The Peanuts Papers: Writers and Cartoonists on Charlie Brown, Snoopy & the Gang, and the Meaning of Life: A Library of America Special Publication (Hardcover)
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A one-of-a-kind celebration of America's greatest comic strip--and the life lessons it can teach us--from a stellar array of writers and artists
Over the span of fifty years, Charles M. Schulz created a comic strip that is one of the indisputable glories of American popular culture—hilarious, poignant, inimitable. Some twenty years after the last strip appeared, the characters Schulz brought to life in Peanuts continue to resonate with millions of fans, their beguiling four-panel adventures and television escapades offering lessons about happiness, friendship, disappointment, childhood, and life itself.
In The Peanuts Papers, thirty-three writers and artists reflect on the deeper truths of Schulz’s deceptively simple comic, its impact on their lives and art and on the broader culture. These enchanting, affecting, and often quite personal essays show just how much Peanuts means to its many admirers—and the ways it invites us to ponder, in the words of Sarah Boxer, “how to survive and still be a decent human being” in an often bewildering world. Featuring essays, memoirs, poems, and two original comic strips, here is the ultimate reader’s companion for every Peanuts fan.
Jennifer Finney Boylan
Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell
Maxine Hong Kingston
Peter D. Kramer
David L. Ulin
About the Author
Andrew Blauner, editor, is the founder of Blauner Books Literary Agency. His other anthologies are Coach, Brothers, Central Park, Our Boston, The Good Book, In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs, and (as co-editor) For the Love of Baseball.
NPR Best Book of 2019
Pop Matters Best Book of 2019
“This charming, searching book . . . is one of the more spiritual books I’ve read in years. . . . [It] will help you see [Peanuts] clear, if you don’t already, as a psychologically complex epic about stoicism, faith and other approaches to existential struggles.” –John Williams, The New York Times
“Deeply personal and often moving, THE PEANUTS PAPERS shine a light on the enormous impact the work of Charles M. Schulz has had on a generation of writers and artists . . . and on the world as a whole.” —Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid
"The Peanuts Papers is perhaps best read piecemeal, lest absorbing the whir of thoughtful observations becomes like trying to appreciate a spinning diamond. . . . This anthology supports the idea that we return to Peanuts for the depth and the recognition and the truth — and sometimes simply because, as [Kevin] Powell writes in reference to his own depression, Schulz and Peanuts still have the capacity to bring us 'tremendous happiness to this very day.'” — Michael Cavna, The Washington Post
"“Peanuts” was one of the most influential American comics. A new collection of meditative, charming essays explores the strip’s cultural impact." — Christian Science Monitor
“A heartwarming tribute to Schulz’s inimitable strip and the influence it had on its everyday audience.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Anyone who enjoyed the comics or TV specials will recognize their experiences in these pages and have their appreciation of Schulz’s genius renewed." —Library Journal (Starred Review)
“Top-flight...Essential reading for Peanuts fans and an appealing collection of personal writing for any reader.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A diverse and illustrious line-up of authors, whose thoughtful and heartfelt accolades attest to Schulz’s enduring vision and his strip’s abiding place in American culture.” — Booklist
"Peanuts came at you a hundred miles an hour, under the radar of the parents and subversive as Hell. The adults told lies that didn’t hold up. Peanuts told the truth: the popular kids aren’t ever going to let you in; the kid you’re in love with won’t ever love you back; the most worthwhile people in life are the oddballs. I loved this book, which revealed to me the depth of my feelings for that comic strip - and also the vastness of its readership: millions of children reading the same four panels at the breakfast table, day after day. Reading this book was like finding a lost album of childhood photographs. It's an unexpected powerhouse of a book, and if Peanuts was part of your childhood, it will knock you out." --Caitlin Flanagan
"Good grief! Who knew that a mere ( if admittedly great) comic strip, could inspire such great writing? Charles Schulz's unforgettable characters -- Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy, Linus and Schroeder, among others -- have brought out profound personal musings and keen cultural insights in a group of talented writers, including Bruce Handy, Adam Gopnik and Ann Patchett. Anyone reading these essays will immediately be brought back to the 'emotional gore' of childhood, as Handy puts it, and to that yawning suburban landscape where Charlie Brown is always aspiring and always falling short, Lucy is always crabby, Snoopy is always dreaming up undog-like scenarios, Linus is an inveterate egghead on a par with Lionel Trilling, and Schroeder is channeling Beethoven. THE PEANUTS PAPERS is is an anthology unlike any other, to be treasured and earmarked. And for God's sake, keep it out of the rain." --Daphne Merkin
“If you could conjure some new secular Bible fashioned from popular culture, is there any doubt that Peanuts would be in it? Charles Schulz’s beloved comic strip was shrewd but always down to earth, simple but sophisticated, generous but trenchant, and anchored in a handful of characters yet somehow universal. The product of a particular moment in time, Peanuts today lives timelessly outside it—forever funny and humane. Now, in THE PEANUTS PAPERS, writers of every age and stripe bring their own memories and imaginations to this classic strip—and in so doing so, show just how much they were inspired by it.” —Cullen Murphy, author of Cartoon County: My Father and His Friends in the Golden Age of Make-Believe