But he is best known for The Catcher In The Rye, which quickly became a bible of teenage dissent in America and a staple of college English courses.
Author and literary director of the prestigious Booker Prize, Ion Trewin said: "It's interesting how one book can really become an institution. It has meant so much to several generations, particularly young people...
"What he will be remembered for is one of the most remarkable books about growing up. I think everybody identifies in some way with it."
Almost immediately after Catcher was published, Salinger became disillusioned with the publishing industry.
In 1953, he bought a house at Cornish, New Hampshire, and retreated into seclusion, giving a rare and final interview in 1980.
Christopher Hitchens says the book inspired him to find out more about the US
Last year, Salinger took legal action to block the publication of a book by a Swedish author entitled 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye that was billed as a follow-up to his classic novel.
He has taken legal action to protect his copyright on previous occasions, but has never appeared in court. He has also refused numerous requests to adapt Catcher In The Rye for the screen.
"Unquestionably in just one title, that book made him qualify as one of the absolute giants of 20th Century literature," said Jon Howells, spokesman for book-seller Waterstone's.
"You will find it on the shelves of every bookshop and library in the land."
Salinger's three subsequent books - including Franny and Zooey - were all best-sellers and featured the neurotic, fictional Glass family.
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