Call for Papers–TWS Conference: May 20-22, 2016, Asheville, NC

“Thomas Wolfe & the Creative Process”

Call for Papers!

Thomas Wolfe Oteen cabinFor its 38th annual conference, the Thomas Wolfe Society invites papers exploring Wolfe’s experience of & relationship to the creative process: his own writing process; the inspiration he derived from travel, from art, from reading; the transformation of memory, experience, or imagination into narrative. Influence or inspiration from nature, history, philosophy, politics, science & other disciplines may also be explored, as well as Wolfe’s influence on other artists’ creative process.

Proposals on any theme related to Wolfe & the Creative Process–or on any theme related to Wolfe and his work–are also welcome.

Please send 250-word paper proposals by January 10, 2016 to TWS Vice President Rebecca L. Godwin @

“The words were wrung out of him in a kind of bloody sweat, they poured out of his finger tips, spat out of his snarling throat like writhing snakes; he wrote them with his heart, his brain, his sweat, his guts; he wrote them with his blood, his spirit; they were wrenched out of the last secret source and substance of his life.”

In The Story of a Novel, Wolfe gives a somewhat more measured account of his own creative process than the above evocation of Eugene Gant’s romantic agony from Of Time and the River. The later discussion, revealing a mature writer who has come to grips with “the necessity of daily work,” provides insight into Wolfe’s quest for language to express his vision and for the means “to organize his material into a harmonious and coherent union.”

Tom Wolfe CabinWe gather for the 2016 meeting in Wolfe’s hometown. Wolfe’s final visit to Asheville, his first since 1929, occurred in summer 1937. Seeking a peaceful place to write, he stayed in a friend’s cabin at Oteen, then about five miles from town but now within city limits. There, despite the interruptions of visitors wanting to see the famous author, he worked on revising “The Party at Jack’s” before he moved, in secret, to the Battery Park Hotel, a few blocks from the Old Kentucky Home, in search of privacy for his creative work.

For its 38th annual conference, the Thomas Wolfe Society invites papers exploring Wolfe’s experience of and relationship to the creative process: his own writing process; the inspiration he derived from travel, from art, from reading; the transformation of memory, experience, or imagination into narrative. Influence or inspiration from nature, history, philosophy, politics, science, and other disciplines may also be explored, as well as Wolfe’s influence on other artists’ creative process. Proposals on any theme related to Wolfe and the Creative Process—or on any theme related to Wolfe and his work—are also welcome.

Please send 250-word paper proposals by January 10, 2016, to Rebecca L. Godwin at

Max Whitsons cabin in the woods of Oteen NCDocumentary photo of the Oteen cabin where Thomas Wolfe spent the summer of 1937. Photo courtesy of Asheville Citizen-Times



Clyde Edgerton to deliver Thomas Wolfe Lecture Oct. 6, UNC: Chapel Hill

North Carolina author Clyde Edgerton will receive the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 2015 Thomas Wolfe Prize and deliver the annual lecture on Oct. 6 at 7:30 pm in Carolina’s Genome Sciences Building auditorium.

Author Clyde Edgerton photographed at his home in Wilmington, North Carolina.Edgerton, a Carolina alumnus, has published 10 novels, a book of advice (“Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers”) and a memoir (“Solo, My Adventures in the Air”). “The Night Train,” his 10th novel, was published by Little, Brown in 2011. Three of his novels have been made into movies: “Raney,” “Walking Across Egypt” and “Killer Diller” and many more have been adapted for the stage.

Edgerton is the Thomas S. Kenan III Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UNC-Wilmington. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, honorary doctorates from UNC-Asheville and St. Andrews Presbyterian College, membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the North Carolina Award for Literature.

Raised in the community of Bethesda, near Durham, Edgerton has written about small-town bigotry, religious hypocrisy and greed — three of his most important themes — in a darkly comic style, one comparable to that of Flannery O’Conner, according to Daniel Wallace, J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing.

“Not since Mark Twain has the South been blessed with a comic novelist as important as Clyde Edgerton,” said Wallace. “His voice is unmistakable: at once eloquent and down-home, hilarious and heartfelt, satirical and solemn.”

