Heart shaped prose : Romanticism in J.D. Salinger's glass novellas

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


The novel, novellas and short stories of J.D. Salinger have long been the topic of literary criticism; very little of that existing criticism (only two brief, decades-old articles), however, explicitly acknowledges Salinger’s Romanticism. This thesis seeks to illuminate and discuss elements of Romanticism within Salinger’s work, engaging traditional understandings and tenets of Romanticism as an 18th-19th century literary movement, and with especial attention paid to Salinger’s series of novellas about the Glass family, which comprise the bulk of his output. While Salinger has been given innumerable labels, many, if not all, of them valid, ‘Romantic’, it turns out, is yet another that can be applied to him, when a reader considers, as this thesis does, his roots in, clever allusions to, and persistent echoing of that movement and its characteristics in his own texts. To acknowledge the Romanticism of Salinger’s most important, and, for him, consuming, works is to contribute an idea--hitherto only touched upon--to the scholarship about him, and to offer a fresh context in which readers both familiar with and new to his writing might read it.




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