J.D. Salinger letters show "warm," "affectionate" side

Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:08pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Previously unseen letters from "The Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger show the kind of "warmth" and "affection" not often associated with someone who is seen as an eccentric recluse, a university said on Thursday.

Salinger wrote the letters to Donald Hartog from London, between October 1986 and January 2002, and Hartog's daughter Frances and his other children have donated them to Britain's University of East Anglia (UEA) Archives.

The men met in 1937 when they were both 18 years-old and sent by their fathers to study German in Vienna. They stayed in touch after their return home in 1938 and continued to write to each other until the 1950s, although these early letters no longer survive.

After several decades with no contact, Hartog wrote to Salinger in 1986 when he learned of the possible publication of an unauthorized biography of the writer. Salinger replied and their correspondence resumed.

The UEA said it was unable to provide excerpts from the letters, because the copyright remains with Salinger's estate.

The author, who died a year ago, aged 91, was fiercely protective of his body of work, and in 2009 sued the writer and publisher of a book billed as a sequel to "The Catcher in the Rye," saying it infringed on his copyright.

Salinger's 1951 novel, a story of alienation and rebellion featuring teenage hero Holden Caulfield, is considered a classic of American literature.

"MOVING" LETTERS   Continued...