Tag Archives: Mary McCarthy

If You Really Want to Hear About It: Writers on J.D. Salinger and His Work edited by Catherine Crawford

MLA Citation:

Crawford, Catherine. If You Really Want to Hear About It: Writers on J.D. Salinger and His Work. New York: Thunder’s Mouth, 2006. Print.

Jacket Copy:

“Famously reclusive and yet an undying source of inspiration for generations of readers, Salinger is one of the greatest mysteries of American literature.  This is the first comprehensive collection of writings about J.D. Salinger and his work, an amalgam of over fifty years’ worth of attempted interviews, documented sightings, unauthorized profiles, and stifled cries of devotion, as well as the best of the book reviews.

Includes a never-before-published retrospective by Joyce Maynard, whose 1997 memoir, which documented her year-long affair with J.D. Salinger when she was sixteen years old, caused a rupture in the literary establishment.”

Contents:

Part I:  In Search of Salinger

Shirlie Blaney:  Interview with J.D. Salinger
Ernest Havemann:  The Search for the Mysterious J.D. Salinger
Betty Eppes:  What I Did Last Summer
Lacey Fosburgh:  J.D. Salinger Speaks About His Silence
Michael Clarkson:  Catching the “Catcher in the Rye” J. D. Salinger
Ron Rosenbaum:  The Catcher in the Driveway

Part II:  Critics and Cranks

Eudora Welty:  Threads of Innocence
Arthur Mizener:  The Love Song of J.D. Salinger
Alfred Kazin:  J.D. Salinger:  “Everybody’s Favorite”
John Updike:  Anxious Days for the Glass Family
Mary McCarthy:  J.D. Salinger’s Closed Circiut
Arnold Lubasch:  Salinger Biography is Blocked
Mordecai Richler:  Summer Reading; Rises at Dawn, Writes, Then Retires
Michiko Kakutani:  From Salinger, a New Dash of Mystery
Jonathan Yardley:  J. D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield, Aging Gracelessly

Part III:  Deconstructing Jerry

Sarah Morrill:  A Brief Biography of J.D. Salinger
Paul Alexander:  Theft, Rumor, and Innuendo:  An excerpt from Salinger:  A Biography
John Dugdale:  Eighty Years of Solitude
Dipti R. Pattanaik:  The Holy Refusal
David Skinner:  The Sentimental Misanthrope:  Why J. D. Salinger Can’t Write
Alex Beam:  J. D. Salinger, Failed Recluse
Lois Menand:  Holden at Fifty

Part IV:  Family, Friends, and Fanatics

Margaret Salinger:  Excerpt from Dream Catcher:  A Memoir
Margaret Salinger:  Daughter of J.D. Salinger, Discusses Her New Book, Dream Catcher
Joyce Maynard:  Excerpt from At Home in the World
Daniel M. Stashower:  On First Looking into Chapman’s Holden
Selections from Letters to J.D. Salinger
Joanna Smith Rakoff:  My Salinger Year
J.B. Miller:  Salinger and Me

Justice to J. D. Salinger

MLA Citation:

Malcolm, Janet. “Justice to J.D. Salinger.” The New York Review of Books 21 June 2001. Web. 25 Nov. 2010.

First Paragraph:

“When J.D. Salinger’s “Hapworth 16, 1924”—a very long and very strange story in the form of a letter from camp written by Seymour Glass when he was seven—appeared in The New Yorker in June 1965, it was greeted with unhappy, even embarrassed silence. It seemed to confirm the growing critical consensus that Salinger was going to hell in a handbasket. By the late Fifties, when the stories “Franny” and “Zooey” and “Raise High the Roof-Beam, Carpenters” were coming out in the magazine, Salinger was no longer the universally beloved author of The Catcher in the Rye; he was now the seriously annoying creator of the Glass family.”

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Reader’s Guide – “Zooey”

Publication Details

Franny and Zooey
Image by Megan Inghram

The New Yorker, May 4, 1957 pages 32-42, 44, 47-48, 50, 52,54,57-59, 62, 64, 67-68, 70, 73-74, 76-78, 80-82, 87-90, 92-96, 99-102, 105-106, 108-112, 115-122, 125-139 (original appearance). Later published by Little Brown as Franny and Zooey in 1961, and dedicated to William Shawn.

Character List

Frances Glass (“Franny”)

A 20 year old college student

Zachary Martin Glass (“Zooey”)

Zooey is 25 years old. He is considered one of the most attractive and successful of the Glass children. It is noted that he is a successful television actor.

Bessie Glass

Irish-born family matriarch. Bessie worries about her children who have all seemed to grow up almost by themselves after years of success on “It’s a Wise Child.”

Les Glass

The absent father, Les is more or less only mentioned in “Zooey.” He is of Jewish descent and he and Bessie were successful Vaudevillians

Buddy Glass

Buddy is the second-oldest of the Glass children, he teaches at a women’s college.

Seymour Glass

Seymour has been dead 13 years during the course of events that composes “Zooey.”  Franny says she wants to talk to Seymour and that doing so is the only thing that will make her feel better.

Plot Synopsis

“Zooey” continues the story of Franny’s “spiritual awakening” on Monday, two days after Franny’s trip to Princeton. The novella also gives the reader additional information about the unusual upbringing of the Glass children, whose radio appearances as child geniuses, has created a unique bond among them. Salinger indicates even more in “Zooey” than in other Glass family stories that the Glass siblings have a unique understanding of one another based on this shared experience.

The narrative opens with Zooey, smoking and soaking in a hot bathtub, reading a four-year old letter from his brother, Buddy. The letter encourages Zooey to continue pursuing his acting career. Zooey’s mother, Bessie, enters the bathroom, and the two have a long discussion, wherein Bessie expresses her worries about Franny, whose existential anxiety seen in “Franny” has progressed to a state of emotional collapse. During the conversation, Zooey vacillates between a sort of tit-for-tat banter with his mother and a downright rude dismissal of her and repeatedly asks that she leave. Bessie accepts Zooey’s behavior, and quips that he’s becoming more and more like his brother Buddy.

After Bessie leaves, Zooey gets dressed and moves into the living room, where he finds Franny on the sofa with her cat Bloomberg, and begins speaking with her. After upsetting Franny by questioning her motives for reciting the “Jesus Prayer,” Zooey goes into Seymour and Buddy’s former bedroom and reads the back of their door, which is covered in philosophical and literary quotations. After contemplation, Zooey telephones Franny, pretending to be their brother Buddy. Franny eventually acknowledges the ruse, but she and Zooey continue to talk. Knowing that Franny reveres their oldest brother, Seymour – the spiritual leader of the family, who committed suicide years earlier – Zooey shares with her some words of wisdom that Seymour once gave him. At the end of the call, as the fundamental “secret” of Seymour’s advice is revealed, Franny seems, in a moment reminiscent of a mystical satori, to find profound existential illumination in what Zooey has told her.

Continue reading Reader’s Guide – “Zooey”