Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The History of the Catcher in the Rye

A recent Vanderbilt University graduate, Liam Cronin earned his Bachelor of Science in Human and Organizational Development. Liam Cronin appreciates J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. The Vanderbilt alumnus is especially interested in the perspective of the novel’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield. 

In the United States, The Catcher in the Rye ranks among the books most commonly included in high school curricula. Much of its appeal to young people has to do with the character Holden Caulfield, an adolescent misfit who comes face-to-face with the inadequacies of adults and the adult world. 

The novel’s history is riddled with controversy. First published in 1951, it was banned from myriad schools and libraries for its frank discussion of sexuality and its use of vulgar language. 

In any event, the book was so popular when it came out that it was selected for the Book of the Month Club. J.D. Salinger became a celebrity, but the role did not sit well with him. The author entered a life of seclusion at his home in Cornish, New Hampshire, and continued to publish until the mid-1960s.