J. D. Salinger, Literary Recluse, Dies at 91

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mr. Salinger’s literary reputation rests on a slender but enormously influential body of published work: the novel “The Catcher in the Rye,” the collection “Nine Stories” and two compilations, each with two long stories about the fictional Glass family: “Franny and Zooey” and “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.”

“Catcher” was published in 1951, and its very first sentence, distantly echoing Mark Twain, struck a brash new note in American literature: “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.”

Though not everyone, teachers and librarians especially, was sure what to make of it, “Catcher” became an almost immediate best seller, and its narrator and main character, Holden Caulfield, a teenager newly expelled from prep school, became America’s best-known literary truant since Huckleberry Finn.

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Posted January 29, 2010 at 8:37 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Fr. Dale wrote:

This is a bit of an aside but when I saw his age of 91, I read it as 911. I guess that is how deeply embedded that event is in my consciousness (or unconsciousness if you prefer).

January 29, 9:09 pm | [comment link]
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