The annual lecture and prize in the College of Arts and Sciences honor Thomas Wolfe, author of Look Homeward, Angel, who graduated from Carolina in 1920.

Edgerton’s talk is free and open to the public. The Genome Sciences Building auditorium is located at 250 Bell Tower Rd.

For more information see:

“Luke: A Tribute to Fred” (1979 documentary film about Thomas Wolfe’s brother, Fred Wolfe)

Wolfe would say this is another of his “dark miracles of chance that make new magic in a dusty world” . . . we recently received an email from a voice from the past–Frank Eastes–the first recipient of the Thomas Wolfe Society’s Citation of Merit back in 1980. Frank wanted to share something magnificent with us–he was converting his 1979 documentary about Fred Wolfe over to digital format . . . and he was going to post it on YouTube for the Wolfe World to enjoy. We have his permission to share it on the TWS website. Frank grew up in Spartanburg, SC, just two doors away from Fred and Mary Wolfe. During his teenage years he was interested in filmmaking. Between 1976-1979 he produced a 16mm documentary about Fred which was very well received by the TWS. The film was shared at the 1980 TWS Meeting. And now, here, without more ado, 35 years later, is this voice from the past. We know you will enjoy.

“A Note From Frank Eastes”
Published on Aug 21, 2015
NOTE: This video begins with a 4-minute interview of me at age 19, followed by the 24 minute documentary. Total run time is 28:06. The film begins at 3:59…

I got started in film work in 1973 at age 13, through my then-best friend whose father was the Dean of Humanities at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC. His father began a regional film festival at Converse, FilmSouth, which sparked the filmmaking fire in lots of young filmmakers in the area.

Not long after the passing of Fred’s wife, Mary, I was recruited by an elderly neighbor, Fred Wolfe, who lived two doors away from my parent’s house, and who was the older brother of noted American author Thomas Wolfe, to be his driver as he had recently lost his driver’s license due to his age.

For those familiar with the works of Thomas Wolfe, it doesn’t take long to realize that Wolfe drew heavily upon his real life and experiences to create his literary works. In particular, his moving novel “Look Homeward, Angel” is based on real events and real people and was essentially an autobiography with just the names changed. Fred Wolfe became Luke Gant in that novel.

I began the project in 1976 at age 16 and continued to work on the it as I could afford to and had the time. As the project grew I really needed help and approached the South Carolina Arts Commission which, combined with additional funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, funded what grew to be a $7000 budget and allowed me to complete the film which was released in late 1979. Along with enthusiastic support and belief in the project provided by Stan Woodward, filmmaker-in-residence with the SC Arts Commission, combined to provide fertile ground for this young filmmaker to take on a project like this.

One of the film’s initial showing was for an enthusiastic crowd at an annual meeting of The Thomas Wolfe Society, which presented me with its first ever Citation of Merit. I only recently learned that the Citation award was created because of my film and has been awarded every year since, which is humbling to me considering the company I’m included in among those who received that award.

The film caught the eye of other filmmakers in the area and I was able to freelance in 16mm and video production for about 3 or 4 more years. I was hired by the Appalachian Film Workshop (AppalShop) in Whitesburg, Kentucky as film editor and associate producer for a documentary film there, then worked for about a year as assistant film editor and assistant cameraman for Ross Spears, an academy-award nominated documentary filmmaker based in Charlottesville, Virginia. By the early 1980s, however, the available public funding for filmmaking began to dry up and it became increasingly difficult to finance films which even on a modest budget, were quite expensive for a young 20-something year old trying to make his way in the world. The general rule of thumb in those days was to budget $1,000 for each minute of completed film.

Copies of the film are housed in various collections, including the SC State Archives, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Thomas Wolfe Collection. The film was entered in the various film festivals and received judge’s merit at Sinking Creek Film Celebration in Nashville, 1980, and was shown at Global Village, New York, 1982. Then, as with most niche films like this, it faded into oblivion.

