J. D. Salinger, best known for his teen-angst novel The Catcher in the Rye (1951), died last week at the age of 91 after living as a recluse for 50 years on his 90-acre compound in Cornish, New Hampshire. His death leaves the literati frothing at the mouth as they wait to see whether he left behind a treasure trove of manuscripts. Although Salinger never published another novel, he earned recognition for the collection Nine Stories and two compilations, Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. Shortly after publishing these, Salinger retired into a half-century of seclusion.
Though there were elements of Salinger's personal life that were reportedly unsavory, I believe we can learn from his efforts to spurn fame and self-promotion because they can lead to phoniness, something Salinger abhorred.
This time last year, through a series of events, I was encouraged to submit a manuscript for publication. The senior editor at the first publishing house ...1