Salinger Letters Returned to Sender

02/15/1999 12:00AM

Fourteen letters written by the famously reclusive J.D. Salinger (author of "The Catcher in the Rye") to a young woman with whom he had a May-December romance were sold at auction in New York Tuesday but may be returned to the author. California software company founder Peter Norton paid $156,500 for the letters to Joyce Maynard, who was vilified when she first announced plans to sell the letters. (New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called her a "leech.") "I plan to return the letters to Mr. Salinger or do whatever else Mr. Salinger lets me know he wants done with them," said Peter Norton.

  • In other news of Salinger (the 80-year-old author, who lives in Cornish, N.J., has not published in 34 years), his daughter Peggy Salinger, 43, will publish her memoir "Dream-Catcher" in the fall of 2000. The New York Observer reports that Pocket Books has paid her an advance in excess of $25,000 and that the manuscript includes the story of her relationship with her dad.

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