22 January 2011

A New Biography on J.D. Salinger

Carl Rollyson says that, "Kenneth Slawenski's insightful and sympathetic biography, "J.D. Salinger," convincingly shows that Salinger felt he had sinned by polluting his early work with worldly ambition. His decision to repudiate the world he had wanted to win over with his writing thus had some of the fervor of a religious quest. In "Franny" (1955), the title character cries out: "I'm just sick of ego, ego, ego. My own and everybody else's. I'm sick of everybody that wants to get somewhere, do something distinguished and all, be somebody interesting." Such desires, Salinger eventually concluded, fundamentally contradicted his sense of writing as a sacred craft."

(from Carl Rollyson, "A Phony Who Reformed," Wall Street Journal Book Review, 22 January 2011)

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