Salinger, photographed very much against his will in Salinger was very short. It was , and I had written to him with a proposal: I wanted my tiny publishing house, Orchises Press, to publish his novella Hapworth 16, And Salinger himself had improbably replied, saying that he would consider it. It takes the form of a digressive 26,word letter sent home from summer camp by the breathtakingly precocious 7-year-old Seymour Glass. The novella took up more than 50 pages of The New Yorker in the issue of June 19, ; I was 18 then, and I still have my copy.
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Salinger, photographed very much against his will in Salinger was very short. It was , and I had written to him with a proposal: I wanted my tiny publishing house, Orchises Press, to publish his novella Hapworth 16, And Salinger himself had improbably replied, saying that he would consider it.
It takes the form of a digressive 26,word letter sent home from summer camp by the breathtakingly precocious 7-year-old Seymour Glass. The novella took up more than 50 pages of The New Yorker in the issue of June 19, ; I was 18 then, and I still have my copy.
I had the idea that Salinger might find my company attractive for its smallness. Orchises is based in Alexandria, Virginia, and at the time had about 50 titles in print, mostly poetry and reprints of classics. They did. And then, silence. Eight years went by. In , Harold Ober Associates, which represented Salinger, asked for a catalogue and some sample books. Salinger and said that he would soon write to me. I phoned her, in shock, just to be sure. Westberg warned me that the book would have to be made to exacting standards.
I remember thinking, That means F cloth—the highest grade of buckram bookbinding fabric. Why had he said yes? Two weeks later, a large envelope arrived. It had been addressed on a Royal manual typewriter, the same as the note. Inside was a full-page letter, and it took my breath away. He proposed a meeting. Just by chance could this be true? Might we have lunch? Later that week, I was in my office and the phone rang. Lathbury, please. Thank you for your letter. Salinger pitched me his story, like an unknown, saying that he thought it was a high point of his writing.
He proposed a lunch at the National Gallery of Art. Shaking with astonishment, I set up a time the following Wednesday. The buckram he asked me to use is the functional, unpretty material that libraries use to rebind worn-out books. Hapworth, the book, was to start out this way: straightforward and pure.
When I arrived at the National Gallery, Salinger—tall, in good shape at 77, with silver hair and a blue kerchief around his neck—was waiting.
We shook hands, proceeded through the cafeteria lines, and found a table in the middle of the room. Just two guys discussing papers pulled from an old briefcase.
He was losing his hearing and was slightly embarrassed about it, but if I leaned in and spoke a little louder than normal, he could manage. He also made the disparaging remark that he found Little, Brown, his publisher since , completely unsympathetic.
We went over small details of bookmaking. Running heads at the top of the page? The fabric headband at the ends of the spine? Plain navy blue. The cover would carry just the title and, below it, his name. There would be no dust jacket. Of all the writers I have published, only one has ever asked that his book be kept out of stores. I had spotted a few inconsistencies within the text, and I brought them up, fearing the wrath of the lion.
I want it left as it is. What would be the publication date? We wrapped up a few details, and bussed our trays. I stopped to stare at the waterfall outside the cafeteria, which flows over a set of stone steps right up against a glass wall. Suddenly, Salinger wheeled around. Answer quick, without thinking! In a moment I understood: Had I paused so he could be secretly photographed? A friend later told me that such pictures can be sold for large sums.
Money, though, was not on my mind, nor on his. There was never talk of an advance, and although he did not want the book aggressively priced, he had told his agent, generously, to let me make some money on it. After refusing my offer of a ride, J. Salinger walked energetically across the Mall. I was both relieved and sad to see him go, and wondered if this would be the only time we would meet. A series of letters followed. They were remarkably open, even garrulous, with notes on family life, social observations, gripes about train travel, little jokes about himself.
Around this time, I unwittingly made the first move that would unravel the whole deal. I applied for Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication data. It sounds innocent. It is certainly boring. CIP data are the information printed on the copyright page. It would be like reading a list of register codes at the grocery: apples 30, bananas 45, oranges As we worked on the book, the publication date slipped from January to February.
An agreement was drawn up, saying that Hapworth had to appear by June 1, or the deal would expire. There was also an unusual provision: All copies were to be sold at the retail price, whether to individuals or distributors or bookstores. Salinger would get his wish of limited distribution.
What store would sell a book on which it could make nothing? This was going to be a most austere book. We also learned that the type on the spine was too small to be stamped cleanly into the fabric. Salinger offered a new design, with the letters strung out diagonally. It was awful: ugly, difficult to read, ostentatiously weird. I ordered two sample cases—the covers of the book, its shell. In November, I sent one to Cornish, and kept the other. We would have Hapworth in stores in just a few weeks.
Then I made another, bigger mistake. What I know now, but did not then, was that CIP listings are not only public but also appear on Amazon. Someone spotted Hapworth there, and his sister was a reporter for a local paper in Arlington, the Washington Business Journal. One day, after I arrived home from my job teaching at George Mason University, she telephoned.
It seems clear now how everything happened. Hindsight is always clear. I remember that the reporter told me this would be an article about Orchises Press as well as Salinger.
Foolishly—if reasonably—I answered most of them. I thought I could control myself, but my ego came into play. Anyway, what harm could it do? This was a tiny paper. Then someone at the Washington Post saw it.
A writer, David Streitfeld, called. I refused to speak at first, then answered a few questions, nervously, about what I liked about Hapworth and when it would appear. The story appeared in the Post in January My phone nearly exploded. Newspapers, magazines, television stations, book distributors, strangers, foreign publishers, movie people. South Africa, Catalonia, Australia. The fax machine ran through reams of paper. People wanting review copies.
There were to be none. People wanting interviews.
JD Salinger's unseen writings to be published, family confirms
This too, has a meaning. It testifies our ability to transcend the innate inclination to judge things based solely on the dictates of so called teluric reason. Seymour is merely a person, he is a ghost. This letter seems to give a lot of speculations towards the way he is still haunting the Glass family after his death as he did when being alive.
JD SALINGER HAPWORTH 16 1924 PDF
Mezikus And perhaps the same could be said for Salinger: But as futurist George Dyson points outwhile our access to raw information has grown exponentially, hhapworth time to process this information has declined rapidly, which has placed an unprecedented premium on the act of meaning-making. One last example, from The Rings of Saturn: One sees this same kind of visual cacophony all over the media. Betraying Salinger I scored the publishing coup of the decade: Aug 26, Katie rated it really liked it Shelves: Jul 09, Michael Palkowski rated it did not like it. By revealing too much of Seymour, who had previously been conspicuously physically absent sxlinger most of the Glass stories, Salinger shatters the enigma, and reveals the man behind the curtain.