Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

From Gossip to Gospel

Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

From Gossip to Gospel

Article excerpt

Given the story we've recently heard about Wolfe and an artist he met on board the Il de France in March of 1935 (see page 4), it should come as no surprise that some more old gossip popped up in 2013.

Sometime in early 1938 Thomas Wolfe and Edward C. Aswell had a conversation in which Wolfe provided intimate details about an evening in a French hotel some eight years earlier. According to Aswell, Wolfe described his discovery that he could cure writer's block by mindlessly fondling his "male configurations." Later, Aswell somehow managed to recall the conversation verbatim and wrote an essay he titled "Love as Art, and Vice Versa: An Erotic Experience as Told to Me by Thomas Wolfe." David Herbert Donald was the first biographer given access to the document, and he quoted from it in Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe (1987). Now this bit of third-hand gossip has been elevated to the level of verified fact--at least in the mind of writer Mason Currey. In Daily Rituals: How Artists Work (Knopf, 2013), Currey quotes from Donald's biography but reports that the words are from a letter written by Wolfe to Aswell. …

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