Jerome David Salinger quotes

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Jerome David Salinger

Birthdate: 1. January 1919
Date of death: 27. January 2010

Jerome David "J. D." Salinger was an American writer known for his widely read novel The Catcher in the Rye. Following his early success publishing short stories and The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger led a very private life for more than a half-century. He published his final original work in 1965 and gave his last interview in 1980.

Salinger was raised in Manhattan and began writing short stories while in secondary school. Several were published in Story magazine in the early 1940s before he began serving in World War II. In 1948, his critically acclaimed story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" appeared in The New Yorker magazine, which became home to much of his later work. The Catcher in the Rye was published in 1951 and became an immediate popular success. His depiction of adolescent alienation and loss of innocence in the protagonist Holden Caulfield was influential, especially among adolescent readers. The novel remains widely read and controversial, selling around 250,000 copies a year.

The success of The Catcher in the Rye led to public attention and scrutiny. Salinger became reclusive, publishing new work less frequently. He followed Catcher with a short story collection, Nine Stories ; a volume containing a novella and a short story, Franny and Zooey ; and a volume containing two novellas, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction . His last published work, a novella entitled "Hapworth 16, 1924", appeared in The New Yorker on June 19, 1965. Afterward, Salinger struggled with unwanted attention, including a legal battle in the 1980s with biographer Ian Hamilton and the release in the late 1990s of memoirs written by two people close to him: Joyce Maynard, an ex-lover; and Margaret Salinger, his daughter. In 1996, a small publisher announced a deal with Salinger to publish "Hapworth 16, 1924" in book form, but amid the ensuing publicity the release was indefinitely delayed. He made headlines around the globe in June 2009 when he filed a lawsuit against another writer for copyright infringement resulting from that writer's use of one of the characters from The Catcher in the Rye.

Salinger died of natural causes on January 27, 2010, at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. In November 2013, three unpublished stories by Salinger were briefly posted online. One of the stories, "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls", is said to be a prequel to The Catcher in the Rye.

Works

Nine Stories
Nine Stories
Jerome David Salinger
A Girl I Knew
Jerome David Salinger

„There is a marvelous peace in not publishing.“

—  Jerome David Salinger

Statements to New York Times reporter Lacey Fosburgh, as quoted in Salinger : A Biography (2000) by Paul Alexander; also in If You Really Want to Hear About It : Writers on J.D. Salinger and His Work (2006) by Catherine Crawford.
Context: There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. … It's peaceful. Still. Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I live to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure. … I don't necessarily intend to publish posthumously, but I do like to write for myself. … I pay for this kind of attitude. I'm known as a strange, aloof kind of man. But all I'm doing is trying to protect myself and my work.

„I'd just be the catcher in the rye, and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy.“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
Context: Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around — nobody big, I mean — except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff — I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye, and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy.

„I swear to you, you're missing the whole point of the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer has one aim, and one aim only. To endow the person who says it with Christ-Consciousness.“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Franny and Zooey

Franny and Zooey (1961), Zooey (1957)
Context: I swear to you, you're missing the whole point of the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer has one aim, and one aim only. To endow the person who says it with Christ-Consciousness. Not to set up some little cozy, holier-than-thou trysting place with some sticky, adorable divine personage who'll take you in his arms and relieve you of all your duties and make all your nasty Weltschmerzen and Professor Tuppers go away and never come back. And by God, if you have intelligence enough to see that — and you do — and yet you refuse to see it, then you're misusing the prayer, you're using it to ask for a world full of dolls and saints and no Professor Tuppers.

