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: dengunn@simnet.is

 

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2015 TWS Call for Papers, “Wolfe’s America, from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression”

THOMAS WOLFE CONFERENCE

Albany, NY, MAY 22-24, 2015

UpstateNY

 

 

 

 “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 10, 2015 to: mark.canada@uncp.edu

Please include in the subject heading “WOLFE PROPOSAL.”

ForANewDeal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Call for Papers

Fall 2014 TWS President Letter

October 14, 2014

Dear Thomas Wolfe Friends,

It is my great pleasure to send greetings to you—and to anticipate celebrating with you on May 22-24, 2015, in Albany, New York, the 37th meeting of the Thomas Wolfe Society. Please see below details about making reservations at the Albany Hilton, as well as the enclosed call for papers.

It seems so recently that we enjoyed our 36th meeting in Chapel Hill on Wolfe’s “magical campus.” Vice President Mark Canada did a spectacular job putting together a memorable weekend with perhaps the most consistently excellent papers I can recall ever hearing–including three presentations by international Wolfe scholars and half of the program delivered by young Wolfeans making their debut at a TWS meeting. Special presentations by Pulitzer Prize winner Ed Yoder, North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti, and Red Clay Rambler Bland Simpson complemented an already rich program. Local Events Coordinator Bob Anthony and his committee provided a Carolina welcome that will surely go down in the record books somewhere beside Coach Dean Smith’s accomplishments. A special thanks is due to Nami Montgomery and Evan Smits for conference planning and coordination of new TWS presentation technology. Paul Carr and Janice McCullagh were elected to the TWS Board of Directors, and Michael Mills was reelected to the Board. Terry Roberts has been named to the Gitlin Prize Committee. After fourteen years of dedicated service, Alice Cotten has stepped down as chair of the TWS Publications Committee, to be replaced by David Strange.

We awarded this year the first John Robert Bittner Student Literary Prize to Sara Ellen Flores, to support her travel to the 36th TWS Conference, where she presented her filmic treatment of Wolfe’s fiction, “Thomas Wolfe’s Cinematic Storytelling.” The 2014 Thomas Wolfe Student Travel Grant in Honor of Richard S. Kennedy went to Jedidiah Evans for his paper “Thomas Wolfe, Transnationalism, and the (Really) Deep South.” The 2014 Zelda and Paul Gitlin Literary Prize was awarded to David Radavich for “Thomas Wolfe’s Expressionism and the Party at Jack’s,” published in the 2013 issue of The Thomas Wolfe Review. Michael Houck is the recipient of the 2014 Aldo P. Magi Grant in Aid of Independent Research to support his travel to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, where he will research manuscripts of radio adaptations of Wolfe’s work. Tom Rash has been awarded a special grant in support of his work on a documentary film about Thomas Wolfe.

If you were a TWS member in 2013, you no doubt received this year’s special publication, Out of the West: Notes from Thomas Wolfe’s Final Western Journey, so beautifully and painstakingly edited by Mark Canada with Nami Montgomery and Savanna Fowler. You also will have received the 37th volume of The Thomas Wolfe Review, the inaugural issue under our new editor, Paula Gallant Eckard. Abundant thanks go to Paula and her staff, especially David Strange and Joe Bentz, for bringing together such an extraordinary issue, full of cutting-edge Wolfe scholarship and the most current news.

This is indeed an exciting era for Wolfe studies. In addition to these scholarly efforts, TWS members are poised to facilitate a Wolfean revival encouraged in part by the forthcoming production of a major motion picture, Genius, based on the book by A. Scott Berg, Max Perkins: Editor of Genius. The film, even more than the book, will focus on the relationship between Wolfe and Perkins. The acclaimed cast will include Jude Law as Wolfe, Colin Firth as Perkins, Nicole Kidman as Wolfe’s lover Aline Bernstein, Laura Linney as Louise Sanders, Perkins’s wife, and Guy Pearce and Dominic West as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Genius will be the first film by lauded stage director Michael Grandage, with a screenplay by John Logan. For updates about Genius, please visit the Thomas Wolfe Facebook page.

