When author J.D. Salinger died in 2010 at the age of 91, he left behind a reputation cultivated over decades for being a reluctant public figure. After four books and a number of short stories, he continued writing but ceased publishing, rebuffed any efforts to publicize his career, and eschewed technology, preferring his works remain on the printed page.
That’s set to change this month, with e-books of The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey, and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction released for digital consumption by Little, Brown and Company. Why the change? Salinger’s son, Matt Salinger, thought it was time.
In an article by Alexandra Alter in The New York Times, the younger Salinger explained that while his father was apprehensive about electronic media, he would have wanted his works to be in the hands of as many readers as possible. He was moved to digitize the books, he said, in part from a letter he received from a reader whose disability made reading physical copies difficult. As a co-trustee of the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust, it was within Matt's power to make the decision.
Matt Salinger—who also fills the role of the answer to a Marvel movie trivia question because he played Captain America in a low-budget 1990 film—also explained he’s in the middle of a years-long process to prepare his father’s unpublished manuscripts for release. The handwritten works need to be typed by hand, he said, because he has been unable to find a reliable optical scanning procedure that can translate them into electronic files accurately.
Salinger added that his father approved of this posthumous publication. Matt Salinger said he will likely continue to resist efforts to allow film adaptations of any of the books. A request to manufacture J.D. Salinger tote bags was also denied.
[h/t The New York Times]