With the death of Catcher in the Rye author J.D. Salinger, it is worth revisiting an extensive essay on the man written by former Weekly Standard editor David Skinner, who currently edits Humanities magazine. Published in 1999, it was entitled "The Sentimental Misanthrope":

The reason for his silence is not found in his life, but in his fiction—the work that captured perfectly the adolescent who has discovered the world is corrupt. Salinger's compounding of misanthropy and sentimentality was always smart. He knew that the problem is not children but adults, just as he knew that the solution involves God somehow. That's why his late stories filled up with saints and seers and sages and holy fools. But he never quite figured out how it worked, and his stabs at second innocence kept falling back into first innocence. In raising his children too high—in making childhood not just innocent but wise—Salinger damned his adults forever and ever.

You can read more here.

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