Love Goes On Sale

Writer Joyce Maynard was just 18 when she began receiving love letters from J.D. Salinger. Now, 26 years later, she's putting them up for sale, CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports.

The collection is expected to bring up to $80,000 at auction. The 14 letters will give an unprecedented view into the life of the famously reclusive author. Salinger is so private he's used copyright laws to prevent anyone from even quoting from his letters--including Maynard.

Maynard said she couldn't quote from the letters in a memoir she wrote about their relationship, "So what I did was I told how the letters made me feel."

With Catcher in the Rye, Salinger wrote one of the best-loved novels of the postwar generation. The book's hero, Holden Caulfield, is known to almost every baby boomer.

So, Joyce Maynard says, just imagine what it was like as a freshman at Yale to receive a letter from Salinger. "They are pretty intoxicating," she said.

Salinger first wrote to Maynard in 1972 after seeing a story she wrote for the The New York Times. Within months, she quit school and moved in with him. The relationship lasted less than a year.

"When my own daughter turned 18, I revisited the experience in a different sort of way and I looked at in terms of what obligations the 53-54-year-old-man might have had to a young girl, and I no longer felt that I owed Jerry Salinger my lifelong silence," Maynard said.

But is Maynard now betraying his privacy? She says she visited him two years ago and he accused her of exploitation.

"I said to him, 'There may be someone standing in this doorstep who is exploting someone else standing in this doorstep. I leave it to you to meditate on which one is which.' I think that's the question."


©1999 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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