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J.D. Salinger Turns 90 Today

Filed under: The Katharine Wheel: On Fiction   Tagged: , , ,

Benjamin Chambers writes:

Charles McGrath has an excellent article in The New York Times on J.D. Salinger’s last published piece, “Hapworth 16, 1924”. The 25,000-word novella appeared in the June 19, 1965 issue of The New Yorker, and never anywhere else. Thanks to the magic of the Digital Edition, it’s more accessible now than ever before. (Many of Salinger’s other classic works first appeared in the magazine too, although you’d search in vain for Catcher in the Rye because, as Louis Menand pointed out in a 2001 retrospective, the magazine rejected it.)

McGrath has some perceptive things to say about the charm of Salinger’s writing, and why it remains influential. He also hits the nail on the head when he talks about the chief drawback of Salinger’s chronicles about his fictional family, the Glasses:
The very thing that makes the Glasses, and Seymour especially, so appealing to Mr. Salinger— that they’re too sensitive and exceptional for this world— is also what came to make them irritating to so many readers.

Nevertheless, I’d like to wish this great American writer a very happy birthday.


You probably knew this, Benjamin, but Menand also noted a fact about Catcher that I heard for the first time today, on “The Writer’s Almanac”: that Holden Caufield was introduced in the story “Slight Rebellion Off Madison,” accepted by TNY in 1941, but delayed by Pearl Harbor and published only in 1946.

Hey, thanks for reminding me. I’d forgotten that. I’m a 9 Stories fan, rather than a fan of Salinger’s novels, but it would be interesting to read “Slight Rebellion,” if only to find out why it wasn’t publishable after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

James Wolcott saluted Salinger at the end of this post from Wednesday.

I read The Catcher In The Rye in 1968 and have read it many times over. JD is my favorite writer and Catcher still remains my favorite book. Every page is a gem. Many men have loved this book but I get the feeling I’m one of the few women so attracted to it.

angela curasJanuary 03, 2009

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