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J.D.Salinger Dies

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I just heard this news on the classical music station, and thought I'd make a thread about J.D. Salinger's recent death. I have been interested in him, because of his reclusiveness, mainly, but let me just post some clippings from an article I just read about his death: (I hope I put this into the right section on the forum, but anyways)

died Wednesday at his home in Cornish, N.H., where he had lived in seclusion for more than 50 years. He was 91.

Mr. Salinger’s literary representative, Harold Ober Associates, announced the death, saying it was of natural causes. “Despite having broken his hip in May,” the agency said, “his health had been excellent until a rather sudden decline after the new year. He was not in any pain before or at the time of his death.”

In 1953 Mr. Salinger, who had been living on East 57th Street in Manhattan, fled the literary world altogether and moved to a 90-acre compound on a wooded hillside in Cornish, N.H. He seemed to be fulfilling Holden’s desire to build himself “a little cabin somewhere with the dough I made and live there for the rest of my life,” away from “any goddam stupid conversation with anybody.”

In the fall of 1953 Mr. Salinger befriended some local teenagers, and allowed one of them to interview him for what he assumed would be an article on the high school page of a local paper, The Claremont (N.H.) Daily Eagle. The story appeared instead as a feature on the editorial page, and Mr. Salinger felt so betrayed that he broke off with the teenagers and built a six-and-a-half-foot fence around his property.

He seldom spoke to the press again, except in 1974 when, trying to fend off the unauthorized publication of his uncollected stories, he told a reporter from The Times: “There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. It’s peaceful. Still. Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure.”

And yet the more he sought privacy the more famous he became, especially following his appearance on the cover of Time in 1961. For years it was a sort of journalistic sport for newspapers and magazines to send reporters to New Hampshire in hopes of a sighting. As a young man, Mr. Salinger had a long, melancholy face and deep soulful eyes, but now, in the few photographs that surfaced, he looked gaunt and gray, like someone in an El Greco painting. He spent more time and energy avoiding the world, it was sometimes said, than most people do in embracing it, and his elusiveness only added to the mythology growing up around him

Depending on your point of view, he was either a crackpot or the American Tolstoy, who had turned silence itself into his most eloquent work of art.

Mr. Salinger is survived by Ms. O’Neill; his son, Matt; his daughter, Margaret and three grandsons. His literary agents said their statement that “in keeping with his lifelong, uncompromising desire to protect and defend his privacy, there will be no service, and the family asks that people’s respect for him, his work and his privacy be extended to them, individually and collectively, during this time.”

from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/books/29...ml?pagewanted=1

Edited by intellectualammo
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J.D. Salinger is apparently only famous for one novel, Catcher in the Rye. Having never read it I searched a bit and found SparkNote: The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger.

At about the age Catcher in the Rye is being assigned to high school students around the country, I was reading Rand.

The remark in the obituary about Salinger being "an American Tolstoy" got me wondering what the similarity was. In brief research I found Tolstoy never withdrew from public life, but he did renounce his wealth. This is the opposite of Salinger. An long-prepared obituary should be better written than this.

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J.D. Salinger is apparently only famous for one novel, Catcher in the Rye.

He is famous for that work, yes, and also because of his reclusivity, something that attracts me and interests me profoundly, just like writers and their suicide do.

Having never read it I searched a bit and found SparkNote: The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger.

Sparknotes is a great site that has plenty of analysis and information that can really help a reader along when reading. I have to use it occassionally to understand some things about a given work. Even if I do, it's fun to look at there, if there is an entry.

At about the age Catcher in the Rye is being assigned to high school students around the country, I was reading Rand.

