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Letters to J. D. Salinger

Edited by Chris Kubica and Will Hochman

Publication Year: 2002

He published his only novel more than fifty years ago. He has hardly been seen or heard from since 1965. Most writers fitting such a description are long forgotten, but if the novel is The Catcher in the Rye and the writer is J. D. Salinger . . . well, he’s the stuff of legends, the most famously reclusive writer of the twentieth century. If you could write to him, what would you say?

Salinger continues to maintain his silence, but Holden Caulfield, Franny and Zooey, and Seymour Glass—the unforgettable characters of his novel and short stories—continue to speak to generations of readers and writers. Letters to Salinger includes more than 150 personal letters addressed to Salinger from well-known writers, editors, critics, journalists, and other luminaries, as well as from students, teachers, and readers around the world, some of whom have just discovered Salinger for the first time. Their voices testify to the lasting impressions Salinger’s ideas and emotions have made on so many diverse lives.

Contributors include Marvin Bell, Frederick Busch, Stephen Collins, Nicholas Delbanco, Warren French, Herbert Gold, W. P. Kinsella, Molly McQuade, Stewart O’Nan, Robert O’Connor, Ellis Paul, Molly Peacock, Sanford Pinsker, George Plimpton, Gerald Rosen, Sid Salinger, David Shields, Joseph Skibell, Melanie Rae Thon, Alma Luz Villanueva, Katharine Weber, and many others

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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p. ix

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p. xi

My love affair with the U.S. mail began in fourth grade shortly after I read my first comic book during recess. It wasn't a very exciting story. Completely forgetable, actually, but on the comic's inside back cover was a colorful series of advertisements through which a grade school lad with a few bucks could buy...

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Part One: Writers and Readers

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pp. 1-112

All these salutes! Raise high the roof beams! Shoot the fireworks! Hardly a reader among our generation to whom Holden Caulfield didn't speak, even those of us for whom a prep school was a place we had scarcely heard of, let alone attended. And after fifty years his story still has the power to...

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Part Two: Students and Teachers

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pp. 113-194

Even though you live high up on the hills with a view across the river and famous covered bridge to Mount Ascutney, while I am moving in on the Flat with the traffic between Claremont and Hanover rumbling by, I feel that we should think of ourselves as neighbors. There are no more people...

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Part Three: From the Web

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pp. 195-240

It has been ten years since I've read a short story of your's, by accident, in an old issue of The Saturday Evening Post. From there on it was a hunt to find everything you've had in print. At first I wanted to thank you for all the great characters and stories you have given to your readers over the...

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Postscript: The Changing Art of Critical Response to the Fiction of J. D. Salinger

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pp. 243-250

J. D. Salinger is about as likely to discuss his writing craft on national television as he is to respond to any of the letters in this book. But Letters to J. D. Salinger is not intended for Salinger so much as it is intended to advance understanding of both traditional and new ways of responding to literature. Critics, with an interest in Salinger's fiction or a curiosity...

E-ISBN-13: 9780299178031
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299178000

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2002

OCLC Number: 815969406
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Letters to J. D. Salinger

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Subject Headings

  • Salinger, J. D. (Jerome David), 1919-2010 -- Correspondence.
  • Authors and readers -- United States.
  • Authorship.
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