For Esme — With Love and Squalor

Added December 9, 2012
  • For Esme — With Love and Squalor
  • J.D. Salinger
  • New Yorker Magazine, New York, April 8, 1950

for-esme_-with_-love_-and_-squalor-front_-cover_ Here is one the most — if not the most — rare of the Salinger New Yorkers. It is certainly one of his most popular stories. Within two weeks of the publication of For Esme — With Love and Squalor, Salinger received more fan mail than for any  of his previously published stories.

This story was included in the collection known in North America as Nine Stories. However, in most other countries the collection was named after this story For Esme — With Love and Squalor.

As the U.S. gradually began to forget about the horrors of the Second World War and replaced them with more nostalgic memories, this 1950 story was Salinger’s way of reminding people of the veteran survivors who suffered what was then called battle fatigue. Now, of course, we call this post traumatic stress disorder.

In his 2010 biography of Salinger, Kenneth Slawenski points out that, “though we may recognize Salinger in Sergeant X’s character, [WWII] veterans of the times recognized themselves.” for-esme_-with_-ove_-and_-squalor-story_

This copy is in very good condition. It shows some crimping along the spine and there are a few fold marks and a couple of 2mm closed tears at the bottom of the front cover. There is a centre crease on the back cover, but not the front. There is no address sticker and the interior of the magazine is as pristine as you are likely to find.

for-esme_-with_-love_-and_-squalor-ad_ These rarely show up for sale on-line in any condition. There is only one copy on AbeBooks today selling for about $400. It is in fair condition with a detached cover, rubbing and chipping to the covers. I would value this copy at $500+. Prices keep rising for these, so if you see a nice one for less than $300, I would recommend adding it to your collection.

If you type For Esme into the search bar above, you can check out my previous post about the first U.K. edition of this story in World Review magazine, which came out just a few months after this New Yorker edition.

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