I didn't read Rand until years after I dropped out of Point Park University. I can't remember being assigned many books in grade school, maybe a handful, if even that, Catcher definately wasn't one of them though. I was reading nonfiction at the time on my own and wasn't at all interested in fiction much, that interest didn't come until the last four years or so of my life, in that time I read it though, and sooo much more, but when I first read Catcher I wasn't reading it with my naked and now more knowledgeable, wide open eyes. I read it through the lens of Objectivism, a pair of glasses I've since taken off a few nights ago, and put down, never to wear again. But anyways, after reading Plath's The Bell Jar who has been called by some, the female Holden, I thought back upon Catcher and I think I can see way more value, literary or otherwise in it. I want to read it again. But Salinger's reclusivity interests me so greatly, and how he even went to legnths upon his death with being left alone, incredible. I just wonder, like with my dear poetess from the 1800's, also well known for her reclusivity, Emily Dickinson, if, like she with her 40 some fascicles of poems left in her room when she died (her verse is still alive though), left any manuscripts, words, anything. I was just watching this on youtube, and about 5:30 min in or so, I think the Suracuse (or however the fuck you spell it) professor makes an important point about Salinger going against the grain:

The way that professor pronounces Werther, as in one of my all time personal favorite works, The Sorrows of Young Werther (Goethe wrote it) is probably the actual correct way of saying it, since it is German after all. But anyways...

The remark in the obituary about Salinger being "an American Tolstoy" got me wondering what the similarity was.

I am well familiar with his work Anna Karenina, having read it last year, but I am not in regards to him. Perhaps the comment had something to do with "silence" that was mentioned. Maybe he didn't interview or something, like Salinger is known for. I'll have to ask my lit friends and see if they know.

Edited by intellectualammo
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The remark in the obituary about Salinger being "an American Tolstoy" got me wondering what the similarity was.

When I asked about this, one said maybe it was Tolstoy being a reluctant celeb, perhaps. I just do not know enough to even check that. I'd have to read about him more. But this personalso told me, and perhaps I missed out today while in Slumberland, but I want them to cite a source for this, of which I will be looking into as soon as I type this creply, is that:

there are 15 complete manuscripts left behind.

:):):) Now I'm off to find sources because I'm not waiting for them to cite them! :)

[edit: Just found something about this:

Stories about a possible Salinger trove have been around for a long time. In 1999, New Hampshire neighbor Jerry Burt said the author had told him years earlier that he had written at least 15 unpublished books kept locked in a safe at his home. A year earlier, author and former Salinger girlfriend Joyce Maynard had written that Salinger used to write daily and had at least two novels stored away.

Margaret Salinger, the author’s daughter, wrote in a memoir published in 2000 that J.D. Salinger had a precise filing system for his papers: A red mark meant the book could be released “as is,” should the author die. A blue mark meant that the manuscript had to be edited.

That's all I can find. from this article.

Edited by intellectualammo
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CITR was a great read, something witty or interesting on just about every page. Now that Salinger has passed away, I wonder if a stockpile of unpublished material will come to light. I think he planned to publish a new book ten or twenty years ago but a reporter got an early scoop on the story and reviewed a much older, obscure text with apparently the same title, which pissed Salinger off enough to scrap the new publication.

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We had it as assigned reading back in high school and I thought it was really good. But that was so long ago I can't for the life of me remember anything from the book. I'll have to re-read it at some point now. (Incidentally, we also had Ayn Rand (Anthem) as assigned reading in high school. You don't hear of too many public schools requiring students to read Rand... :confused: )

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I could give you some reminders from what I recall of it, but I don't like leaving spoilers out for people who haven't read it. I really enjoyed that Onion obituary too. And there'd better be more public schools assigning Rand. D< There's a whole lot of books being given away to teachers for expressly that purpose. Sadly I seem to have not been in one of those schools with it assigned though. My classes practically never assigned anything good though. I bought and read Catcher in the Rye, Rand's works, and 1984 - all normal high school English class reading stuff - all on my own while we were assigned to read dreck like Our Town.

Edited by bluecherry
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In rare interviews with the New York Times and the Boston Globe, he said that he had not given up writing. He told the Globe in 1980, "I love to write, and I assure you I write regularly."

As he had told the New York Times in 1974, "There is a marvelous peace in not publishing ... I write just for myself and my own pleasure."

