The culture of stardom abhors a vacuum: empty celebrity spaces can fill with nothing but mystique. Such was the ironic fate that befell JD Salinger when he tried to withdraw from the conditions of his fame. His silence became as resonant as his writing had once been. After being catapulted into the limelight with the publication of The Catcher in the Rye in 1951, instantly hailed as an American classic, Salinger continued writing short stories for The New Yorker, which were occasionally reprinted in various books over the next 15 years: Nine Stories (1953), Franny and Zooey (1961), and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963). Eudora Welty, reviewing Nine Stories in the New York Times, wrote: “He has the equipment of a born writer to begin with – his sensitive eye, his incredibly good ear, and something I think of no other word for but grace. There is not a trace of sentimentality in his work, although it is full of children that are bound to be adored.”

more from David Shields at the FT here.