J.D. Salinger: 1919-2010

January 28, 2010  |  2:05pm

J.D. Salinger, whose Holden Caulfield gave voice to generations of malcontent adolescents via Catcher in the Rye, died of natural causes on Wednesday, according to the New York Times. The author died in his home in Cornish, N.H., where he famously avoided the outside world for decades. He was 91.

In addition to his groundbreaking 1951 novel, Salinger’s body of work includes Nine Stories, a collection of short stories that breathed new life into a staid genre and may well be partly responsible for the Renaissance of the form in recent years. However, after Nine Stories was published, Salinger began a life-long retreat into seclusion. Sequestered since the 1950s, he hasn’t been photographed by the media in over half a century. His last work to appear in print, “Hapworth 16, 1924,” was a short story published in The New Yorker in 1965. Since then, Salinger’s dispatches to the world outside his New Hampshire home consisted primarily of lawsuits against those he felt were endangering his privacy or the integrity of his work. His copyright infringement lawsuit against a humor writer who wanted to recast Caulfield as an older man is taught in communication law classrooms today as an exemplar of the legal limits of parody.

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