J.D. Salinger, Reclusive Author, Rabbi's Grandson, Is Dead at 91

J.D. Salinger, a grandson of a rabbi and an author whose fiction has held the deep affection of generations of readers, died January 27 at age 91. So extreme was the reclusion of the author, who wrote such books as “The Catcher in the Rye” and “Franny and Zooey,” that there will be no funeral service, at the writer’s request. Salinger had not published a word since 1965.

The New York Times has an engaging obituary, which includes details about his Jewish roots and their parallel with his most famous fictional creation, the Glass family:

Salinger grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, which is heavily Jewish.

His death frees him from the invasions of privacy that seem to have been the true bane of his existence. As recently as last year he had to take a Swedish author to court for trying to publish a sequel to “Catcher in the Rye.” But his passing also poses an obvious question: Are there dozens of novels sitting locked up at his 90-acre New Hampshire estate? A whole world of Glass family stories waiting to be published, perhaps?

It’s impossible at this point to know. But there is something tantalizing about this quote, from a 1974 interview with Salinger: “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.”

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

J.D. Salinger, Reclusive Author, Rabbi's Grandson, Is Dead at 91

Thank you!

This article has been sent!