Three short stories allegedly written by the late, reclusive author J.D. Salinger were leaked online this week by an anonymous uploader. The manuscripts were not supposed to be officially published until later this century.
The stories appeared online this week on websites such as the image site Imgur. It shows PDF versions of the stories "Paula," "The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls" and "Birthday Boy." The manuscripts show no trace of origin.
However, a book titled "Three Stories Unpublished" by J.D. Salinger was listed just two months ago on eBay and purported to contain the same three stories published online this week. That auction, which ended Sept. 23, showed a first-time eBay user won the manuscript with a bid of $110.34.
The description on the eBay item said the copy of the book was published in London in 1999 and was numbered 6 of 25 copies.
Los Angeles book critic David Ulin wrote that he believed the stories published online this week were legitimate.
"I've never read 'The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls': It's part of a collection of Salinger material at the Princeton University Library and available only to scholars who are supervised as they read. I have read the other two stories, however, at the University of Texas' Ransom Center, and the versions of them in 'Three Stories' are the real deal," he wrote.
Princeton University released a statement about the manuscript this week.
"The story is probably an unauthorized version transcribed longhand in our reading room. It's also possible that it came from photocopies of the typescript probably made before the mid-1980s when we decided that we would no longer allow photo-duplication for any work by Salinger," said Martin A. Mbugua, spokesperson of the university.
It remains unclear who published the stories online. The winner of the auction wrote on eBay, "Wonderful, rare item. Very pleased. Seller a prince. Many many thanks! A++++++++"
The seller, known as Thehungrycaterpillar13, did not respond to requests for comment, but has 100 percent positive feedback from other eBay users for transactions on the site, including other Salinger memorabilia and other goods.