You don’t have to be a member of Facebook to view our page. When you visit this website (www.thomaswolfe.org) just click the Facebook icon on the top right. If you are a Facebook member and you see a post you enjoy, please SHARE it. TWS Archivist and Webmaster Deb Borland has done amazing work here in the past year to further bring Thomas Wolfe and the Wolfe Society into the digital age. She reports that we started this year with a few hundred Facebook “friends,” and we are now closing in on 1,000 with friends viewing the site from more than two dozen countries! The TWS Facebook page includes regular postings and sharing of news related to Wolfe and TWS, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, southern literature, and literary contests. Some new features on the site include photo albums of places Wolfe visited and ships on which Wolfe traveled, vintage postcards from Asheville and the Old Kentucky Home, images of foreign editions of Wolfe publications and the many covers of their American publications. Of course, regular news updates are also posted here on the TWS website, and from there you can follow additional news on Pinterest and Flickr.

CALLING ALL WOLFEAN POETS! The TWS is seeking poems about Thomas Wolfe for an anthology to be published in late 2015. Poems on any aspect of Wolfe’s life or writings are appropriate. There is no entry fee; membership in TWS is advantageous. The deadline for entries is January 31, 2015. Submit to David Radavich, editor, at daradavich@gmail.com or by snail mail at 6216 Glenridge Road, Charlotte, NC 28211.

On October 21, Sandra Cisneros, acclaimed author of The House on Mango Street, received the 2014 Thomas Wolfe Prize and delivered the annual Thomas Wolfe Lecture. This gala event was open to the public. It began at 7:30 pm in the Genome Sciences Building of UNC-Chapel Hill.

The 2015 Thomas Wolfe Society Conference will take place May 22-24 in Albany, New York. In addition to a full range of exciting presentations, the Albany conference will feature a boat ride on the Hudson River and a Sunday bus trip down the Hudson River Valley to Rhinebeck and Hyde Park. This year’s theme is “Wolfe’s America, from the Gilded Age to the Great Depression.” 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. I encourage you to view our call for papers and forward your proposals as soon as possible (by January 10) to TWS Vice President Mark Canada. Look for conference updates here on our website. Complete program details will be mailed to TWS membership in March 2015.

Thank you for your unstinting support of the Society and for sharing your enthusiasm for the work of Thomas Wolfe. I look forward to seeing you in Albany!

Warmest regards,

George Hovis, President                                             Contact me at:

Thomas Wolfe Society                                                george.hovis@oneonta.edu

The 2014 Thomas Wolfe Prize and Lecture, Oct. 21, 7:30pm, Genome Sciences Bldg, UNC: Chapel Hill

Dear Wolfeans,

On October 21, Sandra Cisneros, acclaimed author of The House on Mango Street, will receive the 2014 Thomas Wolfe Prize and deliver the annual Thomas Wolfe Lecure.

If you are in the area or have flexible travel plans, I encourage you to attend this important event. TWS Vice-President Mark Canada has been asked to give remarks on behalf of the TWS. Cisneros_SandrabyAlan-Goldfarb-300x270

2014 Thomas Wolfe Prize and Lecture: Sandra Cisneros

Tuesday, October 21

7:30 p.m.

Genome Sciences Building, UNC Chapel Hill

The lecture is free and open to the public. Visitor Parking Map.

Learn more about Sandra Cisneros. Learn more about the Thomas Wolfe Prize.

If you would like to contribute to the future of the Thomas Wolfe Lecture, please contact Susan H. Irons, Director of Special Programs & Senior Lecturer in the Department of English & Comparative Literature at UNC-CH.

With all best wishes,

George Hovis, President
Thomas Wolfe Society

 

 

Calling all Wolfean Poets! Seeking poems for 2015 TWS publication

The Thomas Wolfe Society seeks poems about Thomas Wolfe for an anthology to be published in late 2015.

Poems on any aspect of Wolfe’s life or writings are appropriate.

There is no entry fee; membership in the Thomas Wolfe Society is advantageous.

Payment will be two copies of the anthology.

Deadline is January 31, 2015. 

Submit to:
David Radavich, editor
daradavich@gmail.com

OR snail mail to:
6216 Glenridge Road
Charlotte, NC 28211

Wolfe in his time, Wolfe in our time

The 36th Annual Conference of the Thomas Wolfe Society

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
May 23-25, 2014

The-Old-Well-at-UNC-Chapel-HillSchedule of Events

FRIDAY, May 23
Unless otherwise indicated, all sessions and breaks will be held in Chancellor’s East at the Carolina Inn. Saturday evening’s cash bar and banquet will take place in the Chancellor’s Ballroom.

