Banned Books in Australia A Special Collections-Art in the Library Exhibition

J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (banned 1956–1957)

In 1956, the Customs Department placed an import ban on J. D. Salinger’s classic novel of adolescence, which had been circulating freely in Australia for years. Customs evidently did not feel that the book was sufficiently ‘literary’ to be of interest to the Literature Censorship Board. Soon afterwards, it became known that the US ambassador had presented copies of the book to academic libraries as an example of his country’s literature. A copy was even found in the parliamentary library, but was swiftly removed. The Literature Censorship Board reviewed the novel and released it in October 1957. The Minister for Customs, Denham Henty, decreed that all books of literary pretension be referred to the board from then on.

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