Stories

raining words


Unpublished Stories

available and lost

Of great intrigue are the works of JD Salinger which he has determined to remain unpublished. In addition to these are a number of pieces which are considered to be "lost". A good many of these "lost" pieces are, in all probability, available under other names. The author's decision to withhold these pieces is a never-ending source of speculation. Initially, Salinger anxiously submitted many of these stories to various magazines for publication, but by 1950, he increasingly begins to draw them back. The term "unpublished", when referring to Salinger, is but a mild indication of the ferocity with which these works are guarded.

Little known are two short stories in the archives of the University of Texas. One remains untitled and the other is named "Birthday Boy". Although both stories are undated, Salinger clearly refers to the untitled piece in an October, 1941 letter. We are privileged to provide a summary of these stories on a linked page.

There are five unpublished short stories whose existence is well documented. At least two of these are said to be superior works. They are "The Last and Best of the Peter Pans" and "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls". In addition to their scarcity, Mr. Salinger has placed a legal lock on these two stories prohibiting their release for seventy years after his death.

We have extensively accessed all of Salinger's short stories known to exist. Because of their relationship to "The Catcher in the Rye," we will presently concentrate on "The Last and Best of the Peter Pans" and "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls", until time allows greater analysis of the remaining pieces. In doing so, we are respectfully aware of the author's privacy, and any reference to these materials is executed with the utmost value placed upon his wishes. While walking on eggshells, it is our attempt to shed as much light as possible on these stories without overstepping either legal or moral bounds.

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Unpublished Manuscripts at Firestone Library, Princeton University

Red"The Last and Best of the Peter Pans” – 1942

(12 pp. of double-space typescript with the byline J.D. Salinger).
The Last and Best of the Peter Pans is an unpublished work much sought after by Catcher fans due to it's famous reference to catching a child from crawling off of a cliff. The story is narrated by Holden's older brother, Vincent Caulfield, and revolves around a dialogue between Vincent and his mother, Mary Moriarity, who has hidden his draft board questionnaire. There is an appearance by Phoebe Caulfield and a mention of Holden. The story takes place after the death of Vincent's brother Kenneth (the later Allie) Caulfield. The first of three stories authored by Vincent, it is narrated in the first person.

The story opens with Vincent's description of his mother, Mary Moriarity, who is an actress. Vincent's portrayal of her presents us with a woman in possession of a strong personality, consumate acting ability, and striking red hair. He emphasises that rather than simply being his or Holden or Phoebe's mother, Mary was an enveloping presence in the house. When, at fifteen, his parents agent, Leon Werblin, drove him from school to see his parents play in "Romeo and Juliet", Vincent was taken by his mother's role of "Juliet", relating that, while although she was thirty-eight at the time, he could "feel" her role and "was watching a young girl in love".
Taking place in the early days of World War II, Vincent has recieved his draft board questionnaire in the mail. But he is unaware that his mother has intercepted it and hidden it away from him. Mary, after considering the United States Army as a possible interlude in her older son's life, has determined the possibility as being "unsuitable". Five days after it's arrival, Vincent discovers the questionarre on the floor of the spoon compartment of the silverware chest. Extremely upset, he confronts his mother.
The bulk of this story is the argument between Mary and Vincent over the questionaire and the army. Mary defends her actions, stating that Vincent wouldn't be happy in the army. She compares him to her brother Walter, who was called up to serve in World War I. Although Walter served willingly, he was unsuited to it. His unsuitability was displayed in the fact that, no matter what he did, his "leggings" were always coming undone and his "overseas cap" was always askew.
In an attempt to distract Vincent, soften his mood, and gain the upper hand, Mary calls Vincent's attention to to his young sister Phoebe. Phoebe, who is playing outside, comes into view through the window, wearing a new coat that Mary has recently bought her. Vincent looks at his sister "in her short darling coat". Then he turns away.
Jumping back to the subject, Vincent tries to impress upon his mother the trouble that he could get into for failing to return the questionaire within twenty-four hours. He doesn't think that his mother realizes the significance of what she has done. But his mother gives him a piercing look that knifes him with the comprehension that she had not hid the questionaire in the spoon compartment "for the unintentional sake of a laugh line".
Mary then treds on the tenderest of territory - Kenneth's death. Vincent mentions that while his mother looked slightly afraid to approach the subject, "she came equipped, as always, to get there". Mary, after having suffered the loss of one son, is reluctant to introduce another to the prospect of death. Despite her own pain, she is intent upon relieving the pain of Vincent, who feels tremendous guilt over the death of Kenneth. She assures Vincent that he gave Kenneth the best but Vincent retorts that while Kenneth needed a top-line (Bernstein) best, he instead got Vincent, a second-rate best.
Vincent then harshly critiques his mother. He tells her that while in a rush to attend a charity, she asks a blind man for the time. He says that in an attempt to catch a child from crawling off a cliff, she asks a man with no legs to catch the child in time. While she doesn't want to see her son be a soldier, she will open fire on him before he's ever in uniform. At first he accuses his mother of being "all heart and instinct and no brains" but reconsiders, adding that while being smart, she doesn't always think.
Vincent then retreats to his room. There, he contemplates what has just happened, profoundly sorry. He is sorry for all the people in their ivory towers, sorry for all the soldiers who can't keep their caps on right, sorry for all of the second-bests in the world. But most of all, Vincent is sorry that he almost compared his mother to Svengali, when in actuality she is the last and best of the Peter Pans. Top

 

Bernice"The Children's Echelon" – (1944)

(26 pp. of double-spaced typescript with the byline JD Salinger).
A story in the form of eleven diary entries by Bernice Herndon with the first entry on January 12, her 18th birthday, and the last on March 25 of the same but unspecified year. With the war escalating in the background, Bernice changes her opinion about almost everything she mentions--her friends, family, and the war. In one entry, Bernice, like Holden Caulfield, mentions that she loved to watch children at the merry-go-round. (Bernice recalls the time at the carousel when "one darling little boy in a navy blue suit and beanie...nearly fell off the horse once and I nearly screamed.") In many ways, this story is a strange mix of "The Long Debut of Lois Taggett" and "Heart of a Broken Story," with Bernice looking for her dead father through her romance with Army Private Royce Dittenhauer. Dittenhauer himself sneaks into Bernice's affections, replacing her attachment for a wooley pig with red rubber ears named "Fatso."
Donald Fiene notes that this story was sold to Stag magazine in 1942, but that it is "no longer in the files." Fiene, however, incorrectly confuses several stories with this year. This appears to be one of them and is certainly Salinger's 1944 piece "Total War Diary." Salinger struggled with this piece, trying at first to avoid both the first person narrative and the diary format that the story eventually adopted.

rummy partners"Two Lonely Men" – (1944)

(27 pp. of double-spaced typescript with the byline of Jerry Salinger).
An unnamed narrator, who worked at Ground School as a Morse Code Instructor at a United States Army base in the South, tells the story of a developing friendship between Master Sergeant Charles Maydee and Captain Huggins. Their friendship grows with nightly games of gin rummy until Captain Huggins sets his wife up in a nearby hotel and moves in with her. Maydee and Huggins do not see much of each other then until Huggins' wife reveals to her husband that she has been having an affair three times a week with Bernie Farr. Maydee promises to intercede with Huggins' wife, but Maydee apparently begins having an affair with her (Salinger describes a situation as ambiguous as that of Arthur, Lee, and Joanie in Pretty Mouth and Green My Eyes). As the story ends, Maydee (who is drunk, probably on a Fifth of Scotch) tells the narrator that he has asked for a transfer because he doesn't like Huggins.
Salinger was posted to the U.S. Army Air Force Basic Flying School at Bainbridge, Georgia. It was hot, swampy country, he reported, country in which William Faulkner and Erskine Caldwell could have a "literary picnic." This unpublished story speaks of this place's temporary look. It was an infestation of black, tarpaper-covered barracks and administration buildings and the earth it sat on was a weird mix of red clay and rattlesnake skins. It was the lowest-lying swampiest flying school in America, and boiling hot. The story itself is an account of the odd relationship between a tough-enigmatic master sergeant and his inept commanding officer. The story's narrator is a professional short-story writer who spends most of his time lying on his bunk. Captain Huggins, the CO in the story, is one of Salinger's most scoffing portraits of the "army misfit": a pharmacist in civilian life, Huggins has no idea why he has been put in charge of an aviation school. He knows nothing of the mysteries of air navigation, the Morse code, link trainer and the like; indeed, he believes meteorology has something to do with preventing American aircraft colliding in midair with stray meteorites. With some feeling, the narrator wonders how such a dolt could have been grated a commission. The events of the story punish Huggins rather nastily for his presumption. Top

shell shocked*The Magic Foxhole" – (1944)

