A few words about book's author
Thomas Wolfe was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and educated at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University. He taught English at New York University and traveled extensively in Europe and America. Wolfe created his indelible legacy as a classic American novelist with works including Of Time and the River; A Stone, a Leaf, a Door; and From Death to Morning. He died in 1938.
Thomas Wolfe was born on October 3, 1900, among the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina, a childhood which he immortalized through the creation of Eugene Gant, the hero of Look Homeward, Angel (1929). Wolfe enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at the age of fifteen, determined to become a playwright, but despite the success of his college productions, and later, the plays he wrote during his studies at Harvard Universitys renowned 47 Workshop, he was unable to interest professional New York producers in his work. Fearing penury and professional failure, Wolfe was encouraged to turn to the writing of fiction full-time by Aline Bernstein, a set designer for the New York Theatre Guild, with whom Wolfe carried on a five-year affair (and who appears in Wolfes fiction as the Esther Jack character in The Web and the Rock (1939) and Of Time and the River.) Scribners legendary Maxwell Perkins was the only editor to appreciate Wolfes freshman effort, Look Homeward, Angel, and after extensive revisions and collaborative editing sessions, the novel was published in 1929. The largely autobiographical book was received with unequivocal enthusiasm. The residents of Asheville, however, the real-life denizens of this drab circumstance, rebelled against Wolfes often-scathing portrayal of his hometown. The public outcry was so great that Wolfe did not return to his hometown for seven years. Rewarded with commercial success and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Wolfe wrote a second autobiographical saga about the life of Eugene Gant, Of Time and the River, in which Eugene, an aspiring novelist, details his travels to Europe. This time, the critics were torn. Wolfes apparent formlessness was both a constant source of delight and frustration to critics, many of whom felt that Wolfe was pioneering new literary ground, while others insisted that the overweening passion inherent in Wolfes rambling narratives betrayed the authors immaturity and solipsism. Furthermore, Wolfes intimate collaboration with his editor, Perkins were often derided by contemporaries, who insisted that Wolfes inability to master novelistic form without significant editorial assistance rendered him artistically deficient. The rancorous extent of the criticism led to Wolfes eventual break with Perkins, and in 1927, Wolfe signed with Edward C. Aswell at Harper. Yet Aswell had no less significant a role in reshaping and trimming Wolfes future works than Perkins did previously. The early part of 1938 found Wolfe in Brooklyn, this time writing with a new social agenda. Agreeing with some of his critics that his earlier work was indeed too egocentric, Wolfe rechristened Eugene Gant as George Monk Webber, and embarked on writing a new novel dedicated to exploring worldwide social and political ills. This mammoth undertaking, after gargantuan editorial efforts on the part of Aswell, would be published posthumously, and as two novels, The Web and the Rock (1939) and You Cant Go Home Again (1940), as well as The Hills Beyond (1941), a collection which contained short fiction, a play, and a novella. Wolfes development as a novelist was truncated by his sudden death at the age of thirty-eight, yet the progression of his novels showcases Wolfes ever-evolving capacities as a writer. Navigating his way from self-obsessed chronicler of his own adolescence to sophisticated assessor of the adolescence of America itself, Wolfe was a writer who grew up in step with the country that both made him and maddened him. He died in 1938. Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.