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PYNCHON LETTERS WILL BE SEALED

A collection of letters by Thomas Pynchon that have been donated to a library will remain sealed while the secretive author is alive.

The decision came after Pynchon, author of "Gravity's Rainbow," and his family objected to having his life open to scholars, said Susan Burden, whose family gave the letters to the Pierpont Morgan Library on behalf of her late husband, Carter Burden.

"We felt it was the graceful thing to do," she said.

The library initially planned to open the letters to scholars this fall.

The Pynchon letters -- 120 written to his agent Candida Donadio between 1963 and 1984 -- reveal aspects of his creative process and details of his life.

The Burden collection of American literature includes more than 30,000 books, manuscripts, letters and other papers valued up to $10 million. Carter Burden, a publisher and arts benefactor, died in 1996.

The collection is being given to the library in stages. One of the next installments will include 11 letters by another recluse, J.D. Salinger. Those letters also will be withheld from scholars while he's alive.

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