(21 pp. of double-spaced typescript with the byline J.D. Salinger).
This unpublished story is set in France and centers around the Normandy Invasion. A first person narrative by a compulsive-talking soldier, identified only as Garrity, to another hitchhiking soldier called only "Mac," whom Garrity has picked up in a jeep near "the Beach" soon after D-Day, this story recounts Garrity's association with a soldier named Lewis Gardner, who suffers severe battle fatigue. According to Garrity, Gardner is standing on the beach at Normandy waiting to be evacuated "holding on to some pole they got stuck in the sand...like as if he's at Coney Island on one of them rides where if you don't hold on tight you'll go flying off and get your head cracked open." The dramatic monologue-like story suggests that Garrity suffers from battle fatigue, but to a lesser degree than Gardner who is completely wrecked by the war. In combat, Gardner keeps on meeting a ghost soldier dressed in a strange, futuristic helmet. Gardner interrogates him and discovers that the 'soldier' is his own yet-to-be-born son, a boy called Earl. Earl is now aged twenty and is a combatant, it seems, in World War III. Gardner decides that he must kill this phantom offspring but is unable because Earl "wants to be here." Garrity tried to stop Gardner because he remembers his own uncle who used to talk to his dead brother on a Dublin bridge. The story ends with Gardner overwhelmed by battle fatigue. Garrity, presumably eager to tell this story again, or perhaps another one about a nurse, yells to another hitchhiker. His final lines, "Hey, buddy! Want a lift? Where are you going?" is directed as much to the reader as any passer-by in the story.
This story was written by Salinger while he was on the front lines and is an angry condemnation of war. Considering the times, there is little wonder why it was not published. Unlike any other Salinger story, this one is rife with battle. Salinger's dream-like description of the D-Day landing, and its horrors, is brilliant. For days afterwards, Garrity and Gardner's battallion repeatedly crawl through the same muddy swamp in an attempt to reach the Germans, who outnumber them two to one and methodically slaughter them with heavy mortar fire. Broken by these experiences, Gardner suffers battle fatigue, "what you got...when you look like your dead."

stick around"The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls” – (1945)

(18 pp. of double-spaced typescript with the byline J.D. Salinger).
This story is a retrospect by Vincent Caulfield. It chronicles the last day in the life of his brother Kenneth Caulfield, who will later become Allie in The Catcher in the Rye . "Ocean" goes far to explain and shed light on that novel. Several portions of this story as well as Holden Caulfield's character will be familiar to readers. There is also an important line regarding Phoebe. Holden Caulfield's character in this story foreshadows his later development.
Salinger may have refered to this story (along with "The Stranger") in a late July 1945 letter to Ernest Hemingway.
The circumstances regarding the retrieval, by Salinger, of this work from publication are intriguing. Author Donald Fiene comments as follows on this story: "Sold to Woman's Home Companion in 1947 or 1948. According to Knox Burger, editor of Gold Medal Books, former fiction editor of Collier's ... the publisher objected to the story as too 'downbeat' - after the fiction editor of WHC had bought it. Later, 1950 or 1951, the same man rejected it for Collier's too. But at about this time Salinger withdrew the story". About this story, Knox Burger also stated that "it contains the greatest letter home from camp ever composed by man or boy."

