A fifty year silence

“I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.” 
― J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey

JD Salinger last published an original work in 1965, and last gave an interview in 1980. His most famous novel, The Catcher in the Rye, was published when he was 32 years old, and he died when he was 91, in 2010. But he stopped writing long before his death, and it has long been a mystery as to what he was working on in the intervening years, during his “life as a recluse,” as Time Magazine put it. It seems he was definitely writing something, as he said in one interview with the New York Times in 1974, “There is a marvellous peace in not publishing… I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure.”

He became even more notorious as the years progressed and the mystery deepened. He went to great lengths to avoid any details about his life being made known, with lawsuits in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s against various people (including his daughter) succeeding in preventing any unauthorised biography or memoir being published. His last interview, more than 30 years ago, seemingly ended badly, as did two of his three marriages.

JD Salinger reading Catcher in the Rye in 1952

But now, the authors of the latest JD Salinger biography, David Shields and Shame Salerno, claim that they have solved the mystery of what the author had been working on in the last 50 years of his life. They have heard tell of a planned release of a series of posthumous publications of previously unseen work, scheduled for after 2015. The work is said to feature some of his original characters, Holden Caulfield among them, which will no doubt prove most interesting for the many fans The Catcher in the Rye has amassed in its 60+ year history. Whether these publications actually come to pass is another matter – we’ll have to wait and see. But if they do, it will certainly put to rest one of modern literature’s more famous unanswered questions.

Read the full article here: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/aug/25/salinger-authors-claim-posthumous-works-published

“Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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