Brow Beat: From Gotham with Love and Squalor: J. D. Salinger’s New York by Judy Rosen

MLA Citation:

First Paragraph:

“I almost always write about very young people,” J.D. Salinger said in 1946, and today this giant of midcentury fiction is being remembered as a chronicler of his time and, especially, of a time of life. But he was also a poet of place. Nearly all of Salinger’s troubled, brilliant young people—Holden and Phoebe, Seymour and Buddy, Franny and Zooey—are Manhattanites, and their stories are distinctly New York stories, set against a backdrop of bustling avenues and classic sixes on either side of Central Park, and narrated in an ironic, neurotic, contrarian voice whose provenance is unmistakable.


Rosen’s article describes The Catcher in the Rye as “one of the great New York travelogues” and touches on Salinger’s Jewishness (and how it is often presented as obscured in his fiction). It also notes Salinger’s mixed feelings about the city and the way in which this is manifested in his characters, especially in Holden Caulfield, who both loves and loathes the city.

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