Welcome to Dead Caulfields, a site dedicated to the life and works of J.D. Salinger
including The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour-An Introduction .
Jerome David Salinger
January 1, 1919 - January 27, 2010
News & Updates
Salinger in Vienna
A Family I Knew
by Stefan Kraft
J.D. Salinger spent several months in Vienna in 1937, living with a Jewish family, going ice skating and wearing a green Tyrolean hat. Details about the family, with whom he remained in contact for the rest of his life, have recently been unearthed.
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is why J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye , went to Vienna in 1937, what he did there, where he lived and all that. I'll try to tell you about it, as it's an interesting tale with a happy end, if you like that sort of thing.
But first you'll need to know about another story: Wien, Wien, written by Salinger in 1947 and published by Good Housekeeping under a different title: A Girl I Knew. Keep that story in mind, as in some respects it resembles mine.
A Girl I Knew
The story begins in 1936, the year when the 18-year-old narrator of A Girl I Knew has just been thrown out of college. In freshman year, he writes, he failed all his classes. "The particular college I had been attending apparently does not simply mail people's grades home, but prefers to shoot them out of some kind of gun. When I got home to New York, even the butler looked tipped off and hostile. It was a bad night altogether. My father informed me quietly that my formal education was formally over."
Hardly a serious threat for the narrator, who throughout the story accepts what life throws at him with all the serenity an 18-year-old can muster. He even seems unperturbed when his father sends him all the way to Vienna rather than to work in the family owned office.
He boards the S.S. Rex to Naples and takes the train up to the Austrian capital, where he loyally keeps all the promises made to his father: he takes German lessons "from a rather exceptional young lady I had met in the lounge of the Grand Hotel" and dresses warm to avoid pneumonia ("I had bought myself three pure-wool Tyrolean hats"). He rents an apartment in one of the far-outlying districts to which the trolleys don't run after ten at night but the taxis do. In all he spends five months in Vienna, going ice skating and skiing, and "for strenuous exercise" arguing with an Englishman. "I seemed to move, with all the luck of the undeserving, from gemutlichkeit to gemutlichkeit." The altogether bad evening in New York is soon forgotten.
"For every man there is at least one city that sooner or later turns into a girl", and the story soon heads in the direction of the title A Girl I Knew . The girl the narrator gets to know is Leah. She is "the daughter in the Viennese-Jewish family who lived in the apartment below mine - that is, below the family I was boarding with," sixteen years old, with long dark hair and "the most exquisite pair of ears" he has ever seen.
One day he sees Leah on the balcony below his apartment, singing the words to songs he has been playing day and night on his gramophone whenever he hears the landlady outside his door (the gramophone and two American records are a gift from the landlady). Listening to Leah singing, he is overcome with love: "She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together."
He and Leah start meeting three times a week in his room for conversation.
"Uh. Waren Sie heute in der Kino?” (Did you go to the movies today?)
“No. I was today working by my fahzzer.”
“Uh. Wollen Sie haben ein Tasse von Kaffee mit mir haben?” (Will you have a cup of coffee with me?)
“I was already eating.”
“Uh. Ist die Fenster - uh - Sind Sie sehr kalt dort?” (Is the window - uh - Are you very cold there?)
“No! I feel very warmly, sank you.”
They love each other terribly, sit opposite each other with their hands in their laps, and are constantly getting up to make coffee. They don't, however, speak much of each other's language. Four months go by in this fashion, until the narrator discovers Leah is engaged to someone else. By chance, he encounters her with her fiancé at the Schwedenkino movie house. The following evening, over coffee in his room, she confesses that her "fahzzer" wants to marry her off.
Soon after, the narrator moves to Paris to learn another foreign language, leaving Leah a letter with the following lines in broken German: " Hoffentlich wird die Ehe gehen gut. Ich werde Sie schicken das Buch ich habe gesprochen uber, ‚Gegangen mit der Wind‘. Mit beste Grussen. Ihre Freund John . " ( I hope the marriage goes all right. I will send you that book I was talking about, Gone with the Wind . With best greetings. Your friend, John.)
