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J.D. Salinger Return to the Timeline
J.D. Salinger
TIME magazine cover featuring J. D. Salinger from September 15, 1961.

Time Life Pictures/Time Magazine/Getty Images
J. D. Salinger, (1919-...), an American author, became famous for his novel THE CATCHER IN THE RYE (1951). The novel's hero and narrator is a prep school student named Holden Caulfield, who is expelled for failing grades. Adrift in New York City, Holden learns to face both the phoniness he finds in the adult world and his own weaknesses. In CATCHER, and in much of the fiction that followed, Salinger humorously and convincingly captured the speech, gestures, and feelings of the young.

Salinger's NINE STORIES (1953) introduces the Glass family, central figures of the author's later works. One story in this book focuses on Seymour Glass, an eccentric genius whose suicide haunts the family in other fiction. In FRANNY AND ZOOEY (1961), Franny Glass suffers a spiritual breakdown. Her brother Zooey blames his older brothers for Franny's condition, but he draws on their wisdom to help her. Salinger also focuses on Seymour in three stories first published in THE NEW YORKER magazine. These stories are "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" (1955), "Seymour: An Introduction" (1959), and "Hapworth 16, 1924" (1965).

Jerome David Salinger was born on Jan. 1, 1919, in New York City. Since the 1950s, he has isolated himself in rural New Hampshire. He still writes fiction but feels that publishing it would invade his privacy.

Barbara M. Perkins, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, University of Toledo; Associate Editor, NARRATIVE.

From THE WORLD BOOK ENCYCLOPEDIA © 2007 World Book, Inc. By permission of the publisher. Visit World Book Encyclopedia for more information on J. D. Salinger and related subjects.

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The American Novel