The film was shot and rough edited in Super 8 then enlarged to 16mm for the fine cut, sound mix and negative cutting for release prints. Flash forward 36 years later to now. Film does not last forever, especially when it’s not stored in the best of conditions. I was down to only three prints remaining which showed signs of severe color fade and other issues. I recently found in a box of old film work I was digging through, a 3/4 Umatic video of an interview with me from November 14, 1979 on Columbia Cable TV in Columbia, SC, done just after the film was released, which included a decent copy of the film. I was 19 years old when this interview was made.

Because the remaining 16mm prints and the videotape are nearly 40 years old I realized I needed to act quickly before this was lost forever. I just had the film and videotape converted to a digital format I can post to YouTube and share with the world.

Included here is the brief interview I gave followed by the 24-minute film. I had actually been production director of Columbia Cable TV at the time I was editing this film (another way I helped finance the film) and returned to my old place of work for this interview. That was my old boss interviewing me.

Here it is, for your enjoyment, my film, Luke: A Tribute to Fred.

And oh yeah, that’s me playing banjo in the film. When you hear the brief clip of “Old Joe Clark” … that’s me after about 2 years of playing banjo (I picked up banjo in 1977).

I hope you Enjoy :)

Thomas Wolfe Society’s 2015 Conference Schedule

37th Annual Conference of the Thomas Wolfe Society

May 22-24, 2015   Albany Hilton  Albany, NY

Wolfe’s America from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression

Friday, May 22

8:30-10:30 a.m.     Board of Directors Meeting | Anteroom

10:30 a.m.-noon     Registration | East Gallery C

Noon-12:30 p.m.    Welcome and Prologue | Governor C

Welcome, George Hovis, President, Thomas Wolfe Society, SUNY-Oneonta

Prologue, Mary Aswell Doll, Savannah College of Art and Design

12:30-2 p.m.           Session I | Governor C       

Moderator: Bryan Giemza, UNC-Chapel Hill

“Gant among the Hudson Squires,” Edwin Yoder, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

You Can’t Go Home Again: Greed, Truth and the American Identity,” Caitlyn Kuzmich, SUNY-Oneonta

“Decadent Decay: The Complexity of Social Corruption, Consciousness and Critique in Watchmen and You Can’t Go Home Again,” Sarah W. Cummings, SUNY-Oneonta

2-2:30 p.m.            Break

 2:30-4 p.m.             Session II | Governor C

Moderator: Rebecca Godwin, Barton College

“Animality in Look Homeward, Angel,” Amy Augesen, SUNY-Oneonta

“Thomas Wolfe and the Mythical Method,” Amélie Moisy, Université Paris Est-Cretéil

“Thomas Wolfe and His Literary Apprenticeship,” Ruth Winchester Ware, Durham, North Carolina

                                   Dinner on Your Own

 7-8 p.m.                  Riverboat Cruise

Transportation departs from hotel at 6:15 p.m.

Saturday, May 23

8-8:30 a.m.           Coffee and Continental Breakfast | Governor C

8:30-10 a.m.          Session III: “Teaching Wolfe in the Twenty-First Century” | Governor C

Moderator: Anne R. Zahlan, Eastern Illinois University

Discussants: Sarah Cummings, SUNY-Oneonta; Michael Houck, Fayetteville, North Carolina; Dylan Nealis, Arvada, Colorado; Joseph Bentz, Azusa Pacific University; Mark Canada, Indiana University Kokomo; Paula Gallant Eckard, UNC Charlotte; George Hovis, SUNY-Oneonta

10-10:45 a.m.        Business Meeting | Governor C

President George Hovis presiding

10:45-11 a.m.        Break

11 a.m.-noon         Session IV | Governor C

Moderator: Laura Hope-Gill, Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative, Lenoir-Rhyne University

“What Is a Man Like Myself to Do?—Thomas Wolfe and the Spanish Dilemma,” Steven B. Rogers, Mount Rainier, Maryland

Dramatic Reading of “The Reed of Demonic Ecstasy,” David Madden, Black Mountain, North Carolina

Noon-12:15 p.m.  Conclusion | Governor C

Final Words, President George Hovis

Epilogue, Jan Hensley, Greensboro, North Carolina

12:15-2:15 p.m.      Lunch on Your Own

2:15-3:30 p.m.       Walking Tour of Albany’s Capital District

Meet in Albany Hilton lobby at 2:15 p.m.

