The Catcher in the Rye

Which author wrote the 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye?

And the answer: J.D. Salinger.      

Born in 1919, American author J.D. Salinger is best known for his novel The Catcher in the Rye. The book features a 16 year old main character named Holden Caulfield, who quickly became an icon of teenage rebellion. Salinger went on to publish other stories, but Catcher in the Rye remains his most popular.

Photo credit: public domain. 

While Salinger's name is taught in most middle schools in the United States today, his life was somewhat reclusive. Salinger shied away from the public eye after the widespread success of Catcher in the Rye, and managed to lead a relatively private life. However, recent efforts to coalesce a collection of Salinger's finished and unfinished works have proved to shed more light on the great author's life.

Salinger's upward-facing career path was greatly interrupted by World War II. He was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served in some of the bloodiest battles of the war. During this time, though, Salinger began to draft the unhappy main character of Holden Caulfield. By the time Salinger arrived back home after the war, he was ready to begin work on what would become Catcher in the Rye.

Catcher in the Rye set a new course in 20th Century American literature. Coming out of World War II, the book found success with youths who resonated with Holden, the deeply unsatisfied protagonist. Its dealings with complex issues of innocence, identity, belonging, loss, and connection took Salinger into the heights of literary fame. About one million copies of Catcher in the Rye are sold each year, with total sales of more than 65 million books.

Read more about the life of Salinger and the body of work he left behind here.


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