Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

Lonely Wolfe

Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

Lonely Wolfe

Article excerpt

Philosophy professor Ben Lazare Mijuskovic contends--in the third edition of Loneliness in Philosophy, Psychology, and Literature (iUniverse, 2012)--that "loneliness has constituted a universal theme of Western thought from the Hellenic age into the contemporary period"; "man has always felt alone and that the meaning of man is loneliness"; and "loneliness is the basic nature of humans and is an unavoidable condition that all must face" (back cover). Who better to exemplify that thesis than Thomas Wolfe? In fact, Mijuskovic states that "Thomas Wolfe presents loneliness as the primary concern and the universal condition of all mankind" (34). Furthermore, "... Wolfe is a preeminent psychologist and philosopher of loneliness as well as a novelist because, for him, loneliness constitutes the invariable situation of mankind itself" (53).

Although he is just one of approximately one hundred writers whom Mijuskovic cites in his book, Wolfe appears frequently and is quoted extensively. For example, in a note on the "principle of reflexivity," Mijuskovic writes:

   To my mind, the most interesting figure to apply and indeed immerse
   himself--unconsciously, I suppose--in this ancient reflexive
   paradigm of the mind is the twentieth-century American novelist
   Thomas Wolfe. Wolfe's major works ... are autobiographical in a
   most acute and desperate way. Indeed, Wolfe's loneliness can be
   seen increasingly to feed on itself as he introspectively recreates
   and relives the suffering of his isolation, until finally the
   reader becomes uncomfortably aware that this intensity has
   virtually reached self-destructive proportions. … 
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