Optional stop at New York History Museum at end of tour

6-7 p.m.                    Cash Bar | Hudson Ballroom

7 p.m.                        Banquet | Hudson Ballroom

Awards Ceremony

Keynote Address: Joseph M. Flora, UNC-Chapel Hill

Sunday, May 24

7 a.m.-5 p.m.           Bus Trip through Hudson River Valley

Trip will feature stops at Vanderbilt Mansion and FDR Home and Museum in Hyde Park, as well as village of Rhinebeck, NY


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Please reserve your room at the TWS Conference Hotel ASAP

The 37th Thomas Wolfe Society Conference (May 22-24) will take place in the heart of Albany’s Capital District.

Reservations at the Hilton Albany (40 Lodge Street) must be made before April 18, 2015, in order to receive the special room rate of $140 per night.

Furthermore, a limited number of rooms at this conference rate are available, so please make your reservation as soon as possible by contacting the Albany Hilton at 866-691-1183 and providing our Group Code: 4TWS.

Please note that choosing to lodge at the TWS Conference Hotel helps TWS to meet its contracted quota and secure reasonable rates on meeting spaces and other services.

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Register for the 37th Annual TWS Meeting–Albany, NY, May 22-24, 2015

37th Annual Meeting of the Thomas Wolfe Society

Wolfe’s America, from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression

Albany, New York, May 22-24, 2015


The registration fee for the 2015 Thomas Wolfe Conference is $130 per person and includes all sessions, Friday’s sunset cruise on the Hudson River, and the Saturday evening banquet. Students may register for $65 per person. Guests of conference attendees who wish to attend only the Saturday evening banquet may register for the banquet for $60.

On Sunday, May 24th our conference will culminate with a day-long bus trip (7 a.m. to 5 p.m.) along the Hudson River Valley. Highlights of the trip will include tours of the Vanderbilt Mansion and Franklin D. Roosevelt Home and Museum in Hyde Park, as well as a return stop for lunch and sightseeing in Rhinebeck, New York, home of Wolfe’s good friend Olin Dows. The luxury motor coach will include a lavatory and air conditioning. The cost of $45 covers the motor coach, tickets to the three tours and a boxed breakfast. This exciting excursion complements this year’s theme: Wolfe’s America, from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression. We hope that most members will be able to join us.

Mailing Address:                        _________________________



Email: (Please include your email address so we can acknowledge receipt of your registration and provide conference updates.)

Registration:                                                           ______@ $130             ________

Student Registration:                                          ______@ $65           ________

Banquet Guest of Attendee:                              ______@ $60            ________

Guest ticket for cruise:                                        ______@ $30            ________

Optional Bus Trip to Hyde Park & Rhinebeck:         ______@ $45            ________

TWS Membership/Renewal:                                           ______@ $30            ________ (If you have not already renewed your membership for 2015, you may include your dues here.)

Donation to support the conference:                           ________

Total Enclosed:                         ________


Saturday Evening Banquet Menu

Menu Options:

  • Lemon thyme chicken with roasted root vegetable hash
  • Roasted sliced sirloin with wild mushroom ragout
  • Home-style vegetable lasagna with spinach, artichoke, mushrooms, tomatoes, and broccoli

Menu Preference for ________________________: (please list attendee’s or guest’s name and circle meal choice)

Lemon Thyme Chicken                       Sliced Sirloin                     Vegetable Lasagna


Menu Preference for ________________________: (please list attendee’s or guest’s name and circle meal choice)

Lemon Thyme Chicken                      Sliced Sirloin                     Vegetable Lasagna


Menu Preference for ________________________: (please list attendee’s or guest’s name and circle meal choice)

Lemon Thyme Chicken                       Sliced Sirloin                    Vegetable Lasagna


Please send your registration form, banquet form, and check before April 30, 2015, to:

Mark Canada
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Indiana University Kokomo
2300 S. Washington  St.
Kokomo, IN 46902-9003


The Thomas Wolfe Society Conference, Albany, NY, May 22-24, 2015 and Call for Papers

Dear Thomas Wolfe Society Members and Friends,

I hope many of you are planning to attend the 2015 conference in Albany and that some of you are planning to propose papers to deliver.

