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JD Salinger 1919-2010


Sep 18, 2009
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now for a block buster

thank fk that old prk is outa tha way... now we can have the MOVIE

Catcher in The Rye- starring Ashton Kutcher as Holden Caulfield

gonna be awesome
Nov 2, 2009
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I have read a few articles which suggest it's true he kept writing, even though he didn't want stuff published. The impression I got is that he valued his privacy above all else. And I guess he didn't need the money any more.

I have been wondering whether some of it will get published posthumously.

The catcher in the rye is a classic, a seminal piece of literature.
Oct 29, 2009
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craig1985 said:
Is the book worth reading?

Hell yes! The protaganist, Holden Caulfield, wanders around NYC buying time before he tells his parents he's been expelled from yet another prep school. He describes the characters he meets and decides if they're 'phonies' or not.

This is pertinent to what we do on here with regards to Armstrong et al: we discuss how guys like him go through the motions and play the game, all the while duping us with incredible hypocrisy (most probably). It also describes how resistance to conformity is alienating (vis a vis Manzano) and can drive an independently-minded individual mad (Caulfield mentions numerous stays in mental wards). The premise is it's actually easier to become a phony as an adult and think and act in contrived, socially-scripted ways.

The novel is also important because, along with Rock n Roll which arose at the same time, it brought to the public's consciousness the status of the modern teenager as someone no longer a child yet not an adult. Before this the culture had little concept of what we regard today as a teenager, with a more seamless transition from childhood to adulthood...or something.

It's also an infamous book since 1980 as John Lennon's assasin, Mark Chapman, was obsessed with the novel. He figured that Lennon had sold out and was now a phony. After shooting him, Chapman calmly pulled the book from his pocket and began reading, waiting to be arrested.

So yes, go read it. It's a cultural artefact and captures the modern mindset.
Oct 29, 2009
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As quoted in Paul Alexander's 2000 biography.

"There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. ...Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I live to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure. ... I don't necessarily intend to publish posthumously, but I do like to write for myself.... But all I'm doing is trying to protect myself and my work."

I was a lit major in college. I did more reading in my final two years than some people do in a lifetime. Amidst all that reading, few works tend to really stick with you; "Catcher" was one of those works. Holden Caulfield is a symbol for youth, and the work itself is quintessential to anyone with a love of Modernist literature. JD Salinger will be missed.
Mar 10, 2009
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Great book. It was required reading, even at an all-girls middle school in RSA. It's U.S. Cold war zeitgeist meets alienated disenchanted youth where nonconformity in a phony world is is treated as a disease--not discomfort in finding one's place.

Holden Caulfield is one of the great literary characters. His heartbeat is resonant.
I would completely agree with that. There is a very real element of youthful adolescence that rings true as much as any other writing in history.

I have to wonder if there really is a point to his future writings being released? What is there really to be gained from it? Would it diminish Catcher? Or his mystique?

An interesting aside, when Nicholas Cage was in love with Patricia Arquette, he asked her what it would take for her to be with him, and she said "an autograph from JD Salinger". Cage tried the regular routes going through the literary world and got nowhere. Then the tried going to New England and tracking him down. This got nowhere, and he got no closer than people who knew who JD was, and wouldn't tell Cage a thing. No autograph. But Arquette did end up marrying him anyway, though their relationship dissolved and ended in divorce (like all his relationships!?)

The film Finding Forrester has a character played by Sean Connery named William Forrester who is loosely based on Salinger. Good movie for those interested.

Master filmmaker Terrence Malick is often referred to as the JD Salinger of filmmaking, as he never gives interviews, ever, and only one photo of him exists in the last 25 years or so. After he made the film Days of Heaven, he disappeared from the face of the earth for 20 years until he made The Thin Red Line. His contracts are written to where no photos, quotes, or interviews can be given by the studio or production company. Though he did show up to a film festival last year and talked with some people, and a writer for a very small-town paper in Virginia was able to ask him a few questions when he was filming New World there, and the studio has issued a few short statements from him, he still remains extreme reclusive.

Fascinating post, CycloErgoSum.
Jan 30, 2010
Some personal reflections from my writings on Salinger---Ron in Australia


Some sympathetic critics of American writer J.D. Salinger seem to have found a philosophical basis for his silence. They try to establish that Salinger's silence after he achieved fame by writing The Catcher in the Rye was not merely an act of whimsy or a publicity stunt, but a conscious intellectual and spiritual stance worthy of sober critical attention by critics. The silence of Salinger, the cessation of his language output, is difficult to understand. Salinger's gesture of silence and withdrawal may be part of a larger effort to enact in life the values he hitherto problematized in art.

