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Joyce Maynard returns to Yale to finish a course that was interrupted 46 years ago by a romance with J D Salinger

Joyce Maynard returns to Yale to finish a course that was interrupted 46 years ago by a romance with J D Salinger

There are many excuses sheepish university dropouts might throw at disproving parents, but falling in love with a world-famous novelist is one only Joyce Maynard could honestly use.

During her first year studying art at Yale, Joyce wrote a  cover story for the New York Times Magazine, called ‘An 18-Year-Old Looks Back at Life’. The reception to the article was huge, and a slew of letters, writing opportunities, and even an invitation to audition for The Exorcist piled into her letterbox.

There also came a note from author of The Catcher in the Rye, J D Salinger. Joyce began a correspondence with Salinger that grew into a romance.

Joyce recalls in a recent memoir piece for Vogue that, as she moved back in to her dorm to begin her second year at Yale in 1972, Salinger turned up at her door and whisked her away.

She wrote, ‘At the time, I believed I would spend my life with Salinger. The fact that, at age 53, he was 35 years older than I seemed immaterial, as did the fact that he expressed disapproval about virtually everything I held dear—not just the music I listened to, the food I ate, but my parents, the book I was writing, my aspirations for a career, and my interest in any part of the world beyond the one we occupied.’ 

A year later, Salinger called off their relationship. Joyce was devastated.

She went on to become a feature writer and reporter for The New York Times, and is a prolific author. One of her most famous books is At Home in the World, her 1988 memoir about her romance with Salinger.

Joyce has now announced that she is now returning to Yale to finish the art degree interrupted by Salinger 46 years ago. Read the full Vogue piece here.