Harper Lee letters flop at New York auction ahead of new novel
Six letters written by U.S. novelist Harper Lee flopped at auction Friday despite feverish interest in the publication of her second novel, set for release next month.
The typed letters sent from 1956-1961 to a close friend, New York architect Harold Caufield, shine a rare light into the personal thoughts of one of America’s most reclusive but celebrated authors.
Christie’s had valued the letters at US$150,000 to US$250,000, but there was no buyer and bidding stopped at US$90,000, a spokeswoman for the auction house told AFP.
Lee’s only published novel
to date, the best-selling masterpiece “To Kill a Mockingbird,” won the Pulitzer Prize for its tale of racial injustice in the Depression-era South.
Published in 1960, it has become standard reading in American classrooms and has been translated into more than 40 languages, as well as adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Gregory Peck.
Lee, 89, lives as a recluse and it is exceptionally rare for her private writings to come onto the market.
Four of the letters were written before “Mockingbird” was pub- lished and detail her thoughts in caring for her adored father and the strains of life in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.
In 1960, she wrote in raptures about the dazzling success of her novel — “We were surprised, stunned and dazed by the Princeton Review,” she said.