THOMAS WOLFE by Elizabeth Nowell


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This is the first full length biography of Thomas Wolfe, by his literary agent during the last years of his life. She has brought judgment, discernment and sympathy to a fairly long and conscientious account. One criticism that might be levelled is that she has fallen under the spell of her subject. For the truth of the matter is what one has always suspected- Thomas Wolfe was not a very interesting young man and he led a really very dull life. By means of his anger-heated imagination and emotional gigantism he managed to blow up the facts of a very commonplace American childhood, a regular education at Chapel Hill and Harvard, a love affair, some European travel and a good deal of drinking into what many people mistook for genius. This book is a revelation of the American schizophrenia; on the one hand, the conformist, organizational man; on the other the ""sensitive spirit"", the drunk, the manic depressive -- but we are a long way from finding the responsible artist. And we are left to wonder whether we were fooled by Wolfe's literary contribution and enduring interest today.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1960
Publisher: Doubleday