JD Salinger Infographic: The Path to "The Catcher in the Rye" In 1951 J.D. Salinger published The Catcher in the Rye, a debut novel that became one of the best known works in American literature. The book’s beloved anti-hero, Holden Caulfield, had been making appearances in Salinger’s writing since 1941. Follow the milestones in Salinger’s career that led to his most famous book. Click the image to enlarge.