Friday, January 29, 2010

In Memoriam - J.D. Salinger

J.D. Salinger has died at age 91. Born in New York City on January 1, 1919, Jerome David Salinger's literary output was not large, but he was to have a lasting impact on generations of teenage and readers, as well as a host of contemporary writers. He spoke to and about adolescents with genuine understanding.

His signature novel Catcher in the Rye was published in 1951 and was immediately successful. Although written for adults, its main character, Holden Caulfield, exemplified rebellion and alienation for subsequent generations of young people. It has been named time and time again in list of best and most influential books. It also has been challenged numerous times for its sexuality and profanity. Catcher in the Rye was in the news again last year as Salinger went to court to stop the publication of a novel which depicted Holden Caulfield as an older man.

Salinger was a famously private person. He became reclusive in reaction to the unwanted attention he received after the publication of The Catcher in the Rye. In recent years memoirs were written by family members and associates revealing his eccentricities, but Salinger, typically, remained silent.

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