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Portrait: J.D. Salinger

j . d .   s a l i n g e r  :   b i o g .  ]

"I am a kind of paranoid in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy."
- J.D. Salinger

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    j . d .   s a l i n g e r  :   f a c t s

  • Name: J.D. Salinger
  • Birthname: Jerome David Salinger
  • Born: January 1, 1919
  • Place of birth: New York City, US
  • Resides: Cornish, New Hampshire, US

    j.d. salinger
    circa 1950s

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    j . d .   s a l i n g e r  :   b i o g .

    Jerome David Salinger, American novelist and short story writer, was born in New York in 1919 to a prosperous Jewish importer of Kosher cheese and his Scotch-Irish wife. He attended prep schools during his childhood and was later sent to Valley Forge Military Academy, which he attended from 1934-1936. He attended NYU and Columbia University and began submitting short stories for publication. By 1940 he had done so, publishing his stories in several periodicals including the Saturday Evening Post and Story.

    He served with the 4th Infantry Division in the Second World War and was stationed at Tiverton, Devon, UK, in March 1944, an experience which inspired his story For Esme with Love and Squalor. He was involved in the invasion of Normandy in 1944 and saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the war. The experience greatly affected him.

    He returned from the war in 1946. After many rejections, Salinger published his first story with the New Yorker in 1948. He wrote almost exclusively for the New Yorker until 1965.

    However, Salinger is best known for his novel The Catcher in the Rye (1951), the story of adolescent Holden Caulfield who runs away from boarding school in Pennsylvania to New York, where he preserves his innocence despite various attempts to lose it. The colloquial, lively, first-person narration, with its attacks on the 'phomimess' of the adult world and its clinging to family sentiment in the form of Holden's affection for his sister Phoebe, made the novel accessible to and popular with a wide readership, particularly with the young.

    A sequence of works about the eccentric Glass family began with Nine Stories (1953, published in Britain as For Esme - With Love and Squalor) and was followed by Franny and Zooey (1961), Raise High the Roof beam, Carpenters, and Seymour: An Introduction (published together, 1963), containing stories reprinted from the New Yorker.

    Salinger has been married three times. His first marriage to a young woman named Sylvia, who Salinger met in Europe, was brief. His second marriage to Claire Douglas, then a student at Dartmouth College, produced two children, a boy and a girl. After several failed relationships, Salinger finally married a nurse named Colleen 30 years his junior to whom he is still married.

    A notably reclusive character, living in Cornish, New Hampshire, he was the subject of a biographival exercise by Ian Hamilton (1988). This reclusive image and privacy has only fuelled interest in his writing even to this day. What all those years spent pecking away at a typewriter in his little house might yield after his death is anybody's guess. Perhaps his writing days are over, but it is possible that some of the best future works of American Fiction are being written up in the hills of New Hampshire.


    28th jan. 2010 - It has been announced that J.D. Salinger has died at his home in the U.S., at the age of 91.

    'He died yesterday at his home in New Hampshire,' said literary agent Phyllis Westberg.

    His last published story, Hapworth 16, 1928, ran in The New Yorker in 1965. Neighbours rarely saw him.

  • Your Tributes

  • Recommended Reading: Dream Catcher: A Memoir by Margaret A. Salinger


s a l i n g e r  :  s e l e c t e d   b o o k s

  • The Catcher in the Rye, 1951
  • Nine Stories, 1953
  • Franny and Zooey, 1961
  • Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction, 1963

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