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Salinger's legacy of expression and silence

January 29, 2010 |  1:30 pm


In today's paper, books editor David L. Ulin looks at J.D. Salinger's life and work. Salinger, whose last published works appeared in 1965, retreated into seclusion in Cornish, N.H. Despite his literal absence, he remained a major figure on America's literary landscape. Salinger, Ulin writes, "was a writer who refracted his perspective into language, producing work that was personal and profound."

"As he once wrote to biographer Ian Hamilton (in the course of suing Hamilton for quoting from his unpublished letters), 'I think I've borne all the exploitation and loss of privacy I can possibly bear in a single lifetime.'

"For the last 45 years, this was the encoded story, Salinger's self-imposed silence, as readers debated whether he was still writing or off in some twilit oblivion of his own....

"In his books, we find the essence of a fully articulated worldview, in which silence and expression go hand in hand."

Read the complete remembrance here.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo credit: Amy Sancetta / Associated Press