Although The Catcher in the Rye has never been legally banned in the United States, schools, libraries, and communities throughout the country have wrestled with its appropriateness as assigned reading. For a list of challenges to Catcher, click here.
Since its publication in 1951, many concerned parents and allied organizations have objected to the novel’s moral ambiguity and profanity. However, schools, libraries, and teachers have staunchly defended the book as a well-written and thought-provoking novel, appropriate for literary education at the high school level.
These controversies have created an impression in the minds of millions of students that Catcher is taboo. Text by Melissa A. Hubbard, Assistant Professor, Morris Library Special Collections Research Center.
Interesting note: Salinger, a famous literary recluse, intently tried to suppress a biography In Search of J.D. Salinger: A Writing Life (1935-65) by Ian Hamilton. Salinger sought an injunction against the use of his unpublished letters written between 1939 and 1961. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals rules in Salinger's favor, saying his biographer had violated the restrictions places on his use of the letters. Hamilton had obtained most of the letters from university libraries. See: Salinger v. Random House, Inc., 811 F.2d 90 (2nd Cir. 1987). The biography was release in 1988 with the letters paraphrased. To see a review, click here.
To learn more about the life of J. D. Salinger click here.