On January 25, 2011, Random House will publish Kenneth Slawenski‘s biography of the late J. D. Salinger. Salinger: A Life was published in the U.K. earlier this year, but the U.S. cover is pictured (click to enlarge).
Slawenski founded the Dead Caulfields website in 2004, a major resource for Salinger fans. Earlier this week, the site posted a BBC video of the reclusive author–we’ve embedded the YouTube video below.
Here’s more about the biography: “[It] provides a tremendous amount of new information, shedding light for the first time on many unknown events in Salinger’s life: his wartime romance; the inspiration behind The Catcher in the Rye; the impact of his experience fighting in the D-Day landings; the true story behind Franny and Zooey; full details on his romance with Oona O’Neill (later Mrs. Charlie Chaplin); his office intrigues with famous New Yorker editors and writers; his friendship with Ernest Hemingway; surprising evidence that he intended to continue publishing after his last story appeared in l965, and much more.” Read more
Yesterday, we urged GalleyCat readers to visit this handy dandy Nickname Generator for inspiration–helping the next generation of literary elites pick nicknames that will work at poetry readings and wrestling matches.
Add your nickname in the comments. Here are some of the results: Erin Downing was tickled pink with her randomly generated nickname: “I’m ‘Steamy Pink Fiend’–it’s perfect.” Nova Ren Suma ended up with a cosmic name: “Wow, I got ‘The Galaxy.’” Finally, Gretchen Stelter picked two names: “My literary elite nickname: Maxi Circus Shadow (wha?) My superhero nickname: The Strangely Neutron (I hope that one sticks).”
Her brief sketch fills in more details about Salinger’s life than most profiles, giving a peek into Salinger’s hobbies and thoughts about unwritten books. Best of all, the portrait contains a tantalizing tidbit about an adaptation of his classic story “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” that never happened.
Here’s an excerpt: “Salinger loved movies, and he was more fun than anyone to discuss them with. He enjoyed watching actors work, and he enjoyed knowing them. (He loved Anne Bancroft, hated Audrey Hepburn, and said that he had seen ‘Grand Illusion’ ten times.) Brigitte Bardot once wanted to buy the rights to ‘A Perfect Day for Bananafish,’ and he said that it was uplifting news. ‘I mean it,’ he told me. ‘She’s a cute, talented, lost enfante, and I’m tempted to accommodate her, pour le sport.’”
Here’s more about the book, a tribute to the author of The Catcher in the Rye and Nine Stories. “[It] commemorates the 50th anniversary of The Catcher in the Rye and celebrates the formative influence the book and Salinger’s other works have had on many writers, scholars and readers. Letters to Salinger contains approximately 80 open letters to J. D. Salinger.
Press play on the embedded player below to listen. The episode will be archived around the network all day.
Here’s an excerpt: “For the most part it seems like people who are writing stories about Salinger aren’t looking any farther than the things they can find online. In fact, the majority of the material written about Salinger–from literary critical perspective, the interviews, reviews–are all pre-Internet. You’d have to go to an archive and read the old magazines. It’s clear to me that people aren’t really doing that. They are just getting the soundbytes and pulling things off saying, ‘Here’s a link to this, here’s a link to that.’”
Author J.D. Salinger passed away today, generating thousands of posts around the Internet. In honor of this great writer, we’ve collected a few links to the evolving critical opinion of Salinger’s work.
In 1951, James Stern wrote one of those ‘I’ll write like a character in the novel’ book reviews that never quite work. Dig it: “This Salinger, he’s a short story guy. And he knows how to write about kids. This book though, it’s too long. Gets kind of monotonous. And he should’ve cut out a lot about these jerks and all at that crumby school. They depress me.”
In 1961, the great John Updike reviewed Franny and Zooey. Check it out: “His fiction, in its rather grim bravado, its humor, its morbidity, its wry but persistent hopefulness, matches the shape and tint of present American life. It pays the price, however, of becoming dangerously convoluted and static. A sense of composition is not among Salinger’s strengths, and even these two stories, so apparently complementary, distinctly jangle as components of one book.”
