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The Good Child's River
     

The Good Child's River

by Thomas Wolfe, Suzanne Stutman (Editor)
 

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Good Child's River

Overview

Good Child's River

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Shows Thomas Wolfe at his boldest, richest, and most poetic.

Christian Science Monitor

Reading these lyrical, effusive pages is to take an invigorating plunge in the swarming sea of Wolfe's imagination.

Publishers Weekly

Wolfe's stature as an artist is heightened by the publication of this book.

John L. Idol, Clemson University

Stutman has done a masterful job of weighing the pros and cons of what Wolfe has wrought here.

Leslie Field, Purdue University

Wolfe creates an opulent picture of life in New York City at the turn of the century.

Greensboro News and Record

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The fragments of this intriguing unfinished novel, assembled by Stutman after ``years of detective work,'' shed light on Wolfe's (1900-1938) creative methods while recording his intense love for theater designer Aline Bernstein, who appears as Esther Jack in the posthumous The Web and the Rock and You Can't Go Home Again . Fascinated by her Jewish heritage--as he was by ethnicity generally--Wolfe wished to absorb Bernstein's life as part of the ``river'' of time's flow and to reinvent it, while the mature, wealthy Bernstein strove as his Scheherazade to prolong their affair, sending sheafs of notes that finally taxed his patience. The strain is evident here, since Wolfe digresses from the Esther passages, but his storytelling genius, vital and chaotic, emerges in this welter of vignettes, however hastily they are lashed together. Highlights are accounts of New York at the turn of the century; the imagining of Bernstein's father's life (fictionalized as Joe Barrett, he is depicted as a Connecticut Yankee of ``mountain blood'' like Wolfe, an actor who joins a circus); and the portrait of a Victorian aunt who scribbled 60 sentimental novels but scandalized readers by penning a sexual escapade. Her plea for writing frankly on ``the sensual woman'' bares the author's own liberated views. Reading these lyrical, effusive pages is to take an invigorating plunge in the swarming sea of Wolfe's imagination. Publication is set for Wolfe's birthday, October 3. (Oct.)
Library Journal
This book, a collection of chapters and fragments of an incomplete novel, was written during the last years of Wolfe's life. The central character, Esther Jack, is based on the life of Wolfe's lover, Aline Bernstein, a Jewish costume and set designer for the New York stage. Wolfe expands his focus to include stories about her family and friends, fictionalizing her family as he did his own in Look Homeward, Angel . Stutman is to be commended for her restrained and unobtrusive editing, which even leaves Wolfe's idiosyncratic punctuation intact. This publication is significant not only as proof of Wolfe's ability to venture beyond autobiography, but also as negation of the charge that he was overly dependent on his editors. This unpolished manuscript shines with brilliance, evidence of a master craftsman.-- Joanne Snapp, Virginia Commonwealth Univ., Richmond

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807844571
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
02/25/1994
Series:
H. Eugene and Lillian Youngs Lehman Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
332
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 9.00(d)

Related Subjects

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Wolfe's stature as an artist is heightened by the publication of this book. The quality of much of Wolfe's writing here is remarkable: it is rich, poetic, realistic, pictorial, dramatic, nearly always disciplined and lucid. Wolfe rarely wrote better than he often does here.—John L. Idol, Clemson University

In this Wolfe material one sees the power, imagination, creativity, and the raw genius of Wolfe at work as he recreates Edith Wharton's and Henry James's New York, primarily from the vantage point of the New York Jewish community, the artistic and upper-class community, [and] the artsy-theater community. . . . Stutman has done a masterful job of weighing the pros and cons of what Wolfe has wrought here.—Leslie Field, Purdue University

Shows Thomas Wolfe at his boldest, richest, and most poetic. . . . Readers who come fresh to it, never before having read Wolfe, may well be stunned by his power, and may start questioning the skinny little sentences and squeaks of feeling in today's writers. The rest of us will be replenished and exhilarated. Nobody writes for full orchestra any more.—Christian Science Monitor

Wolfe creates an opulent picture of life in New York City at the turn of the century.—Greensboro News and Record

Reading these lyrical, effusive pages is to take an invigorating plunge in the swarming sea of Wolfe's imagination.—Publishers Weekly

Meet the Author

Suzanne Stutman, editor of My Other Loneliness: Letters of Thomas Wolfe and Aline Bernstein, is professor of English and American studies at Pennsylvania State University, Ogontz Campus. She is currently completing editorial work on The Party at Jack's, another Wolfe manuscript.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
October 3, 1900
Date of Death:
September 15, 1938
Place of Birth:
Asheville, North Carolina
Place of Death:
Baltimore, Maryland
Education:
B.A., University of North Carolina, 1920; M.A., Harvard University, 1922; further graduate study, 1923

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