Is J.D. Salinger over-exposure possible? Based on the late author’s reclusive life and limited output you would think not, but this fall might convince you otherwise.
On September 6 Shane Salerno’s much anticipated and highly secretive bio-pic, “Salinger,” will hit theaters. It will be accompanied by a book, also by Salerno along with David Shields, and also titled “Salinger,” that will hit shelves September 3.
And to top it off, the Morgan Library and Museum will be exhibiting nine letters written by Salinger to Canadian writer Marjorie Sheard, from between 1941 and 1943. That show opens September 10.
Will this onslaught of Salengeriana answer any questions about why the author stopped writing and made such a complete retreat from public life? And if it does, will that ruin the mystique of the man beloved for books like “Franny and Zooey” and “The Catcher in the Rye”? Is it possible to have it both ways? Well, in a couple of weeks we’ll know.
Watch the trailer for ‘Salinger’:
J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of “The Catcher in the Rye” and “Franny and Zooey,” among other books, will be the subject of a new biography and film, according to the Associated Press.
Publisher Simon & Schuster announced today that they had bought the rights to “The Private War of J.D. Salinger” by author David Shields and screenwriter Shane Salerno. The book is scheduled to be published in September 2013, with a documentary version to air on PBS next January. The biopic will the 200th episode of PBS’s “American Masters” series.
According to Simon & Schuster, the book is informed by “over 150 sources who either worked directly with author J.D. Salinger, had a personal relationship with him, or were influenced by his work.” Salinger died in 2010 at age 91.
Recluse? What recluse? All we needed was the 1940 census to tell us where the uber-private J.D. Salinger lived that year. Trouble is, we didn’t have access to the 1940 census until yesterday. On April 2, the government opened up the personal details of 132 million people, after keeping them confidential for 72 years.
Gothamist has used the online search tools offered by the National Archives and the New York Public Library to determine that Jerome D. Salinger was living at 1133 Park Avenue in Manhattan in 1940. Salinger, best known for his iconic novel “The Catcher in the Rye” (1951), as well as “Nine Stories” (1953) and “Franny and Zooey” (1961), moved to Cornish, New Hampshire in 1953. Uncomfortable with the scrutiny brought by his literary success, he became more and more reclusive until his death on January 27, 2010 at the age of 91.
Gothamist’s may be patting itself on the back for using the newly released census to find out where Salinger was living in 1940. However, it really didn’t have to go to all that trouble. It turns out that the information wasn’t such a secret after all. Wikipedia has all along noted his address, and even has a photo of the building in its entry for the writer.
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J.D. Salinger, a grandson of a rabbi and an author whose fiction has held the deep affection of generations of readers, died January 27 at age 91. So extreme was the reclusion of the author, who wrote such books as “The Catcher in the Rye” and “Franny and Zooey,” that there will be no funeral service, at the writer’s request. Salinger had not published a word since 1965.
The New York Times has an engaging obituary, which includes details about his Jewish roots and their parallel with his most famous fictional creation, the Glass family: