NORTH BERWICK — “Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger, published in 1951, is an American classic, which is often on the roster of high school and college English classes. The famed author of the book, who died Jan. 27, 2010, has ties to Maine, through his lover who lived in North Berwick.

Salinger was in the news recently as a letter he wrote to his lover was on the auction block at the Bostonbased RR Auction. But that document remains unsold after failing to reach an acceptable bid price.

“Catcher in the Rye,” the author’s most famous work, is discussed in the letter dated March 10, 1980, which Salinger wrote to his lover Janet Eagleson of North Berwick.

The auction for the letter closed Monday, and Spokesman Mike Graff stated in an email that the letter did not reach the reserve price established by the seller. The letter was estimated to be worth $15,000-$20,000, according to a press release from the auction house.

“A rare and exceptional piece of correspondence from the enigmatic writer, and the perfect combination of topics: his most famous work and his reclusive lifestyle,” Bobby Livingston, executive VP at RR Auction, said in the written statement.

In the letter to his York County paramour, Salinger states, “I do indeed take your brother Tim’s assessment of ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ as ‘subjective’ as a compliment. A high and entirely comfortable compliment.”

Salinger moved to “attractively inaccessible” Cornish, New Hampshire in 1953 to escape his unwanted fame, according to the press release.

“Nice that you live in Maine, I think. So northern, so attractively inaccessible, so removed from asinine presidential primaries,” Salinger wrote in the typed letter which he signed by hand.

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]

 

 

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