Please remember that proposals are due to Mark Canada by January 17. Please see details of the call for papers in the text below.

Also, if you are interested in booking your hotel accommodations in advance, I have listed that information below.

Please note that if you plan to join us for the Sunday bus trip to Hyde Park, you may wish to reserve a room for Sunday night, as well.

Happy New Year!
George Hovis, TWS President



Albany, NY, MAY 22-24, 2015

“Wolfe’s America, from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression”

Call for Papers

This year’s conference–located in the capital of “the Empire State”–will explore Wolfe’s contributions to our understanding of America and its development, especially during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The conference will culminate (on Sunday) with a trip to the Hudson River Valley and to the Vanderbilt Mansion and FDR home and museum in Hyde Park, a tour that tells the story of America’s economic development and collapse during this same period, a narrative that informs much of Wolfe’s fiction.

During his own sojourns along the Hudson River Valley, and especially during his visits with the family of Olin Dows, Wolfe confronted a wealthy elite that provoked in him a sustained interrogation of social class in America. This experience of “river people” also contributed to his better understanding of class in his own family and region–and, indeed, abroad.

For its 37th annual conference, in Albany, New York, the Thomas Wolfe Society invites papers related to Wolfe’s explorations of America–although proposals are welcome on any theme related to Thomas Wolfe and his work. We are especially interested in papers that engage issues of social class, economics, the Hudson River Valley (its people and places in Wolfe’s fiction), the American landscape or the American psyche or papers that explore Wolfe’s work within some branch of the American literary tradition.


Please send 250-word paper proposals by January 17, 2015 to:


Please include in the subject heading WOLFE PROPOSAL.


Reservations at the Albany Hilton must be made before April 18, 2015, in order to receive the special room rate of $140 per night. Furthermore, a limited number of rooms at this conference rate are available, so please make your reservation as soon as possible by contacting the Albany Hilton at 866-691-1183 and providing our Group Code 4TWS.


SSSL Call for Papers for ALA 2015


2015 American Literature Association Conference

Boston, MA May 21-24, 2015

Deadline: January 20, 2015


Call for Papers #1

“Atlantic Souths”

In celebration of the planned Boston 2016 meeting focusing on “The South in the North,” the Society for the Study of Southern Literature invites paper proposals for ALA 2015 related to southern literature and southern literary history in the Atlantic South, broadly construed. Examples of possible approaches include studies of works set in Atlantic South locations; considerations of ideas about writing in this region informed by new work in southern studies, especially relating to Transatlantic, Caribbean, African, and Gulf Souths (including colonial); and explorations of expatriate or border-ambidextrous authors. Proposals related to genres other than the novel, as well as relevant creative work, are welcome also.

Please email abstracts and either a cover letter or 2-page CV by January 20, 2015, to Tara Powell at For further information about this session or SSSL, please contact Tara Powell, or for information about the conference, consult the ALA website at


Call for Papers #2

“Southern Modernism”

The Thomas Wolfe Society and the Society for the Study of Southern Literature invite paper proposals for ALA 2015 related to the influence of southern modernism in twentieth-century literature. Examples of possible approaches might include studies of the influence of specific southern modernist authors such as Thomas Wolfe, James Agee, Richard Wright, and others not represented by author societies at this year’s ALA on American or international literatures of the twentieth century; reconsiderations of the influence of Fugitive poetics on American poetry or specific poets, such as James Dickey or Natasha Trethewey; or new directions in the study of Thomas Wolfe or his contemporaries. Proposals related to genres other than the novel, as well as relevant creative work, are welcome also.

Please email abstracts and either a cover letter or 2-page CV by January 20, 2015, to Tara Powell at For further information about this session or SSSL, please contact Tara Powell, or for information about the conference, consult the ALA website at For information about the Thomas Wolfe Society, see


Shelby Stephenson Selected as North Carolina’s Next Poet Laureate

Dear Members of the Thomas Wolfe Society,

If you have not already heard, I am delighted to share the news with you that Shelby Stephenson has been selected as our state’s next poet laureate.

