Jerome David Salinger

Topics: J. D. Salinger, Joyce Maynard, The Catcher in the Rye Pages: 5 (1753 words) Published: April 9, 2009
Jerome David Salinger

The famous American writer Jerome David Salinger is a representative of the existentialism and neo- realism styles in the literature. Existentialism is a term which has been applied to the work of a disparate group of late nineteenth and twentieth century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject - not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. In existentialism, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential attitude", or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophy, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience. Existentialism emerged as a movement in twentieth-century literature and philosophy. The works of the writers focused on such themes as "dread, boredom, alienation, the absurd, freedom, commitment, and nothingness" as fundamental to human existence. Walter Kaufmann described existentialism as "The refusal to belong to any school of thought, the repudiation of the adequacy of any body of beliefs whatever, and especially of systems, and a marked dissatisfaction with traditional philosophy as superficial, academic, and remote from life" In cinema and in literature, neorealism is a cultural movement that brings elements of true life in the stories it describes, rather than a world mainly existing in imagination only. The movement was developed in Europe, primarily after the end of World War II. Both literary styles could be seen in Salinger’s works.

Born in New York City on the first day of 1919, J.D. Salinger is the son of a Jewish father and a Christian mother. Salinger attended Valley Forge Military Academy from 1934-36; it is generally considered to be the model for the school Pencey Prep in The Catcher In the Rye. After brief periods of enrollment at both NYU and Columbia University, Salinger devoted himself entirely to writing, and by 1940 he had published several short stories in periodicals. Although his career as a writer was interrupted by World War II, Salinger returned from service in 1946 and resumed a writing career primarily, for The New Yorker. Some of his most notable stories include his first story for The New Yorker, entitled "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" (1948), the tale of the suicide of a despairing war veteran and "For Esme - With Love and Squalor" (1950), which describes a U.S. soldier's encounter with two British children. In total, Salinger published thirty-five short stories in various publications, including many in the Saturday Evening Post, Story, and Colliers between 1940 and 1948, and The New Yorker from 1948 to 1965. Salinger was also very interested in Zen Buddhism, Hindu-Buddhism, and other Eastern beliefs. He drew increasingly from these traditions for his own work; traces of Buddhism can be found throughout Nine Stories, for example, particularly in the book's closing story, "Teddy." Salinger was a devoted student of The Gospels of Sri Ramakrishna, an important work of Hindu mysticism, translated by Joseph Campbell and Swami Nikhilananda. Since 1953, Salinger has resided in Cornish, New Hampshire, and claims that he continues to write. Although details about Salinger are notoriously vague because of his reclusive nature, he has become the subject of a great deal of speculation. He refuses to give interviews or to deal with the press. Personal information about Salinger is therefore limited but in great demand. He married Claire Douglas, a student at Radcliffe, in 1955. They had two children, Margaret Ann (b. 1955) and Matthew (b. 1960), and were divorced in 1965... Salinger had a love affair with author Joyce Maynard in the early 1970s, which Maynard described in her 1998 memoir At Home In the World. She...
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