Wolfe, Thomas. (1900 - 1938).
L i f e
- born in a small town in North Carolina > portrayed in his fiction under the name Altamont
- after taking a university degree travelled widely both US and Europe and wrote
W o r k
- concerned with his self, life, and America
- desired to live, learn, and experience everything, then to capture it in writing
- did not follow any literary form or tradition, wrote spontaneously in a rich and emotional style
- produced an unorganised mixture of immediate impressions and had it ordered by his editor into novels
- experimental in his style x but: within the Transcendentalist tradition in his message
E d i t o r M a x w e l l P e r k i n s :
Look Homeward, Angel (1929):
<=> W. Whitman
- claimed each honest narrative to be autobiographical, and the only heroic life he knew thoroughly to be his own
- attempted to contain a multitude and to create a symbolical myth centred around his transcendental self
- described the troubles of a young confused boy => popular among young readers
Of Time and the River (1935):
- a sequel describing the boy’s studies and growing up
- less popular
E d i t o r E d w a r d C . A s w e l l :
- the change of the editor resulted in a different mode of the novels
The Web and the Rock (1939):
- described the youth of another boy
- the title: ‘the web’ of tradition, and ‘the rock’ of the contemporary town
You Can’t Go Home Again (1940):
- described his estrangement from the native country
- travelled Europe, began to realise the political problems of Nazism x but: preserved his optimism
(Photo: Carl Van Vechten. 1937. Source: Wikimedia Commons).
AuthorThomas (Clayton) Wolfe. (1900 - 1938). American.
WorkNovelist. Author of Look Homeward, Angel (1929).
Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.
Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.
Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.
"Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart"?
From Look Homeward, Angel (1929).