JD Salinger, and His Way, Are Dead

A number of months ago, when he roused himself to file yet another law suit against another writer who came too close to him, I wrote a post about JD Salinger, which got no traffic.

Many optimistic literary types would surely like to believe that Salinger, who died yesterday, might logically hold a special place in the hearts of the young (if only because he's still on a lot of assigned-reading lists). In truth, he SEO'd poorly.

Probably no novelists get traffic.

But Salinger, especially if you weren't there in the pre-modern world when he was the coolest angsty thing going, might seem musty. His picture of disaffected youth actually seems innocent and tame these days--even reassuring. "Why does JD Salinger mean so much to you?" asks the brightest young thing in my office. "I started reading Catcher in the Rye once."

And, too, Salinger, represents--to his detriment I believe--an almost pure example of old-world writing.

He's the pay-wall model. Sitting up there in Cornish, New Hampshire, he really walled himself off. For a long time that remoteness and exclusivity made him more sought after. He created a cult following based on the premise that it was almost impossible to follow him. In fact, he composed an entire world whose characters were basically motivated by trying to keep people out of their world. Not to be damaged or spoiled or touched was the Salinger ideal. You really didn't want to interact.

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