By: Edward Mackluvian
The reclusive world of late author JD Salinger is about to be thrown open to the world.
Later this month, the New York Public Library’s main branch will be displaying over 200 Salinger items, many of which have never been seen before.
“When the writer JD Salinger died in 2010, his literary agent issued a statement saying that “in keeping with his lifelong, uncompromising desire to protect and defend his privacy, there will be no service,” the Guardian reported. “That was then. Next week, the curtain of privacy behind which Salinger carefully guarded his personal life will be lowered further, with a major exhibition at the New York Public Library. The exhibit, which will be free to the public and is scheduled to run for three months, will present a mix of personal and literary effects, ranging from the original typescript of The Catcher in the Rye, revised by the author, to a bookcase from Salinger’s bedroom filled with books from his personal library.”
The exhibit has been put together by Matt Salinger, the author’s son Matt Salinger; the writer’s widow, Colleen Salinger; and the library’s special collections department.
“He was a famously private man who shared his work with millions but his life and non-published thoughts with less than a handful of people, including me,” Matt Salinger said in a prepared statement. “But I’ve learned that while he may have only fathered two children there are a great, great many readers out there who have their own rather profound relationships with him, through his work, and who have long wanted an opportunity to get to know him better.”
Among the items on display will be the original typescript of “The Catcher in the Rye,” Salinger’s sardonic coming-of-age masterpiece about teenage angst and vulnerability that put him on the literary map — and sent him into seclusion, according to the New York Daily News. “The book, which debuted in 1951, has since sold more than 70 million copies, and still sells a quarter of a million copies a year.
“Other items featured in the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Gallery at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building will be a bookcase from his bedroom filled with books from his personal library, and items from Salinger’s childhood, including a bowl he meticulously made at summer camp when he was about 10 years old, and kept his whole life,” the Daily News added.
The exhibit will also include letters exchanged between Salinger’s friends, fellow soldiers, and authors and editors including William Shawn, William Maxwell and Ernest Hemingway.