Thursday, January 28, 2010

JD Salinger is dead :(

The world mourns the death of celebrated writer JD Salinger at the age of 91 today. Salinger was the writer who created one of the most famous and influential fictional characters in the world: Holden Caulfield, the rebellious teen who can't seem to fit into his concept of society...

Here is AFP's news report of his death...

Reclusive US novelist J.D. Salinger dies at 91

by Sebastian Smith

NEW YORK (AFP) – J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of "The Catcher in the Rye," has died at 91, his agent said Thursday, raising tantalizing questions over whether the legendary writer might have left behind a hoard of unpublished works.

Salinger died Wednesday at his home in New Hampshire, the Harold Ober Associates literary agency in New York said. The cause of death was not announced.

Born in 1919, Salinger was part of a generation of major 20th century US novelists and among the biggest cultural celebrities in the world.

His 1951 tale of teenage rebellion, "The Catcher in the Rye," became a cultural icon and made him rich and famous.

But overwhelmed by his sudden fame, he retreated to a hermit-like existence in Cornish, New Hampshire, publishing his last work in The New Yorker magazine in 1965 and refusing interviews for the last three decades of his life.

Fiercely guarding his privacy, he turned to the courts to stop publication of his letters and steadfastly refused offers to sell movie rights to "Catcher."

Just in July last year, a US judge suspended the publication of an unauthorized sequel to "Catcher" by Swedish author Fredrik Colting.

Salinger's death is likely now to reignite speculation over whether he may have left behind some valuable works which could be published posthumously.

He hinted at this in an interview with the Boston Sunday Globe in 1980, when he said: "I love to write, and I assure you I write regularly. But I write for myself and I want to be left absolutely alone to do it."

The market for any posthumous Salinger writings would likely be highly lucrative.

Letters he wrote to his young lover Joyce Maynard, with whom he started a year-long relationship in 1972, sold for more than 150,000 dollars at auction in 1999.

In Hollywood, there is particularly intense interest in making a film of "Catcher," a novel that sold more than 60 million copies worldwide and entered American pop-culture, being referenced in everything from movies to songs and other books.

Even John Lennon's assassin in 1980, Mark Chapman, suggested his motive could be found in the book, which he said "holds many answers."

Repeated attempts have been made to film "Catcher" and portray its anti-hero Holden Caulfield, reportedly including by the BBC and movie moguls Steven Spielberg and Harvey Weinstein. But each time they were rebuffed by Salinger.

His antipathy to film adaptations is said to have been triggered by Hollywood's treatment of his short story "Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut."

What will happen now remains unclear. Reports, including from the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB), say he had blocked adaptations until after his death.

Jerome David Salinger was born on New Year's Day 1919 in Manhattan, New York, the son of an Irish mother and Jewish father with Polish roots.

As a teenager he began writing stories. In 1940, his debut story "The Young Ones" about several aimless youths was published in "Story" magazine.

Then came America's entry into World War II, and the young Salinger was drafted in 1942. He took part in the D-Day stormings of the Normandy beaches, and his wartime experiences are said to have marked him for life.

He married a German woman after the war, but the marriage fell apart after just a few months, and Salinger renewed his writings with a passion.

In 1948 he published the short story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" in the New Yorker, bringing him acclaim and introducing the Glass family and its seven rambunctious children Seymour Buddy, Boo Boo, Walt, Waker, Zooey, and Franny, who were to populate several of his short stories.

But it was "The Catcher in the Rye," published three years later, that sealed his reputation.

Sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield's adventures and musings as he makes his way home after being kicked out of school touched a raw nerve and have fascinated generations of disaffected youngsters.

The novel was also sharply criticized for its liberal use of swear words and open references to sex, and was banned in some countries.

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