Thomas Wolfe quotes

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Thomas Wolfe

Birthdate: 3. October 1900
Date of death: 15. September 1938

Thomas Clayton Wolfe was an American novelist of the early twentieth century.

Wolfe wrote four lengthy novels, plus many short stories, dramatic works, and novellas. He is known for mixing highly original, poetic, rhapsodic, and impressionistic prose with autobiographical writing. His books, written and published from the 1920s to the 1940s, vividly reflect on American culture and the mores of that period, filtered through Wolfe's sensitive, sophisticated, and hyper-analytical perspective.

After Wolfe's death, contemporary author William Faulkner said that Wolfe may have been the greatest talent of their generation for aiming higher than any other writer. Wolfe's influence extends to the writings of beat generation writer Jack Kerouac, and of authors Ray Bradbury and Philip Roth, among others. He remains an important writer in modern American literature, as one of the first masters of autobiographical fiction, and is considered North Carolina's most famous writer. Ernest Hemingway, whose succinct writing style and manly voice were in many ways the opposite of Wolfe's lumbering and ruminating style, dismissed Wolfe derisively as "the over bloated Li'l Abner of American letters."

Works

„O lost,
And by the wind grieved,
Ghost,
Come back again.“

—  Thomas Wolfe, book Look Homeward, Angel

Source: Look Homeward, Angel (1929), p. 3
Context: A stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces. 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? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this most weary unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.

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