Fans of J.D. Salinger's writing may have a new reason to rejoice as three unpublished short stories written by Salinger were leaked online.
A Reddit post on Wednesday linked to an online version of the three unpublished stories: “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” “Paula” and “Birthday Boy.” While the three stories have been available in research libraries, they have never been accessible to the public until now.
The source initially appeared to be an eBay auction that ended in September and shows two photos of the alleged short stories. A scanned copy of the book was shared on what.CD, an invite-only torrent website, before it was shared across the Internet.
But according to those who have seen the actual manuscripts either in the special reading room at Princeton University or at the University of Texas’s Harry Ransom Center, the images from the eBay auction don’t appear to be the same manuscripts housed in the research libraries -- which suggests the stories were leaked from an unauthorized edition of the book collecting the three short stories.
“My memory is that Princeton’s copy looked like a submission -- typed-out pages, maybe even double-spaced. These seem too laid out to be from that collection,” PJ Vogt, a producer at On The Media, who read the Princeton manuscript a few years ago, told BuzzFeed.
The three books are available to download on torrent sites. The file’s description outlines the three short stories along with “a letter from J. D. Salinger himself to a John Woodman,” a publisher from Little, Brown and Company.
The first story, “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” is housed in the Princeton University library and can be read only under supervision. According to the file’s description, the story is about the death of Kenneth Caulfield, who later became the character Allie in “The Catcher in the Rye.”
The two other stories, “Paula” and “Birthday Boy,” are only available to researchers at the University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center. But according to plot descriptions outlined by Salinger scholar Kenneth Slawenski on his website and the leaked manuscript, the two share the same plotlines.
Slawenski, who saw the leaked manuscripts, confirmed that they are three unpublished stories written by the late J.D. Salinger.
“While I do quibble with the ethics (or lack of ethics) in posting the Salinger stories, they look to be true transcripts of the originals and match my own copies,” he told BuzzFeed.
In the meantime, Salinger fans are relishing the latest find.
“Lovely. I appreciate his subtlety and clarity more and more, every time I return to him. These are great- more action in Bowling Balls than in most of his stories- and such brilliant language. This made my day,” one Redditor wrote.
“Christmas has been ruined. This is amazing. Thank you,” another shared.
Others remain skeptical about the leak, citing Salinger’s terms when he donated manuscripts to Princeton University, where his manuscripts cannot be published until January 27, 2060.
“Does anyone else feel a bit bad about reading these? It feels like he went to such pains to secret these away for a later date and, whether it makes sense or not, we should respect those wishes,” Redditor cgmoro writes. “Don't get me wrong... I'm going to read them. It just gave me pause to consider what an old man wanted in his dying days and how the public doesn't really care. Maybe Salinger was right about us all after all.”