Having returned to the States, John goes back to college. He is searching for limestone deposits in New Jersey for his geology class when the Nazis march into Vienna. The US enters the war, he joins up and is given a job in military intelligence. He comes to Germany, where he conducts interviews with civilians and Wehrmacht prisoners. "Among the latter, sometimes there were Austrians."
He makes inquiries about Leah and the whereabouts of Vienna's Jews. He learns that terrible things have happened, but no one has any information about his former beloved.
After the end of the war, John is transporting papers from Nuremberg to Vienna and drives into the American Zone, in which Stiefelstrasse nr. 18, his old street, is located.
At dusk he enters the building, now in use as living quarters for American officers. In the entrance hall he is stopped by the duty sergeant.
“I just want to go up to the second floor and take a look at the balcony. I used to know a girl who lived in the balcony apartment.”
“Yeah? Where's she at now?”
“Yeah? How come?”
“She and her family were burned to death in an incinerator, I'm told.”
“Yeah? What was she, a Jew or something?”
“Yes. Can I go up a minute?”
John runs up the stairs and goes into his old room. He opens the window and looks down onto the balcony below. Then he goes back downstairs and thanks the duty officer. "He asked me, as I was going out the door, what the devil you were supposed to do with champagne—lay it on its side or stand it up. I said I didn't know, and left the building."
Keep that story in mind, as there's another story to tell, a story researched in archives, old phone books, universities and databases. There were, I can tell you, a lot of Johns and a lot of Leahs, there were landladies with gramophone records, and there were Jews who lived in Vienna in 1937 and not long after were burned to death in incinerators. There was also a young writer who came to Vienna from the US, who was there during the rise of the Nazis and wrote about it.
Don't, however, make the mistake of confusing A Girl I Knew with the experiences of the young J.D. Salinger. This was the mistake made by many of his biographers, who admittedly were dealing with a man who let slip virtually no information about his private life, who went to court to prevent others quoting from his letters, and whose wish was to speak through his stories and characters rather than in his own voice. In deference to those wishes, the story so far has been told just as it was in A Girl I Knew . Now to the other story.
"I wish I'd met her"
In 1937, J.D. Salinger, aged 18, boarded a ship in New York and sailed to Europe. Exactly when he arrived in Vienna is not known, but a register of residents document from that time, recently unearthed in the Municipal and Provincial Archives of Vienna, states: "Jerome David Salinger, student, born in New York, citizenship: USA, born first of January 1919, catholic, single, registered as a resident of Vienna from September 2 nd 1937 to December 21 st 1937 (...)." The document also shows Salinger's address in Vienna: Gregor-Mendel-Strasse 10, in the 18 th District.
A quick glance at a map reminds one that Salinger has tended to lead his biographers astray. The most conscientious of them, British literary critic Ian Hamilton, stated in his 1988 book In Search of J.D. Salinger that the author stayed in Vienna's "Jewish Quarter". Hamilton was in this respect just as inaccurate as later biographers, though admittedly less outspoken. Gregor-Mendel-Strasse, named Hochschulstrasse until 1935, is actually in the Cottage, which then, as now, was one of Vienna's wealthiest and most desirable residential areas. The "Jewish Quarter" was in fact miles away, near the Danube Canal in the center of the city.
At any rate, in Salinger's short story the details concerning the location of his apartment do match the sketchy description of the building: Salinger's young hero lived in a "far-outlying district", and there was a No. 41 trolley stop nearby.
Misinformation about Salinger's Vienna stay has become firmly entrenched partly because another biographer, his own daughter Margaret Salinger ( Dream Catcher (2000)), manages to squeeze significant inaccuracies into the few lines she writes about her father's stay in Vienna: she too states that he "stayed in the "Jewish Quarter"", and has the following to say about his host family in Vienna: "I wished I'd met them, but they were all killed in concentration camps before I was born."