Written by Vincent Caulfield as a self-cleansing reminiscence, this story goes far to explain the events which lead up to, and the messages contained in Salinger's later novel. In explanation, the character of Vincent Caulfield is certainly the same character that we will come to know as D.B. in Catcher. Likewise, the character of Kenneth Caulfield is the same character that Salinger will later choose to name Allie.
This is the last day in the life of Allie Caulfield.
This story takes place on Cape Cod. It is unclear whether the Caulfields are staying at their summer home or permanent residence. Vincent Caulfield, who narrates the story, is about eighteen or nineteen. Also in the house are his parents, who are actors, his brother Kenneth, who is twelve, and his sister Phoebe, who was born not long before the story takes place. Away at camp is Vincent's younger brother, Holden.
Vincent begins his narration with a description of his brother Kenneth. He paints a portrait of a thoughtful, sensitive, and intelligent boy so curious that his shoes turned up, as he was always bending down to investigate things on the ground. Vincent continues, describing his brother's red hair, explaining that it was so vibrant as to be seen by him at a great distance. He relates a time that he was playing golf and became aware of his brother watching him from far off.
Further description of Kenneth includes two of his great loves, literature and baseball. He marries the two by filling his lefty first-baseman's mitt with entries of poetry that he can read while in the field. Holden later discovers a quote by Browning on Kenneth's mitt, which Vincent relays to us:

"I would hate that death bandaged my eyes and forebore, and bade me creep past."

While Kenneth's love and knowledge of baseball was extreme, he stopped going to games after witnessing Lou Gehrig strike out. He concentrated instead on Literature, which he felt he could better control. A voracious reader, he cared for both prose as well as poetry, reading great quantities of both.
One Saturday afternoon in July, Vincent, who is a struggling writer, comes down from his room onto the porch of the house where Kenneth is sitting and reading. In a somber mood, Vincent coaxes his younger brother away from his book to tell him the story that he himself has just written, titled "The Bowler".

"The Bowler" is a story of a man whose wife would not let him do anything. He couldn't listen to sports on the radio, or read cowboy magazines, or indulge any of his interests. The only thing that his wife would let him do was go bowling -once a week -on Wednesday night. So, every Wednesday for eight years the man takes his special bowling ball down from the closet and goes out. One day, the man dies. His wife faithfully visits his grave every Monday to place gladioli. One day she goes on a Wednesday. On her husband's grave she finds fresh violets. Calling over the caretaker, she inquires as to whom left the violets. The caretaker tells her that they were left by the same woman who leaves them every Wednesday, probably the dead man's wife. Infuriated, the woman goes home. That night, the neighbors hear the sound of crashing glass. The next morning they see a shiny, new-looking bowling ball sitting on the woman's lawn amidst a shower of broken window pane.

Kenneth's reaction to Vincent's story is not what Vincent anticipated. He is upset by the ending, accusing Vincent of taking revenge on the man. He begs Vincent to remove the part of the story where the woman throws out the bowling ball. Touched by his brother's sentimentality, Vincent tears up the story.

