groups are remembering the works of Thomas Wolfe as the centennial of his
birth is celebrated. Born
October 3, 1900 in Asheville, NC, where his father was a stonecutter and his
mother ran a boarding house. The
tales from the boarding house inspired him and his father’s blend of
Shakespeare and booze took another part of his soul.
The youngest of eight
children, Wolfe attended a private school in Asheville, where his
creativity was encouraged. By
the age of sixteen, Wolfe was attending the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill. At UNC-Chapel Hill, he wrote for school magazines and
newspapers, and became the editor of the Tar Heel, the college newspaper.
His interest in playwrighting was nurtured by his work with the
At age twenty, Wolfe
went to Harvard to study playwrighting in the 47 Workshop.
He completed his Master of Arts Degree in Literature in two years.
Unable to get his plays produced, Wolfe became an English
instructor at New York University. During this time, Thomas Wolfe started writing his
autobiographical novels. Editor
Maxwell Perkins aided Wolfe in transforming his long and chaotic
manuscripts into episodic short stories.
The resulting novel, Look Homeward, Angel, was met with
Wolfe travel Europe
on a Guggenheim fellowship and continued writing.
In September of 1938, Wolfe
was admitted to John Hopkins Hospital
in Baltimore for surgery on what was believed to be tuberculosis of the
brain. The entire right side of Wolfe’s brain was covered with
tubercles. Thomas Wolfe never
regained consciousness before his death on September 15, 1938. He was buried in Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, North
Thomas Wolfe’s gift
to Southern Literature is his mastery over the use of the language through
robust rhetoric and eloquence of phrasing.
His passion for life comes across the pages in his use of the
senses. His boarding house
stories record the relationships between social classes and extended
families. Thomas Wolfe
explored the provincial life and broke free.
Oct. 2 - Feb 14, 2001. "A Kind of Magic Door: Thomas Wolfe at the University of North Carolina, 1916-1920." The exhibit is at the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Oct. 2-3. A Thomas Wolfe Birthday Party, with cake special exhibits and a marathon reading of Look Homeward, Angel begins Oct. 2 at 8 pm and ends Oct. 3 at noon. The event is in the Pit at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Oct. 3. The Thomas Wolfe Memorial Visitors Center in Asheville celebrates Wolfe's birthday with the unveiling of the Thomas Wolfe commemorative stamp; musical selections from the production of "Look Homeward, Angel"; and a booksigning of O Lost with authors Arlyn and Matthew J. Bruccoli. FMI, call: (828) 253-8304.
Oct. 3. Fred Chappell will read his commemorative poem, "Author and Other: The Final Days," before a Gala Performance of Ketti Frings' dramatization of "Look Homeward, Angel," at the Asheville Community Theater. The event is hosted by Fred Chappell and Wilma Dykeman. FMI, call: (828) 253-4931.
Oct. 17. Lecture: Tom Wolfe on Thomas Wolfe, Memorial Hall, UNC-Chapel Hill, 7:30 pm.
Oct. 18 - Nov. 12. Ketti Frings' play, "Look Homeward, Angel," performed by the Playmakers Repertory Company, directed by Kent Paul. Paul Green Theater in Chapel Hill. FMI, call: (919) 962-7529.
Oct. 20-21. Streetsigns Center for Literature and Performance and Wordshed Productions present "The Lost Boy," a play adapted from the Thomas Wolfe novella, in Swain Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill. FMI, call: (919) 962-4299.
Look Homeward, Angel: A Story of the Buried Life (Scribner Classics), by Thomas Wolfe. Scribner Reprint Edition, 1997.
You Can't Go Home Again (Perennial Classics), by Thomas Wolfe. Harperperennial Reprint Edition, 1998.
The Hills Beyond (Voices of the South), by Thomas Wolfe. Louisiana State Univ. Press Reprint Edition, 2000.
Of Time and the River: A Legend of Man's Hunger in His Youth (Scribner Classics), by Thomas Wolfe. Scribner Reprint Edition, 1999.
O Lost: A Story of the Buried Life, by Thomas Wolfe, edited by Arlyn Bruccoli and Matthew J. Bruccoli. Univ. of South Carolina Press Centenary Edition, 2000.
To Loot My Life Clean: The Thomas Wolfe-Maxwell Perkins Correspondence, by Thomas Wolfe, Maxwell E. Perkins, edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli and Park Bucker. Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2000.
Memories of Thomas Wolfe: A Pictorial Companion to Look Homeward Angel, by John C. Griffin. Unknown, 1996.
Thomas Wolfe (Modern Critical Views), edited by Harold Bloom, Thomas Bloom, William Golding. Chelsea House Pub., 2000.
© 2000 Joyce Dixon, All Rights Reserved