At the ice rink
Gregor-Mendel-Strasse 10 (formerly Hochschulstrasse 2c) was built in 1932. Three parties moved into the building in 1933, according to the Vienna register of addresses. Among them was the Safir family, listed in the phone book under "Hermann Safir, businessman and authorized officer" as tenant. Hermann Safir had come to Vienna from Eastern Europe, along with his wife Pauline. She was from Odessa, he from the Galician town of Zbarazh (in today's Ukraine); they had married in Russia in 1914. In Vienna, Pauline gave birth to two sons, Leo and Silvian, who in 1937 were 19 and 14. The Safir family occupied the top apartment in the building, and it was with them that Salinger stayed in 1937.
Two wonderful friendships flourished at that time, shortly before the Anschluss . Salinger, whose registered address was Gregor-Mendel-Strasse 10, became close with the Safir family, particularly their son Leo. He also became friendly with a young Englishman named Donald Hartog. It's possible that "for strenuous exercise" the two young men argued, but it seems they actually preferred going skating at one of Vienna's ice rinks. In 2011, the Hartog family donated the correspondence between Hartog and Salinger to the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Hartog and Salinger had lost touch in 1938, but about fifty years later, in October 1986, began to correspond via letter, writing about their time in Vienna, the ice rink, and how Salinger had remained close with the Safir family ever since.
According to documents in the Municipal and Provincial Archives of Vienna, Hermann Safir worked for Schenker & Co., a freight forwarding company on Hoher Markt in central Vienna. Passenger ship archives indicate that Safir went to New York at least twice in 1937, which is probably how the connection with Salinger's father Sol Salinger arose. Sol was a New York Jew who worked in the imported foods business, married to a Catholic woman who had adopted the Jewish faith.
Salinger biographer Kenneth Slawenski has come up with a further Vienna link. Some of Sol Salinger's business documents indicate ties with Oskar Robinson, a Polish Jew in the meat business. Robinson, a seasoned gambler, died an enviable death: on October 24, 1937 he suffered a heart attack at the roulette wheel at the Casino Baden near Vienna and was buried two days later in the city's central cemetery. To his wife Franzi and son Herbert, Robinson bequeathed Export Bacon Robinson in Bromberg, Poland. It is there that one of the few autobiographical sketches left by J.D. Salinger begins.
In 1944, Story magazine asked Salinger for a brief pen portrait of himself to accompany one of his stories. In familiar laconic mode, Salinger wrote: " Spent a year in Europe when I was eighteen and nineteen, most of the time in Vienna . . . . I was supposed to apprentice myself to the Polish ham business. . . . They finally dragged me off to Bydgoszcz [Bromberg] for a couple of months, where I slaughtered pigs, wagoned through the snow with the big slaughter-master, who was determined to entertain me by firing his shotgun at sparrows, light bulbs, fellow employees."
Salinger's departure to Bromberg to slaughter pigs, as indicated in the Vienna register of residents document, reflects a further connection with Hermann Safir. The ties between Robinson, Salinger and Safir are actually shown in a Nazi document. Like all Austrian Jews, the Safirs were forced to list their belongings in a so-called assets declaration, used by the Nazis for expropriation purposes; Hermann and Pauline Safir's declarations are in the Austrian State Archives. In 1938, Hermann Safir, writing to the Nazi bureaucrats handling the assets declarations, showed his address as 'Ksiedz Markwarta 9, Bromberg, Poland.'
Flight from the Nazis
What should one make of Margaret Salinger's assertion that her father's host family in Vienna were killed in a concentration camp? It is clear that Hermann Safir and his wife fled from Nazi Vienna to Poland and sent their assets declarations from there. According to the website Virtual Shtetl (http://www.sztetl.org.pl), which documents the histories of Poland's Jews, Robinson's company continued to operate under managing director "Henry Safir" from Bromberg. Henry was probably in fact Hermann Safir from Gregor-Mendel-Strasse, so what happened to him when the Nazis invaded Poland?
Thanks to assistance from the University of East Anglia, the rest of the tale can be told. The university was recently contacted by a British woman whose father, known to close friends only as "Bibi", had in 1938 been sent by his mother to boarding school in England at the age of 15. His name was Silvian Safir.
