Jerome David Salinger: Biography
Jerome David Salinger is an American author best known for The Catcher in the Rye, a classic coming-of-age novel that has enjoyed enduring popularity since its publication in 1951. A major theme in Salinger's work is the agile and powerful mind of disturbed young men, and the redemptive capacity of children in the lives of such men. Salinger is also known for his reclusive nature because he has not given an interview, made a public appearance or published any new work in the last forty years.
Salinger was born in New York City to a Jewish father and an Irish Catholic mother. (although he did not find out that his mother wasn't Jewish until he was in his late teens). While attending Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, he was called “the worst English student in the history of the College”. Having failed to graduate from several schools, he attended a Columbia University writing class where a teacher, editor of Story Magazine saw a talent in Salinger. He served in the Army during World War II, where he saw combat action with the U.S. 4th Infantry Division in some of the fiercest fighting of the war. This perhaps scarred him emotionally (he was hospitalized for combat stress reaction), and it is likely that he drew upon his wartime experiences in several stories, such as For Esmé with Love and Squalor, which is narrated by a traumatized soldier.
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE (1951) surveys the American scene through the eyes of a confused adolescent, Holden Caulfield. The novel can be interpreted in terms of a picaresque novel about initiation into manhood. The values of innocence, as expressed in the children, are strongly opposed to the corruption of the world of adults.Most of his short stories are about precocious children and adolescents whose sensitivity is in contrast to the materialistic and emotionally empty adult world. BibliographyNINE STORIES (1953)- including “A PERFECT DAY FOR BANANAFISH”FRANNY AND ZOOEY (1961)RAISE HIGH THE ROOF BEAM, CARPENTERSSEYMOUR: AN INTRODUCTIONIn 2002, more than 80 letters from writers, critics and fans to Mr. Salinger were published in the book Letters to J. D. Salinger.Salinger speaks for the young urban American of middle-class parentage. His ideal heroes are children and adolescents. Few of his adults emerge intact form the corruption of growing up.