Time Essay: Holden Today: Still in the Rye

In the summer of 1951, a modest 277-page book was published. Its author: the little-known short-story writer J.D. Salinger. Its narrator: Holden Caulfield, a 16-year-old whose picaresque journey took him from Pencey Prep (the third private school from which he had been dismissed) to his home in New York City three days later. The Catcher in the Rye became a prodigious bestseller, transfiguring the emotional landscape, the mores and insights of an entire generation. It gave Salinger an abrupt prominence throughout America, Europe. Asia and Africa, and triggered what Critic George Steiner resentfully...

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