View Full Version : J.D. Salinger Dead at 91

January 28th, 2010, 02:29 PM
From: The Huffington Post

J.D. Salinger Dead: 'Catcher in the Rye' Author Dies At 91 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/28/j-d-salinger-dead-catcher_n_440500.html)
NEW YORK — J.D. Salinger, the legendary author, youth hero and fugitive from fame whose "The Catcher in the Rye" shocked and inspired a world he increasingly shunned, has died. He was 91.
Salinger died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, the author's son said in a statement from Salinger's longtime literary representative, Harold Ober Agency. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in the small, remote house in Cornish, N.H.
"The Catcher in the Rye," with its immortal teenage protagonist, the twisted, rebellious Holden Caulfield, came out in 1951, a time of anxious, Cold War conformity and the dawn of modern adolescence. The Book-of-the-Month Club, which made "Catcher" a featured selection, advised that for "anyone who has ever brought up a son" the novel will be "a source of wonder and delight – and concern."
Enraged by all the "phonies" who make "me so depressed I go crazy," Holden soon became American literature's most famous anti-hero since Huckleberry Finn. The novel's sales are astonishing – more than 60 million copies worldwide – and its impact incalculable. Decades after publication, the book remains a defining expression of that most American of dreams: to never grow up.
Salinger was writing for adults, but teenagers from all over identified with the novel's themes of alienation, innocence and fantasy, not to mention the luck of having the last word. "Catcher" presents the world as an ever-so-unfair struggle between the goodness of young people and the corruption of elders, a message that only intensified with the oncoming generation gap.
Novels from Evan Hunter's "The Blackboard Jungle" to Curtis Sittenfeld's "Prep," movies from "Rebel Without a Cause" to "The Breakfast Club," and countless rock 'n' roll songs echoed Salinger's message of kids under siege. One of the great anti-heroes of the 1960s, Benjamin Braddock of "The Graduate," was but a blander version of Salinger's narrator.
"`Catcher in the Rye' made a very powerful and surprising impression on me," said Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon, who read the book, as so many did, when he was in middle school. "Part of it was the fact that our seventh grade teacher was actually letting us read such a book. But mostly it was because `Catcher' had such a recognizable authenticity in the voice that even in 1977 or so, when I read it, felt surprising and rare in literature."
The cult of "Catcher" turned tragic in 1980 when crazed Beatles fan Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon, citing Salinger's novel as an inspiration and stating that "this extraordinary book holds many answers."

January 28th, 2010, 03:05 PM
One of my favorite reads.

January 29th, 2010, 08:45 AM
The true classic.

January 29th, 2010, 08:57 AM
Taking a Walk Through J. D. Salinger’s New York


A reading tour of Holden Caulfield’s experiences “The Catcher in the Rye”:

Interactive Map » (http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/01/28/nyregion/20100128-salinger-map.html)

Hey, listen. You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over?

There it is: the Holden Caulfield question. Sara Cedar Miller gets it all the time.

“Everybody’s read that book,” said Ms. Miller, the historian for the Central Park Conservancy. It went without saying that the book in question — the book with the question, on Page 60 — was “The Catcher in the Rye.”
And the answer, according to Ms. Miller, is that the ducks never go anywhere.

“I have no idea what J. D. Salinger was thinking,” said Ms. Miller, who remembered reading “The Catcher in the Rye” as a high school student in Sharon, Mass. “I’ve worked for the park for 26 years, and I’ve always seen ducks.” She saw them in the subfreezing cold on Thursday morning: “I photographed them sitting on the ice.”

Those ducks are perhaps the most memorable New York image in a slim little book that is full of them.

Before he went into seclusion in New Hampshire, Mr. Salinger, who died on Wednesday at 91, (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/books/29salinger.html?hp) had a deep relationship with the city, having moved from Harlem to the Upper West Side to Park Avenue as a youngster and later to East 57th Street. As our colleague Clyde Haberman noted last year, the city itself was a character in “Catcher.”

So “Catcher” could almost serve as a guide to the city of a certain time, a city that has been lost forever, but still somehow exists: dark, enigmatic, grown up.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a cross section of New York, but it’s a cross section of what a kid like that who grew up in New York would be interested in doing,” said Peter G. Beidler, the author of “A Reader’s Companion to J. D. Salinger’s ‘The Catcher in the Rye’” (Coffeetown Press, 2008) and a retired professor at Lehigh University. “A 40-year-old man walking around New York would see different things. But he describes the things a 16-year-old would notice.”