A child with "heart trouble", Kenneth is portrayed as a spontaneous boy determined to live every moment to the fullest. He convinces his brother to take him to a place called "Lassiter's" for fresh steamers. During the drive to Lassiter's, they have a conversation about Vincent's girlfriend, Helen Beebers. Kenneth tells Vincent that he ought to marry Helen as she has exceptional qualities. Among them is her tendency to play checkers without moving her kings from the back row.
He then asks Vincent about love for Phoebe and Holden. Kenneth says that while looking at his baby sister lying in her crib, he actually feels that he is her.
Once at Lassiter's, they meet a a bald man seated at another table, who is taken by Kenneth and his quick wit. Then Lassiter, the owner, approaches the table. After cordialities, Lassister asks Vincent where Holden is, calling Holden "the crazy one". Kenneth gets extremely upset by this and wants to leave. Lassiter tries to backtrack and Kenneth decides to let the episode go, warning Lassiter to be his age.By some instinct, Vincent feels that they both want to drive the five miles to a certain spot on the beach that Holden has christened "The Wise Guy Rock". This is a big, flat slab of rock on the ocean and accessed by a series of jumps from stone to stone. On the rock, they survey the ocean, which Vincent describes as being calm. There, Kenneth reads a letter that he received that day from Holden, who is away at camp.
Holden's letter is very funny and riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes that neither brother would find themselves guilty of. In it, Holden complains about camp which he says "stinks" and is full of rats. Holden is looking forward to coming home. In the camp dining room, everybody has to sing a song. A Mr. Grover, who thinks he is a hot singer, tried to make Holden sing with him but Holden would not. He would have, but he doesn't like Mr. Grover because he is a rat. Mrs. Grover too. They smile at you but are very mean whenever they get the chance. Because Holden refuses to sing in the dining room, he is being ostracized as punishment. Now, none of the rats are allowed to speak to him. A boy from Tennessee read the book of Corinthians to Holden and he likes it very much. He ends the letter by telling Kenneth he misses him and Vincent and asking what color Phoebe's hair turned out to be -red?
After reading the letter, Kenneth picks up a pebble, examining it for flaws. Emotionally, he laments out loud what will become of Holden. Using the episode of singing in the dining room as an example, he states that Holden cannot seem to compromise, -even if he knows that life will go smoother for him if he does.
Kenneth's attitude then changes, becoming triumphant. With a triumphant look on his face he tells his brother that if he were to die, he would still stick around.
Looking very happy about something, Kenneth decides to go for a swim. This is against Vincent's better judgment. The sky grows dark and the ocean grows violent. It is now full of bowling balls. Vincent begins to discourage his brother from going into the water, but allows him. Something inside of Vincent realizes that he should not stop Kenneth although he would like to. He, himself does not join him.
After his swim, as Kenneth is just about out of the water, he is struck down by a terrific wave.
Vincent scoops Kenneth's listless body up from the beach and frantically races him home, driving the first mile or so with the brakes on.
At home, sitting on the porch, is Holden with his suitcases. He clumsily tries to help Kenneth. The scene is a frenzy. They call the doctor who arrives shortly after their parents, who were away at rehearsals. There is a scene with a boy named Gweer, who is playing with the Caulfields, and represents the outsider in this story. Gweer asks what happened to Kenneth, whether it was his heart, and stating that Kenneth was just a kid. Vincent tells Holden that the ocean was full of bowling balls.
Kenneth Caulfied died at ten after eight that night.
The story ends with Vincent's explaining to the reader his motivation for relaying it. In the telling, he seeks to put his brother Kenneth to rest. Kenneth has been with both himself and Holden since his death. Vincent feels that he should no longer be hanging around. Top

Unpublished Manuscripts at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas

Paula""Mrs. Hincher” or "Paula" – (1941)

( 9-10 pp typed with notations)
The Ransom Center of the University of Texas at Austin is home to a number of Salinger letters and manuscripts in its archives. Among them are two unpublished short stories, both undated. One of these stories is titled "Birthday Boy" and the other remains untitled. The untitled piece is possibly an unfinished version of the story "Paula", considered until now to be lost. The untitled manuscript at the Ransom Center is less a story than a series of scenes not yet sewn together. Whether or not this is some form of Salinger's lost story "Paula" is pure speculation. However, in a letter dated October 31 (1941), Salinger states that he is "finishing a horror story (my first and last) called 'Mrs. Hincher.' " Undoubtedly a reference to the story described here, Salinger's letter dates its completion to late 1941 or early 1942.

