Salinger’s evolution to literary greatness revealed in scholastic anthology of his early writings—“Three Early Stories”

Memphis, Tenn. – Before The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger was a young, ambitious writer attempting to find an audience for his stories. “Three Early Stories” is a fascinating collection of stories that were eventually published in the literary journals Story and the University of Kansas Review.

The Devault-Graves Agency, an independent publisher based in Memphis, made the stories available to readers for the first time since their journal publication.

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“Three Early Stories” gives invaluable insight into the early stages of a legendary writer and is a fantastic addition to upper level high school and collegiate English classes. The scholastic edition of the collection assists both classroom and independent study with its comprehensive endnotes, discussion questions, writing prompts, and a Salinger timeline compiled by University of Memphis English professor and author Michael Compton.

J.D. Salinger’s provocative and often colloquial-style writing pushed his dream of being published by The New Yorker back a few years. Moving on to other publications, Salinger landed his first publication when Story decided to print “The Young Folks” in 1940. “The Young Folks” is an impressive view of New York’s cocktail society and two young people talking past one another in almost completely meaningless and empty conversation. The second story in the collection, “Go See Eddie,” was featured in The University of Kansas City Review and is a tale of quiet menace as an unsavory male character gradually turns up the pressure on a young lady to see a man named Eddie. The final story, “Once A Week Won’t Kill You,” ostensibly tells the story of a newly minted soldier trying to tell his aging aunt that he is going off to war. Some see the story as a metaphor for preparing family for the possibility of wartime death. The anthology includes original illustrations by Los Angeles-based artist Anna Rose Yoken.

Founded by Darrin Devault and Tom Graves, The Devault-Graves Agency specializes in reprinting the finest in American period literature through two imprints: Devault-Graves Digital Editions and Chalk Line Books.