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J.D. Salinger Introduction

What J.D. Salinger did... and why you should care

J.D. Salinger did not want you to read this biography. In the half-century after he published his masterpiece The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger became almost as well-known for his fiercely-guarded privacy as for his book about the prep school dropout who hates phonies and loves to swear. Salinger—who passed away at the age of 91 on 28 January 2010—never published anything new after 1965. He shunned publicity, didn't give interviews, and was known to point a shotgun at people who got too close to his New Hampshire home. His aversion to the spotlight, however, did nothing to dim his legacy as one of the most unique literary voices of the twentieth century.

Salinger wrote literature all of his life, but published only between the years of 1940 and 1965. Nearly all of his stories focus on young people—their frustration, wisdom, optimism, and rage. He created the Glass family, a fictional clan of seven siblings whose exploits were the subject of novellas and short stories, collected in books like Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories. Most memorably, he created Holden Caulfield, the inimitable protagonist of The Catcher in the Rye. Salinger's only full-length novel has sold 65 million copies worldwide and become a classic, handed down by generations of teachers and parents who hope that a new generation will find the inspiration they once did in Holden's howls of outrage. We hope that you do too.

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