10:30 – 12:00    Registration

12:00 – 12:45     Welcome and Prologue
Welcome ~ George Hovis, President, Thomas Wolfe Society, SUNY-Oneonta

Prologue ~ Anne Zahlan, Eastern Illinois University

Special Introduction ~ “A Wannabe Writer in the Footsteps of Wolfe,” Edwin Yoder

1:00-2:15     Session I
Moderator: Joe Flora, UNC-Chapel Hill

car-inn“Ocean Crossing with Thomas Wolfe: The True Life of Imagination,” Igina Tattoni, Sapienza: Universita de Roma

“Wolfe’s Life Selected: A Case Study of Kenneth Raisbeck and Marjorie Fairbanks,” Nami Montgomery, UNC-Pembroke

“Aspects of Wolfe’s Time in the Paris House of Illusion Described in The Web and the Rock,” Amélie Moisy, Université Paris Est-Cretéil

2:15-2:45      Break

2:45-4:00      Session II
Moderator: Steve Rogers, Mount Rainier, Maryland

“Thomas Wolfe’s Cinematic Storytelling,” Sara Flores, Azusa Pacific University

“Look Homeward, Always,” Michael Houck, UNC-Pembroke

“Twisted from the Ordinary: American Literary Naturalism and Look Homeward, Angel,” Jon Dawson, University of Georgia

Dinner on your own

Bathanti_17:30-9:30      Special Event Location: Wilson Library

Poetry Reading by Joseph Bathanti

Introduction by David Madden

~Light reception following ~

 

SATURDAY, May 24th

8:00-8:30      Refreshments

8:30-10:00     Session III
Moderator: Mark Canada, UNC-Pembroke

“Thomas Wolfe, Transnationalism, and the (Really) Deep South,”  Jedediah Evans, University of Sydney

ccm1_032466“Thomas Wolfe’s Asheville,” Laura Hope-Gill, Thomas Wolfe Center for  Narrative, Lenoir-Rhyne University

“Decoding Wolfe’s Universe: A Modern Understanding of Space, Time, and Dimension in Look Homeward, Angel,” Kerrie Harney, Federal Bureau of Investigation

10:00-10:45      Business Meeting
TWS President George Hovis presiding

10:45-11:00     Break

11:00–12:00     Session IV
Moderator: Paula Eckard, UNC-Charlotte

“Thomas Wolfe’s Expressionism and The Party at Jack’s,”  David Radavich, Eastern Illinois University

“Out-Gatsbying Fitzgerald: Thomas Wolfe and The Party at Jack’s,”  Joseph Bentz, Azusa Pacific University

12:00-12:15      Closing
Final Words ~ George Hovis

Epilogue ~ Jan Hensley, Greensboro, North Carolina

1126_thomaswolfetnail12:15-2:15      Lunch on your own

2:15 -3:30      UNC Walking Tour, Meet in lobby of Carolina Inn, Led by Matt Karkutt, UNC: Chapel Hill

6:00-7:00     Cash Bar

7:00~9:00    Banquet

Awards Ceremony ~ George Hovis

Keynote Address ~ Bland Simpson, UNC-Chapel Hill

 

 

36th Annual TWS Conference: May 23-24, 2014

car-innOn May 23-24, 2014, Wolfe Society members will converge on UNC-Chapel Hill‘s “magical campus” at the Carolina Inn for our 36th annual conference.

This year’s conference theme is “Wolfe in His Time, Wolfe in Our Time.” Although proposals are welcome on any theme related to Thomas Wolfe and his work, we especially invite proposals for presentations that link Thomas Wolfe to the issues of his time (politics, race relations, etc.) and/or to these and other issues in our time (media, internationalism, etc.).

If you are interested in providing a paper, please send your proposals by January 10, 2014 to Mark Canada at mark.canada@uncp.edu or to Dr. Mark Canada, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, UNC-Pembroke, Pembroke, NC 28372-1510.

NC's current poet laureate Joseph Bathanti

NC’s current poet laureate Joseph Bathanti

Mark has been hard at work planning the Chapel Hill conference. In addition to a full program of presentations and the annual Saturday evening banquet, several of this year’s special treats are a campus tour of Wolfe sites and North Carolina’s poet laureate, Joseph Bathanti, who is also an avid Wolfean.Make your plans now to attend this exciting conference on Wolfe’s “magical campus.”

Reservations to the Carolina Inn must be made before April 30, 2014, in order to receive the special group room rate of $164. Furthermore, a limited number of rooms at this conference rate are available, so please make your reservation as soon as possible. You may call the hotel at 1-800-962-8519 or visit the Carolina Inn’s website and enter 362947 in the “Group Code” field. You may also visit our Direct Billing Link.