The central characters are a couple, Frank and Paula Hincher. Paula, who has previously been told by her doctor that she is unable to have children, claims to instinctively realize that she is pregnant. Paula connives that she will stay in bed the entire course of her pregnancy, telling her husband "I so desperately want our baby to be born safely, darling. I'm afraid of falling. I'm afraid of a thousand things." She directs her husband to tell friends and neighbors that she's gone to help her ailing sister in Ohio, fearing that if they knew the truth "they'll all laugh." To reinforce the ruse, Paula encourages her husband to spend weekends in Cape Cod fishing while claiming to be visiting Paula at her sister's. With Frank's indulgent agreement, Paula remains in bed, spending her time reading magazines, playing cards, and dramatically reading David Copperfield aloud to her husband. Paula's needs are fulfilled by Frank and the maid, both of whom rush to her side summoned by a bell which she keeps at her bedside. Months pass in this way. The Hinchers continue the ruse for nearly a year.
The first five to six pages of the manuscript are linear and easy to follow. However, midway through the story, the manuscript becomes confused. There are cross-outs, notations, and a complete shift in point of view. Some lines read more like notes to be completed later than a continuation of the story. While Paula's husband has previously been referred to only as "Mr. Hinchner", he now abruptly becomes "Frank". Until this point a third person narrative, the story suddenly shifts to a first person narration by Frank Hinchner's business partner Bud Edmundson. Bud's narration is similar to Holden Caulfield's as he speaks directly to the reader: (speaking of Frank) "You should have heard his voice. I mean you could hardly hear him."
After a year, Frank Hinchner finally confides the truth of the situation to his business partner Bud Edmunsun. He confesses that Paula's sister was never sick and that Paula has spent the bulk of the year cloistered in bed. While Paula claims to have given birth to a baby girl two months previous, she won't allow Frank into the room and he has never seen the child. Claiming that she needs time to bond with the baby, Paula refuses to leave her room which she now keeps locked, only accepting food, baby bottles, and other necessities through a crack in the door.
One day, Paula tells Frank that the baby should have a playmate or some child near it occasionally, believing infancy to be a child's most formative period. Frank has the maid bring her 3 year old niece to visit the child. After visiting, Frank interrogates the girl when she comes out from the bedroom. "Did you see the baby? What's it look like?" The three year old answers that it is a "little baby and it can't talk" and is sleeping in the crib.
Two weeks later, overcome by frustration, Frank breaks down the door to the bedroom. Inside the room Frank is stunned to find Paula, "naked as a baby" except for bright red ribbons in her hair, crawled up into a fetal position and laying in the crib. Calling her husband "the meanest man I've ever met", Paula throws Frank out of the house.
Bud Edmunsun advises Frank to take Paula away on vacation where the two can sort things out. The ending of this story is a whisper of the future "A Perfect Day for Bananafish." The Hinchners travel to Florida. In a hotel lobby, Frank becomes unexplainably violent and is restrained by the hotel manager and elevator operator. He is sent away to an asylum. Paula goes back home to Ohio and resumes a normal life as a librarian. Top

 

heart flask “Birthday Boy” – (1946)

The short story "Birthday Boy" is accompanied by a letter from Salinger to John Woodburn which refers to "both sets of proofs". Although undated, the letter probably dates to 1951, the year that Woodburn published The Catcher in the Rye. However, it's also likely that the letter does not reference Catcher, but a short story sent to placate the editor instead. Salinger's relationship with Woodburn was brief and somewhat bizarre.

"Birthday Boy" is set in a hospital where a young man, Ray, is visited by his girlfriend, Ethel. Ethel's arrival opens the story which consists primarily of their strained conversation. It is Ray's twenty second birthday, a fact which his father, who had previously visited, was unaware. While most of Ethel and Ray's initial interaction avoids the reason for Ray's hospitalization, we soon learn that he is undergoing rehab for alcoholism.
Ethel attempts to make pleasant small talk and read Ray a book but he is cynically uninterested. After feigning a sexual interest in Ethel with a playful grope, Ray pressures her to sneak in "a lousy drop" of liquor and hide it in a perfume bottle. When Ethel refuses, Ray's true colors emerge and he curses her in front of the doctor telling her "if you come back here, I'll kill you."
Perhaps it's too late for Ethel just as it appears to be too late for Ray. As he will later do in his story "Just Before the War with the Eskimos", Salinger places the burden of meaning on the last line of the story. As Ethel boards the hospital elevator it "descended with a draft. Chilling [her] in all the damp spots."
Reading this story, we realize that Ethel and Ray's relationship is diseased and doomed. We also realize that Ray's alcoholism has infected him with a spiraling alienation and callousness which is contagious. Ethel's refusal to face these facts and her insistance to pursue her illusions will be her downfall. We have no doubt that, despite Ray's warning, she will be back the next day. And that it indeed will eventually kill her. Top

 
Unpublished Manuscripts Considered to be "Lost"

An Untitled Hotel Story – Summer 1940
During mid-1940, Salinger makes several references to a lengthy story written in Canada over the summer, about lobby sitters in a hotel. The inscription of an August 1940 postcard sent to Burnett of a Quebec hotel sent possibly hints at this story. In September, Salinger states that he has finally "shipped off the long hotel story" to his agent. Salinger's obvious fondness for this story makes its disappearance a mystery.