Salinger started with Pennsylvania Station — 58 pages after promising to tell “where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like,” Holden Caulfield alights there and heads for a phone booth. A 16-year-old taking the train to New York nowadays would arrive in a different, less inspired place: Holden was in McKim, Mead & White’s extraordinary station, the one whose destruction in the 1960s kindled the historic preservation movement.

“One entered the city like a god,” the architecture historian Vincent Scully said. The dingy, workaday one that replaced it is no match: “One scuttles in now like a rat.”

And what modern 16-year-old would need a phone booth? Even his parents have cellphones.

Mr. Beidler made a map to go with his book that traces Holden’s perambulations around Manhattan, even to nonexistent places like the Edmont Hotel, where Holden has an awkward encounter with Sunny the hooker. Mr. Beidler places the Edmont in the West 50s, between Fifth Avenue and what is now officially known as the Avenue of the Avenuesd’oh! Americas. In Holden’s day, it was just Sixth Avenue.

“Because it is in this hotel that Holden sees ‘perverts’ and later encounters a pimp and a prostitute,” Mr. Beidler wrote, “it is likely that Salinger did not want to use the name of a real hotel.” But he gave a clue: He said it was “41 gorgeous blocks” from Ernie’s nightclub in Greenwich Village. Ernie’s, too, was a made-up place.

“You kind of triangulate a little bit,” Mr. Beidler said. “He goes so many blocks away, goes here, goes there. I was always able to figure out more or less where he was.”

Holden mentions the McBurney School, a private school that Salinger had attended. After Salinger came students like the actor Henry Winkler, the television journalist Ted Koppel and the financier Bruce Wasserstein. But McBurney closed in the 1980s.

Later Holden waits near the clock at the Biltmore for his date. The Biltmore was turned into an office building more than 15 years ago, the couches where he sat, girl-watching, gone. “Girls with their legs crossed, girls with their legs not crossed, girls with terrific legs, girls with lousy legs, girls that looked like swell girls …” Salinger wrote. “It was nice sightseeing.”

“Grand Central Terminal stands, though coin-operated lockers that Holden uses were removed long ago for security reasons,” Clyde Haberman wrote last year. “Radio City Music Hall goes on, in its fashion. For sure, so do the book’s two museums that abut Central Park — ‘the one where the pictures are’ and ‘the one where the Indians are.’ ”

And the Hotel Seton, where Holden goes for a drink?

“We get high school kids coming in and asking and they want to know if it’s the Seton Hotel,” said Leslee Heskiaoff, the owner of the hotel by that name on East 40th Street. “It isn’t. We have no bar.”


January 29th, 2010, 08:58 AM
The true classic.
Well, a true classic, for sure.

never met a kid who didn't like it (including myself).

But you know, I never met a kid who didn't like Camus' Stranger. Maybe because, like Catcher, it's pretty short.

January 29th, 2010, 09:41 AM
But you know, I never met a kid who didn't like Camus' Stranger. Maybe because, like Catcher, it's pretty short.Forced to slog through tomes like Bleak House, Catcher was much appreciated.

January 29th, 2010, 05:37 PM
The first time I read "Catcher in The Rye" it was almost freshly published and it was being talked about by a lot of the kids at school. I was told by someone that it was about a kid in a private school who winds up in New York City. I was just passing into the same adolesent phase that good old Holden Caulfield was experincing, I was adrift at a private school and I enjoyed reading, so I went looking for it.

Eventually, I saw it in a drugstore book rack and I spent a few minutes scanning some pages when I suddenly WANTED the book. It seemed, on quick observation, to contain some information that I needed to know more about, so I got it and read it all and when I turned out the light at 3 AM, I put it down with a silent ..."Wow".

It was like Salinger had been sneaking around behind my back, cleverly stalking me, taking secretive, copious notes about the things that an angst- driven teen does with his life, then running back to his log cabin somewhere, writing down all he just saw me do for MONTHS and making good old Holden Caulfield do the same things in just one day...

