A collection of reminiscences captures the private life of a great American writer.
Thomas Wolfe’s life may seem to be an open book. A life that, after all, was the source for his best-known works, including the novels Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River, as well as his numerous short stories and dramas. Since his death in 1938, scholars and admirers of Wolfe have relied largely on these texts to understand the man himself.
Thomas Wolfe Remembered provides something new: a rich, multifaceted portrait painted by those who knew him (casually or intimately), loved him (or didn’t), and saw, heard, and experienced the literary (and literal) giant. This volume gathers in one place for the first time dozens of reminiscences by friends, family members, colleagues, and casual acquaintances, adding color and fine details to the self-portrait the author created in his novels.
Wolfe found plenty to challenge and frustrate him throughout his life, from his boyhood in Asheville, North Carolina, to his education at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University, through his time in New York and Europe, his travels through the American West, and his death in Baltimore. He experienced two distracted parents in a loveless marriage, the premature death of a beloved brother, a minor stutter, and the difficulties of controlling a mercurial temper. Yet Wolfe’s exuberance, perceptiveness, memory, and compulsion to record virtually all that he experienced made for an extravagance of material that sometimes angered the people whose lives he used as source material.
Editors Mark Canada and Nami Montgomery have collected dozens of remembrances, many unpublished or long forgotten, including pieces from Julia Wolfe, Margaret Roberts, Frederick Koch, Maxwell Perkins, Elizabeth Nowell, Edward Aswell, and Martha Dodd. Some are endearing, others are disturbing, and many are comical. All provide glimpses into the vibrant, haunted, boyish, paranoid, disheveled, courteous, captivating, infuriating, and altogether fascinating giant who was Thomas Wolfe.