By 1996, upon the publication of the gargantuan novel Infinite Jest, its author David Foster Wallace was the envy of writers. Touted in exalted ways, praised as brilliant, his work produced an "anxiety of influence" for the literary.
In the world of renowned and important authors, it can be argued that no writer has every given us as many interesting real life tales and correspondence than the "Papa" of 20th century fiction: Ernest Hemingway.
It's fitting that the 200th episode of American Masters on PBS features writer J. D. Salinger, an author so influential it is hard to imagine the course of 20th century American literature without his imprint of lost innocence in the novel The Catcher in the Rye.
The Poltergeist Phenomenon is the first and only non-fiction book by Michael Clarkson. He says, "I would stress that I don't believe there's solid proof for them, but I would not say I don't believe in them."
A large segment of the letters -- the first written when he was not quite 8 -- are juvenilia and could be the sentiments of any young whippersnapper. Yet there are occasional hints at what would become the acclaimed Hemingway mode of between-hard-covers expression.
In 1966, on the set of one of my photo shoots, a mature man approached me and started up a conversation, asking me about my accent, and my likes and dislikes. He then introduced himself as J.D. Salinger.
The Glass kids are at the center of Franny and Zooey, the one Salinger book I can re-read every year. With the exception of a short story, it's the last fiction Salinger has published -- and we're talking 1961 here.
Salinger might be better off taking the view of James M. Cain, the author of several hot 1940s chart items. Cain, asked once how he felt about what Hollywood had done to his books, said, "Hollywood hasn't done anything to my books. There they all are, up on the shelf."