Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0674008694
ISBN-10: 0674008693
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Thomas Wolfe was a writer who famously spewed out words upon the page in endless streams, attempting to achieve The Great American Novel by putting his own life on paper. He wrote four massive novels, combining passages of over-the-top bad writing with some of the most beautiful prose ever committed to paper. His editors Maxwell Perkins and Edward Aswell became almost as famous as Wolfe for their Herculean efforts in getting his titanic manuscripts into publishable form. Look Homeward, Angel (1929), Of Time and the River (1935), and his two posthumously published works, The Web and the Rock (1939) and You Can't Go Home Again (1940) are classics of American literature, though today entirely unfashionable. Harvard historian David Herbert Donald won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for this appreciative biography of the genius of purple prose. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Wolfe's editor, Maxwell Perkins, argued that no writer was ever less in need of a biographer, so rich and candid was the autobiographical content of his fiction. Donald is the third biographer in 25 years to gainsay Perkinsand the most successful. Less worshipful than his predecessors, Donald has other advantages, too: full access to Wolfe's papers and the death of most of those whose feelings hitherto had to be spared. What emerges is a forthright but disciplined portrait of an explosive genius and his place in modern American letters. Wolfe's turbulent life, extraordinary learning, surprisingly conscious craft, and complex relations with his editors all affected his artistic development. Donald analyzes these matters without psychological or critical buzzwords but leaves unresolved Wolfe's ultimate literary worth. Arthur Waldhorn, English Dept., City Coll., CUNY
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1 edition (January 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674008693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674008694
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,047,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M. Derby VINE VOICE on December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
David Herbert Donald is an expert on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. What in the world is he doing writing a book on the tormented North Carolina novelist Thomas Wolfe? Yet Donald pulls it off wonderfully, recreating Wolfe's troubled life and capturing his creative process. Only two of Wolfe's novels were published in his short life but Donald is perhaps at his best when he examines his subject's unpublished works as well as two posthumous novels assembled by an editor. Donald may not convince you that Wolfe was a great American writer but he may just convince you that you may not know the real Thomas Wolfe. While not the most scholarly of works, Donald's biography is vivid and captures a larger than life figure (in more ways than one) and his epic vision of America and art. This is one of the best biographies of a major American writer and, best of all, it is very accessible and readable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By QBraly on November 27, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is a good biography of Thomas Wolfe. Obviously, the author did his homework; the research is impressive. I never got bored reading this, but then, I am a Thomas Wolfe fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Emzie on June 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book tells you everything that you always wanted to know about Thomas Wolfe. It is well written and very interesting.
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11 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Walker E. Rowe III on September 22, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Did you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway all had the same editor at Charles Scribner's and Sons: Maxwell Perkins. Some critics have said that Perkins basically wrote Tom Wolfe's last novel because it was a too-long mess that needed to be edited into a cohesive whole. I read halfway through "Look HomeWard Angel" and "Of Time and the River". Both read like a hot day in Asheville, North Carolina. When I have time I plan to go back and reread these novels because Shelby Foote and Walker Percy spoke highly of them.
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