Jerome David Salinger - Biography, Youth, Work & Death

Jerome David Salinger (1919 – 2010) published a single novel and only around 30 stories and short stories. Nevertheless, the American writer is considered one of the most important writers of the 20th century.

Some critics went so far as to describe the years 1948 to 1959 in the United States as the "Salinger era." His novel The Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951, has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide - and the success continues. From 1953 Salinger lived a completely withdrawn life: he became famous for not wanting to be famous.

Jerome David Salinger

Youth and graduation (1919 – 1936)

Jerome David Salinger was born on January 1, 1919, in New York City. The only son of a wealthy Jewish businessman of Polish descent and his wife of Irish descent, he grew up in Manhattan. He attended McBurney School. He graduated from the Military Academy in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in 1936.

Study and publication of short stories (1937 – 1950)

As a young cadet, Salinger made his first attempts at writing. From 1937 to 1939 he studied various disciplines at several universities in New York. He took a writing course at Columbia University. During these years his father also sent him to Poland and Vienna on business.

Salinger's short stories appeared in American magazines between 1940 and 1950.

Military service in World War II (1942 – 1946)

Salinger served in the US Army from 1942 to 1946. There he belonged to a secret service department. He was involved in the Allied landings in France and met Ernest Hemingway in liberated Paris.

His experiences in World War II found their way into some of his stories. He was stationed in Gunzenhausen, Germany, for six months. The marriage to a German failed after a short time.

The Only Novel - The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

In 1951 The Catcher in the Rye was published. The protagonist is the growing Holden Caulfield, who leads a hopeless battle against falsehood and hypocrisy in his environment. The multi-layered novel was initially shared by critics. 

Nevertheless, the work is still an enormous success, also internationally. It has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. The years 1948 to 1959 went down in literary history as the "Salinger era".

Nine Stories (1953)

In 1953, Salinger selected nine of the stories he had previously published in magazines such as the New Yorker to be published in book form under the title Nine Stories. On July 19, 1965, the New Yorker published Salinger's last published story, Hapworth 16, 1924. It was over 20,000 words and filled the entire issue. From then until he died in 2010, Salinger remained silent.

Withdrawal from public life (from 1953)

From 1953 Salinger withdrew completely from the public eye and from then on lived behind high walls on his estate in Cornish, New Hampshire. From the 1970s he did not give a single interview. Toward the end of the novel, Holden Caulfield also considers leaving and living as a deaf-mute so as not to have to speak to anyone.

Salinger prevented the publication of a biography of Ian Hamilton in 1988 with legal support. Salinger's daughter Margaret Ann (b. 1955) from his second marriage, which ended in 1967, wrote a book about her childhood in 1999; her brother Matthew (born 1960) maintains their father's privacy.

Death in 2010

JD Salinger died on January 27, 2010, at the age of 91 in Cornish, New Hampshire.

Related Posts

Post a Comment