J.D. Salinger, who died this week, was not only notoriously private but notoriously protective of his intellectual property rights. Just last year, he obtained a preliminary injunction against the publication, advertising, or distribution in the U.S. of Sixty Years Later: coming through the rye, an unauthorized sequel to The Catcher in the Rye, by Fredrik Colting, writing under the pseudonym J.D. California. Under current law, Salinger’s copyrights will not expire until 2080, so Colting’s novel will, perhaps, remain illicit until then.
One of my sabbatical projects (an admittedly self-indulgent one) is to read a series of novels (both in the public domain and under copyright) and their unauthorized sequels/retellings. I am currently reading Jane Eyre, to be followed by Wide Sargasso Sea. In honor of J.D. Salinger, though probably to his chagrin, next I will read The Catcher in the Rye and then Sixty Years Later. I also plan to read King Lear and A Thousand Acres; Pride and Prejudice and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; Gone With the Wind and The Wind Done Gone; Lolita and Lo’s Diary. I welcome your suggestions as to other good pairings.