Tuesday, July 16, 2013
July 16 - The Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye was published on July 16, 1951, by Little Brown. It received mixed reviews. The book recounts the experiences of a 16-year-old anti-hero, Holden Caulfield, in New York City following his expulsion from Pency Prep, an elite private school. He had also been expelled from three previous schools. The plot is noticeably less important than the nature of Caulfield himself and his unreliable first-person narration while exploring New York, interacting with teachers, prostitutes, nuns, an old girlfriend and his sister. Salinger's use of language, particularly the realistic dialogue, was revolutionary at the time. By the late 1950s the book had become a controversial favorite of adolescents, and Holden remains today an icon of teenage rebellion. Some critics praised the novel, comparing it with Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. Others found the book merely “cute,” and Norman Mailer famously called Salinger "the greatest mind to ever stay in prep school." About 250,000 copies of the book are still sold annually.