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Look Homeward, Angel (1929)

by Thomas Wolfe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,233413,318 (4.01)187
An elaborate and moving coming-of-age story about Eugene Gant, a restless and energetic character whose passion to experience life takes him from his small, rural hometown in North Carolina to Harvard University and the city of Boston. The novel's pattern is artfully simple--a small town, a large family, high school and college--yet the characters are monumental in their graphic individuality and personality.… (more)
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» See also 187 mentions

English (39)  German (1)  All languages (40)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
had to give this one up after part one. started a little bit of part two, but the book was still very racist and anti-semitic and i still have no idea what the story is about.

a shame, since my grandmother always said we were related to thomas wolfe
  austinburns | Dec 16, 2021 |
Some people go through a second childhood, for me it’s more like a second adolescence, going back to read books that impressed some of my high school friends.
This thick novel, a defiantly autobiographical Bildungsroman about a budding writer named Eugene Gant, was more readable than I expected, despite the pathetic exclamations and long grocery lists of description, as well as the echoes of Milton, Shakespeare, and other writers. The author is intoxicated by life and by language, and seems intent on fixing the entirety of both in a towering stack of paper. Some passages strain credulity, as when the author describes the protagonist’s infancy, whether in cataloguing the smells of his childish world for page after page, or recording his precocious intuition, while playing with alphabet blocks, that language was the key to unlocking the world.
Beyond the wild profligacy of language, so often justly commented upon, are hard little carefully-crafted insights such as this: “he forgave, for it was necessary to forget.” It was these, as well as the telling, original descriptions littered throughout the book that kept my attention more than the events of Eugene’s life. Then there’s another awkward matter: although I’m no fan of revising the canon on the basis of our current ideas of political correctness, the misogyny and racism were hard to me to get with, even if those particular aspects of the book might not have bothered many of Wolfe’s Asheville contemporaries. Oh the other hand, it’s understandable the author couldn’t go home again: he had used friends, relatives, and neighbors transparently for his incisive, unflattering caricatures.
At times it felt as if the book would go on forever, but the narrative pace picked up as the climax, the death of the protagonist’s brother Ben, approached. In describing the death scene itself, all the traits Wolfe had already established for the members of the Gant family interact in an extended way under the strain, the mingled love and hate acutely observed. This scene, followed by a richly imaginative denouement, are among the strongest of the entire book.
On balance, this is a book with flashes of towering genius, with enough rewards to balance out the flaws. On my scale, three stars is shorthand for a good read, although this rating can apply to a book of skillful, consistent workmanship as well as an unbalanced product of greatness. Look Homeward, Angel is for me an example of the latter. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
The content-order of the four major novels:
Look Homeward, Angel (O Lost - complete)
Of Time and the River
The Web and the Rock
You Can't Go Home Again ( )
  KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
NA
  pszolovits | Feb 3, 2021 |
Evocative of May 25, 1990 visit to Asheville, North Carolina which included the Wolfe boarding house (NB before a later fire there).
  rockhurst72 | Nov 18, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
"Kan De finne om ikkje meir enn ei bok til som kjem på høgd med den av Thomas Wolfe, da har De verkelig gjort ein gjerning." Olav Duun

Da Eliza Gant hadde født yngstebarnet, Eugene, "hadde hun stirret dypt ned i de mørke øynene og sett noe som hun visste skulle gløde der inne bestandig, en dyp utilgjengelig og uoppløselig ensomhet, hun visste det var en fremmed som hadde fått liv i det mørke fanget hennes, en gjenganger i sitt eget sinn, ensom når han var alene og ensom når han var midt i verden. Fortapt."

Utkom første gang på norsk i 1933.
 

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Wolfe, Thomasprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kostova, ElizabethIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Modick, KlausAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perkins, Maxwell E.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schiebelhuth, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wehrli, IrmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
... a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces. Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this most weary unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.
Dedication
To A.B.

"Then, as all my soules bee,
Emparadis'd in you, (in whom alone
I understand, and grow and see,)
The rafters of my body, bone
Being still with you, the Muscle, Sinew, and Veine,
Which tile this house, will come againe."
First words
A destiny that leads the English to the Dutch is strange enough; but one that leads from Epsom into Pennsylvania, and thence into the hills that shut in Altamont over the proud coral cry of the cock, and the soft stone smile of an angel, is touched by that dark miracle of chance which makes new magic in a dusty world.
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An elaborate and moving coming-of-age story about Eugene Gant, a restless and energetic character whose passion to experience life takes him from his small, rural hometown in North Carolina to Harvard University and the city of Boston. The novel's pattern is artfully simple--a small town, a large family, high school and college--yet the characters are monumental in their graphic individuality and personality.

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