The illustrious author of “The Catcher In The Rye,” J.D. Salinger, was notorious for keeping his work private, so it came as a shock to many when three works appeared online this week. The 41-page book “Three Stories” containing “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” “Birthday Boy,” and “Paula” is part of a collection of Salinger’s work in the Princeton Library, available only to supervised students. Salinger enthusiast and biographer, Kenneth Slawenski, confirmed that the works seem legitimate. “They look to be true transcripts of the originals and match my own copies,” he told Buzzfeed.
Princeton weighed in on the issue, offering possible justifications for the release of what were thought to be protected works not allowed for reproduction. “The story is probably an unauthorized version transcribed longhand in our reading room,” explained Martin Mbugua, a Princeton spokesman. “It’s also possible that it came from photocopies of the typescript probably made before the mid-1980s when we decided that we would no longer allow photo-duplication for any work by Salinger.”
At least 25 copies of “Three Stories” were printed and numbered in London in 1999. Each title page paradoxically reads “The three stories in this book remain unpublished and locked by J. D. Salinger for publishing.”