 

“The Fishermen” – 1941
According to Ben Yagoda, on March 17, 1941, Salinger submits this story to John Mosher at The New Yorker.

 

“Lunch for Three" – 1941
Although rejected by The New Yorker in 1941, "Lunch for Three" is the first Salinger story to receive positive feedback from them. Mosher wrote Salinger's agent that "there is certainly something quite brisk and bright about this piece". The magazine, however, was searching for short stories of a more conventional nature.

 

* “Monologue for a Watery Highball” – 1941
Submitted to The New Yorker in 1941.

 

“I Went to School with Adolph Hitler” – 1941
Submitted to The New Yorker in 1941.

"Paula" – 1941

“ The Lovely Dead Girl at Table Six” – 1941
The plot of this story sounds suspiciously like "Slight Rebellion Off Madison".
Written August 1941, Salinger spent a hard, not overly-productive two weeks at the Beekman Towers (a short walk to Radio City). It was during these two weeks that he either re-worked "Slight Rebellion," or wrote this now lost story.

“Harry Jesus ” – 1942. Top
In a letter to Marjorie Sheard dated January, 1942, Salinger stated that he was working on a story entitled “Harry Jesus”, which he said would "doubtless tear the country's heart out, and return the thing a new and far richer organ." The story, which remains unpublished—and was perhaps uncompleted—likely involved Salinger's childhood best friend, Harry Simon, a scholar and spiritual savant whose tragic death had occurred just a year before.

“The Kissless Life of Reilly” – 1942.
Salinger writes that this story was long and humorous. It is likely that this is the story"about an obese boy and his sisters" that Salinger sent off to The New Yorker after its acceptance of "Slight Rebellion Off Madison."

 

“Holden On the Bus” – Early 1942 In early 1942, The New Yorker rejected a story about Holden Caulfield (the second such story submitted to the magazine). Evidently, it's tone was considered unsuitable for the times and the story was rejected. The source of the story's title is a book by Salinger's friend, A.E. Hotchner.

 

“ Men Without Hemingway” – 1942
In December of 1942, Salinger described this story as "a satire on the sort of postwar novel young and hectic writers will turn out after [the war]." In 1943, it was rejected by The New Yorker and soon dissapeared.

 

“ Over the Sea Let's Go, Twentieth Century Fox” – 1942
This story (which may have been an outline for a novel) poked fun at the overly-melodramatic propoganda films of early World War II. Salinger intended it for The New Yorker , but they showed no interest.

 

“The Broken Children" – February 1943Top
In a 1943 letter, Salinger writes that this story was sent to Story Magazine by his agent. Salinger considered it the first serious story he wrote since his induction into the Army. It was, however, soon eclipsed by other pieces and is now lost.

 

“ Rex Passard on the Planet Mars" – May 1943
According to Salinger, this story was sold in 1943, but apparently never published. Salinger's editor thought the story "odd".

 

“Bitsy” – March – July 1943
In a late 1943 letter to Whit Burnett, Salinger half-jokingly mentions that he hopes to sell this story to The Saturday Evening Post. Salinger said it was about a sweet girl who reaches for people's hands from under tables, but Story Press documents record it as being about an alcoholic. Extremely fond of the story, Salinger was determined to sell it, but once again found the war an obstacle. It's dissapearance is a particular loss.

 

"Are You Banging Your Head Against The Wall?"
In October 1941, The New Yorker accepted this piece. In a 1943 letter to Story editor Burnett, Salinger refers to the story by this title.
It's a sad little story about a prep school boy on Christmas vacation. The boy's name is Holden Caulfield. At the time, Salinger said that it was the only piece he'd ever written that was-at least spiritually-autobiographical. The teenage boy sitting drunk at the bar was Salinger.
The New Yorker refrained from printing the story, as the war starting made the story's disaffected tone inappropriate given the time. Eventually, The New Yorker published a reworked version of this story (Salinger's first in The New Yorke r) after the war, December 1946, renamed "Slight Rebellion Off Madison".

“What Got Into Curtis in the Woodshed” (Lost) 1943
Salinger submitted this piece to Story magazine who described it as being about a "goofy kid... on a fishing trip." It was rejected and has since dissapeared.