„There isn't anyone anywhere that isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. Don't you know that? Don't you know that goddam secret yet? And don't you know — listen to me, now — don't you know who that Fat Lady really is? . . . Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy.“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Franny and Zooey

Franny and Zooey (1961), Zooey (1957)
Context: I don't care where an actor acts. It can be in summer stock, it can be over a radio, it can be over television, it can be in a goddam Broadway theatre, complete with the most fashionable, most well-fed, most sunburned-looking audience you can imagine. But I'll tell you a terrible secret — Are you listening to me? There isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. That includes your Professor Tupper, buddy. And all his goddam cousins by the dozens. There isn't anyone anywhere that isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. Don't you know that? Don't you know that goddam secret yet? And don't you know — listen to me, now — don't you know who that Fat Lady really is?... Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy.

„He said to shine them anyway. He said to shine them for the Fat Lady.“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Franny and Zooey

Franny and Zooey (1961), Zooey (1957)
Context: Seymour'd told me to shine my shoes just as I was going out the door with Waker. I was furious. The studio audience were all morons, the announcer was a moron, the sponsors were morons, and I just damn well wasn't going to shine my shoes for them, I told Seymour. I said they couldn't see them anyway, where we sat. He said to shine them anyway. He said to shine them for the Fat Lady. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but he had a very Seymour look on his face, and so I did it. He never did tell me who the Fat Lady was, but I shined my shoes for the Fat Lady every time I ever went on the air again — all the years you and I were on the program together, if you remember. I don't think I missed more than just a couple of times. This terribly clear, clear picture of the Fat Lady formed in my mind. I had her sitting on this porch all day, swatting flies, with her radio going full-blast from morning till night. I figured the heat was terrible, and she probably had cancer, and — I don't know. Anyway, it seemed goddam clear why Seymour wanted me to shine my shoes when I went on the air. It made sense.

„Both Testaments are full of pundits, prophets, disciples, favorite sons, Solomons, Isaiahs, Davids, Pauls — but, my God, who besides Jesus really knew which end was up?“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Franny and Zooey

Franny and Zooey (1961), Zooey (1957)
Context: I can't see why anybody — unless he was a child, or an angel, or a lucky simpleton like the pilgrim — would even want to say a prayer to a Jesus who was the least bit different from the way he looks and sounds in the New Testament. My God! He's only the most intelligent man in the Bible, that's all! Who isn't he head and shoulders over? Who? Both Testaments are full of pundits, prophets, disciples, favorite sons, Solomons, Isaiahs, Davids, Pauls — but, my God, who besides Jesus really knew which end was up? Nobody. Not Moses. Don't tell me Moses. He was a nice man, and he kept in beautiful touch with his God, and all that — but that's exactly the point. He had to keep in touch. Jesus realized there is no separation from God.

„Jesus realized there is no separation from God.“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Franny and Zooey

Franny and Zooey (1961), Zooey (1957)
Context: I can't see why anybody — unless he was a child, or an angel, or a lucky simpleton like the pilgrim — would even want to say a prayer to a Jesus who was the least bit different from the way he looks and sounds in the New Testament. My God! He's only the most intelligent man in the Bible, that's all! Who isn't he head and shoulders over? Who? Both Testaments are full of pundits, prophets, disciples, favorite sons, Solomons, Isaiahs, Davids, Pauls — but, my God, who besides Jesus really knew which end was up? Nobody. Not Moses. Don't tell me Moses. He was a nice man, and he kept in beautiful touch with his God, and all that — but that's exactly the point. He had to keep in touch. Jesus realized there is no separation from God.

„How in hell are you going to recognize a legitimate holy man when you see one if you don't even know a cup of consecrated chicken soup when it's right in front of your nose?“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Franny and Zooey

Franny and Zooey (1961), Zooey (1957)
Context: Even if you went out and searched the whole world for a master — some guru, some holy man — to tell you how to say your Jesus Prayer properly, what good would it do you? How in hell are you going to recognize a legitimate holy man when you see one if you don't even know a cup of consecrated chicken soup when it's right in front of your nose? Can you tell me that?