Ultimately, in silence, his ideals of life and art coalesce. Two of the most fundamental concerns of Salinger's career have been his search for "right living" as a human being and "right expression" as an artist. Moreover, he is one of the few modern writers whose art and life complement each other so well that one seems to be the extension of the other. Ian Hamilton records Leila Hadley remembering Salinger talking of Holden Caulfield, the main character in Catcher, as a "real" person. He represented Salinger's own aversion to cliches and his measured speech habits and silence, like his own character Raymond Ford in The Inverted Forest: "He did not speak much; he did not speak unless he had to speak." -Ron Price, "Source Unknown," The Internet, 20 September 2002.

Ron Price, the author of this prose-poem, was beginning to acquire both sympathetic and unsympathetic critics as well as not a few enthusiasts. He had not achieved the kind of fame that Salinger acquired in the 1950s through his novels and he was notlikely to do so. And so he did not have to withdraw into silence because of this fame to protect his personal privacy. Price's withdrawal from the world of employment and the demands of what he had found to be extensive community responsibilities into his world of writing was part of that same search of Salinger for "right living" as a human being and "right expression" as an artist, at least what was right for him in the middle years(65-75) of late adulthood(60-80) and old age(80++), if he lasted that long. Price saw his art, his poetry, and his life as a compliment to each other, an extension of each other. Price had come to require large quantities of silence. Creativity and silence contained great healing. He felt the need for their healing waters. He also found an amount, a quantity, a modicum of the social, one he wanted to keep within bounds and that fitted into his solitude. In the global Baha'i community you could have wall-to-wall people or complete solitude or anything in-between. For everything there was a season and for him, after 50 years of the social-season(1949-1999), he was ready for solitude.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 20 September, 2002 updated on hearing of the death of J.D. Salinger at age 91 on 30 January 2010.

Did you find your
right living, J.D.?
Did you find your
right expression??
……after all that
David Copperfield
kind of crap..........
you had to endure.

I found it, J.D......
way back in '59 &
have spent all my
years giving form
and expression to
its enfless ways...
the City of God....
the celestial Kaaba
that has so recently
descended from.....
a heavenly source.

Ron Price
20 September 2002
updated 30/1/’10...

Many writers, artists, poets, people in the world of culture and the arts, go into seclusion after their early successes. In a radio program today, Arts Today, two such writers were mentioned: J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon. Others go into seclusion later in their careers. It is part of a general pattern which the historian Arnold Toynbee calls "withdrawal-and-return." Others call the axis along which specific changes or rhythms take place 'approach-and-separation.' Sometimes the artist will withdraw and never return. Sometimes he will return or approach in a more moderate way than he had originally. I have, recently, withdrawn or separated from quite an intense milieux of employment and community work and I have returned in a moderate way. Various factors predisposed me to go inward by the last years of my middle age, the years 55 to 60. This process of a withdrawal into solitude is hardly observable except to friends and relatives with whom one has some close connection by birth, by marriage or by lengthy association. In the case of J. D. Salinger it was observable because he had become a famous writer and the world wanted contact with a person who had become by degrees a recluse. Insight comes from an inner gestation, a Socratic wisdom associated with knowing yourself, a personal growth. Such was the view of Salinger. For Salinger this social reversal brought drama, change, intensification and new landmarks on a personal quest. It was a personal quest which ended today. -Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 29 March 2001 and updated on the day of Salinfer’s death: 30/1/’10.

Shocking public events
have inspired this poetic,
catastrophic happenings
to someone born in 1944,
to someone who tried to
find the Kingdom come
with power and has now
seen nearly half a century
of its slow establishment
around this global world.

Here are enough themes
to occupy time, energy &
the genius of a dozen men:
historians, sociologists and
philosophers—an inspiration
from another realm, a most
wonderful and thrilling motion,
fifty years of it, drying out my
intellectual eyes with a series of
barren fields and psychically
winding my mind with a new
fertility that surpassed all that
I had experienced in life, filled
my days with a revivifying breath
or I would have died in a wasteland
without a wimper amidst stony rubbish.(1)

(1) T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland, line 19.

Ron Price
30 March 2001
updated: 30/1/’10
Read Catcher in the Rye about 5 years ago for high-school English and wasn't crazy about it. Far from one of the greatest efforts of 20th century English literature. Maybe that's just because I was expecting absolute greatness from the book and it fell short, and therefore can't appreciate it properly. And it certainly wasn't good enough to warrant losing John Lennon over.

Either way, this should make everyone chuckle, from the Onion, one of the best daily doses of funny in the world:

Bunch Of Phonies Mourn J.D. Salinger

CORNISH, NH—In this big dramatic production that didn't do anyone any good (and was pretty embarrassing, really, if you think about it), thousands upon thousands of phonies across the country mourned the death of author J.D. Salinger, who was 91 years old for crying out loud. "He had a real impact on the literary world and on millions of readers," said hot-shot English professor David Clarke, who is just like the rest of them, and even works at one of those crumby schools that rich people send their kids to so they don't have to look at them for four years. "There will never be another voice like his." Which is exactly the lousy kind of goddamn thing that people say, because really it could mean lots of things, or nothing at all even, and it's just a perfect example of why you should never tell anybody anything.