The Catcher in the Rye

by: J. D. Salinger

Suggestions for Further Reading

Alexander, Paul. Salinger: A Biography. Los Angeles: Renaissance Books, 2000.

Like Ian Hamilton, whose attempt to publish a biography of Salinger was thwarted during a court case in the 1980s, the journalist Paul Alexander was not able to interview the reclusive author or quote from his letters. However, Alexander benefited from access to archives at various universities and the New York Public Library, as well as Hamilton’s research files, giving his biography of this eccentric author greater depth.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Holden Caulfield: Bloom’s Major Literary Characters. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2005.

Part of the famous Yale professor’s series on major literary characters in Western literature, this volume offers a selection of critical essays on the key physical and psychological attributes of Salinger’s protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye.

———. J. D. Salinger. New York: Chelsea House, 1987.

This volume, which is both edited and introduced by Harold Bloom, features a series of essays that cover all of Salinger’s major works of fiction, including his short story collections Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey as well as The Catcher in the Rye.

———. J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Chelsea House, 1996.

Part of Bloom’s Notes series, this slim volume provides supplemental information to help students understand the novel. The book includes biographical information on Salinger as well as summaries of scholarly analyses of The Catcher in the Rye.

Crawford, Catherine. If You Really Want to Hear About It: Writers on J. D. Salinger and His Work. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2006.

Catherine Crawford’s volume is a compilation of various sources such as attempted interviews and unauthorized profiles of Salinger, reviews of his books, and a retrospective by Joyce Maynard, who scandalized the literary establishment in 1997 when she published a memoir about the affair she had with Salinger when she was 16.

Engel, Steven, ed. Readings on The Catcher in the Rye. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998.

The three sections of Engel’s edited volume on Salinger’s novel include chapters that cover various aspects of the work, especially Holden Caulfield as a narrator.

Grunwald, Henry A., ed. Salinger: A Critical and Personal Portrait. New York: Harper, 1962.

For this volume, the Austrian journalist and editor Henry Grunwald invited twenty-six of Salinger’s peers to reflect on the writer and his work. In particular, the contributors address what type of man he was and whether his writing is best understood as social commentary or satire.

Kubica, Chris and Will Hochman, eds. Letters to J. D. Salinger. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002.

This unique volume includes more than 150 personal letters that various students, teachers, and well-known intellectuals wrote to Salinger. The letters provide evidence of the lasting influence of this famously reclusive writer.

Hamilton, Ian. In Search of J. D. Salinger. New York: Random House, 1988.

In the late 1980s, Salinger took Random House to court in an attempt to prevent the publication of Ian Hamilton’s biography of the author. Salinger won the case, which greatly limited how Hamilton could use the writer’s letters. After Hamilton revised the work, what resulted was part biography, part account of the protracted legal proceedings.

Malcolm, Janet. “Justice for J. D. Salinger.” The New York Review of Books (June 21, 2001): 16–22.

Journalist and critic Janet Malcolm offers a reconsideration of Salinger’s works. In particular, she argues against some of Salinger’s early reviewers, who saw little of value in his writings and, in many cases, dismissed them.

Salzman, Jack. New Essays on The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Jack Salzman’s introduction to this edited volume provides a useful discussion of the composition and publication history of the novel, an account of its mixed reception from critics and scholars, and its continued relevance in a “postmodernist” context. The rest of the volume comprises five essays on topics as diverse as Cold War ideology and American subculture.


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