Regarding the rest of the family, the Hermann Safir granddaughter's only information was what her father had told her, which is corroborated in archival documents. Shortly after the Nazis' arrival, Leo Safir had fallen into the hands of the Gestapo, but Hermann Safir had used all his contacts to secure his release. According to the descendant, family legend told of how the Safirs, after moving to Poland, bribed an employee at the meat plant to transport them across country in a freight car. The journey took three weeks and the locomotive driver was drunk, but they successfully reached the coast and escaped from Europe.
According to passenger ship archives, Hermann, Pauline and Leo Safir departed from Cannes on January 5, 1939, arriving in New York on January 12. And a 1943 letter from Sol Salinger to his son's friend Donald Hartog mentions that Leo Safir was visiting the Salinger family in New York at the time and had invited them to visit his parents in Tel Aviv.
Silvian "Bibi" Safir, who in Britain used the name Sidney, lived on until 1994; his brother and parents died not long after the war. Hermann Safir died in New York in 1958, his wife two years earlier in New York; Leo had a heart attack in the Netherlands in 1961. Salinger remained in contact with his childhood friend Bibi until the latter's death.
Letter to Hemingway
As he wrote decades later in a letter to his rediscovered friend Donald Hartog, three days before the Anschluss (March 12, 1938), Salinger took the train from Vienna to Paris via Bern. He then boarded the New York-bound Ile de France in Le Havre. Around the time Vienna's Jews were being rounded up and deported, he was back in college.
During the war, and here the fictional tale and reality coincide, Salinger worked in military intelligence and went with his regiment to Germany, where he was involved in interviewing Nazis. In Nuremberg in 1946 he wrote to Ernest Hemingway, whom he had met during the war: "I've asked CIC [military intelligence] to send me to Vienna. (...) I was there for nearly a year in 1937 and I want to put some ice-skates on some Viennese girl's feet again again." He never did. Contrary to the assertions of various biographers, Salinger did not return to Vienna until the 1980s. In a letter to Donald Hartog he writes of taking a long trolley ride to the 18 th District to see the Safirs' house, which was still standing.
A time of flight and freedom
If you really want to know about an actual Leah, you'll be disappointed. Some cities sooner or later turn into a girl; some stories become tales where not every detail matches the author's actual experiences. There was no Leah among the other occupants of Gregor-Mendel-Strasse 10, at any rate no such girl whose family died in the Holocaust. That is, in a sense, a happy end. In September 1938 the tenant Carl Adler, his daughter Hedwig Neumann and her daughter Renate Marie fled to Switzerland and thence to other countries. Hedwig Neumann died in London in 1940 during the Blitz, Carl Adler in Havana, Cuba. Renate Marie Neumann, having survived the war, today uses the name Marie Leighton. The building's owner, the lawyer Richard Popper, also emigrated to Switzerland, along with his wife Gerda and son Felix. Their second son, Rudolf Popper, was murdered in Buchenwald concentration camp in 1942 at the age of 27; the third son, Georg Popper, fled to the US.
In 1942, the Gregor-Mendel-Strasse 10 building was aryanized; Theodora (Doris) Renner, a Prague resident, was thereupon considered the new owner. All the Jewish families were driven out, and new tenants with non-suspicious names moved in. After the war, following restitution proceedings, ownership of the building was returned to the heirs of the original Jewish owners, who sold it.
The Wikipedia entry for Schenker & Co., the company for which Hermann Safir worked in Vienna, states: "Between 1939 and 1945, as part of Reich railroad operations, the company was involved in transporting expropriated belongings of Jewish Holocaust victims."
Among the items listed in the Safirs' assets declaration is a gramophone.
On March 9, 1991, J.D. Salinger wrote to his friend Donald Hartog that during his Vienna stay he had felt freer than at any other time in his life. He took walks in the streets near the Ringstrasse, left his coat unbuttoned, and wore a green Tyrolean hat.
