Life and works
Salinger was born January 1, 1919. His father was Jewish; his mother was Scotch-Irish; and he grew up in a very wealthy neighborhood where he could contribute to the school's literary magazine and attend Valley Forge Military Academy and Ursinus College (where he struggled greatly with the idea of a rigorous curriculum, something later reflected in his novel).
During 10 years, during which he served in World War Two, stayed in a mental institution, and returned for the de-Nazification of Germany, he was working on Catcher in the Rye, and even had a rough draft of the plans in his pocked when he landed on Normandy Beach. He suffered great mental problems during that time and had difficulty writing sanely, and though he was able to publish two short stories during his stay and the mental institution, Catcher in the Rye was rejected several times before being published in 1951. After its publication and wild success, Salinger did not publish many more novels and lived very privately, even though his first book sold over 150 million copies and was the inspiration for Mark David Chapman's assassination of John Lennon. He had an affair with a much younger Yale student, dated an actress, and married a different woman.
His works were only continued in lesser-known novels such as Franny and Zooey (1961) and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963), as he sued a man who attempted to write a sequel to Catcher in the Rye. He died January 27, 2010.
- "Salinger, J.D. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.