In 2004, Jonathan Yardley pondered The Catcher in the Rye. “What most struck me upon reading it for a second time was how sentimental — how outright squishy — it is. The novel is commonly represented as an expression of adolescent cynicism and rebellion — a James Dean movie in print — but from first page to last Salinger wants to have it both ways.”
Finally, in an engaging essay, Janet Malcolm revived the reputation of Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. Here’s an excerpt: “Today Zooey does not seem too long, and is arguably Salinger’s masterpiece. Rereading it and its companion piece Franny is no less rewarding than rereading The Great Gatsby. It remains brilliant and is in no essential sense dated. It is the contemporary criticism that has dated.”
If you want to read more, Literary History has a collection of links. As GalleyCat Reviews grows, we will feature daily links to excellent literary criticism. If you think a book review you wrote should be featured for our audience, email GalleyCat a link.
Salinger will be immortalized for creating the character Holden Caulfield in his 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye. He also wrote the collection Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey. He famously avoided publicity, but his death has spread over Twitter like wildfire.
Here’s more from an AP report: “Salinger died of natural causes at his home on Wednesday, the author’s son said in a statement from Salinger’s literary representative. He had lived for decades in self-imposed isolation in the small, remote house in Cornish, N.H.”
The literary blogosphere buzzed about a sequel to J.D. Salinger‘s famous novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” but GalleyCat had some doubts. Finally, Alice Munro (pictured, via) won the £60,000 Man Booker International Prize.
Welcome to GalleyCat’s annual year-end roundup of publishing headlines. It’s a chance to celebrate our good news and reflect on our bad news after a long, challenging year for the industry. Visit our Year in Review link to read all about what happened to publishing in 2009. Include your favorite headlines in the comments section…
Yesterday author Fredrik Colting took his defense of his J.D. Salinger-inspired book to the U.S. Court of Appeals, hoping the court will reverse an order enjoining publication of “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye.”
According to Litigation Daily, Frankfurt, Kurnit, Klein & Selz partner Edward Rosenthal defended Colting and SCB Distributors Inc. in front of a three-judge panel, calling the book “highly transformative with enormous amounts of commentary and criticism.” After a hearing last month, federal judge Deborah Batts ruled that the Swedish author could not publish this book that re-examines the story of “The Catcher in the Rye.”
Here’s more from the article: “Rip-off or not, the book did not fare well under the critical eye of Judge Guido Calabresi at Thursday’s hearing. He called it “a rather dismal piece of work” … Judge Calabresi said the case raised First Amendment issues and that the district court may need more evidence to decide.”
In a 58-page brief, author Fredrik Colting and his legal team disputed that his follow-up to J.D. Salinger‘s most famous novel was not a sequel, but “a critical examination.”
In the new filing, the legal team asks the U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse the court’s order enjoining publication of “60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye.” After a hearing last month, federal Judge Deborah Batts ruled that a Swedish author could not publish this book that re-examines the story of “The Catcher in the Rye.”
Here’s more from the newly-filed appellants’ brief: “Had this commentary and criticism been published as an essay, a dissertation or an academic article, there is no doubt that it never would have been enjoined. And banning it, merely because it is presented in what might be a less academic form, not only deprives the Defendants of their rights, but also denies the public the opportunity to read this work and to appreciate the new light it sheds on one of the most famous works of American fiction.”
However, unlike J.D. Salinger suing to block an unauthorized sequel, Rees has a different problem: his distinctive work depends on public domain clip art, so it’s hard to find a legal remedy. One reader laid out the problem: “You’ve made it clear you don’t want to sue anyone, and that’s because you can’t. If you want to get pissed off, save it for a time when you learn how to draw and are actually protecting original work…You should be flattered.”
The author responded: “I’ve got nothing but love for … any of the other 10,000 webcomics that use the same Dover clip art I use. But the Jarmbur Juice ad campaign looks so totally, exactly like GYWO that I feel they crossed some kind of line.”