Magazine article Humanities

Making a Difference: Tom Wolfe-Interpreting Our Times

Magazine article Humanities

Making a Difference: Tom Wolfe-Interpreting Our Times

Article excerpt

"I would hope that I have given readers a fresh understanding of how life is lived in different areas," says author Tom Wolfe, "whether it's the world of test pilots, or hippies, or people with highly urban ambitions of the sort you always encounter in New York." As a newspaper reporter, a magazine writer, and a novelist, his in-depth reporting provides details of his characters and their worlds.

Wolfe became a leading figure in the New Journalism movement after he came to New York in 1962 to work as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune. He noticed newspaper colleagues Gay Talese and Jimmy Breslin applying techniques associated with fiction-long stretches of dialog, detailed descriptions, use of theme and point-of-view-while adhering to the rules of journalistic accuracy.

"I figured, I'd like to get in on this, too," Wolfe recalls. So he tried his hand at the new approach to nonfiction. His facility with the style led some to designate him "the father of New Journalism."

After a newspaper strike left him jobless, he launched a magazine-- writing career, beginning with the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test for Esquire magazine. He went on to write The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby and Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers. His stories, written for Esquire and New York, capture the chaotic spirit of the sixties and are still widely read in anthologies.

Wolfe has always sought to reveal the context of his characters, in the belief that social status shapes the psychology of each individual. He provokes discussion and some disagreement from his literary peers with his assertion that the future of the American novel lies in realistic social observation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.