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Galileo Dialogo, Shhhhhh digital exhibition poster

SHHHHHHH! A Digital Exhibition

Poster for SHHHH

SHHHHHH! is a digital exhibition based on a physical exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery on display between September 9, 2015 and November 1, 2015. The exhibition marked Banned Books Week.

Rare Books presented books, pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines that were banned, forbidden, censored, redacted, expurgated, published anonymously and otherwise attempted to be kept from public consumption. From religious and political writings to science, philosophy and poetry, these pieces of paper were deemed by some too dangerous to exist. On display are first editions of Galileo’s Dialogo (1632), Hobbes’ Leviathan (1651), Swift’s Travels (1726), Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye (1951) and others, too hot to handle hot off the press.

Catcher in the Rye dust jacket“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”

Catcher in the Rye
J. D. Salinger
Boston: Little, Brown, 1951
First edition
PS3537 A426 C3 1951

A twentieth-century American classic, Catcher in the Rye was extremely popular at the time of its publication, especially with young readers who strongly identified with the yearning for lost innocence by the novel’s narrator, Holden Caulfield. The novel added to a budding literary, musical, and artistic theme of youthful rebellion.

Catcher, however, raised a gentle voice of protest over growing militant rhetoric. Published after the triumphant yet devastating Second World War and during a pseudo-peace labeled “the Cold War,” youth in the fifties began protesting what they viewed as the failures of the adult world. Anger, contempt, and self-pity were prevalent in many works of the era, but Catcher captured a much more telling view of the era’s stresses with it’s decent but completely and genuinely perplexed teenager.

The book has been banned repeatedly from various school curricula from the time it was published to the present day.

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