Matt Salinger Leads Father’s Work Toward Modernity

Matt Salinger is like any of us who’s expected to handle things when our parents pass away.

But Matt Salinger’s responsibility is maybe a tad greater than ours. That’s because his dad was J.D. Salinger.

A typewriter with the name, Matt Salinger, typed onto white paper.
Photo credit: “Matt Salinger” (CC BY 2.0) by trendingtopics

J. D. Salinger, the author of The Catcher in the Rye (paid link), was one of the most famous writers of the 20th century. He was also notoriously private.

In 1953, two years after publishing The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger retreated from New York City to Cornish, N.H. There he lived until his death in 2010.

Over the years, J. D. Salinger rejected or ignored many attempts to contact him. He spurned media requests and turned down offers to license his work, including film adaptations for Catcher.

There’s even an account of an actor going to great lengths to try and meet Salinger, to no success.

It seemed, frankly, that J. D. Salinger didn’t give a damn whether anyone read his books. Which may be why none of his work has ever been digitized.

In our era of eReaders, it’s surprising to discover that one of the most-read novels of all time, The Catcher in the Rye, isn’t available as an eBook.

That’s about to change.

Matt Salinger Digitizes Dad’s Work

Starting tomorrow, publishing house Little, Brown, is releasing digitized versions of four J. D. Salinger books, including Catcher.

It’s a decision Matt Salinger came to deliberately, as detailed in this excellent New York Times piece. Digitizing J. D. Salinger’s work can ensure it’s accessible to a new generation of readers.

Cover of The Catcher in the Rye
Paid link

Matt Salinger and J. D. Salinger’s widow, Colleen, run the J. D. Salinger Literary Trust. They’re responsible for protecting the author’s literary legacy.

I told you Matt Salinger has a bit of a responsibility resting on his shoulders.

Along with the release of his father’s eBooks, Matt Salinger is reviewing writing his father left behind.

According to The New York Times, Matt plans to publish his father’s unreleased work. But, “Mr. Salinger estimated will take another five to seven years to complete.”

Which means, for now, we’ll have to make do with what J. D. Salinger already published. And now those of us who prefer reading on eReaders can do so, too.

Thank you, Matt Salinger.


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