The Peanuts Papers: Writers and Cartoonists on Charlie Brown, Snoopy & the Gang, and the Meaning of Life

Edited by Andrew Blauner. Library of America, $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-59853-616-4
The 33 essays, poems, and cartoons in this book, most original to the volume, are affectionate valentines to Charles M. Schulz’s much-loved comic strip, Peanuts—syndicated in newspapers from 1950 to 2000—that gauge the cultural impact of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang. Adam Gopnik, in “Good Griefs,” compares Schulz’s characters—kids who inhabit “the recognizable grown-up world of thwarted ambition and delusional longing”—to those of Chekhov and Salinger. Mona Simpson riffs on the theme of unrequited love rampant in the strip in “Triangle with Piano” and Sarah Boxer does the same on Snoopy the beagle’s self-invented heroic persona in “The Exemplary Narcissism of Snoopy.” Jonathan Lethem’s “Grief,” a Peanuts-referencing pastiche of Allen Ginsberg’s landmark poem “Howl,” is so perfect one could imagine a beat Linus (to whom it is dedicated) having written it. Editor Blauner includes appreciations of the animated Peanuts television specials and thought pieces ranging from the scholarly to the intimately personal by Umberto Eco, Jonathan Franzen, Maxine Hong Kingston, Rick Moody, and others. This is a heartwarming tribute to Schulz’s inimitable strip and the influence it had on its everyday audience. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 06/18/2019
Release date: 10/22/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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