Shelby is a charter member of the Thomas Wolfe Society, and we are very proud to celebrate this honor for him.

He will be an outstanding ambassador for North Carolina literature.

Please see the link below to learn more about his appointment:

George Hovis
TWS President


Re-editing You Can’t Go Home Again…Some Thoughts by Olafur Gunnarsson

Ólafur Gunnarsson

Re-editing You Can’t Go Home Again

Dear friends of the Thomas Wolfe Society, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Ólafur Gunnarsson and I am an Icelandic novelist with more than 20 books to my credit, 10 of them novels. I know I should be talking about Thomas Wolfe and You Can’t Go Home Again, but I assure you that this short introduction is leading somewhere. In 1988 I began work on a novel which was published in 1992. It has been republished thrice, the last time in April of this year, and both of these new printings have received extensive reycgha-44visions. In the last edition I reinstated all the cuts made by my able editor in 1992, a total of some 10 pages in a book containing some 100.000 words. I brought in sentences and a large cut which had been taken out in proof without my knowledge at the very last moment before going into print. I still remember my desperation and being totally fed up with the book after working on it for years. I wanted to show my wife a very fine paragraph only to find it was not there. It is in its rightful place in the new and latest edition. I am telling you this story because if a book by a modestly known Icelandic writer can receive such work on its text and attention by its publisher to bring out as good a version of it as possible, it is beyond belief that the work of Thomas Wolfe, one of the greatest artists who ever lived, hardly receives any attention at all in this respect. I am here talking about the books edited after Wolfe’s death: The Web and the Rock and You Can’t Go Home Again.

We all know the story of how Wolfe was driven away from his great five book plan mostly by the attack of a critic. In desperation he turned his attention to a new plan, writing an objective novel about a young man being educated by the world. This was something Maxwell Perkins immediately approved of after having, or so Wolfe believed, thwarted most of Wolfe’s attempts to finish the five book plan.

What Wolfe had in mind was extremely interesting. His many and various outlines for this work can be studied both at the end of Richard’s Kennedy’s volume, The Window of Memory, and in the second volume of The Notebooks of Thomas Wolfe, edited by Kennedy and Pascal Reeves in 1970. Wolfe wanted to write an objective work of fiction, and he was wrestling mightily with this subject. The idea suggested to Perkins is the most interesting of the lot but slowly it turns into a storehouse of everything Wolfe had ever written, the five book plan again in another version.

Edward Aswell did a credible job of organization and planning when he brought out The Web and the Rock and You Can’t Go Home Again. He worked on the former book for seven months and for nine months on the later volume, but he did not have the benefit of some of the resources we have today. We are richer for having these books, but the two volumes have sat untouched for seventy-three years. However, if we look at Wolfe´s work as a whole, the currently accepted concept is awkward. For those of us who love the giant fresco, Of Time and the River, it is almost embarrassingly obvious that the Esther Jack story, the love story, is a logical conclusion to Of Time and the River. When considering the four great novels, the love story sits like a baroque building in the midst of something quite different. It is a conclusion to Of time and the River and it should be given loving attention as such and published separately. Then we will have a beautiful love story and an exciting book called The October Fair. When George Webber is beating his fists bloody against the wall in a fit of madness, that is Eugene Gant. George does not behave like that. The two personas are confused. Once having removed “the Esther story” from the story of George Webber, we can turn our attention to the work of re-editing You Can’t Go Home Again. And when the love story has been published as a separate work, “The Party at Jack’s” gives a much more condensed and harmonious version of Webber’s love affair. The tone of that section fits that of t$(KGrHqZHJC!E7zBE+CK(BO-DVY6Q4Q~~60_3he work as a whole.

Thomas Wolfe did not finish any of his plans. We are confronted with crucial questions: Which one is the most feasible to use? Which one can bring forth the greatest Wolfe possible? That is our mission. For me, The Vision of Spangler Paul would have been most interesting. The book Wolfe wished to begin in 1929 was to cover the period until 1938. But then again the Wilhelm Meister story, the bildungsroman Tom and Max spoke about in that restaurant, is clearly already there.

