A Reader's Companion to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

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9781603810135: A Reader's Companion to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

This second edition of Peter G. Beidler's Readers Companion builds on the success of the first edition. It will be an indispensable guide for teachers, students, and general readers who want fully to appreciate Salinger's perennial bestseller. Now six decades old, The Catcher in the Rye contains references to people, places, books, movies, and historical events that will puzzle many twenty-first century readers. This edition includes a new section on reactions to Salinger's death in January, 2010. Beidler provides some 250 explanations to help readers make sense of the culture through which Holden Caulfield stumbles as he comes of age. He provides a map showing the various stops in Holden's Manhattan odyssey. Of particular interest to readers whose native language is not English is his glossary of more than a hundred terms, phrases, and slang expressions. In his introductory essay, "Catching The Catcher in the Rye," Beidler discusses such topics as the three-day time line for the novel, the way the novel grew out of two earlier-published short stories, the extent to which the novel is autobiographical, what Holden looks like, and the reasons for the enduring appeal of the novel. The many photographs in the Reader's Companion give fascinating glimpses into the world that Holden has made famous. Beidler also provides discussion of some of the issues that have engaged scholars down through the years: the meaning of Holden's red hunting hat, whether Holden writes his novel in an insane asylum, Mr. Antolini's troubling actions, and Holden's close relationship with his sister and his two brothers.

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About the Author:

PETER G. BEIDLER is the Lucy G. Moses Distinguished Professor of English, emeritus, at Lehigh University. In a his long career, he has published more often in the Chaucer Review than any other scholar. He is the author of The Wife of Bath in the Bedford Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism series, Masculinities in Chaucer, and some twenty other books on various literary and pedagogical subjects. He was a Fulbright professor at Sichuan University in mainland China and as the Robert Foster Cherry Professor at Baylor University in Texas. The winner of several teaching awards, he was named national Professor of the Year in 1983 by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation. He now lives in Seattle, Washington.


"For those of us who have not read or taught The Catcher in the Rye for at least a decade or two, Peter G. Beidler's A Reader's Companion to J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye offers the breadth and detail of a gripping, if not nostalgic, documentary about The Catcher and its maker. For those American students in the second millennium who are assigned this book in their high school or college English courses--or who will read it for the first time out of their own literary curiosity--Beidler's book will prove to be a time capsule that will illuminate the world of their grandfathers."

--Joel Salzberg, Emeritus Professor of English, University of Colorado at Denver

"Holden Caulfield is a literary icon of a character, the youth disaffected with the world. A Reader's Companion to J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is a guide to fully understanding this classic novel and why it has gained fame today. On top of exploring the book, many theories and ideas about the work are explored, such as the fate of Holden after the events of the book and a greater eye on his familial relations. A Reader's Companion to J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is for fans and those opening the book for the first time. Highly recommended."

--The Midwest Book Review/Small Press Bookwatch

"With a clear presentation of copious facts and insights, accompanied by a wide array of photographs, Professor Beidler's indispensable book enhances the reader's understanding and appreciation of Salinger's landmark novel."

--Bruce F. Mueller, co-author, Critical Companion to J. D. Salinger: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work (Facts on File, 2011)

" 'That is so last century!' today's readers and teachers may exclaim as they begin The Catcher in the Rye, the 1951 classic by J. D. Salinger. Fortunately, Peter G. Beidler has decoded the cultural information that packs the novel.... A valuable tool for twenty-first century readers. Although now retired from Lehigh University's Department of English, Peter G. Beidler continues to serve the reading community."

--Geraldine A. Richards, ForeWord Digital Reviews

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