Tag Archives: “Catcher in the Rye

JD And Harvey

The New York Times reports that in September Harvey Weinstein will release one of his film company’s “unlikeliest projects ever.”

“Salinger” — 9 years in the making — is a documentary about a very famous American writer.

JD Salinger

JD Salinger

But, the Times says, J.D. Salinger’s reclusiveness makes marketing the film difficult. Not only was the author — who died in 2010 — not involved in the film; neither was his son, nor the few members of a small circle of friends.

“Mr. Weinstein indicated that the secrets will be part of the fun as he and his company forge a strategy for selling ‘Salinger’ to the masses,” the Times reports.

So the “06880” question of the day is this: Does the film that Westporter Harvey Weinstein is releasing contain any information about Salinger’s 2 or 3 years in Westport?

He came here in 1949 or ’50 — details are sketchy. But according to the Times — and reported on “06880” the day he died — Salinger “holed up in a house on South Compo Road” in 1950 to write Catcher in the Rye.

Does Westport make it into “Salinger”? Because Salinger certainly made it to Westport.

JD Salinger and Westport — The Sequel

“06880”‘s recent notice of J.D. Salinger’s long-ago past in Westport brought this recollection from long-time instructor Garry Meyers:

When Gladys Mansir was head of the English department, I as a 2nd-year teacher — without tenure — attempted to introduce Catcher in the Rye into the curriculum.

I was chastised by principal Stan Lorenzen, and ordered to stop.  He said, “It’s not as if the book is literature.”

My colleague and good friend Wyatt Teubert Jr. — at the time of favorite of Stan’s (and Stan’s son, then a senior) — interceded and saved my job.

Although I immediately stopped teaching the book, Stan’s daughter — in my class — defiantly and bravely gave the then-required monthly oral book report on Catcher.

One more related story from Garry Meyers:

Salinger was once a guest of author Peter De Vries, who lived in Westport.  Jan, Peter’s daughter, offered to write an account of the visit for the class.  Feeling that was an invasion of privacy, I discouraged her.

This was before Salinger was noted for his reclusiveness.  I must admit, I sometimes review that decision.

(Got a J.D. Salinger-in-Westport story?  Send it along to “06880.”  Now it can be told.)

J.D. Salinger — Yeah, He Lived In Westport Too

J.D. Salinger died today at 91.  Every obituary is sure to mention 2 things:  He wrote Catcher in the Rye, and he was a recluse.

J.D. Salinger circa 1950 -- when he wrote "Catcher in the Rye" in Westport.

Once upon a time, though, he was less secretive about his life.  On the jacket of Franny and Zooey, published in 1961, he said:  “My wife has asked me to add … in a single explosion of candor, that I live in Westport with my dog.”  (It was a rental house; the Schnauzer’s name was Benny.)

Some folks thought that was a feint, though.  Contemporary sources complained that at that point, he hadn’t lived in Westport in years.

And a 1999 Travel + Leisure story said:

In 1953, two years after The Catcher in the Rye was published … Salinger, like Holden (Caulfield), wanted to move to the country, from Westport, Connecticut.  He began looking around New England for property, and found a 90-acre tract of land high on a hill not in Vermont, but across the Connecticut River in New Hampshire.

A timeline on eNotes.com — hey, how else can you understand some of his references and allusions? — puts him here in 1949.  That’s around the time he was writing such classics as “The Laughing Man” and “A Perfect Day for Bananafish.”

According to James Lomuscio, writing in the New York Times, Salinger “holed up in a house on South Compo Road” in 1950 to write Catcher in the Rye.

Nine Stories — which, though nobody asked, I like a lot more than Catcher — teems with references to Westport and Fairfield County.  (Just check out “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut.”) It’s a wonder anyone moved here after Salinger got through describing some of what went on in those days.

Come to think of it, he didn’t stick around much after that either.