How to Avoid Salinger Syndrome

Value your romantic privacy? To start with, don't leave a paper trail

Poor Joyce Maynard. Not since Martina Hingis submarined a serve to Steffi Graf in the French Open has a woman been so universally excoriated for underhanded conduct. And all Maynard did was sell a bunch of mash notes she had saved from a boyfriend of 27 years ago to raise college tuition for her children. Except that the boyfriend happened to be J.D. Salinger--the eremite of Cornish, N.H.

For those of you unfamiliar with l'affaire Salinger, here are the highlights. In 1972 Yale undergrad Maynard wrote an article called "An Eighteen-Year-Old Looks Back on Life." Salinger, who was 53, read the...

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