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

By the time I received my doctorate in American studies in 1957, I was in the twisted grip of a disease of our times in which the sufferer experiences an overwhelming urge to join the 'real world.' So I started working for newspapers.

Even hostile parodies admit from the start that the target has a distinct voice.

Frankly, these days, without a theory to go with it, I can't see a painting.

I don't think journalists should talk about whom they're voting for.

I think of myself as a seer!

In ordinary perception, the senses send an overwhelming flood of information to the brain, which the brain then filters down to a trickle it can manage for the purpose of survival in a highly competitive world. Man has become so rational, so utilitarian, that the trickle becomes most pale and thin. It is efficient, for mere survival, but it screens out the most wondrous part of man's potential experience without his even knowing it. We're shut off from our own world.

It's not just that reporting gives you a bigger slice of life, gives - lends verisimilitude to what you are doing - it's that it feeds the imagination.

My entire career, in fiction or nonfiction, I have reported and written about people who are not like me.

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.

So, then, to every man his chance - to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining, golden opportunity - to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him - thi

The essence of belief is doubt, the essence of reality is questioning. The essence of Time is Flow, not Fix. The essence of faith is the knowledge that all flows and that everything must change. The growing man is Man Alive, and his "philosophy" must grow, must flow, with him? the man too fixed today, unfixed tomorrow - and his body of beliefs is nothing but a series of fixations.

A sect, incidentally, is a religion with no political power.

And he knew that he would never come again, and that lost magic would not come again. Lost now was all of it-the street, the heat, King's Highway, and Tom the Piper's son, all mixed in with the vast and drowsy murmur of the Fair, and with the sense of absence in the afternoon, and the house that waited, and the child that dreamed. And out of the enchanted wood, that thicket of man's memory, Eugene knew that the dark eye and the quiet face of his friend and brother-poor child, life's stranger, and life's exile, lost like all of us, a cipher in blind mazes, long ago-the lost boy was gone forever, and would not return.

Child, child, have patience and belief, for life is many days, and each present hour will pass away. Son, son, you have been mad and drunken, furious and wild, filled with hatred and despair, and all the dark confusions of the soul - but so have we. You found the earth too great for your one life, you found your brain and sinew smaller than the hunger and desire that fed on them - but it has been this way with all men. You have stumbled on in darkness, you have been pulled in opposite directions, you have faltered, you have missed the way, but, child, this is the chronicle of the earth. And now, because you have known madness and despair, and because you will grow desperate again before you come to evening, we who have stormed the ramparts of the furious earth and been hurled back, we who have been maddened by the unknowable and bitter mystery of love, we who have hungered after fame and savored all of life, the tumult, pain, and frenzy, and now sit quietly by our windows watching all that henceforth never more shall touch us - we call upon you to take heart, for we can swear to you that these things pass.

Every moment is the fruit of forty thousand years.

God, newspapers have been making up stories forever. This kind of trifling and fooling around is not a function of the New Journalism.

I find that memory decay is very rapid. Even going to sleep and waking up the next day, there's an awful lot that simply doesn't come back. At least it doesn't come back accurately.

I use a typewriter. My wife gave me a word processor two Christmases ago that still stares at me accusingly from a desk in my office. One day I am going to be compelled to learn how to use it.

In Sleep we lie all naked and alone, in Sleep we are united at the heart of night and darkness, and we are strange and beautiful asleep; for we are dying the darkness and we know no death.

I've never met an American who wanted to build an empire.

My father was the editor of an agricultural magazine called 'The Southern Planter.' He didn't think of himself as a writer. He was a scientist, an agronomist, but I thought of him as a writer because I'd seen him working at his desk.

Only the dead know Brooklyn.

Some things will never change. Some things will always be the same. Lean down your ear upon the earth and listen. The voice of forest water in the night, a woman's laughter in the dark, the clean, hard rattle of raked gravel, the cricketing stitch of midday in hot meadows, the delicate web of children's voices in bright air--these things will never change. The glitter of sunlight on roughened water, the glory of the stars, the innocence of morning, the smell of the sea in harbors, the feathery blur and smoky buddings of young boughs, and something there that comes and goes and never can be captured, the thorn of spring, the sharp and tongueless cry--these things will always be the same. All things belonging to the earth will never change--the leaf, the blade, the flower, the wind that cries and sleeps and wakes again, the trees whose stiff arms clash and tremble in the dark, and the dust of lovers long since buried in the earth--all things proceeding from the earth to seasons, all things that lapse and change and come again upon the earth--these things will always be the same, for they come up from the earth that never changes, they go back into the earth that lasts forever. Only the earth endures, but it endures forever. The tarantula, the adder, and the asp will also never change. Pain and death will always be the same. But under the pavements trembling like a pulse, under the buildings trembling like a cry, under the waste of time, under the hoof of the beast above the broken bones of cities, there will be something growing like a flower, something bursting from the earth again, forever deathless, faithful, coming into life again like April.

The first newspaper I worked on was the 'Springfield Union' in Springfield, Massachusetts. I wrote over a hundred letters to newspapers asking for work and got three responses, two no's.

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

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