Salinger fans want to know if his unpublished works have been preserved after his death, and if the works will be made available to the public.

A representative at Salinger's literary agency, Harold Ober Associates, told the Daily News that the agency has "no plans at this time" to release any of his unpublished work, or to re-release "Hapworth 16, 1924."

For now, the world will have to continue to wait and see if new Salinger works will be published.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/2010/01/29/2010-01-29_whats_in_jd_salingers_safe_mystery_shrouds_catcher_in_the_rye_authors_unpublishe.html#ixzz0e8Cm9o


This particular quote of his, strikes me, as just how important writing in and of itself is for a person, it's like that with me,

"There is a marvelous peace in not publishing ... I write just for myself and my own pleasure."

Edited by intellectualammo
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This is interesting, I wonder just how reclusive he would have been had it not been for fame?

His wife wants privacy, too:

JD Salinger's wife has thanked residents of the town he made his refuge for more than 50 years for protecting the world's most famous literary recluse from what one resident described as "the annual parade of English majors".


One day I, myself, would love to make a literary pilgrimage to the Emily Dickinson Homestead, being a member of the EDIS and all... but I have no inclinations to vist any other places and literary happenings.

Salinger, who died last week at the age of 91, moved from New York to the small town of Cornish, New Hampshire in 1952, a year after the publication of The Catcher in the Rye made him a literary sensation. His wife, Colleen Salinger, told a local paper that the author had been grateful for the "protective envelope" that locals had given him.

"Cornish is a truly remarkable place. This beautiful spot afforded my husband a place of awayness from the world," she wrote in an email to the Valley News. "The people of this town protected him and his right to his privacy for many years. I hope, and believe, they will do the same for me."

This struck me some to find this out:

Salinger, the Valley News reported, was also a regular at his local church's roast beef suppers, where he would arrive more than two hours early to ensure he could claim his usual seat, bringing along newspapers to read. "No one ever bothered him at the suppers," former pastor Bob Moyer of Hartland told the paper. "I think many, many people knew exactly who he was. Had he been bothered, I don't think he would have returned."

from http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/0...r-widow-privacy

Oh and if anyone wonders about a film adaptation:

"Could 'Catcher in the Rye' finally make it to the big screen? Salinger letter suggests yes"

Nice quote too:

a 1957 letter suggests Salinger was somewhat open to a posthumous adaptation of his classic.

"Firstly, it is possible that one day the rights will be sold. Since there's an ever-looming possibility that I won't die rich, I toy very seriously with the idea of leaving the unsold rights to my wife and daughter as a kind of insurance policy. It pleasures me no end, though, I might quickly add, to know that I won't have to see the results of the transaction," he wrote, according to EW.com.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/m...l#ixzz0eFlpD1nN

Edited by intellectualammo
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  • 5 months later...

It's an old thread, but from this it doesn't seem like many people have read The Catcher in the Rye. It wasn't required reading for school, but I read it on my own last year, and was delightfully surprised at how much I liked it. Holden Caulfield, however, is not Hank Rearden or Howard Roark; he has an honest passion for literature and does well in that subject at school, but he is skeptical of everyone around him and holes himself up in his gloom, refusing to try in school (which results in him getting expelled from a few places). But his chief weakness is his self-pity: He sees "phonies" everywhere around him, and he is justified to some extent as many of those around him are sycophants who lack passion for everything and pretend to rise in society. Caulfield holds himself as higher than them, but at the same time he wallows in this misery and seems to have no purpose in life. Aside from that, I think the novel's valuable in a way that is to me reminiscent of why Fahrenheit 451 is valuable: they lament the pointlessness of many people nowadays, who have nothing better to do than discuss the latest movie star or tell stories because they are afraid to venture into what is beyond and curse those who do. (I've seen my fair share of those people.)

My conclusion: This book is an interesting read that doesn't require much commitment. It's an easy read that is worthwhile to pick up sometime.

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