The author wishes to thank the following people, without whose help this article could not have been written:
David Forster (historian, Vienna ); Andreas Weigl (Municipal and Provincial Archives of Vienna ); Bridget Gillies ( University of East Anglia ); Kenneth Slawenski.
© Stefan Kraft, Vienna
Translated by Adrian Feuchtwanger
The Four Faces of J.D. Salinger
To the world, J.D. Salinger had two faces. There was J.D. Salinger the Writer, the complicated, continually evolving author of The Catcher in the Rye, who went on to deliver the famous short story collection Nine Stories and who introduced the world to the quirky, overly-pensive Glass family through his books Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour an Introduction .
Then there was J.D. Salinger the Legend, the myth, the reclusive, apparently stingy Salinger who, after his final publication in The New Yorker in 1965, shut himself away from public view – along with his manuscripts – and threatened lawsuits on anyone who dared challenge his copyright or pry into his personal life.
I knew of both these J.D. Salingers when I began to write Salinger: A Life : the writer and the legend. So, I went chasing after the writer in the hopes it would reveal the truth behind the legend, the man behind the myth. I was searching for some event in Salinger's life, some reaction or reflex that would shed light on why he ceased publication, withdrew from public life, and fell silent.
For me, that search became a journey. What I encountered along that journey were an additional two faces of J.D. Salinger whose investigation was clearly vital to telling his story in full: Salinger the Soldier and Salinger the Seeker. Together, the four faces of J.D. Salinger revealed a life story far more compelling than I ever imagined – and far more touching than I ever anticipated. Continue Reading...
Read more :October 6, 2013
J.D. Salinger and Vedanta
Sixty years ago this month, J.D. Salinger attended a spiritual retreat at Thousand Island Park, conducted by the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York and led by his friend and spiritual teacher, Swami Nikhilananda. The lessons of Vedanta that Salinger learned from Nikhilananda over the years had a profound effect upon the author and molded every story he wrote after, and perhaps including, The Catcher in the Rye.
Read more :July 24, 2013
Brandon De La Cruz's tribute to The Catcher in the Rye
"Allie Please" Brandon Thomas De La Cruz
January 27, 2013: a three year addendum
While my new work demands that I step away from (what had become) my comfort zone, a portion of my interests will always be invested in the life and work of J.D. Salinger and I will continue to update this site whenever events warrant. Three years after Salinger's death and there is still no word on his unpublished manuscripts. (My bounce-rate just leapt exponentially.) However, a few intriguing articles of information have come to light in recent months that are worth sharing, especially as we mark the third anniversary of Salinger's passing.
Read more :January 27, 2013
J.D. Salinger's Favorite Book
Given the opportunity to ask J.D. Salinger one question in his later years most would have made a similar inquiry: “What have you been writing?” Few of us would have had the insight to ask a very different but equally telling question: “What have you been reading?”
January 27, 2012: Two Years On
January 27 marks two years since the death of J.D. Salinger. To observe the date, I've written a light-hearted short essay reflecting on what we've learned since – as well as what remains coyly veiled. The article is featured in The Huffington Post, on Salon.com among other sites and is offered here under its intended title, " Hidden Treasures: The Evasive Legacy of J.D. Salinger".
Also on the news docket, the New Hampshire Legislature has passed into law SB 175, which was proposed on behalf of the Salinger family and grants them control over the commercial use of Salinger's “identity” (e.g. name, image, voice, etc.) for 70 years after his death.The law includes all citizens of the state and resembles similar statutes adopted nationwide. The New Hampshire law is especially noteworthy, however, as it was designed to protect the percieved rights of a specific individual: namely, the late author of The Catcher in the Rye.
J.D. Salinger: A Life
Teaching Salinger's NINE STORIES
Just in time for the holidays, New Street Communications has published a fresh and authoritative exploration of Salinger's second book, the classic Nine Stories collection. Authored by Brad McDuffie and containing compelling analysis from nine outstanding contributors, Teaching Salinger's NINE STORIES is a must-read for academics and Salinger fans alike.
