Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Yesterday in History (Catcher in the Rye)

Yesterday, 62 years ago, on July 16, 1951 'Catcher in the Rye' was published. Catcher in the Rye was written by J.D. Salinger and is his only novel. The book, about a confused teenager disillusioned by the adult world, was an instant hit and has been taught in high schools for half a century.

Salinger worked on the novel for a decade before publishing it. He had previously written stories in the 1940s for the New Yorker, and continued to do so after the novel was published. 

The book took the country by storm, selling out and becoming a Book of the Month Club selection. However Salinger did not like the fame he was receiving and retreated  to a hilltop cabin in Cornish, New York. Whilst 'Catcher in the Rye' was his only novel  but he continued to publish stories in the New Yorker periodically. He published 'Franny' and 'Zooey' in 1963, based on two combined New Yorker stories.

Salinger stopped publishing work in 1965, the same year he divorced his wife of 12 years, whom he had married when he was 32. In 1999, journalist Joyce Maynard published a book about her affair with Salinger, which had taken place more than two decades earlier. Notoriously reclusive, Salinger died at his home in New Hampsire on Jan. 27, 2010. He was 91 years old.