Site hosted by Build your free website today!

The Salinger's Page

My Favorite Web Sites

J(erome D(avid) Salinger (1919-) American novelist and short story writer. Salinger published one novel and several short story collections between 1948-59. His best-known work is THE CATCHER IN THE RYE ( 1951). J.D. Salinger was born and grew up in the fashionable apartment district of Manhattan, New York, as the son of a prosperous Jewish importer of Kosher cheese and his Scotch-Irish wife. After restless studies in prep schools he was sent to Valley Forge Military Academy (1934-36), which he attended briefly. When he was eighteen and nineteen Salinger spent five months in Europe in 1937. From 1937 to 1938 he studied at Ursinus College and New York University. In 1939 Salinger took a class in short story writing at Columbia University under Whit Burnett, founder-editor of the Story Magazine. During World War II he was drafted into the infantry and was involved in the invasion of Normandy. In his celebrated story 'For Esmé - With Love and Squalor' Salinger depicted a fatigued American soldier, who starts correspondence with a thirteen-year-old British girl, which helps him to get a grip of life again. Salinger himself was hospitalized for stress according to his biographer Ian Hamilton. After serving in the Army Signal Corps and Counter-Intelligence Corps from 1942 to 1946, he devoted himself to writing. In 1945 Salinger married a French woman named Sylvia. They were divorced the following years. In 1955 Salinger married Claire Douglas, the daughter of the British art critic Robert Langton Douglas. They were divorced in 1967. Salinger's early short stories appeared in such magazines as Story, where his first story was published in 1940, Saturday Evening Post and Esquire, and then in the New Yorker, which published almost all of his later stories. In 1948 appeared 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish', which introduced Seymour Glass, who commits suicide. It was the earliest reference to the Glass family, whose stories would go on to form the main corpus of his writing. The 'Glass cycle' continued in the collections FRANNY AND ZOOEY (1961), RAISE HIGH THE ROOF BEAM, CARPENTERS (1963) and SEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTION (1963). Several of the stories are narrated by Buddy Glass. 'Hapworth 16, 1924' is written in the form of a letter from summer camp, in which the seven-year-old Seymour draws a portrait of him and his younger brother Buddy. Twenty stories published in Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, and New Yorker between 1941 and 1948 appeared in a pirated edition in 1974, THE COMPLETE UNCOLLECTED STORIES OF J.D. SALINGER (2 vols.). Many of them reflect Salinger's own service in the army. Later Salinger adopted Hindu-Buddhist influences, and he became an ardent devotee of The Gospels of Sri Ramakrishna, a study of Hindu mysticism, which was translated into English by Swami Nikhilananda and Joseph Campbell. Salinger's first novel, The Catcher in the Rye, became immediately a Book-of-the-Month Club selection and gained a huge international success, and sells still some 250 000 copies annually. Salinger did not do much to help publicity, and asked that his photograph is not used in connection with the book. Fist reviews of the work were mixed, although most critics considered it brilliant. The novel took its title from a line by Robert Burns, in which the protagonist Holden Caulfied misquoting it sees himself as a 'catcher in the rye' who must keep the world's children from falling off 'some crazy cliff'. The story is written in a monologue and in lively slang. The book tells about 16-year old restless Caulfield - as Salinger in his youth - who runs away from school during his Christmas break to New York to find himself and lose his virginity. Its humour place it in the tradition of Mark Twain's classical works, The Adventures of Hucleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but its world view is more disillusioned. Holden describes everything as 'phoney', is constantly in search of sincerity and represented the first hero of adolescent angst. Rumors spread from time to time, that Salinger will publish another novel, but from late 60's he has succesfully avoided publicity. "I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own plasure," said Salinger in 1974 to a New York Times correspondent. However, according to Joyce Maynard, who were close to the author for a long time from the 1970s, Salinger still writes, but nobody is allowed to see the work. Ian Hamilton's unauthorized biography of Salinger was rewritten, when the author did not accept extensive quoting of his personal letters. The new version, In Search of J.D. Salinger, appeared in 1988. In 1992 a fire broke out in Salinger's Cornish house, but he managed to flee from the reporters who saw an opportunity to interview him. Since the late 80s Salinger has been married to Colleen O'Neill. Maynard's story of her relationship with Salinger, At Home in the World, appears in October 1998. For further reading: J.D. Salinger and the Critics, ed. by William F. Belcher and James E. Lee (1962); Salinger: A Critical and Personal Portrait, ed. by Henry A. Grunwald (1962); J.D. Salinger by Warren French (1963, 1976); 'If You Really Want to Know': A Catcher Casebook, ed. by Malcolm M. Marsden (1963); J.D. Salinger by James E. Miller, Jr. (1965); J.D. Salinger by J. Lundquist (1979); Salinger: Modern Critical Views, ed. by H. Bloom (1987); In Search of J.D. Salinger by Ian Hamilton (1988); World Authors 1900-1950, ed. by Martin Seymour-Smith and Andrew C. Kimmens (1996); Cult Fiction by Andrew Calcutt and Richard Shepard (1998)