In Cold Fear: The Catcher in the Rye Censorship Controversies and Postwar American Character

In Cold Fear: The Catcher in the Rye Censorship Controversies and Postwar American Character



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In Cold Fear examines the censorship controversies over J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye as a cultural debate occurring across America, from 1954 to the present day. Catcher presents a narrative in which adolescent embrace of American ideals of individualism and egalitarianism lead to criticism and rejection of dominant postwar social practices -- a narrative as threatening to some adults as it is heartening to others. Attempts to remove Catcher from high schools as an "un-American" text have generated continuous and extensive controversy, distinguishing it as one of the most frequently taught postwar novels -- and the most frequently censored.

Treating Catcher as a cultural Rorschach test, In Cold Fear tracks debate discourse in open-ended interviews, public media, editorial letters, and in school board and community meetings across the United States. Debate participants express common agreement with Salinger's critique of postwar American life but are divided over whether adolescents should be exposed to or protected from this perspective. In Cold Fear provides historical post-holes for understanding how differing audiences interpreted Catcher and offers a suggestive context for understanding the contemporary anxieties of America's "troubled teens."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814250532
Publisher: Ohio State University Press
Publication date: 05/28/2002
Edition description: 1
Pages: 238
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

1The Catcher in the Rye as Postwar American Fable15
2The Question of Innocence29
3The Critical Perspective44
4Interpretive Communities67
5The Catcher Controversies as Cultural Debate106
6Conflict and Character140
Afterword: In Cold Fear161

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