LITERATURE

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

Library of America. Oct. 2019. 352p. ed. by ed. by Andrew Blauner. ISBN 9781598536164. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9781598536171. FINE ARTS
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With this special publication, the Library of America releases its first volume on one of the most popular art forms of the 20th century, newspaper comics. Contributors celebrate Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000), whose strip Peanuts provided a common experience for generations of readers, created a multimedia empire, and was marked by subtlety, psychological insight, philosophical depth, and wry humor. Literary agent Blauner (editor, Coach; Brothers) gathers mostly new tributes, analyses, memoirs, comics, and poems by an impressive roster of essayists, novelists, and cartoonists to consider Schulz’s art alone. The work does not include interviews or biographical details. Many writers recall the effect Peanuts had on their lives, while others analyze Schulz’s themes and explore the sophisticated world he created with respect, affection, and wit. More broadly, the book provides compelling evidence and highlights a popular culture phenomenon and artistic accomplishment of a long-running, daily creative work.
VERDICT To be dipped into rather than read through, this volume will appeal to many readers. Anyone who enjoyed the comics or TV specials will recognize their experiences in these pages and have their appreciation of Schulz’s genius renewed.

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