July 02, 2008

NRO's Uncommon Knowledge Features Tom Wolfe

Good to see Mr. Wolfe backing down from his famous "your soul has died" article. He sounds Walker Percy-like in his seeing language as the crucial dividing line between man and beast.

Amazingly optimistic about America, he's a pessimist about the novel, saying the latter will go the way of the epic poem. He's likely right, which if true would make the hand-wringing over the lack of Catholic fiction academic. No one today is upset by the lack of Catholic epic poets.

FRIDAY, MAY 09, 2008
The Word According to Tom Wolfe: Chapter 5 of 5
Tom Wolfe and America? He loves the place, a position that puts him at odds with much of the charming aristocracy. He’s also an optimist about America — and American greatness. “The biggest problem,” says Wolfe, “is all the people who see a problem.”

THURSDAY, MAY 08, 2008
The Word According to Tom Wolfe: Chapter 4 of 5
Tom Wolfe says evolution ended when man learned to speak — with the dawn of homo loquax. Where status for the beast of the field is determined by power, for man it is determined in innumerable ways because of language. And it is language that gives us rational thought. Wolfe asks, “Have you ever see an animal shrug?”

The Word According to Tom Wolfe: Chapter 3 of 5
Darwin, Marx, Freud, (E.O.) Wilson? Tom Wolfe says the common thread there is the power of the word — of ideas that change human history in large and obvious ways.

TUESDAY, MAY 06, 2008
The Word According to Tom Wolfe: Chapter 2 of 5
Tom Wolfe says the ideas for his novels grow out of conversation — from what’s really happening. His critics have pounced on this, calling his novels more journalism than literature. But Wolfe shrugs this off: He says he doesn’t write for the “charming aristocracy” — the aristocracy of taste that believes the novelist must aspire to things the masses cannot understand.

MONDAY, MAY 05, 2008
The Word According to Tom Wolfe: Chapter 1 of 5
Tom Wolfe begins by discussing the written word, in its popular forms. The master novelist and journalist says the novel is dying a horrible death, although non-fiction work will continue and the memoir will never die. He then talks about the subject of his latest novel (still in progress): immigration.

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