Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe by David Herbert Donald Online

Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe
Title : Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780316189521
Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 597

Thomas Wolfe, one of the giants of twentieth-century American fiction, is also one of the most misunderstood of our major novelists. A man massive in his size, his passions, and his gifts, Wolfe has long been considered something of an unconscious genius, whose undisciplined flow of prose was shaped into novels by his editor, the celebrated Maxwell Perkins.In this definitiThomas Wolfe, one of the giants of twentieth-century American fiction, is also one of the most misunderstood of our major novelists. A man massive in his size, his passions, and his gifts, Wolfe has long been considered something of an unconscious genius, whose undisciplined flow of prose was shaped into novels by his editor, the celebrated Maxwell Perkins.In this definitive and compelling biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Herbert Donald dismantles that myth and demonstrates that Wolfe was a boldly aware experimental artist who, like James Joyce, William Faulkner, and John Dos Passos, deliberately pushed at the boundaries of the modern novel. Donald takes a new measure of this complex, tormented man as he reveals Wolfe's difficult childhood, when he was buffeted between an alcoholic father and a resentful mother; his "magical" years at the University of North Carolina, where his writing talent first flourished; his rise to literary fame after repeated rejection; and the full story of Wolfe's passionate affair with Aline Bernstein, including their intimate letters.


Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe Reviews

  • Irving Koppel

    "Bigger than Life"Thomas Wolfe was not only big in size,he was also big in his appetites.He could eat massive amounts of food ,drink until he dropped,engage in sexual orgies,write interminably and exercise the use of massive amounts of vocabulary. He was a man of conflicted ideas: he loved his native South,butlived in the North;he was stingy,yet giving;he hated criticism,but begged for it;he was completelydisorganized but welcomed others to organize him;he was anti-Semitic,yet the love of his li [...]

  • Paul Gleason

    Donald's work provides tremendous insight into Wolfe's writing process, personal life, political views, encounters with literary friends, childhoodyou name it. An excellent historian, Donald excels at providing an objective vision of this most subjective of visionary writers.The best part of the book, in my estimation, is the final chapter, in which Donald analyzes Wolfe's final two, posthumous novels: The Web and the Rock and You Can't Go Home Again. The conclusions at which he arrives about ho [...]

  • David Hines

    One of the best biographies I have ever read about one of the greatest and most tragic of the nation's early 20th century writers. I read Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and the River and The Web and the Rock and You Can't Go Home again years ago, and while they are uneven in quality, reading them was literally a life-changing experience. Thomas Wolfe captured perfectly how each of us actually think and ponder and live, and wasn't afraid to write exactly how life is, even when it is tedious or [...]

  • Jb

    Some editors are easy going with syntax as they edit manuscripts, others heavy-handed. When Wolfe died at age 37 he left a mini-mountain of disorganized handwritten and typed pages that editors endeavored to organize into publishable works. Necessary heavy-handedness was required on some and many of the novelist’s stylistic wordings were overly trimmed. Wolfe in many ways never outgrew adolescence and led a rather jumbled life. It’s doubtful that even in his lifetime that his typescripts cou [...]

  • Scott

    Sublime. This is a painstakingly researched, cogently and even gracefully written biography about an author who was anything BUT cogent or organized. As a Wolfe fan, I am glad it exists. Thank you, David Donald!

  • Paul Cornelius

    This biography is the standard by which every subsequent work on Thomas Wolfe should be judged. A thorough and well documented account of Wolfe's life, travels, obsessions, and fears, it also provides a critical study of how his work came to be published. In many respects, Donald's biography is just as monumental in scope and length as Wolfe's novels. And I think it will give readers an understanding of just how Wolfe can appeal to them differently at different times of their lives. If I had a n [...]

  • Carol

    Very good biography of Thomas Wolfe. I had reead another bio a number of years ago called "The Window of Memory, The Literary Career of Thomas Wolfe" by Richard S. Kennedy and published in 1962 by the University of North Carolina Press. An additional book examining his relationship with Aline Bernstein titled "My Other Loneliness" contains their letters to each other and was edited by Suzanne Stutman and published in 1983 by University of North Carolina Press. If you have an appreciation for Tho [...]

  • Morgan

    This was a long one, but I finished it rather quickly due in large part to its read-i-ness. Wolfe was certainly an oddball and it's easy to see why Donald (best known as a Lincoln biographer) was interested in writing his bio; Wolfe saved every piece of paper he applied a pen to, so there's plenty of documentation for his rather short life, and also his life is a kind of fever dream full of emotional turmoil and contentious personal relationships. I imagine a less tasteful biographer could spin [...]

  • Scott

    Tremendous insight on Wolfe's life and work, and when Wolfe dies in the book, I felt like someone I knew had died. To me, that's a great biography.

  • Emil

    I've read this three times.