(click on title to find New York Times Article on J.D. Salinger's passing). You may remember when I started writing a little here I thought of J.D. Salinger as my answer to 'Who are you writing for... who's your audience?'
I just read this article. The criticism stopped just short of calling his work sophomoric. Or at least it sounded that way to me. I think a lot of people who have nearly escaped deep cynicism may seem sophomoric.
" Mr. Salinger’s people tend to be outsiders — spiritual voyagers shipwrecked in a vulgar and materialistic world, misfits who never really outgrew adolescent feelings of estrangement. They identify with children and cling to the innocence of childhood with a ferocity bordering on desperation..."
Probably someone has already compared him to Herman Hesse then.
What is the innocence of childhood anyway? Isn't that a state where the 'I am' stands and beams love and imbibes love despite the knowledge that it isn't in a position of strength with regard to knowledge? It's the mind that has not learned to doubt itself. Mighty.
this is the pure creature that does not exist
they did not know that and in any case
its motion and its bearing and its neck
even to the light of its still gaze they loved it
indeed it never was
yet because they loved it
a pure creature happened
they always allowed room
and in that room, clear and left open
it easily lifted its head and scarcely needed to be
they fed it on no grain
but ever on the possibility that it might be
and this gave the creature such strength
it grew a horn out of its brow
to a virgin it came hither white
and was in the silver mirror
and in her.
(from the Norton translation of Sonnets to Orpheus and from my memory because I don't have the book anymore.)
I hope J.D. Salinger is having a fabulous Release Party.