In Search of J. D. Salinger, A Biography

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9780394534688: In Search of J. D. Salinger, A Biography

In trying to research the details of J.D. Salinger's life for this book, Ian Hamilton forced the writer out of his reclusive hideaway to challenge his discoveries in an American court of law. When Ian Hamilton set out in 1983 to write a biography of Salinger, he knew that there would be difficulties. Just how great those difficulties would be, what implacable hostility he would meet from Salinger and what astonishing finds he would stumble on, he could not have guessed.;This text is the story of that quest, a literary detective story which ends in court, with a bitter and protracted lawsuit in which Salinger sought to restrict the use Hamilton could make of his letters.

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About the Author:

Ian Hamilton was born in 1938, in King's Lynn, Norfolk, and educated at Darlington Grammar School and Keble College, Oxford. In 1962, he founded the influential poetry magazine, the Review, and he was later editor of the New Review. He also wrote biographies and journalism, mainly about literature and football. He died in 2001.

From Publishers Weekly:

This embattled biography has been revised because of the legal suit Salinger instituted to stop publication, and the most valuable part of the book is Hamilton's proud and indignant exposition of those long proceedings, torturous to him and endangering, he feels, to Constitutional freedoms. At issue were Salinger's unpublished letters, and Hamilton is rightly disturbed by the fact that, in covering the case, newspapers and magazines were able to print the very correspondence he was restricted from using. He wonders: "Can we assume that the letters have been released into the public domain, that they are no longer 'unpublished' ? Would the Random House lawyers now let me put them back into my book?" The answer is no, and in its spelling out of Salinger's "writing life" (even in his original version, Hamilton only chronicled that life up to 1965, when Salinger stopped publishing), the biography is a dry, adequate chronology of publication dates and landmark events that lacks passion and driveperhaps the natural result of recounting a life so obsessively removed from engagement with the world. Within the text, Hamilton refers to himself and his biographer "alter ego" as "we," an affectation that distracts the reader.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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