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   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