The Second Edition of Peter G. Beidler's A Reader's Companion to J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

The second edition of A Reader’s Companion to J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye (290 pp, $17.95, ISBN: 978-1-60381-013-5), by Peter G. Beidler is a valuable and entertaining resource for American literature students as well as fans of J.D. Salinger and his ground-breaking novel.

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“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 (second edition), 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

Building on the success of the first, this second edition is 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.

“Salinger’s death over a year ago and the resulting testimonials and press coverage made me realize that my book was out of date,” says Beidler. “My author was suddenly past tense. Other books about Salinger and Holden Caulfield had appeared, and these needed to be mentioned. A second edition also gave me the opportunity to help students and teachers by suggesting topics in each chapter to discuss and write about.”

PETER G. BEIDLER recently retired from Lehigh University as the Lucy G. Moses Distinguished Professor of English. Widely published in both British and American literature, he has won a number of teaching awards. In 1981 he was named National Professor of the Year by the Council on Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation.

A Reader’s Companion to J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Second Edition, is available in Kindle and other ebook editions for $6.95. The paperback can be purchased on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr and Amazon Japan. Bookstores and libraries can order through info@coffeetownpress.com and Ingram.

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