Watch for more conference updates here and on our Facebook page.

Complete program details will be mailed to TWS members in March 2014.

We look forward to seeing you in Chapel Hill!

Thomas-Wolfe-CH-hill-507-WolfasBuckP048-48-521_307571126_thomaswolfetnail

A Letter from our 2013 TWS President, George Hovis

TWS calligraphy-400

8 October 2013

Dear Wolfe Friends,

I can hardly believe that Thomas Wolfe’s birthday month has arrived and the 2013 Thomas Wolfe Conference in beautiful Boise, Idaho is more than four months behind us. What a spectacular occasion that meeting was, thanks to Joe Flora, whose vision, planning, and tireless coordinating made it possible.

Thanks also to Denise Bittner and Tara Penry and her students who spent dozens of hours welcoming us to the West with tours, poster displays, and Tara’s fabulous keynote address. Thanks to Rick Ardinger and Shelley Crisp at the Idaho and North Carolina Humanities Councils for sponsoring Friday night’s lecture by Robert Morgan, the first Skyped event in Wolfe Conference history. Finally, thanks to all the presenters and to their attentive audience. The presentations were some of the finest I can recall.

The Boise conference concluded Anne Zahlan‘s eleven-year tenure as Editor of The Thomas Wolfe Review. During this time, she worked tirelessly to cultivate a new generation of Wolfe scholars and to bring the TWR into the digital age. For her tremendous service, Anne was recognized with the Wolfe Society’s Citation of Merit. Paula Eckard concluded her two-year term as our president. Paula’s exemplary energy, collegiality, and commitment led the Society to make significant achievements during these past two years. We are all very fortunate that Paula has agreed to assume the editorship at The Thomas Wolfe Review.

Other changes to the Society Board and its officers also occurred at Boise. Mark Canada, professor of English at UNC-Pembroke and an accomplished Wolfe scholar, was elected vice president. Bob Powell and Bill Beltz continue to serve as treasurer and secretary. New board members elected include Rebecca Godwin, Carl Thistle, Anne Zahlan, and Robert Brinkmeyer.

Prize winners during 2013 include Joseph Bentz, who received the Zelda & Paul Gitlin Literary Prize for the best scholarly article on Thomas Wolfe during 2012; Jedidiah Evans, an Australian scholar, who received the William B. Wisdom Grant; and Dylan Nealis, who received the first Thomas Wolfe Student Travel Grant in Honor of Richard S. Kennedy.

As you may recall, this past year the Kennedy Student Essay Prize was reconfigured with the aim of attracting more young scholars to participate in our conference. If you know promising graduate or undergraduate students who may have an interest in Wolfe (or in whom you might be able to instill such an interest), please direct them to our website, where they will find contest details.

I am pleased to share with you news of a gift by Denise Bittner in honor of her late husband, Dr. John Robert Bittner, Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Many in the Wolfe Society fondly remember Dr. Bittner’s friendship and his contributions to Wolfe scholarship, including his Gitlin Prize-winning essay, “Thomas Wolfe and Jonathan Worth Daniels: The Carolina Roots of a Literary Rivalry,” published in the TWR, 27 (2003). Mrs. Bittner’s gift, in the form of an endowment, will fund the John Robert Bittner Student Literary Prize, in support of student travel to present their research at the annual Wolfe Conference.

RonRashPhoto

Ron Rash, 2013 Thomas Wolfe Prize Recipient

Many of you may have attended the annual Thomas Wolfe Lecture on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a major event held annually since its inception in 2000. This year’s Thomas Wolfe Prize Recipient was Ron Rash, who delivered a lecture to a nearly capacity crowd (almost 400) in the Genome Science Center on October 2nd.

The Thomas Wolfe Society was instrumental in developing a secure endowment to fund the annual prize money. Presently, the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-CH is seeking to build an endowment to fund the other expenses associated with the Lecture:  travel, lodging, reception, advertising, etc. If anyone desires not to be solicited by mail on behalf of this effort, please inform me you wish to “opt out.”

If you are a TWS life member or a 2013 member of the Society, you will be receiving this year’s publications. The Proceedings of our 2013 Meeting in Boise, the special publication, and The Thomas Wolfe Review are all in various stages of production. So, if necessary, please update your membership.