 

“ Total War Diary"
Salinger refers to this title in a May 1944 letter to Whit Burnett,
describing an interesting sounding new work he has just completed, six thousand words long and called "Total War Diary." Salinger called it a hectic, sweet-and-sour diary-form job done by an eighteen-year-old girl. She records the history of her own sad, never-meant-to-be War Marriage (of which I've seen plenty)...loaded with psychological clues." The same letter mentions Ring Lardner's "I Can't Breathe," a story of similar format. It seems certain that "Total War Diary" and "The Children's Echelon" are the same story.

 

“ Boy Standing in Tennessee" – Early 1944
Nothing is known of this story. However, in a September 9, 1944 letter to Story editor Whit Burnett, Salinger mentions having recently "written six [short stories] and working on three more." Of the written stories, Salinger cites "Boy Standing in Tennessee" and "Two Lonely Men" as being "really good." Included in lists of Salinger's best works, documented in 1944, 1945, and 1946, its loss would be an acute mystery. However, it is likely that the story was slightly reworked and published as "This Sandwich Has No Mayonnaise."

 

“A Young Man in a Stuffed Shirt – Late 1944
Nothing is known of this piece other than it was a war story. Salinger most likely refers to it in a September 1944 list of his most recent works, before it was finished or named. Apparently, Story magazine initially rejected this story only to reconsider after Salinger became famous years later. A 1959 letter from them describes it as "one of the best things of its kind we have read" a story which "stands up beautifully over the years."

 

* “ The Daughter of the Late, Great Man" – Early 1945 Top
This and "Stuffed Shirt" were in the possession of Whit Burnett, who, in 1959, asked Salinger to let him publish them. Salinger said no and requested the stories back. The story of a famous writer's daughter who marries an old man, it was surely based on the relationship of Oona O'Neill and Charlie Chaplin. It appears in an April 1945 list of Salinger stories.

 

“ The Boy in the People Shooting Hat" – 194_
Submitted to The New Yorker 1948-49.
The story contains a fight between the central character, Bobby, and Stradlater (who is handsome and has sexual experience) over Bobby's feelings for June Gallagher. Fiction editor Gus Lobrano's rejection letter states that "it has passages that are brilliant and moving and effective, but we feel that on the whole it's pretty shocking for a magazine like ours." Lobrano explains that the magazine considers the character of Bobby incomplete. "We can't be quite sure whether his fight with Stradlater was caused by his feelings for June Gallagher, or his own inadequacy about his age (which is brought into relief by Stradlater's handsomeness and prowess), or a suggestion of homosexuality in Bobby." Lobrano's letter goes on to suggest that "the development of the theme of this story requires more space" and "considerably more length." Bobby, of course, later became Holden Caulfield and this story consumes much of chapters 3-7 of The Catcher in the Rye.

 

“ The Male Goodbye" – -1946
This story is widely believed to be "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" but is likely to be the manuscript entitled "Birthday Boy," held within the archives of the University of Texas.

 

“A Summer Accident" – 194_
Submitted to The New Yorker, 1949.
After this story, which Salinger was particularly fond of, was turned down by The New Yorker, Salinger decided to put the genre aside and tells editor Gus Lobrano that he had rented a small house in Westport and started work on "the novel about the prep school boy" in earnest.
Unless this story is "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" it is now lost.

 

. “ Requiem for the Phantom of the Opera" – 1950
Salinger wrote this story immediately after finishing The Catcher in the Rye. In January 1951, it was rejected by The New Yorker. Salinger's editor, Gus Lobrano, suggested that it had been written too soon after the novel and that Salinger was still "imprisoned in the mood and ...scenes" of Catcher. The story has since dissapeared.

 

“ Ivanoff, the Terrible” – 1956
Most likely an early version of the novella, "Zooey," this title is mentioned in a November 1956 letter to Salinger from a New Yorker editor. It belonged to a long story that Salinger struggled to "compress" enough to fit into the magazine . After working with William Shawn on it for months, Salinger was promised it would appear in the next issue "that could absorb a story of [such] length." "Ivanoff" was "a long section" of a novel that Salinger was writing in 1956-1957, and certainly a Glass story.

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