In Teaching Salinger's NINE STORIES, Brad McDuffie has compiled far more than a teaching aide. He provides an examination of Salinger's Nine Stories that is forensically detailed and thought provoking. Presented in two parts, the first section provides compelling overviews of each story, while the second offers a series of impressive essays contributed by eminent academics. Still, the book's greatest value may be in its ability to display the interaction between each separate story, revealing Salinger's Nine Stories to be a unified work of art. This achievement is long overdue and is an innovative and invaluable resource.
Read more :November 27, 2011
September 14, 2011: Franny and Zooey at 50
September 14 marks the fifty year anniversary of the publication of Franny and Zooey, Salinger's incisive examination of the search for spirituality in modern-day America. The book was an immediate success and is widely regarded to rest among the most important works of American literature. As it has for many, the book has meant a great deal to me over the years, managing, like The Catcher in the Rye, to shift and remold just as I have grown and repositioned. So, in honor of the book's influence on American literature as well as to me personally, I would like to offer a pair of trributes in observance of its anniversary.
The first is a guest blog written for the Library of America that appears on the lliterary site, Reader's Almanac. I'd like to thank the LoA for their kind invitation and their clear enthusiasm for Salinger's works.
The second is a more intimate essay, an admittedly whimsical musing over a recent reread of Franny and Zooey in preperation for the anniversary. The post is titled "Applauding Franny and Zooey" and is contained on this site. I hope readers find both efforts informative and enjoyable.
So, Happy Birthday, Franny and Zooey. Happy Birthday, old buddies...
September 14, 2011
July 16, 2011: Happy 60th Birthday to The Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye turns sixty today. The novel was immediately popular, and not just with bestseller buyers and book-of-the-month subscribers. William Faulkner ranked Catcher in the Rye as the best novel by the new generation of writers, and described Holden as a modern Huck Finn, the difference being that Huck, after withdrawing from humanity, returned to it:
Read More from the Barnes & Noble Daybook
July 16, 2011
The Morgan to Display New Addition to its J.D. Salinger Collection
This summer, The Morgan Library and Museum will exhibit a new acquisition to its J.D. Salinger collection: a recently discovered letter written by the author to his friend, Michael Mitchell, who designed the dust jacket for the original edition of The Catcher in the Rye . The letter is dated July 7, 1994 and contains Salinger's description of a three-week vacation in Europe.* The contents are especially intriguing and often humorous. Salinger complains about his deteriorating hearing, reports on the impossibility of finding “a decent, huge green salad” in any European city (a subtle metaphor), and concludes by telling Mitchell that he maintains his customary writing routine.
*(During Salinger's 1994 European trip, he visited with noted Christian Scientist author John Hargreaves in London, traveled to Kafka's home in Prague and took in Vienna, his first return to the Austrian capital since 1978, when he toured the city with his son, Matthew.)
Faith Middleton Show: J.D. Salinger
Will Hochman has been called a “walking encyclopedia of all things J.D. Salinger”. Professor of English at Southern Connecticut State University, he is also the author of several books, Critical Companion to J. D. Salinger among them. Recently, Dr. Hochman gave an interview to WNPR's Faith Middleton Show that displayed both his insight and generosity. I thought his points of view were spot-on and would like to share them with interested viewers.
February 20, 2011
J.D. Salinger: A Life
Once-Explosive Salinger Case Ends with a Whimper
The case of Salinger v. Colting, initiated on June 1, 2009 when J.D. Salinger filed a formal legal complaint against a Swedish/British publication claiming to be an unauthorized sequel to The Catcher in the Rye, has finally come to a quiet, if somewhat shadowed conclusion. The case, once shrilly covered by the media and seemingly destined for the Supreme Court, ended on December 14, 2010 when Fredrik Colting, author of the intended sequel, 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, and the Salinger estate arrived at what has been legally termed a "confidential settlement agrreement". As a result, Colting and the backers of 60 Years Later have agreed to a permanent injunction of their book in the United States, and have relinquished any recourse to appeal. A copy of the final settlement is provided here. It contains no disclosure of the quid pro quo involved. Background documents and other information can be accessed after the jump.