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„I'm a kind of a paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy.“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963), Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters (1955)
Context: I'm a kind of a paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy. <!-- p. 76

„Holden Caulfield is only a frozen moment in time.“

—  Jerome David Salinger

On the main character in his novel The Catcher in the Rye, as quoted in Asks Appeals Court to Uphold Ban on ‘Catcher’ Sequel" in The New York Times (14 August 2009) http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/14/salinger-asks-appeals-court-to-uphold-ban-on-catcher-sequel/"Salinger
Context: There's no more to Holden Caulfield. Read the book again. It’s all there. Holden Caulfield is only a frozen moment in time.

„I'll tell you a terrible secret — Are you listening to me? There isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady.“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Franny and Zooey

Franny and Zooey (1961), Zooey (1957)
Context: I don't care where an actor acts. It can be in summer stock, it can be over a radio, it can be over television, it can be in a goddam Broadway theatre, complete with the most fashionable, most well-fed, most sunburned-looking audience you can imagine. But I'll tell you a terrible secret — Are you listening to me? There isn't anyone out there who isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. That includes your Professor Tupper, buddy. And all his goddam cousins by the dozens. There isn't anyone anywhere that isn't Seymour's Fat Lady. Don't you know that? Don't you know that goddam secret yet? And don't you know — listen to me, now — don't you know who that Fat Lady really is?... Ah, buddy. Ah, buddy. It's Christ Himself. Christ Himself, buddy.

„Seymour'd told me to shine my shoes just as I was going out the door with Waker. I was furious. The studio audience were all morons, the announcer was a moron, the sponsors were morons, and I just damn well wasn't going to shine my shoes for them, I told Seymour.“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Franny and Zooey

Franny and Zooey (1961), Zooey (1957)
Context: Seymour'd told me to shine my shoes just as I was going out the door with Waker. I was furious. The studio audience were all morons, the announcer was a moron, the sponsors were morons, and I just damn well wasn't going to shine my shoes for them, I told Seymour. I said they couldn't see them anyway, where we sat. He said to shine them anyway. He said to shine them for the Fat Lady. I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, but he had a very Seymour look on his face, and so I did it. He never did tell me who the Fat Lady was, but I shined my shoes for the Fat Lady every time I ever went on the air again — all the years you and I were on the program together, if you remember. I don't think I missed more than just a couple of times. This terribly clear, clear picture of the Fat Lady formed in my mind. I had her sitting on this porch all day, swatting flies, with her radio going full-blast from morning till night. I figured the heat was terrible, and she probably had cancer, and — I don't know. Anyway, it seemed goddam clear why Seymour wanted me to shine my shoes when I went on the air. It made sense.

„You still can't love a Jesus as much as you'd like to who did and said a couple of things he was at least reported to have said or done — and you know it.“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Franny and Zooey

Franny and Zooey (1961), Zooey (1957)
Context: You still can't love a Jesus as much as you'd like to who did and said a couple of things he was at least reported to have said or done — and you know it. You're constitutionally unable to love or understand any son of God who throws tables around. And you're constitutionally unable to love or understand any son of God who says a human being, any human being — even a Professor Tupper — is more valuable to God than any soft, helpless Easter chick.

„I'm known as a strange, aloof kind of man. But all I'm doing is trying to protect myself and my work.“

—  Jerome David Salinger

Statements to New York Times reporter Lacey Fosburgh, as quoted in Salinger : A Biography (2000) by Paul Alexander; also in If You Really Want to Hear About It : Writers on J.D. Salinger and His Work (2006) by Catherine Crawford.
Context: There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. … It's peaceful. Still. Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I live to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure. … I don't necessarily intend to publish posthumously, but I do like to write for myself. … I pay for this kind of attitude. I'm known as a strange, aloof kind of man. But all I'm doing is trying to protect myself and my work.

„Do you know what I was smiling at? You wrote down that you were a writer by profession.“

—  Jerome David Salinger, book Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction

It sounded to me like the loveliest euphemism I had ever heard. When was writing ever your profession? It's never been anything but your religion.
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963), Seymour: An Introduction (1959)

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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