August 25, 2013

J.D. Salinger "instructed his estate to publish at least five additional books..."

"... some of them entirely new, some extending past work — in a sequence that he intended to begin as early as 2015."
One collection, to be called “The Family Glass,” would add five new stories to an assembly of previously published stories about the fictional Glass family....

Another would include a retooled version of a publicly known but unpublished tale, “The Last and Best of the Peter Pans,” which is to be collected with new stories and existing work about the fictional Caulfields, including “Catcher in the Rye.” The new works are said to include a story-filled “manual” of the Vedanta religious philosophy, with which Mr. Salinger was deeply involved; a novel set during World War II and based on his first marriage; and a novella modeled on his own war experiences....
The revelation comes in the new book "Salinger," and here's a clue (from the book) about why Salinger left off publishing (but not writing) all those years:
[A]fter [WWII], Mr. Salinger met a 14-year-old girl, Jean Miller, at a beach resort in Florida. For years, they exchanged letters, spent time together in New York and eventually had a brief physical relationship. (She said, in an interview in the film and book, that Mr. Salinger dumped her the day after their first sexual encounter.)
For years... How many years? I'm trying to do the math.

13 comments:

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

According to the grapevine, from the mid-1960s on, Salinger wrote a number of stories, some of them about the Glass family, that the New Yorker regularly rejected. You can imagine what it would have taken for the New Yorker to reject Salinger stories. His last published work, the novella "Hapworth 16, 1924," was published in that magazine in 1965. I've tried to read it. I offer this description from an Amazon reviewer:

Truly Demented and Unforgivably Dull...
This review is from: HAPWORTH 16, 1924 (June 19, 1965 The New Yorker) (Single Issue Magazine)
This seven year old Seymour with his hilariously ENDLESS reading lists is also a little Yogi, a saint and the most insufferable child since 19th century's Elsie Dinsmore or Edward Gorey's 'The Pious Child'. You really want to strangle him. It goes on and on and on and it is painfully obvious that Salinger had lost all humanity, warmth, craft, love of story-telling. This, his last published work reveals him to have become a self-important pontificating ass. Horrible beyond belief.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks for the grapevine report!

William said...

During WWI, Hemingway spent eighteen minutes in combat. Mailer went on one combat patrol during his military career. Salinger was there from the landing at Normandy until the very end. I don't know if there are any other American writers with more combat experience. Maybe Styron or Jones had comparable experiences, but none had more......When you think of what he deserves to be remembered for outside of his writing, I would give this a higher valence than his predilection for teen age girls. I've read For Esme With Love and Squalor. It seems to me that he was looking for solace more than sex (although sex is always an attractive bonus)......Anyway five new books by Salinger is something to look forward to.

William said...

The article claims that he had a brief marriage with a German woman who may have been a Gestapo agent. His life had a lot of good material that never made it into his book.

John said...

Yawn.

What is it with Salinger? I read Catcher in 1962 in 9th grade and thought it was the bees knees.

I tried to read it again in the 90's when my son had to read it in 9th grade. What dreck.

In HS I also read some of his other stuff and found it boring.

But I guess it is high literature, unlike stuff that is fun and interesting to read and makes one think. Like Elmore Leonard.

Why are we still talking about this guy? More importantly, why are kids still being forced to read him?

John Henry

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

William's right about those writers' comparative wartime experience. Salinger landed on Utah Beach on D-Day. "Esme," in my opinion his best story, is (I think) the only one to deal with the war, and it only indirectly mentions combat. I like a question he asked in one of his works: Who was the better war poet, Rupert Brooke (i.e., WWI romantic jingoism) or Emily Dickinson? Answer: Emily Dickinson.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

If I remember correctly, it was Truman Capote who disclosed that information about the New Yorker and Salinger's later stories. A case of the pot calling the kettle black, late-career-declinewise; and never the world's most trustworthy news source. Nevertheless...

rcocean said...

Sorry, never got the whole JD Salinger is great thingee.

Evidently, "catcher in the rye" and "Fanny and Zooey" really, really, impacts a lot of people. Like the Star Trek TOS, or "Atlas Shrugged".

Maybe, I read those books too late, or maybe you need to be a boomer to really care.

Just another literary cult, like Bellow, Norman Mailer, or "Infinite Jest" that I don't get.

rcocean said...

And from what I understand, JD was in the intelligence section. He probably interviewed German POWs, wrote intelligence summaries for the Higher ups, or read/summarized captured German documents.

I doubt he was in "combat" for 11 months. Probably, James Jones, Hemingway, Wouk, Heller, Vonnegut, all saw more WWII combat than Salinger.

David said...

If God has an ironic sense of justice, he will put Capote and Salinger in the same room for eternity. Just the two of them. He will tell them they are in heaven. Then he will close the door.

At some point John Updike will interview each of them, and God will get it published. Capote and Salinger will know that the interview was published. But they will never know what it said.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Updike could be pretty sly about his competitors, and sometimes more than sly. He wrote a classic nasty parody of "On the Road," called "On the Sidewalk," about a Beat child riding a tricycle.

However, Kerouac's typewriter sold for $22,500 at an auction in 2010, while Updike's only sold for $4,375.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

In WWII Kerouac was thrown out of Navy basic training after eight days for "schizoid personality". He served in the merchant marine -- which could be quite dangerous during the war, as the unarmed ships were targets for U-boats -- but except for a trip to Greenland he spent most of the war in New York.

rcocean said...

Yes, the Merchant Marine could be very dangerous. Otis Ferguson, who was a great movie critic, was killed serving in the MM during WWII.