Now, the moment you have been waiting for; or at least the moment I have been waiting for. This is the final chapter in the series of recluses and of course, the finale is JD Salinger. Jerome David Salinger was born in New York City on January first, 1919. He was the son of a rabbi, Sol Salinger and his wife, Miriam. He went to public school but failed there so he was sent to military academy. He also studied at Ursinus College and New York University. He was first published at the age of 21 in a friend’s magazine at Columbia University, Story Magazine. He served in the army from 1942-44 where he participated in the Normandy invasion. After the war, he suffered a nervous breakdown.
He had a brief marriage to a woman named Sylvia who was quite possibly a Nazi. Are we remembering that Salinger was the son of a rabbi? After which, he had a ten year marriage to Claire Douglas which resulted in two children. He also had an affair with Joyce Maynard in the 70’s.
His last marriage lasted until his death in 2010 to Colleen O’Neill.
The military academy he attended when he was young was in Valley Forge and was probably the basis for the prep school mentioned in Catcher in the Rye. Before that book, which sold 120 million copies, he was published in Collier’s, Saturday Even Post and mostly in the New Yorker.
He started becoming reclusive in the 1950’s after his iconic book was published. He refused any public appearances or statements and basically went into seclusion in his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. He was very hostile to those who tried to seek him out and refused to participate in any biographies, vehemently opposing their publication, in fact suing one of the biographies and delaying its publication. He told a friend in a letter that he couldn’t answer the phone without gritting his teeth.
Although he only published two books, and a short story collection, he was said to have written diligently until his death, rising early in the morning and faithfully writing every day. So, you ask, where are the results of that effort? It is said that there are five Salinger books to be published sometime in the future. In fact, from research, some of these books are expected to be published in the time span of 2015-2020. That would be now, yet I could find no evidence of any Salinger books being published. Here are the titles floating around, The Last and Best of the Peter Pans, A World War 11 Love story, (apparently about his brief marriage) A Counter Intelligence Agent’s Diary, and a Religious Manual (about his encounter with Hinduism). Also there is said to be a collection of short stories, The Complete Chronicles of the Glass Family. In my research I found a book on Amazon recently published by Salinger but all the reviews said it was definitely a scam and not written by him. So I will give it no publicity.
Salinger’s letters to his friend, E Michael Mitchell have been donated and other letters have recently surfaced. Mitchell designed the dust jacket for Catcher and was about as close a friend as Salinger had. Yet, apparently Salinger refused to autograph a copy of his book for him. This is the mystery of Salinger which continues to this day.
Writer’s Journal: Worked a bit on a short story this week. I have the lay out finally figured out but only a few pages written. I got to guest blog on Melinda Moore’s Enchanted Spark blog if you want to take a peek. It furthers this series just a bit.