Jerome David Salinger was an American writer who won acclaim early in life. In 1948, his critically acclaimed story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” appeared in The New Yorker magazine, which became home to much of his later work. In 1951, his novel The Catcher in the Rye was an immediate popular success, which led to public attention and scrutiny. Salinger became reclusive, publishing new work less frequently. He followed The Catcher in the Rye with a short story collection, Nine Stories (1953); a volume containing a novella and a short story, Franny and Zooey (1961); and a volume containing two novellas, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963). He led a very private life for more than a half-century. Salinger published his final original work in 1965 and gave his last interview in 1980. He was born on this day in 1919 and died of natural causes on January 27, 2010.
P.S. Happy New Year! In November 2013, three unpublished Salinger stories from the 1940s were scanned into PDF form and leaked online. One of the stories, “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” is about the Caulfield boys and is sort of a prequel to The Catcher in the Rye. It is stipulated in Salinger’s will that these stories are not to be published until 50 years after his death, but the Internet made other plans. If you miss the Glass family and Holden Caulfield and you’re eager for more rare Salinger stories, you may also want to track down an unauthorized compilation of Salinger’s 22 uncollected stories. These “lost” stories were all from the 1940s, just like the three leaked stories, with one exception (“Hapworth 16, 1924” was published in 1965). This lovely quote is from one of his early stories: “She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there, leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.” – J. D. Salinger, “A Girl I Knew“