Thursday, July 15, 1971

J.D. Salinger The Catcher in the Rye published 20 years ago today

Last updated 7/5/2020.

The Catcher in the Rye

J.D. Salinger

First Publication: July 16, 1951

Category: coming-of-age novel

Sales: 65 million


About the Book:

“Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged.” BN “Originally published for adults,” WK “the novel’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage rebellion” WK and “adolescent alienation and angst.” LC He “is the first great American antihero, and his attitudes influenced the Beat Generation of the 1950s as well as the hippies of the 1960s.” LC

“The influential story concerns three days after Holden has been expelled from prep school. Confused and disillusioned, he wanders New York City searching for truth and rails against the phoniness of the adult world.” LC It “deals with complex issues of innocence, identity, belonging, loss, and connection.” WK

“The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.” AZ

“Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, [Holden] issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.” AZ

The Catcher in the Rye is one of the most translated, taught, and reprinted books and has sold some 65 million copies.” LC

Resources and Related Links:

In July 2018, I became the organizer of the Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the Book Club tab here or Meetup for more information. This is our March 2019 book.

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