Latest Issue

Does Salinger’s biography matter?

Revelations about Salinger the man are no substitute for understanding his work

By Roberta Klimt  

Frank Kermode observed that Salinger “very carefully writes for an audience he deplores”

I used to know more or less nothing about JD Salinger’s life. Now I wish I had stayed ignorant. This is not because, reading David Shields and Shane Salerno’s new book Salinger, along with a handful of older biographies, I discovered deal-breakingly off-putting details about one of my favourite authors. It is not even due to the feeling of having given in to the Salinger industry, which capitalises on his wish to be left alone.…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect