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1. J. D. Salinger's Career and Post-War America
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about Salinger's career as a writer as well as the historical context of post-war America. In particular, we think about Salinger's background as a short-story writer and his difficulty in writing Catcher in the Rye, its unexpected success and Salinger's struggles with fame, as well as vast social, economic and political changes in the United States after the Second World War.
In this course, Dr Sarah Graham (University of Leicester) explores J. D. Salinger's 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye. We begin with a broad introduction to Salinger's career as a writer as well as to what life was like in post-war America. After that, we consider how we might read the novel as a series of short stories, focusing in particular on Holden's meeting with Carl Luce in Chapter 19 and what it tells us about Holden's attitudes to sex and sexuality. In the third module, we think about Holden's relationships with and attitudes towards women in the novel, before turning in the fourth module to the figure of Holden's father and Holden's views on adulthood and masculinity more generally. In the fifth module, we think about Holden's distinctive voice in the novel, especially in relation to the themes of lies, truth-telling, sincerity and insincerity, before moving on in the sixth and final module to the importance of music in the novel and how this relates to issues of race, a pertinent topic in 1950s America.
Dr Sarah Graham is Lecturer in American Literature at the University of Leicester. She has published two books about The Catcher in the Rye and is currently completing a study of J. D. Salinger's short fiction and a history of the bildungsroman. Her recent publications include J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye (Routledge, 2007), and the chapter on J. D. Salinger in The Cambridge Companion to American Novelists (CUP, 2013).
Cite this Lecture
Graham, S. (2018, August 15). Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger's Career and Post-War America [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/salinger-the-catcher-in-the-rye/j-d-salinger-s-career-and-post-war-america
Graham, Sarah. "Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger's Career and Post-War America." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/salinger-the-catcher-in-the-rye/j-d-salinger-s-career-and-post-war-america