Re: Salinger and Fruits

From: Jim Rovira <>
Date: Tue Jan 28 2003 - 20:29:59 EST

I prefer S:AI to Hapworth but don't consider it the best Salinger. That's not
to say I don't enjoy it, though.

There's something about the voice in S:AI. It's still, well, human. It's self
consciously self indulgent, yes. It tells you that much. It's being too clever
while "reproducing" a letter that condemns cleverness in writing.

It's a hall of mirrors, but in S:AI one mirror is still turned slightly ajar,
allowing you to see a room beyond it. In Hapworth...forget it.


John Gedsudski wrote:

> >Kim, I too love SAI and consider it among Salinger's best work. It's
> >interesting that he mentions readers in his last two books. I think
> >Salinger thought a lot about his readers. He clearly doesn't care for
> >critics and scholars but he does want to appeal to "amateur readers." will
> >--
> Kim, while your truly accepts the fact this is a matter of opinion, how can
> you possibly call Hapworth 16, 1924 an "artistic failure" but at the same
> time find redeeming qualities in Seymour: An Introduction? At least the
> former was nothing but a loyal and direct translation via Buddy, the latter
> being a maudlin, pathetic, self-described "hagiography". Nothing in the
> prologue "touches on" Seymour's suicide (besides the quasi-obit). Tell me,
> you don't wince when reading how S. searched those ashtrays?
> There is more reference to his suicide in Zooey than in that whole novella.
> While I have found the posters on this list both insightful and petulant
> (sometimes at once), there is a line drawn. Or maybe a row of marbles. On
> one side, the fans of JD Salinger, whom, while rifling through his trash,
> would discover a crumpled grocery list and find literary merit in it. 'Gee
> Wiz,' they would say after a reading, 'I always knew Salinger loved
> tangerines. No doubt I'll begin to find insight on Les Glass from this
> discovery.' Then comes inspiration; 'Today, class we will talk about the
> significance of citrus in the postmodern literary giant known as JD
> Salinger. You may remember the consecrated broth we discussed last week. The
> theme of food, particulary, citrus, we will see, has enormous implications
> for our section this week titled "You are What You Read".
> It is striking how the cult of personality and the author is not seperated
> for these people. Sad, really. If you want to use Seymour: An INtroduction
> as in a creative writing class, so be it. My view is that there is so many
> better choices it is a travesty to use it. There's no wonder why it ranks at
> the bottom of the list of even the most devout Salinger fans. Because as I
> said earlier, a writer cannot, should not write ONLY for himself. If the
> choice is made to do so, the content will, by default, unravel. It's not an
> issue of writing for someone else. It's a matter of making it interesting to
> others. Communication. Salinger knew a story like A Perfect Day For
> Bananafish was a masterpiece in both form and function. Why did it take him
> so long to revise it? Why was the title changed? The whole introduction,
> after all, was created last minute but gives us a great deal of insight into
> Muriel. In 1948 Salinger didn't have the liberty to author a diatribe such
> as Hapworth 16, 1924. Later, of course, as a "celebrity" he could pay
> attention to those "amateur readers" Will mentions. By choosing to publish,
> instead of the rumoured new novel (advanced returned in 1970 to Little Brown
> because of his failure to do so) on the Glass family, windy, circumscribed
> and miasmatic works. So appealing...
> So the whole Seymour Saga, according to Buddy, is one big Mobius strip. So
> much for him blowing his brains out, his brother the writer-recorder
> ruminates and deteriorates instead of just forgiving him like Zooey.
> The other side of the posters contains those weathered skeptics.They don't
> have "heroes" like the oft-mentioned Kafka. But they have built in shit
> detectors and aren't afraid to break them out even when surrounded by those
> who are armed and dangerous, operating in blind faith.
> As you could likely predict, I'm a member of neither group of posters. Never
> would I join a group that would take a person like me as a member.
> Cordially,
> John Geduski
> Adjunct Professor of Wags
> Philistia Community College
> 501 Pontiff Drive
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Received on Tue Jan 28 20:29:55 2003

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