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What will probably be the last volume from one of the most important and certainly most controversial of modern American writers, this is the hurried diary kept by Wolfe during a motor tour of the northwest national parks, the chief area of the United States he had previously not seen, during the closing months of his life. These notes were to have provided the basis for a new book tentatively titled A Western Journey of which he wrote:- ""It is really a kind of tremendous kaleidoscope that I hope may succeed in recording a whole hemisphere of life and of America"". This first brief draft of the book death intercepted indicates the probable success had the larger work been finished. He set off with two friends in a white Ford; he noted sunbaked desert towns backdropped by distant blue mountains as they journey away from the Coast, the tinsel joys of vacationing school teachers, the sound of waitresses' voices under his window when he woke, an old snaggle-toothed man at the brink of the Grand Canyon with his pajama-slacked daughter; characteristically he noted statistics that fascinated him- ""we made 210 miles today""; the incongruous presence of a modern swimming pool in a desert oasis. Rough and disorganized as the notes are, they still sustain the power of Wolfe's prose-poetry, the sharpness of his observation, his pleasure in people he met or noticed along the way. End paper maps planned. A specialist market.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1951
Publisher: Univ. of Pittsburgh