For example- Caulfield's prep school, from which he was irresponsibly fleeing, was named Pensy Prep and was located in some vague town somewhere in Upstate New York.
I was attending prep school at Manlius Academy -- a private military school-- just outside of Syracuse in the farmland countryside of rolling hills and sudden waterfalls, a very vague place if you ask me. It was a nice enough place and all, but I desperately wanted to flee from it. We used to speculate, my classmates and I, if Manlius might have been the prototype for the muddily described Pensy Prep. We all wanted to hitchhike to New York. The descriptions were SO close.
Private hubris at a private school.
Still, it WAS Upstate New York, just like Holden's place.
I read it cover-to-cover in my dorm room after lights out, the same kind of a room old Holden was trying to escape from. I used a flashlight under the covers.
And I never took up fencing but I WAS on the basketball team until I broke my ankle.

We had to wear quasi-military uniforms at good old Manlius, with neckties. So did he, only his uniform was the school blazer; still, his clothes made him what he was.
He had a younger sister who he was trying to make safe from the phoney people ( who were all around him and not even paying any attention to him.).
I had a younger sister who was turning phoney as fast as the Autumn leaves were turning-- but I had way too many people paying attention to me to go help her...
There were a lot of other little coincidences, words torn from the pages of my life. How did JD Salinger actually KNOW about all that???

Anyway, it was the first book that I actually IDENTIFIED with and I've probably re-read it twenty simes since that first read. It STILL resonates. I've made my kids read it when they were just starting High School, and they both thank me for introducing them to Holden Caulfield and his teenage demons.
I've read all of Salinger's books and none of them even came close to his first effort. He has a very uniqe writing style, too, but he never seemed to capture the inner narratives, the exposition of his characters or the cadence of the prose as well in his subsequent books.

I have gone through two copies of the paperback over the years, but I still have the same book, the one I took off the drugstore book rack back when Kennedy was President. It's all yellowed out and dusty and the cover has faded to beige and the glue cracks when I turn pages, so these days I sort of look at rather than touch it. It sits safely on the shelf, and everytime I glance at the cracked spine it makes me remember what it means to me.

It's probably the best book I've ever read.

January 30th, 2010, 01:38 AM
Well, a true classic, for sure.

:rolleyes:. I didn't mean the one and only.

Reading “Catcher” used to be an essential rite of passage...
The novel’s allure persists to this day, even if some of Holden’s preoccupations now seem a bit dated, and it continues to sell more than 250,000 copies a year in paperback.(from here (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/books/29salinger.html?hp))

Definitive - and very influential at the time it was written and beyond. The definite article was used emphatically, not exclusively.

January 30th, 2010, 01:49 AM
J.D. Salinger's Childhood Home

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/S2MLquwnbuI/AAAAAAAAGaU/6P3NhpgBd5w/s400/salingerMM.jpg (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/S2MLquwnbuI/AAAAAAAAGaU/6P3NhpgBd5w/s1600-h/salingerMM.jpg)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/S2MLUPTJidI/AAAAAAAAGaE/31G_Sl-UqMQ/s400/salingerB.jpg (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/S2MLUPTJidI/AAAAAAAAGaE/31G_Sl-UqMQ/s1600-h/salingerB.jpg)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/S2MLT3QG3lI/AAAAAAAAGZ8/3zDHy2RgZA8/s400/salingerM.jpg (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/S2MLT3QG3lI/AAAAAAAAGZ8/3zDHy2RgZA8/s1600-h/salingerM.jpg)

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/S2MLTpnVvdI/AAAAAAAAGZ0/_6PwNF-TUS8/s400/salingerA.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_UKr9URsCkeE/S2MLTpnVvdI/AAAAAAAAGZ0/_6PwNF-TUS8/s1600-h/salingerA.jpg)
(click images to enlarge)

On the southwest corner of Broadway and 153rd Street sits a castle like apartment complex that has the distinction of being the home of writer Jerome David Salinger for the first nine years of his life. Overlooking historic Trinity Cemetery, this prewar building at 3681 Broadway would have been considered one of the new luxury elevator complexes of its time. The terracotta battlements at the top and all the cast iron details have still held up through the years at Halidon Court and it's probable that the interior is pretty intact. There is no indication of the famous writer's connection to the building on the facade but maybe that will change soon now that he has passed away. The nearest subway to this location is the 1 train at 157th Street. See our past post on J.D. Salinger: LINK (http://harlembespoke.blogspot.com/search?q=salinger).