The Four Lost Menby Thomas Wolfe
The Four Lost Men is the first publication of the long version of Thomas Wolfe's story of familial and national reflection set during World War I. Here Wolfe supplies a moving portrait of his dying father, as well as a rich meditation on American history and ambitions. Discussion of the title characters-Presidents James A. Garfield, Chester A. Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, and Rutherford B. Hayes-provides Wolfe an opportunity to assess the mood and promise of the nation and to reflect on the obstacles toward untapped American potential.
Garfield, Arthur, Harrison, and Hayes, the four Republican presidents who followed Grant during the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras, were all Civil War generals and self-made men, though none experienced a distinguished term in office. These presidents are iconic figures in the recollections and political monologues of the teenaged narrator's dying father. In his efforts to understand their importance to his father, the boy comes to appreciate the act of storytelling that redefines these men in his father's memory and in turn redefines the father in the narrator's memory.
Originally published as a short story of seven thousand words in Scribner's Magazine in 1934-and later abridged by one thousand words for republication in the 1935 anthology From Death to Morning-Wolfe's expanded tale is published here for the first time in its full length of some twenty-one thousand words. Editors Arlyn and Matthew J. Bruccoli have employed the same methods to reestablish this text as they used in their centennial edition of O Lost: A Story of the Buried Life, the unabridged version of Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel. The reestablishment of the longversion of The Four Lost Men opens an undeveloped area of scholarship on Wolfe's short fiction and serves as a model for restoring other such works.
- University of South Carolina Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.60(d)
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