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#169389 - 10/17/19 06:40 PM J. D. Salinger
Enright Offline
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Registered: 05/17/06
Posts: 3595
Loc: CA
Here's a Wall Street Journal article on a Salinger exhibit in New York. The astonishing thing about JD (as us close correspondents of his liked to call him then, despite others outside our circle who doubted that we were that close to him, or even that we were his correspondents at all) was that he continued to write six hours a day for 45 years after he stopped publishing in 1965.

The Catcher in the Rye was a very good book indeed, although possibly overrated, as I viewed it then. But after reading Franny and Zooey, I esteemed Salinger as a great writer, right up there in the pantheon. (To be clear, I can't say that I agree with my younger self now in that evaluation, not having read F&Z again in decades; but still, . . .)

A Promise of More Salinger to Come

By Brenda Cronin
Updated Oct. 17, 2019 8:17 am ET

J.D. Salinger is back in New York, decades after forsaking the city when his 1951 novel “The Catcher in the Rye” made him famous. On Friday, never-before-shown photographs, letters, notebooks and manuscripts from the late author’s archives go on display at the New York Public Library, which he visited as a boy.

The exhibit is “not scary, just uncomfortable,” said the writer’s son, Matt. Watching his father’s childhood pictures, Royal typewriter, pipes and handwritten recipes being installed in display cases, he said, “I had a little bit of a ‘What have I done?’ moment.”

Salinger stopped publishing in 1965, when he was 46 years old. But he continued to write for more than six hours a day until his death in 2010, said his son, who has been transcribing his father’s jotted notes and typed words. The prospect of more fiction has tantalized Salinger scholars and fans ever since the New Yorker ran his last published short story—“Hapworth 16, 1924”—in 1965.

It will take another five to seven years before new work is published, said Mr. Salinger, an actor and a film and theater producer. For the moment, he is revealing nothing more, saying he doesn’t yet know exactly what the archive contains. “Even if I did, I wouldn’t say, because I really want people to come to this without any sort of pre-established assumptions or feelings or presumptions,” Mr. Salinger said. “It’s been a fascinating and exciting and moving process for me.”

Jerome David Salinger —called Sonny by his parents and sister—would have turned 100 this year.

The New York Public Library exhibit, which runs through Jan. 19, is an unusual tribute to an artist who couldn’t live without writing but refused the burden of fame. “It was a huge struggle deciding to lift the veil in this way on his life,” Mr. Salinger said. “But if not on his 100th birthday, when?” The exhibition aims to correct the image of a humorless recluse that became entrenched as Salinger avoided the spotlight, his son said. “I think the best way to correct that is not me telling anybody anything but just showing some of the raw material and they can make up their own minds.”

He and the author’s widow, Colleen Salinger, co-trustees of the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust, spent months sifting through material. It has never been exhibited before and is in a storage facility between New Hampshire, where the writer lived, and Connecticut, which is home to Matt Salinger. They turned to Declan Kiely, the library’s director of special collections and exhibitions, to winnow the material and help shape the show.

Among items on display is a note from around 1937 that Salinger’s mother, pretending to be a publisher, slipped under her teenage son’s bedroom door. “I accept your story—Consider it a masterpiece,” she wrote. “Check for $1000 in the mail.” The young writer tore up the paper but saved the scraps and later pieced them back together. “I cried when I read that,” Mr. Salinger said, moved “to see her feelings for him and his for her.”

J.D. Salinger made his name publishing short stories in magazines including the New Yorker. Readers fell in love with his characters, such as the eccentric and sensitive members of the Glass family. After “Catcher,” Salinger published three books: “Nine Stories,” (1953) and “Franny and Zooey” (1961) and “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour : An Introduction” (1963).

Every year, more than a million copies of “Catcher” are sold around the world, the New York Public Library estimates. Holden Caulfield, the book’s disaffected teen narrator, gained Salinger a fervent following. In 1953, the author moved to Cornish, N.H., a town on the Connecticut River. “He didn’t put much weight in the reality of the world, so how could he put much weight in something like fame, that is just so ephemeral and meaningless and subjective?” said his son, who is 59 years old.

Mr. Salinger remembers his father as a prolific correspondent, a joyful creator and a parent engaged with his two children. “My friends adored him and adored coming over,” Mr. Salinger said. “He was never boring.”

Salinger, who married three times, was a movie buff—his Kodak Pageant 16mm projector is here—as well as a gardener, an animal lover and a follower of homeopathic remedies. He “was really interested in health and diet and nutrition,” Mr. Salinger said. “There was a period where we played tennis. And then there was a much longer period where I actually got him into jogging.”

The show runs from the author’s childhood through his World War II stint and his decades of writing. Using a manual typewriter, he filled double-spaced pages, often jotting notes between the lines. “He always had a couple of different notebooks with him and he didn’t just write at his desk,” Mr. Salinger said. He wrote in bed, in the red leather chair in his living room, even in his car.

There are letters, never before exhibited, to family, friends and Army buddies, and one from Ernest Hemingway, who wrote “how happy it made me to read the stories and what a god damned fine writer I think you are.” Mr. Salinger said he and his father’s widow chose not to dwell on the author’s marriages or romantic relationships in the exhibit. The show aims, Mr. Salinger said, to portray his father “as a reader and as a writer—and one who chose to go against the grain and take another path than most 20th-century authors took, all the while being fiercely principled and true to what he believed.” Books and notes reflect Salinger’s passion for spirituality and mysticism. There are typed manuscripts as well as the bookcase that was beside his bed during his final years.

The show includes the zippered case that Salinger carried to the post office to collect his mail, as well as a salami knife he used as a letter opener. Both items, Mr. Salinger said, reflect how his father seized on objects that caught his attention and that he found pleasing.

The knife “has a really fine serrated edge to it, so you can slit the letter but it makes sort of a ripping noise, like a saw,” Mr. Salinger said. His father’s “writing was precise and he precisely observed so many things. A lot of the objects he liked, he liked for very precise reasons and I think he very much liked the little serrations.”

Mr. Salinger hopes the exhibition will spark interest beyond “Catcher” to his father’s other fiction, such as “Franny and Zooey.” “If this exhibition gets a few thousand more people to read these later works,” he said, “it will have been well worth all the hoopla.”


#169422 - 11/07/19 08:46 PM Re: J. D. Salinger [Re: Enright]
AuntJobiska Offline

Registered: 05/02/17
Posts: 164
Loc: USA
The show aims, Mr. Salinger said, to portray his father “as a reader and as a writer—and one who chose to go against the grain and take another path than most 20th-century authors took, all the while being fiercely principled and true to what he believed.”

This shows good taste and a proper perspective. After all, this is what rightly interests his readers and fellow writers. We are hardly entitled to know the particulars of his private life, but sharing this aspect with the public is a lovely gift.

#169998 - 06/15/20 09:08 AM Re: J. D. Salinger [Re: AuntJobiska]
zaiyamariya Offline

Registered: 03/07/20
Posts: 29
Loc: AL
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