Thursday, January 28, 2010

J. D. Salinger is dead

Breaking News Alert
The New York Times
Thu, January 28, 2010 -- 1:17 PM ET

J.D. Salinger, Author of 'The Catcher in the Rye,' Is Dead at 91

J. D. Salinger, who was thought at one time to be the most
important American writer to emerge since World War II but
who then turned his back on success and adulation, has died
in Cornish, N.H., where he lived in seclusion for more than
50 years, his son told The Associated Press. He was 91.

Mr. Salinger's literary reputation rests on a slender but
enormously influential body of published work: the novel "The
Catcher in the Rye
," the collection "Nine Stories" and two
compilations, each with two long stories about the fictional
Glass family: "Franny and Zooey" and "Raise High the Roof
Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction."

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Anonymous said...

I guess I should make an attempt to read that book again.

When I read it many, many years ago, I didn't "get it" and passed it off as a rather meaningless insignificant ramble.

On reflection, and after checking it out on Wiki just now, I realise I was too young, inexperienced and naive to "get it".

Hmm...I wonder what else I missed back in the days that I was a voracious teenage reader!..Ha!

Greg in Adelaide

J said...

A lot of critics wondered if Catcher in the Rye wouldn't be viewed as a classic,but rather as a dated slice of prep school life in the 40's-50's. It turns out that Salinger's take on adolescent emotions is just as fresh as it was when it was first published. it's a magnificent downer.
Today Caufield would take his prozac and get over it.

JustinO'Shea said...

Thanks for these comments. . .and your insights. I wonder if we can keep talking about this. . .you are sharing some very good insights.

I read Catcher in high school lit; now I want to read it again. ;-)

Gary Kelly said...

And don't forget to read Green Room as well. It's got the lot. If it doesn't blow you hair back, I'll be very surprised.

Coop said...

I confused Salinger with Steinbeck yesterday... meh...I did read Franny and Zooey but I don't remember much about it.

JustinO'Shea said...

Same here, COOP> I read F & Z but dont remember anything about but the names! Makes me wonder if i ever DID read it! hahahaaa

Oh how I miss my mind! hahaa Must all that sex!!! The mind goes empty too! I know some who go around like perpetual Zeros. . .whooooaaaahhhh.

My mouth is plain running. . . Sheesshhh, I best go back to bed for some more zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-time.

cheerios, pip pip...n' all that rot.

just in

JustinO'Shea said...

J. . . .and wouldn't it have been a shame if Holden had been on prozac. . how utterly borrriiiiinnngggg!!!

Gawd, meds are fine but look at the stuff we can miss takinf our little pills and they think we are acting 'normal'. . .with all the life, fun, energy just fried out of us. . .duuuh.

I still believe "It's not good to mess with Mother Nature. . " she can be a real bitch.

Bite me@

J said...

As a life-long depressive I can assure you that my existence would be barely tolerable without SSRIs, and I honestly wish I was on them earlier than I was. However, I can attest that I've done some of my best writing when unmedicated, and had some poetry published as a result(not by any vanity press,I might add). It makes you wonder what sort of literary legacy would have been left by the poets Sylvia Plath, Randall Jarrell and John Berryman if they had been medicated. They were terrific writers, but all three committed suicide. I and a lot of readers know how Caulfield felt, and if he had no literary gift that would be suppressed by feeling good, he should have been medicated. In many instances cognitive and talk therapies will only take you so far. By the way, one of the best books about depression was penned by the novelist William Styron, who had a horrible time with it in middle age.

Anonymous said...

I'll have to search out a copy of Catcher now, just to see what I missed on my first read, if I missed anything at all.

Fortunately for me I don't get depressed. Well, I perhaps have been a bit sometimes, but not for long, I think that if/when I have been depressed I recognise it immediately and deal with it.

A bit like I deal with stress.
My take on stress is that if whatever is causing it can be changed by yourself, then you should change it.
If you can do absolutely nothing about what is causing it, then it will happen anyway, or not as the case may be. So if there is nothing to do I about it I "simply" get on with life and ignore it. Move on.

Very easy to say, but hard to do. But with some practice you can.

I mean, what is the sense of worrying what will/might happen if there is nothing in the world you can do about it?

Trouble is, stress can creep up on you. You suddenly find yourself stressing and realise you've been doing it for some time.
For me, once I've woken up to it, I deal with it.
Feels like a great weight has lifted and I move on, happy with myself.

So, depression for me is readily recognised and I deal with it straight away.

Of course I am lucky that I have no medical condition that makes my depression or stress abnormal....but even for 'normal' people, learning to deal with depression and stress is something they never achieve in their lifetime, it seems.
So sad.

Geez, I do dribble on, sorry.

Greg in Adelaide

Jack Greenman said...

"Catcher in the Rye" remains solidly one of the rightest hitting books I've read - if that makes sense. I don't read many like it, instead I tend to go for historical Naval books both fiction and non. But Salinger's book hit me hard at a time in my life when I needed it. I only read it once and that was a decade ago - but..

50 years in seclusion is hard to imagine. I wonder was he online? Did he keep journals? Watch TV? Read books? I've spent much of this past year in seclusion, 1-2 visitors every week or so, minimal contact with my mother, hours upon hours by myself. I can't imagine 50 years.

I hope he was at peace with himself when he died, it is a sad thing. But perhaps he was happy. I hope so.

At any rate, this ramble is brought to you by an all nighter.

Stew said...

My father was a chiropractor and mother is native american. So natural healing was always the way to go. As a child I was quite the oposite of my calm self that I am now. When the school wanted me to see a shrink, my parents took matters in their own hands and we went to an alergist. Found out that I am alergic to a few things. One of which the side effect of eating this item is severe psycotic fits of rage. I stopped eating it, and have not had any real problems like I was having since. What was I alergic to?......Chicken.
I was as crazy as the next inmate. Now, I'm chicken and prozac free and enjoying life.

Gary Kelly said...

Veeeeeeeeeeeeery interesting, Stew! Not all is as it seems, unless you have the wisdom to see.

And speaking of wisdom, allow me to say this: it's a good thing you weren't born a chicken.