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Personally, I'd take issue with the 'to get the story' bit: isn't it about
(multi) layers of meaning, whereby one layer carries no pre knowledge etc
but other 'takes' may factor-in the biography, or the  textual scholarship,
or the allusions, etc etc and result in  a far richer-layered sandwich?

Salinger clearly opted to rely on WYSIWYG, but  the richest,
most-multi-layered understanding of his works to me can't realistically
exist without knowledge and understanding of his personal life: the two are
interwoven and indivisible, as would be thought by most psychologists, if
not wacky literary theorists


On 24 October 2013 17:24, Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>   Just out of plain old curiousity, has anyone seen the documentary out
> for a while now on J. D. Salinger?  It is, to put it in non-critical terms,
> not exactly an upper; and while I went to it expecting some dirty laundry
> to be aired, getting it full force for an hour and forty-five minutes was
> not what I bargained for. One, or at least this one, feels rather queasy on
> leaving the theatre with that much negativity to digest.
>
>  The semi-on topic part is that about midway through, the narrator
> reported that Salinger was adamant that a reader of his stories or of any
> fiction/poetry does not need to know anything about the author's life to
> get the story (or poem or artwork). The documentary, of course, made many
> lines of connection between Salinger's life and events or characters in his
> stories. To be sure, knowing now what he went through in WWII adds to my
> appreciation of the background, and in some cases foreground, of Nine
> Stories.
>
>  My Eliot prof., Eric Thompson, used Nine Stories in the senior seminar
> course I took with him on literary theory. It was quite eye opening, as it
> seemed to me then that he got more out of those stories than other profs
> got out of the giants of literature. And all without referring to
> Salinger's life, though he did refer to his own WWII experience in relation
> to "returning with your faculties intact."
>
> Ken A
>