Novelist J.D. Salinger dies aged 91

Thursday, January 28, 2010

American novelist J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, has died of natural causes at the age of 91. His son confirms that he died in his New Hampshire home yesterday. Salinger was born in New York City in 1919.

J.D. Salinger in 1951
Image: Lotte Jacobi.

The author had famously remained a recluse since 1953, shortly after the publication of The Catcher in the Rye, his most famous work. He very rarely entered the public eye after that date, emerging only for infrequent interviews and lawsuits. He never responded to fan mail.

His magnum opus was published in 1951, and tells the story of Holden Caulfield, an alienated, rebellious seventeen year-old and his expulsion from an exclusive prep school, but is now known as one of the most influential books of the 20th century. Featuring on Time's top 150 books of all time, it has been translated into many languages, and sold more than 65 million copies worldwide. It was also carried by Mark David Chapman, when he gunned down John Lennon in 1980.

Apart from The Catcher in the Rye, he has published a few other books, none of which have enjoyed such success. These include 9 Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.

Salinger's last work, the novella Hapworth 16, was published in The New Yorker in 1965.