Saturday, February 06, 2010

Homage to J.D. Salinger

Image: A tattered cover from 1972 by artist William Steig.

For 50 years or so, The New Yorker has been a staple of my literary and cultural education. Back in its earlier days, the magazine did not have an index. Readers would start reading a piece of fiction and discover by the style whose name would be at the end of the piece.

It was always a source of satisfaction to me to be able to guess the byline, whether it was Salinger, Cheever, Updike or whomever.

But Salinger's works always came across to me as a gift, a literary benison to the reader. His creations have lived through decades as essential reading and some of his literary images are simply burned in the brains of readers - think the turning of the doll's head to view Seymour Glass.

It was his decision to retreat from the world, and some have seen the rationale indicated in his own writings before that. I would love to know what writings may or may not be made public in the future, but for now I am content with his oeuvre as it is. If you have not read Salinger, please do so. His works are totally worth reading over and over.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Bernice! One of the nicest things one of my students said to me last week was that Catcher in the Rye was her favorite book!


12:07 AM  
Blogger Maria Pellum, Plainfield Resident said...

Thanks Bernice for this post. I was under the impression that the only known written work was his book "Catcher in the Rye" which I must admit I haven't read even though we have it at home thanks to one of my daughter's HS English classes.

I was surprised to hear about Salinger's fame at my own English Comp Class last week, our teacher went on to talk about him and the hopes to find more of his work, surprisingly, only 1-2 people in my class (we are about 20 students, and only 2-3 seem to be foreigners) have read it, must of my class is composed of very young people and I was tempted to ask how come such an important piece of work was not read by more, at then end I didn't ask, but I will definitively read Salinger's book. Thanks!

11:31 AM  

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