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Jerome David Salinger (January 1, 1919 – January 27, 2010) was an American author, best known for his 1951 novel
The Catcher in the Rye, as well as his reclusive nature. His last original published work was in 1965; he gave
his last interview in 1980.
Raised in Manhattan, Salinger began writing short stories while in secondary school, and published several stories in the early 1940s before serving in World War II. Salinger published his first stories in Story magazine which was started by Whit Burnett. In 1948 he published the critically acclaimed story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" in The New Yorker magazine, which became home to much of his subsequent work. In 1951 Salinger released his novel The Catcher in the Rye, an immediate popular success. His depiction of adolescent alienation and loss of innocence in the protagonist Holden Caulfield was influential, especially among adolescent readers. The novel remains widely read and controversial, selling around 250,000 copies a year.
Ever since it was first published in 1951, this novel has been the coming-of-age story against which all others are judged.
Read and cherished by generations, the story of Holden Caulfield is truly one of America's literary treasures.
Table of Contents
Biographical Sketch 9
The Story Behind the Story 16
List of Characters 21
Summary and Analysis 25
Critical Views 43
Carl F. Strauch on The Complexity of Holden's Character 43
Robert M. Slabey on Christian Themes and Symbols 47
Jonathan Baumbach on Spirituality 50
John M. Howell on T.S. Eliot's Influence 54
Warren French on Holden's Search for Tranquility 60
Duane Edwards on Holden as the Unreliable Narrator 64
Gerald Rosen on the Relevance of Buddhism 69
Edwin Haviland Miller on Mourning Allie Caulfield 74
Christopher Brookeman on Cultural Codes at Pencey Prep 78
Sanford Pinsker on the Protagonist-Narrator 82
Paul Alexander on Inventing Holden Caulfield 86
Pamela Hunt Steinle on Holden as a Version of the American Adam 89
Matt Evertson on Holden Caulfield's Longing to Construct a New Home 94
Yasuhiro Takeuchi on the Carnivalesque 99
Works by J.D. Salinger 106
Annotated Bibliography 107
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