J.D. Salinger, author of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, has died aged 91

J.D. Salinger, the author of The Catcher in the Rye, has died aged 91.

The novel has been a rite of passage for many readers, and one of the most influential works of the 20th century. In it, Salinger created the archetypal disaffected teen Holden Caulfield. ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ has been referenced by so many movies and books, studied by young and old, utilised by politicians and entertainers, so much so that it has entered society in a far broader sense than just the literary.

It has also been associated with murder. Mark Chapman, murderer of John Lennon, was obsessed by the character of Caulfield  (see more cultural references at Wikipedia).

Salinger himself was an archetype, that of the reclusive hermit artist.  You can only wonder what he’d think about “RIP JD Salinger” and “Catcher in the Rye” are appearing as trending topics on Twitter.

 The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.