The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way – is a Russian hesychast text that was first published in 1881 and translated into English in 1931. It has become popular in the English-speaking world thanks to J.D. Salinger who mentions and renarrates it in his stories “Franny” and “Zooey”. This reference has often been noted in both critical works on Salinger and studies dedi-cated to the book The Way of a Pilgrim. However, scholars have never actually attempted to fun-damentally analyze the textual interconnections between Salinger’s stories and the hesychast work. In this article, the text of The Way of a Pilgrim is read within the framework of Salinger’s sto-ries and is interpreted as being significant for his later texts. From the hesychast book Salinger bor-rows a number of images and presents its philosophy as a spiritual ideal. At the same time, he ap-proaches it with a certain irony and exposes several pitfalls of incorrectly interpreting the Jesus prayer, as illustrated by Franny, one of Salinger’s characters. Having brought to light the nature of Franny’s mistakes and her peccant intention, Salinger reestablishes the hesychast ideal and connects it with Søren Kierkegaard’s principle of theistic existentialism.
- hesychasm; Jesus prayer; Russian Orthodoxy; The Way of a Pilgrim; elder; Salinger; Franny; Zooey