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JD Salinger and Howard Zinn


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#1 sandik

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 12:26 PM

Just heard on the radio that both men have died.

#2 Helene

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 12:35 PM

I just read the obituary for J.D. Salinger on huffingtonpost.com:
http://www.huffingto...r_n_440500.html

From The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.c...alinger.html?hp

From The Washington Post
http://www.washingto...ml?hpid=topnews


On Howard Zinn,

From The Washington Post:
http://www.washingto...0012801291.html

From The Associated Press:
http://www.nytimes.c...n...zinn&st=cse

#3 sandik

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 12:57 PM

Thanks for the links.

Time Magazine called Salinger the Hermit Crab of American Letters, which felt pretty true to me.

#4 dirac

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 01:22 PM

Thanks for posting, sandik. I'm currently reading A People's History of the Civil War, inspired by Zinn's work and example. R.I.P.

#5 papeetepatrick

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 02:10 PM

Thanks for the links.

Time Magazine called Salinger the Hermit Crab of American Letters, which felt pretty true to me.


Yeah, that's why over the last decades I wouldn't be sure if he was still alive or not. 'The Catcher in the Rye' not only seems older than 'Peyton Place', it really is older. I like them both, but the Metalious better, even if these two books have never been compared. Just looked at the wiki entry, and the works were very few, I just realized I'd read them all. They stories are weird, but when you're young, they're the sort that make you think you smart if you 'get them'. As with 'franny and zooey' and their 'jesus prayer', which I haven't looked at for over 40 years, or 'Perfect Day for Bananfish'.

Occurs to me that this kind of story is one kind of 'New Yorker Magazine story', and that Donald Barthelme must have been very influenced by him. Maybe Woody Allen as well, although that doesn't actually interest me one way or aother. But certain of Barthelme's stories in the collection 'Unspeakable Practices, Unnatural Acts', like 'The Balloon', have a Salingeresque mawkish-weird atmosphere to them IMO>

#6 Farrell Fan

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 04:27 PM

I read "Catcher in the Rye" when I was just out of my teens and I thought it was a great book. I reread it years later, and. somewhat to my surprise, STILL thought it was a great book. Time to reread it again. Salinger long ago acquired mythic status so it never occurred to me he would die.

#7 papeetepatrick

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 04:55 PM

I read "Catcher in the Rye" when I was just out of my teens and I thought it was a great book. I reread it years later, and. somewhat to my surprise, STILL thought it was a great book. Time to reread it again. Salinger long ago acquired mythic status so it never occurred to me he would die.


I always liked Joan Didion's use of the phrase 'owning a place' by a writer, as she said 'Faulkner Owned Oxford' and 'James Jones owns Honolulu'. Lots of writers 'own' New York and Hollywood, but still, within that, there are specific 'ownerships'. And, in 'The Catcher in the Rye', J.D. Salinger 'owns' the Museum of Natural History. I haven't read book but once and that was in high school, but every time I've gone to the museum (including working there for about a month in 1992), especially when I'll be on one of the stairways up to another floor, I think of that book, and how Salinger put the literary stamp on that place.

#8 leonid17

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 03:37 AM

I have only ever read Catcher in the Rye of Mr Salinger's oeuvre but his name has always had a worldwide resonance.
http://www.ft.com/cm...144feabdc0.html

http://www.timesonli...icle7007023.ece

http://blogs.telegra...-the-avalanche/

http://www.boston.co...ve_author_dies/

#9 dirac

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 10:25 AM

Thank you for posting those links, leonid.

I thought Catcher in the Rye held up very well when I read it again some years ago, Farrell Fan. (It was one of those books that I liked but didn't feel any impulse to search out anything else by the writer, so I never got around to his other work.)

#10 Ed Waffle

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 05:15 PM

I read "Franny and Zooey" and the two novellas "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" and "Seymour", the last two in one volume, about 40 years ago when a woman I was interested in told me she was amazed that I hadn't read them. I can still recall a few passages from them (or at least para-paraphrases) since I was at the stage of hoovering up as many books in as short a time as possible and things seem to stick in one's brain under those conditions.

He is not an author I have really thought of since then and haven't read any of his short stories in "The New Yorker". There will probably be another chance to miss them soon if a "Collected Stories" comes out although he may be able to stop that publishing event from beyond the grave.

I was sad to see that Zinn had died. "A People's History..." is a wonderful example of history from below. Zinn is one of the last real public intellectuals in the United States who was personally involved in struggles from desegregation in the South to ending the war in Vietnam--Zinn, Chomsky, William Sloane Coffin, perhaps one could include Leonard Bernstein. To some extent one can judge a person of Zinn' prominence by his enemies, which included many of the leading historians of day, particularly those with star power and close connections to power.

He will be missed.

#11 vipa

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 06:32 PM

Re Howard Zinn - I saw one headline that described him as a leftist historian while another described him as an historian who challenged the status quo.

Interesting.

#12 bart

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 06:57 PM

vipa, Zinn was both. He wrote openly and frankly from the perspective of the political left, at a time when doing so was itself a serious challenge to the status quo. Probably his most important influence was on the status quo within the historical profession.

I was a grad student at the height of the civil rights movement and the depths of the Vietnam War and agree entirely with Ed's Waffle's post. "History from the bottom up" opened the door to serious research into the experience -- and the voices -- of those who had almost never been written about by academic historians: women, blacks, ordinary working people, the poor, the despised, and minorities of all sorts.

Zinn and his colleagues forced "American history" to ask new questions and to become a bigger, more inclusive subject than it had been before. They also helped many of us to become more skeptical when we listened to those in power and more willing to question and challenge assumptions about American uniqueness and moral superiority in matters both domestic and international.

#13 dirac

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 07:43 PM

Nice post, bart. Thanks.

#14 kfw

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 05:41 AM

Yes, thanks Bart. His is a name I'd only heard in recent years, but I see he's been influential for decades. The History Channel ran a program this past December entitled Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport narrated by Zinn and based on his books. I only heard of it, but there are clips at that link, and You Tube has a video of Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder and Van Dyke Parks performing Woody Guthrie's Do Re Mi from the show. I wonder if Zinn ever met Studs Terkel.

#15 dirac

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Posted 07 August 2010 - 06:59 PM

Zinn's FBI file is released. He was under surveillance for twenty-plus years. Interesting reading, if only as an account of tax dollars at work.


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