fatuous misreading and her slanderous inuendo I think Halpin provides an excellent example of why he may have made that decision. Can you say "phoney", Holden sure can.

In fact how the elements of Salinger's (dis)engagement with the world and his choices in that regard relate to the themes of his work is a far more interesting (and should we say direct?)question than whether he had a sour relationship with Joyce Maynard


message 29: by Matt, e-monk (last edited Mar 04, 2010 05:57PM) (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
http://www.slate.com/id/2243564/

"...I know it's wishful thinking, but I wonder whether there's a clue in a little-known, unpublished—at least, not in book form—story that I came on the first time a day after Salinger's death. A story called "Go See Eddie."

You're not supposed to know about this particular Salinger story. Very few do, and those who do will probably become fewer still, thanks to what seems like a strange and hasty Web cover-up maneuver someone pulled off last weekend.

"Go See Eddie," was J.D. Salinger's second published story, the one that first appeared in an obscure journal called Kansas City Review in December 1940 and then disappeared into musty library stacks for a nearly a quarter-century until an archivist in the Midwest uncovered it in 1963.

I'd never read "Go See Eddie" before Salinger died, but several years ago, I'd bookmarked a Web site that had links to all the known unpublished (between hard covers) stories of J.D. Salinger. The ones that had mainly appeared in places like The Saturday Evening Post and Mademoiselle. The ones he'd sued people over any attempt to reprint them in book form.

Something funny, weird, mysterious—Salingeresque—happened to that Web site in the weekend after Salinger died. I knew that he had sicced lawyers on someone who had tried to publish an unauthorized edition of these stories. But the Web site had been there for years, so I assumed it was, if not authorized, then tolerated..."


message 30: by Matt, e-monk (last edited Mar 01, 2010 06:33AM) (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
http://www.slate.com/id/2243004/

"...Salinger, the Times headline says, "turned his back on success." We, in turn, have turned our back on those who turn their back on success, in compensation for which we sentimentalized Salinger's reclusion all out of proportion to its importance. So the man didn't like publicity; so the fuck what? We might withdraw some of the energy spent keeping that nimbus afloat, and concentrate instead on the man's actual legacy."

hmm


message 31: by Jonathan, the skipper (new)

Jonathan | 609 comments Mod
. . . you're rockin' this post, monk!


message 32: by Jonathan, the skipper (new)

Jonathan | 609 comments Mod
. . . it's not true that salinger turned his back on success . . .the guy sold a ton of books which provided for him quite comfortably, one would think . . . i think he just stopped interfacing with the media, and in doing so, created a mystique that kept his public profile up, without having to do any work . . . it may have begun as media burnout, but after awhile, i feel like his insularity was calculated . . .


message 33: by Martyn (last edited Mar 02, 2010 09:52AM) (new)

Martyn | 299 comments Jonathan wrote: ". . . it's not true that salinger turned his back on success . . .the guy sold a ton of books which provided for him quite comfortably, one would think . . . i think he just stopped interfacing wit..."

Are you having a go at him for his calculated insularity? Just because a person is a writer, it doesn't mean they're a celebrity and people need to know what they're doing constantly...he's hardly tabloid material, is he? The media create the mystique...not him.

What's Thomas Pynchon doing...he hasn't even been photographed since the 1970s...that's ace.


message 34: by Jonathan, the skipper (new)

Jonathan | 609 comments Mod
. . . hell no, i'm not having a go at him-- i think it's a brilliant plan-- if you can pull it off . . . the media stuff is exhausting, even if you're on the z list like me . . .


message 35: by Pavel (new)

Pavel Kravchenko (pavelk) | 96 comments Yeah, really. "Honoring him for something he is not." What the hell is she talking about? Calling him a "recluse" is "honoring" him? Is there a Nobel Recluse prize that's given out these days? And what is she, Recluse Police? "How dare he call himself a recluse! He's been out of the house twice this month!" The whole thing is completely retarded.


message 36: by Keith (new)

Keith Dixon (keithwdixon) | 44 comments "Instead of exploring the insights these revelations might bring to readings of Salinger's work..."

wait -- a lot of people above are debating whether or not we can learn something about a person from his art; but in the quote immediately above, isn't halpin implying that knowing the "real" salinger helps us understand the **work** better?

i'd fully agree with jonathan's point that "the art and the life are all wrapped up together," insofar as i do believe that reading "lulu" (or WOH, and when do i get to buy that puppy at my local shop, anyway, mate?) helps me gain insight into jonathan's mind -- but i don't believe for a second that knowing jonathan would give me insight into "lulu" or "woh."

in other words -- and sorry to get all cranky -- isn't this just more academic bullshit we've been spoonfed since sixth grade english class? that we must be able to "explain" greatness, ideally in terms of its source. when in fact -- help me out here, people -- isn't a work of staggering genius like "the dead" or "the aleph" or "the country husband" (or whatever floats your boat) GREAT PRECISELY BECAUSE IT DRAMATIZES A PART OF THE HUMAN CONDITION THAT CAN'T EASILY BE ARTICULATED??????? caps intentional.

if we can explain away greatness, why bother with the art, anyway? why not just write an essay explaining the "point" of "catcher"?

or could it be that the art is somehow greater than its maker? more divine, less human -- less explainable.


message 37: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments I've been reading Susan Sontag's Against Interpretation this week and there was a quote in an essay on "the artist as exemplary suffer" and she touched on a reason why people like to read about the life of an author or their journals, etc. I think she really hits the nail on the head:

"The journal gives us the workshop of the writer's soul. And why are we interested in the soul of the writer? Not because we are interested in writers lives as such. But because of the insatiable modern pre-occupation with psychology."

She could have also said because we're all nosey bastards and like sticking our noses into other people's business and being judgemental pricks!


message 38: by Bonita (new)

Bonita (NMBonita) | 120 comments Saw this today: JFK Library to show Salinger Letter to Hemingway http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100325/a...


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