Sunday, 31 January 2010

On this day...

The late J.D. Salinger's only book collection, 'Nine Stories', saw its first and last installments published, in 1948 and 1953 respectively. Both appeared in 'The New Yorker', and so impressed were they by the 'singular quality' of Salinger's first offering, 'A Perfect Day for Bananafish', that they contracted him to give them first right of refusal on any subsequent stories. Indeed it was claimed by Salinger's biographer, that this was 'the story that would permanently change his standing in the literary community'. Much, of course, has subsequently been made, of the protagonist's Holden-like tendancies and other aspects that reflect those of Salinger's most famous anti-hero; including similarities in idiolect. 'Teddy', the final story to enter the collection, is noted to be 'one of the most controversial stories Salinger ever published'. In a display of mortality and fragility, the novel ends with 'an all-piercing, sustained scream—clearly coming from a small, female child'. A phrase now poignantly aligned with the author himself, 'Teddy' was described as 'absolutely unforgettable'.

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