Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

A Note from the Editor

Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

A Note from the Editor

Article excerpt

"To a certain degree, a book can be a substitute for liberty." Thomas Wolfe experienced this truth, but the words are those of Karl Roder, prisoner of the Third Reich. Among the books that comforted Roder and other inmates of Dachau was a German translation of Look Homeward, Angel. On a faraway continent, a young girl confined with other Japanese Americans in a dreary camp also found inspiration in Wolfe. This issue's impressively researched study by Larry Stokes elucidates what Wolfe meant to intellectuals incarcerated by the Nazis, and Shawn Holiday's evocative essay traces the life and literary accomplishments of Wakako Yamauchi, who transcended the pain of internment to become a significant American writer.

Wolfe, who traveled only in North America and Western Europe, now reaches readers throughout the world, as illustrated in articles by Japanese scholar Hiroshi Tsunemoto and Azeri doctoral candidate Riza Khalilov. As well as representing Wolfe's international reputation, this issue includes essays recalling the close-to-home turmoil of his youth and its transmutation into literary art. Allison Kerns uses a poignant poem by Langston Hughes as fulcrum for analysis of the frustrated dreams of each of the Gants. Elizabeth Crowder focuses on one example of family failure, the spiteful competition between Eliza and Helen. Jim Clark investigates Wolfe's friendship with Peter Leroy Dock, concluding that Wolfe's realization of Dock's Everyman qualities may have affected the characterization of Joe Doaks, precursor to George Webber. …

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