On May 23-24, 2014, Wolfe Society members will converge on UNC-Chapel Hill‘s “magical campus” at the Carolina Inn for our 36th annual conference. Reservations must be made before April 30, 2014, in order to receive the special room rate of $164. Furthermore, a limited number of rooms at this conference rate are available, so please make your reservation as soon as possible. You may call the hotel at 1-800-962-8519 or visit the Carolina Inn’s website and enter 362947 in the “Group Code” field. You may also visit our Direct Billing Link.

This year’s conference theme is “Wolfe in His Time, Wolfe in Our Time.” Although proposals are welcome on any theme related to Thomas Wolfe and his work, we especially invite proposals for presentations that link Thomas Wolfe to the issues of his time (politics, race relations, etc.) and/or to these and other issues in our time (media, internationalism, etc.).

Please send your proposals by January 10, 2014, to Mark Canada at mark.canada@uncp.edu or to Dr. Mark Canada, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, UNC-Pembroke, Pembroke, NC 28372-1510.

Mark has been hard at work planning the Chapel Hill conference. In addition to a full program of presentations and the annual banquet, several of this year’s special treats are a campus tour of Wolfe sites and North Carolina’s poet Laureate, Joseph Bathanti, who is also an avid Wolfean. Make your plans now to attend this exciting conference on Wolfe’s “magical campus.”

Look for conference updates on our website and Facebook page, and while you are there, take a moment to admire the recent improvements made by our webmaster, Deborah Borland.

Complete program details will be mailed in March 2014. In closing, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve the Thomas Wolfe Society. Thank you for your unstinting support of the Society and for sharing your enthusiasm for the work of Thomas Wolfe. I look forward to seeing you in Chapel Hill!

Warmest regards,
George Hovis President
Thomas Wolfe Society
george.hovis@oneonta.edu

Contact Information: George Hovis Associate Professor, Dept. of English SUNY Oneonta, Oneonta, NY  13820

 

“Wolfe’s Women” A Fundraising Event for the Friends of Thomas Wolfe, Oct. 3, 2013

2013-WolfeBirthdayFundraiser‘Wolfe’s Women’ is a fundraising event for the Friends of Thomas Wolfe and will help support the programming, outreach and maintenance of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial.

Held on Wolfe’s Birthday, this event will focus on his need to connect with women of wisdom and strength.

Hosted by the Renaissance Hotel’s ‘A Writer’s Bistro’ a four-course meal will be served.

A historic drama will be presented about the four important and inspiring women in Wolfe’s life: Julia Wolfe, Margaret Roberts, Aline Bernstein and Elizabeth Nowell.

Following dinner and drama, guests are invited to an open house of the Old Kentucky Home.  Guests can walk the halls of this house that inspired one of America’s great literary authors and gather in the parlor for an Victorian sing-a-long, much like the boarders would have done when Thomas Wolfe was growing up in the house.

October 3 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

$75.00 per person $140 per couple

For tickets or more information, please contact the Thomas Wolfe Memorial (828) 253-8304 or email christian.edwards@ncdcr.gov no later than October 1, 2013.

75 Years Ago in September Commemorated at Wolfe Memorial

Tom, A Beloved American Author

Tom, A Beloved American Author

Beloved Author Thomas Clayton Wolfe Claimed by Death 75 Years ago on Sept. 14, 1938

Second Saturday Program at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial

In memoriam of the 75th anniversary of the passing of Thomas Wolfe, a reception will be held Saturday, September 14, 2013, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial State Historic Site followed by a viewing of his childhood home.

Thomas Clayton Wolfe, age 37, resident of New York City died 5:30 a.m. September 15, 1938 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland from an acute cerebral infection.

He had suffered a protracted illness related to complications from a severe case of pneumonia contracted at Seattle, Washington in July.

Thomas Wolfe was born October 3, 1900 in Asheville, North Carolina to William Oliver Wolfe and Julia Elizabeth Westall Wolfe. He attended the Orange Street School and the North State Fitting School in Asheville in preparation for college. Then completed four years at the University of North Carolina and subsequently earned a Masters Degree from Harvard University. He taught English for several years at New York University and committed himself to his dream of a career as a professional writer.

He received instant recognition with the publication of his first novel Look Homeward, Angel in October 1929. As an author of several well-known books and short stories he is recognized today as a giant in American literature.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial Advisory Committee, 52 N. Market Street, Asheville, NC28801.

“To lose the earth you know, for greater knowing; to lose the life you have, for greater life; to leave the friends you loved, for greater loving; to find a land more kind than home…”
Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again.
A Beloved American Author

Contact: Christian Edwards
828-253-8304