Aswell´s work was by no means done in vain. He was presented with an almost impossible task of editing Wolfe’s words after his death, but his editing can serve as a blueprint, a spring board to something more accurate and true to Wolfe’s intention. We can help fulfill Wolfe’s original idea as he suggested it to Perkins. We can bring forth a work which speaks to a modern audience, a work as great as Of time and the River. Of course we can keep “The Party at Jack’s” in the new You Can’t Go Home Again. We just have to change the surname of Esther, and we have alternatives such as Rebecca or Irina.

We can bring new material into You Can’t Go Home Again that was edited out for fear of libelous, making the butcher a barber again. We can allow Wolfe his own style and drop the links Aswell wrote. We do not need the final paragraph from “I have a thing to tell you” tacked onto the ending by Aswell and wrongly foretelling Wolfe´s death. “Look about you and see what he has done,” the passage Wolfe intended as his final statement when addressing the social problems of his time, fully does the job and makes even more sense today than it did in 1938.

The tone and theme of the work are superb. From the young boy growing up in North Carolina to his last stand, “The Farewell to the Fox,” we have a sweeping picture of the first half of the twentieth century.

Some say the Webber cycle cannot be edited again, but I disagree. Some of it is still in handwritten draft and difficult to decipher, but we can transcribe it. Of course it can be re-edited if the copyright owners allow. What do they stand to lose? It can be re-edited – didn’t you Americans put the Curiosity Rover on Mars?

Pat Conroy said, “When Thomas Wolfe is writing on a good day no one can touch him.” I don’t think even Wolfe knew the extent of his genius. When one reads his letters edited by Elisabeth Novell, it is shockingly clear that one of the greatest writers of all time was not fully aware of his own genius. Conroy is correct, Wolfe does not lack style. He is the greatest stylist who ever lived. He may not have had the imagination and insight of Dostoevsky, but heycghaaa is without a doubt a far greater stylist–a poet who chose to write in prose.

We have a great deal of material to choose from as is detailed in Leslie A Fields’ book, Thomas Wolfe and his Editors. We must do all we can to bring forth the best Thomas Wolfe possible. We must not allow the work of this tormented genius to go to waste. If there is a greater Wolfe buried in the Wisdom Collection, it is our duty to bring him out so his whole achievement can be better judged, so he may be awarded his rightful place among the American literary masters.

The new You Can’t Go Home Again, will be an enormous volume, possibly 1200 – 1400 pages, but we must get the work done. Nothing can be lost by it. The memory of Edward Aswell and his achievement is shown no disrespect by this effort. A timeless bildungsroman could be assimilated from the manuscript, telling the story of George Webber from youth to his awareness of the social conditions of his times. The novel would indeed strangely mirror the world as it is today with all its financial blunders and fanatical politics. It could be even greater than Of Time and the River, with endless variety, beauty and thrust. Wolfe was a miracle, one of the greatest writers who ever lived, as we society members know, and the work edited in this manner would bring us a step closer to what might have been.

With new editions we would have a wholeness to the work, the George Webber cycle and the Eugene Gant story. They would not have to clash so clumsily. Of course there will be problems along the way, but they can be solved. We will have a novel busting with energy and life, and Wolfe’s body of work as a whole will be as full as it can be. I’m not going to tell you how to do it. But having re-edited my own book three times over a time span of 25 years, I know it can be done.

Consider that when Dostoevsky was finishing his novel, The Possessed, the manuscript was rejected by his publisher and he was forced to alter his plans drastically. If we had FMD’s original text today, would we not give it close attention and bring out The Possessed in a form as close as possible to the author’s intentions? Let’s show Thomas Wolfe the same respect we would show Dostoevsky.

It is my belief that Thomas Wolfe was a gift from God to humanity. Let’s treat that gift with all the respect we can. A great job awaits us in creating a new fresco as varied and great and even more fascinating than Of Time and the River.

We owe it to Thomas Wolfe. Thank you all for listening.

I would enjoy hearing from you, Olafur Gunnarsson: