SALINGER, Jerome D. (1919-2010). Collection of 41 typed and autograph letters signed ("J. D. Salinger," "Jerry," "J.D.S.," or "J." (some with a typed comical pseudonym: "Charles F. Wood," "Bert," "Ronald F. Grinzing," "Hannay"), all to Christine C., 1966-1976. Together 66 pages, 4tos and 8vo (yellow, blue and white stock paper), comprising 39 TLS, 1 ALS and 1 autograph note unsigned. CLOSELY WRITTEN: OVER 20,000 WORDS.
THE LARGEST SALINGER ARCHIVE TO APPEAR AT AUCTION, RICH IN LITERARY, BIOGRAPHICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DETAIL. "Most of my mail is pretty terrible," Salinger tells a 15-year Christine, "so it's a pleasure and a relief when anything readable comes in." That began a spirited, decade-long correspondence that touches on many themes, most prominently Salinger's thoughts on other writers, and his own (as yet unpublished) work in progress: "You mentioned Emerson in your letter. I dote on him, prefer him to any other American writer. Like Kafka, he's best known for all the worst reasons...." "I love, love, love, Chekhov..." "Nietsche [sic] is good for practically nobody, of course, except ambitious young Hitlers and emotional malcontents looking for extravagant Aryanism." On Alan Watts: "He's run Zen up into a career, and that in itself is sub-Zen... Read your Lao-Tse." "...I don't lecture, though, or talk anywhere, thank God. I despise talking writers..."
He makes several references to his own writing: "I'm excited about work. I think I have about fifteen years' more work to do, and it's the kind I've been waiting for." On Franny and Zooey: "When all the scavengers from the Luce syndicate were patrolling this road, some years ago, at the time I brought out a book, one or two or several magazine pieces said that the original of Franny Glass, one of my characters, was this or that girl, woman in my personal life. How little they know about the abnormalities of fiction-writing. If Franny was anything but an aspect of myself, I'd have known it." He reveals a budding literary project inspired by his home movie screenings: "Sooner or later, if I can get up steam, I'm going to use part of this setting for a block of fiction that came in, hit me hard, a couple of years ago, some stuff that seemed to me really funny and happy. Perfectly unreal, but up my alley." Repeatedly he expresses his anger and bitterness at the burdens of fame: "The older I get, the more convinced I am that to be a success is to be a failure...A young guy drove up today looking for me. On the make, full of ambition, nervous and eager. It depresses hell out of me to see anyone or everyone aching to make it big on the world's terms, or some fraction of the world's terms...."
There are many interesting biographical revelations: "I'm sorry and a little ashamed to say I sometimes feel bitter towards my own parents, and have no deep affection for any part of my old family life." Salinger never developed a sexual relationship with Christine but the letters are often charged with sexual energy: "Imagine, madam, the possible fireworks in the sky if you'd been born twenty or thirty years earlier, or I twenty or thirty years later. Never mind, there are other incarnations...." "You mention sex a lot. I'm for it, of course, but mainly in the head. In practice I think I liked it best when I was a little kid. The psychiatrists could have a small field-day with that remark, I'm aware."
His many thoughts on pop culture, movies and actors, are always interesting: In the summer of 1970 he writes, "If you get a chance, see the Beatles' new movie, Let It Be. I loved it as much as I despised Yellow Submarine." "...I saw 'Five Easy Pieces,' too. The leading man's [Jack Nicholson's] smile, his pleasure, conceit in his own technique, seemed to me like intimations of Hell." He was very disapproving of drug use. "I sometimes wonder who the first clod was to use the expression 'turned on.' My God, the disservice to a whole generation....how I dislike it and fear it." Hallucinogenic drugs "may be fine for O'Leary and Ginsberg and all those sports and johnny one-note exploiters, but oh, God, what a pity for somebody young of any really individual potentiality." Some aspects of the counter-culture he liked: "I love the gentleness of some of the new boys. The unabashed yin that's in every man, or should be, if he isn't an oaf or a natural lout. In my day, boys all had to put their yang foot very visibly forward, all yin had to be concealed, disavowed, covered over...What a ridiculous and false and wicked world it's been and still is. What stupidity." Salinger also devotes much attention to his belief in homeopathic medicine and his detestation of mainstream practice with its emphasis on drugs and surgery. A major collection that will prove indispensable to understanding the life and work of this enigmatic American author. UNPUBLISHED.