The Catcher in the Rye

Publication and initial reception

The Caulfield family was one Salinger had already explored in a number of stories that had been published by different magazines. Holden appeared in some of those stories, even narrating one, but he was not as richly fleshed out in them as he would be in The Catcher in the Rye. The novel, unlike the other stories of the Caulfield family, had difficulties getting published. Originally solicited by Harcourt, Brace and Company, the manuscript was rejected after the head of the trade division asked whether Holden was supposed to be crazy.

A Perfect Day for Bananafish

Supposed to be crazy.

The novel, unlike the other stories of the Caulfield family, had difficulties getting published. Originally solicited by Harcourt, Brace and Company, the manuscript was rejected after the head of the trade division asked whether Holden was supposed to be crazy. It was then that Salinger’s agent, Dorothy Olding, approached Little, Brown and Company, which published the novel in 1951. After Little, Brown bought the manuscript, Salinger showed it to The New Yorker, assuming that the magazine, which had published several of his short stories, would want to print excerpts from the novel.

A long-lasting influence.

After publishing The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger became a recluse. When asked for the rights to adapt it for Broadway or Hollywood, he emphatically declined. Despite Holden’s never having appeared in any form subsequent to that in Salinger’s novel, the character has had a long-lasting influence, reaching millions of readers, including two particularly notorious ones.

Franny and Zooey

The New Yorker.

Originally solicited by Harcourt, Brace and Company, the manuscript was rejected after the head of the trade division asked whether Holden was supposed to be crazy. It was then that Salinger’s agent, Dorothy Olding, approached Little, Brown and Company, which published the novel in 1951. After Little, Brown bought the manuscript, Salinger showed it to The New Yorker, assuming that the magazine, which had published several of his short stories, would want to print excerpts from the novel. The New Yorker rejected it, however, as the editors found the Caulfield children too precocious to be plausible and Salinger’s writing style exhibitionistic.