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J.D. Salinger Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Catcher in the Rye (1951) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Nine Stories (1953) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
For Esme - With Love and Squalor (1953) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Franny and Zooey (1961) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Raise High the Roof Beam (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Jerome David Salinger was a writer from America. He was born in New York City on January 1st 1919 and his writing skills first started to show when he was in McBurney School, a private school in Manhattan.

During his time at McBurney School, he wrote for the school newspaper and began to show an interest in Drama. He was in the school play but his Father did not like the idea of him becoming an actor. Even though his parents then took the steps to enroll him in Military School, his literary talents began to make an appearance again. He spent his spare time, and often times when he was supposed to be sleeping, writing short stories. He was also the editor of the school year book and it seems that he used his time in Military School to hone his skills.

Salinger graduated from Military School in 1936 and despite many attempts to attend College, he usually dropped out after one semester. Contrary to popular belief, Salinger was just an average student and did not excel in any subjects, unlike other members of his family.

It wasn’t until his paths crossed with Whit Burnett, the editor of Story Magazine, that he began to show a particular talent for writing. Even then, Burnett recalls that he was an average student until the end of the first semester, of a writing course at Columbia University, when he began to show a keen interest in writing.

First Publication

During that first semester was when Salinger was first published in Story Magazine. He wrote three short stories in succession and the magazine accepted one short story called “The Young Folks, which was published in the 1940 Marsh-April issue.

Salinger kept in touch with Burnett throughout his career and he became Salinger’s mentor.

The War and Holden Caulfield

In 1941, Salinger began submitting short stories to The New Yorker, many of which were rejected. It wasn’t until the end of the year that Salinger had a story accepted called “Slight Rebellion Off Madison.” This story was the first appearance of Holden Caulfield and the synopsis was that the teenager had jitters about going to war. Even though the story was accepted in 1941, it would not be published until 1946, after the Second World War had ended because The New Yorker thought the story would harm the war effort when the United States entered the war.

Ernest Hemmingway

In 1942, Salinger was drafted into the United States Army and he saw action with the 12th Infantry Regiment. Even though his career seemed to take a backseat to his war career, Salinger did take an opportunity to meet a writer who was of particular influence to him.

During his time in Normandy, Salinger arranged to meet Ernest Hemmingway, who was in France as a war correspondence. Salinger was impressed that Hemmingway took the time to meet him and give him advice and Hemmingway himself was impressed with the talent in the young writer. The two began to write each other letters and this was the first time that Salinger mentioned that he was writing a play based on the character Holden Caulfield, from his earlier short story.

Marriage and Estranged Relationships

Salinger did marry Sylvia Welter after the war, and although she followed him to the United States and they did have a child together, the marriage ended in 1972 and she returned to the United States. 1946 saw the falling apart of another relationship when Salinger became estranged from Whit Burnett. They had a falling out when Burnett promised to arrange for some of his short stories to be published in a book, but the company rejected the book and Salinger put the blame with Burnett.

Movie Rights

Having had some success with publishing short stories in The New Yorker, Salinger arranged for some of the stories to be made into movies. He was happy because he had previously stated that he wanted the financial stability that comes from having success in the movie industry.

He sold the rights to “The Varioni Brothers” but that came to nothing. It wasn’t until he sold the rights to “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut” to Samuel Golding, that a movie was actually made. The movie was released in 1949, but was a critical disaster. He was so devastated by the reaction that he vowed never to sell the movie rights of any of his stories ever again.

Publications

In 1951 Salinger finally had a book published by Little, Brown and Company. The book was the now famous The Catcher in the Rye. This book told the story of Holden Caulfield. Holden Caulfield was a 16-year-old boy who had been expelled from a number of schools. The book itself picks up and tells the story of his adventures around New York after he has been expelled from prep school.

The book was met with very mixed reviews. Some critics said it was brilliant for a first novel. It was on the New York Times bestseller list, but then there was a lull in the success. In the 1970s, the book became the most censored book of all time and some teachers were fired for putting the book on their class-reading list because of the use of some fruitful language. Despite the censorship of the novel, the book has been republished over and over again in history and it is again on the reading list for most schools.

Despite many offers over the years to have the book made into a movie, Salinger never did sell the movie rights. No matter how good the deals were, he always refused based on his sour experience with the previous movie.

Later Life

Despite the success of The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger one published one other book, which was a collection of short stories that The New Yorker rejected. The book was on the New York Times bestseller list, but afterwards, Salinger began to withdraw from the public eye.

In the following years Salinger would marry twice, have another daughter, and a son, and would begin to experiment with other religions. He continued to write and publish short stories, but he would refuse to publish any of the 15 novels that he had written. His writing was for him.

Salinger died at his home in 2010 from complications due to a broken hip. He was 91 years old.

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