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The Autobiographical Outline for Look…

The Autobiographical Outline for Look Homeward, Angel (Southern Literary…

by Thomas Wolfe

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807129410, Paperback)

Readers of Thomas Wolfe’s Autobiographical Outline will better understand how his first and most widely read novel, Look Homeward, Angel, came into being. Superbly edited and annotated by Lucy Conniff and Richard Kennedy, this vibrant document records a young writer’s determination to forge art from the details of his life, providing an unparalleled view of a novelist’s mind at work. "Everything I write is immensely flavored with me," Wolfe stated. "The look about me will be transmuted and recreated in writing."

Wolfe’s sprawling talent and his fascination with psychoanalysis are reflected here in the quick images, free associations, sudden plunges into feelings, and charged energy the editors aptly call the "brushfire" of his talent. His nakedly honest reminiscences of self, family, friends, and townspeople prefigure the lyric intensity of his best work. Wolfe begins with his conception and birth and goes on to describe first impressions of home, his growing acquaintance with language, school experiences, his sometimes explosive father and neglectful mother, his college years, and finally graduate study of the Romantic poets and play writing. He makes a climatic discovery about his creative life as he notes the Harvard years, locating the principal theme for his novel and the symbol to express it—"the unfound door."

With their inclusion of an introduction, notes, a bibliography, a chronology of events, and nine rarely seen photos, Conniff and Kennedy have assembled an exceptional work. Wolfe was an intensely autobiographical writer, and his Outline allows readers to see how random jottings evolved into the story of Eugene Gant growing up in Altamont, North Carolina, at the beginning of the twentieth century.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:52 -0400)

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