Read more : December 14, 2010
Joyce Maynard on J.D. Salinger's death
Joyce Maynard was stepping off the plane in San Francisco from Ethiopia, where she had adopted two young girls, when she heard the news: Her onetime love, the reclusive writer J.D. Salinger, had just died.
"How did I feel?" Maynard asked of that day in late January. "Ohhh, I felt sadness, but also relief. Relief that I was no longer defined by the past, that I was no longer concerned with the rearview mirror, but was, instead, looking at the road ahead."
Read more: September 15, 2010
The Unlikely Connection between J.D. Salinger, Keith Olbermann, "Red" Reeder & Carlton Fisk
It comes to us via Keith Olbermann that the foundation of Salinger's house was poured in 1966 by a young Carlton Fisk, who would achieve his own immortality as the legendary catcher for the Boston Rex Sox. An avid member of The Nation, Salinger was naturally proud of the connection and, ignoring The Catcher in the Rye , weighed it as his greatest claim to fame.
“I do most solemnly agree with you that those old years touched our lives deeply. The 12th Infantry, the Fourth Division itself ...”
Anyone who has read and values “For Esmé – with Love and Squalor” will recognize the significance of Salinger's ellipsis. As in “For Esmé”, the fire is contained between the words – embedded in what is not being written – rather than spooned out by the author, and to great effect.
The Boston Red Sox connection is interesting but perhaps more significant, Salinger's letter to Colonel Reeder retrieves the soldier who remained within the author forty-three years after the war. The message is affectingly deferential to a former commander and ends not with a civilian expression, but with a military salute.
August 13, 2010
A Midsummer Update
It's been more than six months since Salinger's death and public interest has predictably drifted back to more immediate issues, to skirmishes in the culture wars and sagas of celebrities' lives. Still, a number of Salinger-related events have occurred in the past few months that, while perhaps not as compelling as the tribulations of Snookie or Lindsay Lohan, may be of interest to admirers of the late author's works.
Between March 16 and May 8, Manhattan 's Morgan Library & Museum displayed eleven letters sent by J.D. Salinger to his friend Michael Mitchell, illustrator of the original cover image of The Catcher in the Rye. Dating from 1951 to 1993, the letters were respectfully displayed in two installments and elicited considerable attention by the press and public alike.
Another letter, one sent by Salinger to Ernest Hemingway in 1945, was exhibited at Boston 's JFK Presidential Library during the last weekend of March. This letter's display also ignited substantial interest in the media as exemplified by an excellent article by Brad McDuffie that originally appeared in the Kansas City Star. While the Hemingway letter had long been available to researchers, the very existence of Mitchell letters had been held secret by the Morgan until after Salinger's passing. In fact, it is unlikely that any of these displays would have been possible during Salinger's lifetime.
Improbable – if not impossible – too was the July re-release of Salinger's 1944 story “A Boy in France” by The Saturday Evening Post . Offered as a tribute to the late author, the story's consoling coupling of poetry and prose speaks as eloquently to a nation at war now as it did when first published in 1945.
The Supreme Court's newest justice also has a Salinger connection. In 1987, now-Justice Kagan submitted an amicus brief to the high court requesting it hear Salinger's case against author Ian Hamilton, whose Salinger biography was being challenged in the courts. For those interested, the brief can be read here.
August 8, 2010
Appellate Court Returns Salinger Case for Reconsideration
In a decision returned on Friday, April 30, 2010, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Southern Circuit has ordered that the Salinger v Colting case will return to District Court and requested that District Court Judge Deborah Batts amend her original verdict. On July 1, 2009, Judge Batts ruled in favor of J.D. Salinger and placed a preliminary injunction on what she determined to be an unlawful sequel to The Catcher in the Rye. In returning the case to District Court for reconsideration, the Appeals Court did not dispute the merits of the lower court decision, determining the defense's claim that the sequel is unique enough to avoid Salinger's copyright to be "manifestly meritless". However, the Appellate Court also concluded that Judge Batts had used an insufficient standard when imposing the injunction by assuming the extent of irreparable harm to Salinger's estate. Returning the case to District Court, the appellate judges requested that Batts apply a stricter standard (more sympathetic to Colting's position) when reviewing her decision:
Because the District Court considered only the first of the four factors that, under eBay and our holding today, must be considered before issuing a preliminary injunction, we vacate and remand the case. But in the interest of judicial economy, we note that there is no reason to disturb the District Court’s conclusion as to the factor it did consider—namely, that Salinger is likely to succeed on the merits of his copyright infringement claim (22).
