Wednesday, May 16

Remembering Tom Wolfe, One of the Central Makers of Modern American Prose


"Tom Wolfe, who died Monday, was—as even those of us who did not share his politics and often deplored his taste and even doubted the fashion wisdom of all the white suits have to admit—one of the central makers of modern American prose. His style, when it emerged, in the mid-nineteen-sixties, was genuinely arresting, and remains startlingly original. Its superficial affect—all those 'Zowies!' and ellipses and broken sentences—was like the sound of AM radio shows in the same period, a collage of attention-seeking screams. But beneath the affectations—no, within them, for, as with any good writer, the mannerisms were the bearers of the morality—was an observer of almost eerie particularity and accuracy. In his best books — 'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test' and 'The Right Stuff' stand out from among many good ones — Wolfe did something more than get down his time right, as journalists ought to. He found a tone to match the time. Given an American reality of wild-eyed weirdness and psychedelic overcharge—of strip-tease artists bent over by synthetic breasts and cars customized to a point of Bavarian, rococo extravagance—any tone that was not, in itself, overcharged and even a little rococo seemed, he knew, inert. ..."
New Yorker
The Atlantic: The Lexicon of Tom Wolfe
NY Times: Tom Wolfe, ‘New Journalist’ With Electric Style and Acid Pen, Dies at 88
The Paris Review: Tom Wolfe, The Art of Fiction No. 123
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amazon - Tom Wolfe

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