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New letters shed light on J.D. Salinger's 'ordinary' life

27th January 2011

Despite J.D. Salinger's reclusive later life, the novelist was not entirely cut off from the modern world, previously unseen letters have revealed.

A collection of 50 typed letters and four handwritten postcards by the Catcher in the Rye author to his friend Donald Hartog have been donated to the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The letters, which span from October 22nd 1986 to January 30th 2002, include topics such as who would win Wimbledon, recommendations for fast-food outlets and how he felt about becoming a grandfather.

Salinger also expresses an interest in Mr Hartog's family and even offers to extend his help to his friend's three children.

Chris Bigsby, professor of American studies at UEA, commented: 'Salinger had this reputation as a recluse, that he kept himself to himself.

'[The letters show] another Salinger, this is an ordinary Salinger, not the reclusive, angry person people thought he was.'

Earlier this month, a US court ruled that 60 Years Later, an 'unauthorised sequel' to The Catcher in the Rye by Swedish novelist Frederik Colting, cannot be sold in the country or linked to Salinger in any way.
 

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