J.D. Salinger was perhaps the greatest living American author. The reclusive author is best known for Catcher in the Rye, was required reading for generations of readers transfixed by its turmoil, died yesterday aged 91 at his New Hampshire home. "He was famous for not wanting to be famous," wrote Ian Hamilton in his book In Search of J.D. Salinger. His anti-hero, Holden Caulfield, struck a chord with young people as did the book's message of an unfair struggle between the goodness of young people and the corruption of their elders. Even though he spent the last handful of decades out of the public eye, the impact of Catcher in the Rye and Caulfield continued to resonate, from high schools to universities and into other arts.
Published in 1951, Catcher became one of the most influential novels in modern American literature for its disaffected tale of teenage angst, seen through the eyes of protagonist Holden Caulfield, the anti-hero who despised "phonies" in an adult world and subsequently became an icon of teenage rebellion. After he published Catcher, Salinger retreated to New Hampshire where he began to start a family. In 1953, Salinger released his short story collection Nine Stories, which featured "A Perfect Day for Bananafish and "F"or Esmé – with Love and Squalor." Eight years later, Franny and Zooey continued Salinger's exploration of the Glass family.
Jerome David "J. D." Salinger (pronounced /ˈsælɪndʒər/; January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010) was an American author, best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature. His last original published work was in 1965; he gave his last interview in 1980.
Raised in Manhattan, Salinger began writing short stories while in secondary school, and published several stories in the early 1940s before serving in World War II. In 1948 he published the critically acclaimed story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" in The New Yorker magazine, which became home to much of his subsequent work. In 1951 Salinger released his novel The Catcher in the Rye, an immediate popular success. His depiction of adolescent alienation and loss of innocence in the protagonist Holden Caulfield was influential, especially among adolescent readers. The novel remains widely read and controversial, selling around 250,000 copies a year.
The success of The Catcher in the Rye led to public attention and scrutiny: Salinger became reclusive, publishing new work less frequently. He followed Catcher with a short story collection, Nine Stories (1953), a collection of a novella and a short story, Franny and Zooey (1961), and a collection of two novellas, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963). His last published work, a novella entitled "Hapworth 16, 1924," appeared in The New Yorker on June 19, 1965.
Afterward, Salinger struggled with unwanted attention, including a legal battle in the 1980s with biographer Ian Hamilton and the release in the late 1990s of memoirs written by two people close to him: Joyce Maynard, an ex-lover; and Margaret Salinger, his daughter. In 1996, a small publisher announced a deal with Salinger to publish "Hapworth 16, 1924" in book form, but amid the ensuing publicity, the release was indefinitely delayed. He made headlines around the globe in June 2009, after filing a lawsuit against another writer for copyright infringement resulting from that writer's use of one of Salinger's characters from Catcher in the Rye.Salinger died of natural causes on January 27, 2010, at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire.