Much of the scholarship on Esquire has focused on the magazine’s ideological fusion of masculinity and capitalism. Many scholars argue that Esquires chief accomplishment was to create what was, at the time of its founding in 1933, an entirely new audience of male consumers. Informed by recent research on the philosophy of aspiration, this article expands these readings by recovering the magazine’s 1930s-era interest in writing and authorship. Under the direction of editor Arnold Gingrich, Esquire was an agent of aspiration, promoting a romantic view of authorship that suggested that writing was an accessible pathway to stylish self-improvement.

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