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Recommended Reading: The Catcher in the Rye

Il Giovane Holden di J.D Salinger, un classico, bellissimo. L’avete sicuramente letto in italiano: è giunto il momento di rispolverarlo in inglese! Ce lo consiglia il professor Rob Anderson. Ma cosa significa il titolo originale? Spiegarlo è difficile... By Mark Worden -  LANGUAGE LEVEL B2 (UPPER INTERMEDIATE)

Rob Anderson (Standard British accent)

So (The) Catcher in the Rye, which was a book by J.D. Salinger, is an interesting book in many ways. And I first and last read it a long, long time ago, about 40 years ago, and it meant things to me as a young person, things which… I didn’t see the darker and… and... side of the book when I first read it, I… I simply saw it as a book about a young person who was trying to make sense of his world.  And in the book Holden Caulfield has various encounters with the outside world which are always disastrous, something always goes wrong, and he’s always either left on his own or he runs away from the situation. The book resonates with… with… with… with his quest for answers about society and what’s happening. He goes to see old teachers, he goes to see old friends. It’s as if he’s digging back in... into his past, to try and find answers which he... he himself hasn’t got. There is a refrain in the book, which is “Where do ducks go in winter?” He… he finds the world confusing, and is confused. There is one character in the book, however, who… who seems to understand him, an old girlfriend, and she offers him the chance to… to… to leave, to escape, and there’s a point at the end of the book where he has the opportunity to leave with Sally and presumably start a new life and make sense of life, and he… in the end he decides not to leave with Sally but actually to stay, and the book finishes with him watching his young sister... on a merry-go-round, and that’s how the book ends. So his confusion therefore remains. He doesn’t resolve any issues, the issues remain, he remains, and it resonates with young people for that reason... there are… at that age it seems there are no clear answers to many, many questions.

(Rob Anderson was talking to Mark Worden)  


The Catcher in the Rye. Il giovane Holden. The Catcher in the Rye è un titolo di difficile, se non impossibile, traduzione. Letteralmente significa: “il prenditore nella segale”, oppure “il prenditore nel campo di segale”,  alternativamente, “il prenditore nel whiskey”. Deriva dalla storpiatura che il protagonista, il giovane Holden Caulfield, fa riferendosi alla poesia Comin’ Through the Rye del poeta scozzese Robert Burns. Quando la sorella Phoebe gli chiede cosa voglia fare da grande, Holden risponde: “colui che salva i bambini, afferrandoli un attimo prima che cadano nel burrone, mentre giocano in un campo di segale”. In inglese l’immagine che ne deriva è bizzarra, poiché coinvolge due parole di senso comune: catcher, che indica il ruolo del ricevitore nelle squadre di baseball, e rye (segale) che è popolare quanto il rye whiskey, un distillato che, secondo le leggi degli Stati Uniti, deve essere prodotto impiegando almeno il 51% di segale.