Don't take this wrong, but what makes psychologists authorities on short stories?

 If you could only query one group on this, would it be a dozen good short story writers and novelists or a dozen good psychologists? Would you rather read the short stories of a dozen good short story writers or a dozen good psychologists or a dozen literary theorists? The average lover of good writing would have to say the first, and it is quite possible that that is because that group has a talent, has paid its dues, and actually knows what it it doing in the realm of short story writing. So if Salinger, who is patently an excellent short story writer, says what he says about paying attention to the story, not the life, I think I'm justified in suspecting he has a legitimate reason for that, not just that he doesn't want his "private" life equated to his creative work. And having had a cinematic peek at his private life, I'm glad I agree with him.


On 10/24/2013 2:25 PM, David Boyd wrote:
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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