Tom Wolfe, fully Thomas Kennerly "Tom" Wolfe

Tom
Wolfe, fully Thomas Kennerly "Tom" Wolfe
1931

American Author and Journalist, Influenced the New Journalism Literary Movement, known for The Right Stuff, The Last American Hero, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Almost Heroes

Author Quotes

There are some people who have the quality of richness and joy in them and they communicate it to everything they touch. It is first of all a physical quality; then it is a quality of the spirit.

To believe that new monsters will arise as vicious as the old, to believe that the great Pandora's Box of human frailty, once opened, will never show a diminution of its ugly swarm, is to help, by just that much, to make it so forever.

What I write when I force myself is generally just as good as what I write when I'm feeling inspired. It's mainly a matter of forcing yourself to write.

You're either on the bus or off the bus.

The newspaper is, in fact, very bad for one's prose style.

There came to him an image of man?s whole life upon the earth. It seemed to him that all man?s life was like a tiny spurt of flame that blazed out briefly in an illimitable and terrifying darkness, and that all man?s grandeur, tragic dignity, his heroic glory, came from the brevity and smallness of this flame. He knew his life was little and would be extinguished, and that only darkness was immense and everlasting. And he knew that he would die with defiance on his lips, and that the shout of his denial would ring with the last pulsing of his heart into the maw of all-engulfing night.

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, more large than earth----

What is it that a young man wants? Where is the central source of that wild fury that boils up in him, that goads and drives and lashes him, that explodes his energies and strews his purpose to the wind of a thousand instant and chaotic impulses? The older and assured people of the world, who have learned to work without waste and error, think they know the reason for the chaos and confusion of a young man?s life. They have learned the thing at hand, and learned to follow their single way through all the million shifting hues and tones and cadences of living, to thread neatly with unperturbed heart their single thread through that huge labyrinth of shifting forms and intersecting energies that make up life?and they say, therefore, that the reason for a young man?s confusion, lack of purpose, and erratic living is because he has not found himself.

The notion that the public accepts or rejects anything in modern art is merely romantic fiction. The game is completed and the trophies distributed long before the public knows what has happened.

There has been a time on earth when poets had been young and dead and famous - and were men. But now the poet as the tragic child of grandeur and destiny had changed. The child of genius was a woman, now, and the man was gone.

To me, it's a novel that pulls you inside the central nervous system of the characters ... and makes you feel in your bones their motivations as affected by the society of which they are a part.

What is it that makes a man willing to sit up on top of an enormous Roman candle, such as a Redstone, Atlas, Titan or Saturn rocket, and wait for someone to light the fuse?

The old hunger for voyages fed at his heart....To go alone...into strange cities; to meet strange people and to pass again before they could know him; to wander, like his own legend, across the earth--it seemed to him there could be no better thing than that.

There is no happy land. There is no end to hunger.

To me, novels are a trip of discovery, and you discover things that you don't know and you assume that many of your readers don't know, and you try to bring them to life on the page.

When I went to high school, my most passionate desire was to be a professional baseball player. But something within me told me that was not going to happen.

The only shame George Webber felt was that at one time in his life, for however short a period, he broke bread and sat at the same table with any man when the living warmth of friendship was not there; or that he ever traded upon the toil of his brain and the blood of his heart to get the body of a scented whore that might have been better got in a brothel for some greasy coins. This was the only shame he felt. And this shame was so great in him that he wondered if all his life thereafter would be long enough to wash out of his brain and blood the last pollution of its loathsome taint.

There is no spectacle on earth more appealing than that of a beautiful woman in the act of cooking dinner for someone she loves.

To me, the great joy of writing is discovering. Most writers are told to write about what they know, but I still love the adventure of going out and reporting on things I don't know about.

When I wrote Radical Chic, as a matter of fact, about a party for the Black Panthers at Leonard Bernstein's apartment, I noticed that the platters upon which the Panthers were being served Roquefort cheese balls were gadrooned. They had this little sort of ribbing around the edges of the trays. You may think that's a small point, but I think that small points like that can really make a piece, particularly at the beginning. There's something about a gadrooned platter being served to the Black Panthers that really gives a piece a bite, particularly at the beginning. It doesn't matter if your audience doesn't know what a gadrooned platter is. Often people are flattered to have an unusual word thrust upon them. They say, Well, that author thinks I know what he's talking about!

A slow trickle of lust crawled painfully down the parched gully of desire, and ended feebly in dry fumbling lechery.

And so, having found everything, I knew that I had lost. And I knew that I would never go back, and the lost magic would never return.

Come to us Father, in the watches of the night. Come to us as you always came, bringing to us the invincible sustenance of your strength, the limitless treasure of your bounty, the tremendous structure of your life that will shape all lost and broken things on earth again into a golden pattern of exultancy and joy.

Everybody is going to be what they are, and whatever they are, there's not going to be anything to apologize about.

He had learned some of the things that every man must find out for himself, and he had found out about them as one has to find out--through error and through trial, through fantasy and illusion, through falsehood and his own damn foolishness, through being mistaken and wrong and an idiot and egotistical and aspiring and hopeful and believing and confused. Each thing he learned was so simple and obvious, once he grasped it, that he wondered why he had not always known it. And what had he learned? A philosopher would not think it much, perhaps, and yet in a simple human way it was a good deal. Just by living, my making the thousand little daily choices that his whole complex of heredity, environment, and conscious thought, and deep emotion had driven him to make, and by taking the consequences, he had learned that he could not eat his cake and have it, too. He had learned that in spite of his strange body, so much off scale that it had often made him think himself a creature set apart, he was still the son and brother of all men living. He had learned that he could not devour the earth, that he must know and accept his limitations. He realized that much of his torment of the years past had been self-inflicted, and an inevitable part of growing up. And, most important of all for one who had taken so long to grow up, he thought he had learned not to be the slave of his emotions.

Author Picture
First Name
Tom
Last Name
Wolfe, fully Thomas Kennerly "Tom" Wolfe
Birth Date
1931
Bio

American Author and Journalist, Influenced the New Journalism Literary Movement, known for The Right Stuff, The Last American Hero, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Almost Heroes