No Insight & Revelations

Mikki Halpin is ridiculous in the Salon.

Both Joyce Maynard and Salinger’s daughter Margaret were vilified for violating the great man’s privacy when they wrote about their own experiences with him and exposed his predatory, controlling relationships with women. Instead of exploring the insights these revelations might bring to readings of Salinger’s work (not to mention the women’s right to tell their own stories), critics dismissed their books as exploitative, attention-seeking stunts. (…) This sort of backlash is not exclusive to Salinger — when Pablo Picasso’s former wives and lovers began to expose him as a physically and emotionally abusive man, they were subject to similar criticisms.

Actually, the “not to mention” phrase is the only thing that may be relevant here. I can’t really be bothered to examine the legitimacy of the claim that the biographical facts might be relevant (producing “insights”) to the literary output of Salinger, except in a non-literary mode, but I’m currently trying to stave off annoyance while dealing with literary criticism about Bishop’s work, one, memorably claiming that you cannot understand her “enigmatic” texts without seeing them as mainly and primarily biographic statements. These critics seem to care very little about Bishop as artist and person, and it’s an enervating read. So, no patience for this kind of buffoonery today. I notice though, when I vented my irritation at Nigel Beale’s twattishness in this post and it’s followup post, I didn’t have more patience.

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