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American author J.D. Salinger passed away yesterday at the age of 91. Most famous for his definitive coming-of-age novel “Catcher in the Rye,” Salinger was similarly known for his self-imposed life of “recluse.”
But success, once it arrived, paled quickly for him. He told the editors of Saturday Review that he was “good and sick” of seeing his photograph on the dust jacket of “The Catcher in the Rye” and demanded that it be removed from subsequent editions. He ordered his agent to burn any fan mail.
With all the time he had by himself, though, Salinger also became known for his letter-writing, much of which reflected his disgust for the outside world. So, you could imagine that when someone approached him about doing a movie adaptation of “Catcher and the Rye,” his response was not exactly friendly. The following is from the fantastic blog Letters of Note:
Ever since its release in 1951, a steady stream of eager producers, directors, screenwriters and actors have unsuccessfully attempted to bring J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye to the big screen, all falling at the first hurdle when confronted with Salinger’s resolute refusal to sell the rights to his novel. The letter below, written in 1957 in response to an enquiry from a Mr. Herbert (and currently for sale here), is a perfect example of the opposition faced and provides an entertaining glimpse at the author’s reasoning.
[via (the amazing) Letters of Note]