So the sequel case has itself become a sequel, a situation no less fantastical than the concept of "judicial economy". As a result, the preliminary injunction against Colting's book now expires in 10 days. In the meantime, Salinger's estate must re-petition the District Court for a new injunction in order to prevent the sequel's publication in the United States.
Read more : April 30, 2010
J.D. Salinger Poem
Salinger loved poetry. Many of his stories are rooted in verse and numerous of his characters were designed as poets.” A Boy in France ” recalls the verse of Dickinson and of Blake, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish and “The Inverted Forest” invoke the work of T.S. Eliot. “Teddy” relays the words of Basho, while Salinger's later Glass stories invoke the rhyme of Issa and a myriad of Eastern poets. Seymour Glass was a poet. Raymond Ford was a poet. Teddy McArdle wrote poetry in his diary just as Allie Caulfield consoled his boredom by scribbling poems onto his southpaw mitt while in the field.
Read more : April 15, 2010
Last Taps from Valley Forge
With great sadness, Valley Forge Military Academy & College announces the passing of notable alumnus, Jerome D. Salinger '36.
Read more : January 28, 2010
J.D. Salinger Passes On
It is with feelings of sadness and loss that Dead Caulfields shares the news of the death of J.D. Salinger, who passed away at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire on Wednesday, January 27. According to his long time agent Phyllis Westberg, speaking on behalf of the Salinger family, the author died of natural causes and in keeping with his wishes, no public memorial is planned. However, I would like to offer a suggestion to all who seek to honor the legendary writer at this time: Read. Explore, whether for the first time or twenty, The Catcher in the Rye, read Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, Raise High and Seymour. Re-experience Salinger's works in tribute to the author who is so deeply embedded within them. Salinger the man may be gone from us now - and the world is an emptier place for that - but he will always live within the pages he created, and through his art remain as vital today and tomorrow as when he strolled the boulevards of New York and the woods of New Hampshire.
January 28, 2010
A Life Raised High
Since 2004, I have devoted myself to researching and respectfully crafting a comprehensive study of author J.D. Salinger coupled with a tribute to his writings. I would like to announce that work is complete and thanks to Pomona Press, available to readers.
Publication date: March 15, 2010
Tributes to J.D. Salinger on his 91st Birthday
On New Year's Day, 2010, J.D. Salinger observed his 91st birthday at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. Although the media acknowledgements of the occasion were muted in comparison to last year, when the author reached a milestone at 90, there were quite a number of congratulatory and insightful articles in newspapers, magazines and on the web. An especially exceptional article was written by Sam Buntz of The Dartmouth entitled "The Catcher in Cornish". In short, Mr. Buntz has got it spot-on with a perception not expressed since John Updike and Eudora Welty pondered Salinger's psyche and gifts to the world in their own unique ways decades ago. Bravo and thank you, Mr. Buntz.
January 1, 2010
2009 - Salinger v Colting: an Overview
For those not clued into All-Things-Salinger, here is a video synopsis of J.D. Salinger's latest legal melée, courtesy of Reuters.
Read more : September 7, 2009
Dead Caulfields celebrates its new domains by offering a new page. Authorship Chronology with Explanations lists every story that Salinger is known to have written during his publishing career and attempts to place each in the order they were written rather than the usual listing by publication dates.
Read more : September 20, 2009
J.D. Salinger turns 90
On January 1, 2009, J.D. Salinger celebrated his 90th birthday at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire.
January 1, 2009