Lot 8086: TLS, two pages, 5.5 x 8.5, March 10, 1980. Letter to paramour Janet Eagleson, a sometime houseguest at his reclusive New Hampshire home, reads, in part: "I do indeed take your brother Tim's assessment of The Catcher in the Rye as 'subjective' as a compliment. A high and entirely comfortable compliment. It happens that I know a couple of people who privately, lonelily reconstitute words to suit themselves, finding the usual context unacceptable or unlikable. How lucky for Tim to have a sister who apparently doesn't have any trouble with the language. (I hope Tim's mother, too, speaks or understands Tim's words. Or is that too much to hope or expect)."Salinger goes on to apologize for an "inaccurate magazine article" about his testiness towards outsiders who "sometimes park their cars across my driveway or lay for me outside the P.O. with their zoom-lens cameras, things like that, as that piece he saw tried to convey. My son, though, happened to be with me on the day that young Canadian weasel showed up, and I emphatically am embarrassed and infuriated when my children, are indirectly involved, victimized by all that business."He refers a couple of good baseball books for Tim, then breaking into his opinion of shock therapy "Barbarous and worse. Could forgive allopathic, physicians, psychiatrists, etc., or could at least try to, if they weren't universally such a pretentious, arrogant, conceited lot. I'm so sorry your brother went through that dreadful mill."He closes this letter with some kind words about Eagleson's home state of Maine, and takes a jab at New Hampshire's first in the country primary, "Nice that you live in Maine, I think. So northern, so attractively inaccessible, so removed from asinine Presidential primaries." In fine condition. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope. Critics delighted in the "subjective" perspective of Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, but Salinger's later writings fell short of literary acclaim. Released in The New Yorker in 1965, 'Hapworth 16, 1924' was his last published work. Though disparaged by critics who deemed the piece self-indulgent, Salinger considered it the high point of his career. The author saw the maturation of subjectivity in his writing, a complete escape from the distasteful "usual context." He seems to confirm this in the letter, referring obliquely to himself in those "couple of people" who "lonelily reconstitute words to suit themselves." Many speculate the harsh critical reception of "Hapworth" caused him to stop publishing, but he continued to write only to suit himself, supposedly completing as many as fifteen novels in his remote New England home.Salinger had moved to "attractively inaccessible" Cornish, New Hampshire in 1953 to escape his unwanted fame. Although he occasionally attended church suppers and was often found shopping in town, he remained aloof even to locals. As to the press and admirers, he was completely remote: Salinger gave his last interview a few months after this letter. A rare and exceptional piece of correspondence from the enigmatic writer, and the perfect combination of topics: his most famous work and his reclusive lifestyle.
RR Auction's Remarkable Rarities Auction 461
Monday, 28th September 2015
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