J.D. Salinger: 1919 – 2010
J.D. Salinger died peacefully in his home in Cornish, New Hampshire yesterday at the ripe old age of 91. Although only a few of his novels were published, they were enough to cement his legend. When you write The Catcher in the Rye, 1951, you don’t have to write anything else. Alas, he did. Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey appeared in the next decade and have since become just as celebrated as Rye.
I’d sound like a broken record if I mentioned that Salinger became a famous recluse after his final book, Raise High the Roof Beam, was published in 1963. So instead I’ll let Salinger explain it, taken from one of his few interviews with The New York Times in 1974:
There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. It’s peaceful. Still. Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure.
Like I said before, when you write The Catcher in the Rye, you can go into reclusion all you want. His legacy wouldn’t have changed. Once you write the words, they’re there forever.