(Great Characters in Literature)

French, Warren. J. D. Salinger. New York: Twayne, 1963. One of the few attempts critically to evaluate Salinger’s writing by focusing on its effects on young readers rather than on Salinger’s personal psychological and spiritual underpinnings. The result is an insightful explanation of the portrait of adolescence in Salinger’s work and why it has been so heartily embraced by American youth.

Laser, Marvin, and Norman Fruman. Studies in J. D. Salinger: Reviews, Essays, and Critiques of “The Catcher in the Rye” and Other Fiction. New York: Odyssey Press, 1963. A wonderful and diverse collection of analyses written at the time of Salinger’s publications by some of the most recognized contemporary critics.

Lundquist, James. J. D. Salinger. New York: Frederick Ungar, 1979. A so-called New Criticism analysis that conflates Salinger’s life with the lives of his characters and stories. The thorough chronology is very useful in this context.

Miller, James E., Jr. J. D. Salinger. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1965. Number 51 of a series of pamphlets written on American writers. A concise, succinct, and accessible synopsis of Salinger’s writing.

Ranchan, Som P. “Zooey and Franny” and “Bessie.” In An Adventure in Vedanta (J. D. Salinger’s The Glass Family). Delhi, India: Ajanta Publications, 1989. An interesting but very narrow reading of his works. Interprets both Salinger’s personal life and his stories in light of the Vedantic vision, which entails a spiritual quest for that universal truth said to be found in all religions.