Our Decentralized Literature: Cultural Mediations in Selected Jewish and Southern Writers

By Jules Chametzky | Go to book overview

Eight
Thomas Wolfe and the Cult of Experience

Thomas Wolfe has often been linked with Walt Whitman, that archetypal bard of the American experience, and in the late 1950s, there was a tendency to link the name of Jack Kerouac with that of Wolfe. There are obvious and inevitable reasons for thinking of Whitman as an ancestor and comrade of Wolfe's, and superficial reasons for linking his name with Kerouac's, and, by extension, with the world of "the Beats." Now he is often seen only as an ancestor--sometimes embarrassing--of other Southern writers. I should like to see him restored as an honorable ancestor--and not just for Southerners. Both the backward and the forward look from Wolfe are on the surface plausible strategies and may be profitable ways in which he may be seen clearly. That is, I think we will see certain fundamental differences in these writers which will enable us better to see Wolfe's unique features. In the process, some light may be shed on the perennial problem of the writer's attitude toward experience and his means of rendering it.

As early as 1930, one year after the appearance of Wolfe's first novel, Look Homeward, Angel, Sinclair Lewis, in his unprecedented and generous praise of young American writers in his famous Nobel Prize acceptance speech, struck off the key phrase in regard to Wolfe, calling him "a Gargantuan creature with great gusto of life." The image thereafter of a man consuming whole gobs of life, cramming and inflating himself with experience, out of sheer exuberance and love for it, stayed with Wolfe. Certainly, it contained a goodly measure of truth, and as surely made his identifica

-125-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Our Decentralized Literature: Cultural Mediations in Selected Jewish and Southern Writers
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 155

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    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.