Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

Newspaper Notes

Academic journal article Thomas Wolfe Review

Newspaper Notes

Article excerpt

In an editorial commemoration of Civil Rights leader Julius Chambers, the Charlotte Observer of 6 August 2013 notes: "It is hardly surprising then that in 1999 Chambers was spotlighted as one of the 100 Carolinians of the Century on a list that includes such notables as author Thomas Wolfe, evangelist Billy Graham and Gov. Terry Sanford...."

Island Song, a new musical by Sam Carner and Derek Gregor, was presented in a workshop production as part of Indiana University's Indiana Festival Theatre in August 2013. The musical tells the story of five recently arrived young people chasing their dreams in New York City. Doris Lynch, in her review for the Bloomington Herald-Times (24 August 2013), writes: "These five New York City newbies proved author Tom Wolfe's maxim: "One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years" (A5). Lynch thus joins the long line of commentators who have mixed up their Wolfes. The line was not written by Tom Wolfe but by Thomas Wolfe--it's from chapter 18 of The Web and the Rock (1939): "One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years, and he who owns the swarming rock is not he who died on Wednesday--for he, alas, is already forgotten--but he who came to town last night" (315-16).

In his obituary for Ray Bradbury (New York Times, 7 June 2012), Gerald Jones notes that Bradbury attributed his success as a writer to "his never having gone to college." Jones adds:

   Instead, he read everything he could get his hands on: Edgar Allan
   Poe, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Thomas Wolfe,
   Ernest Hemingway. He paid homage to them in 1971 in the essay "How
   Instead of Being Educated in College, I Was Graduated from
   Libraries." (A22)

Columnist D. G. Martin recently wondered if people (particularly those from North Carolina) still remember Thomas Wolfe. So he asked the question in two similar articles: "Thomas Wolfe Remembered" (Durham Herald-Sun 14 November 2013) and "Where Is Waldo? Where Is Wolfe?" (Greensboro News & Record 27 November 2013). In the first article, Martin writes:

"Oh lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again."

     Remember that line from Thomas Wolfe's "Look
   Homeward Angel"?

     Most readers of my generation remember the line,
   the book, and the author. Many of us credit Wolfe with
   helping us get through the transformation from child to
   adult and opening the door to an appreciation of fine
   writing.

Martin describes a visit to the UNC campus, where he read the above passage on the angel wing sculpture, which is part of the Thomas Wolfe memorial there. Unfortunately, he chose to add an h to Wolfe's word O ("O lost ..."), and he omitted the comma from the novel's title. But these are trifling errors, and Martin urges readers to visit the memorial, even as he wonders about Wolfe's continuing relevance:

     Wolfe's words still stir me, especially in the simple setting of
   the memorial, which UNC historian Fritz Brundage says is one of the
   "most dense commemorative landscapes in the state. … 
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