The Starwick Episodes

Overview

One of the most enduring characters in Thomas Wolfe's fiction is Francis Starwick, the Midwestern aesthete who befriends Eugene Grant at Harvard in Wolfe's second autobiographical novel, Of Time and the River. Wolfe created Starwick in order to provide a foil for the artistic development of Eugene: Starwick was the pretentious, narrow-minded dilettante whose response to the arts is all talk and pose, as compared with Eugene, who hopes to express in writing his intensity of ...

See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $2.45   
  • New (4) from $17.00   
  • Used (5) from $2.45   
Sending request ...

Overview

One of the most enduring characters in Thomas Wolfe's fiction is Francis Starwick, the Midwestern aesthete who befriends Eugene Grant at Harvard in Wolfe's second autobiographical novel, Of Time and the River. Wolfe created Starwick in order to provide a foil for the artistic development of Eugene: Starwick was the pretentious, narrow-minded dilettante whose response to the arts is all talk and pose, as compared with Eugene, who hopes to express in writing his intensity of feeling about all aspects of life

While writing the novel, however, Wolfe found his manuscript proliferating beyond his control, and he turned to his editor at Scribner's Maxwell Perkins, for help in shaping the final version of the book. In the process of organizing the massive manuscript for publication, Perkins deleted some of the analyses of Starwick's behavior and several of the episodes involving Eugene and Starwick. The result was that the relationship between the two young men was not as fully developed as Wolfe had originally planned.

Richard S. Kennedy discovered these excised passages among the Wolfe papers at Harvard University's Houghton Library. In The Starwick Episodes has arranged them sequentially and indicated their position in the original manuscript. IN one of them Starwick introduces Eugene to Joyce's Ulysses, and in another he takes him to view the paintings in Boston' Museum of Fine Arts. Additional scenes find the two exploring the lower depts. Of Paris until at length their true sexual natures are revealed in a visit to a Parisian brothel.

Kennedy's research also uncovered the story of the life of Kenneth Raisbeck, the young man whom Wolfe used as the starting point for his fictional creation of Starwick. In his Introduction, Kennedy describes Raisbeck's career, both its brilliant promise and its tragic end, and his similarity to the character in the novel.

The presence of Starwick in Of Time and the River is unforgettable despite the omission of some important scenes that Wolfe wrote for him. With the publication now of the deleted episodes, readers may gain an enriched sense of Wolfe's fascinating creation and a fuller understanding of what he was trying to convey.

LSU Press

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Wolfe's autobiographical novel Of Time and the River 1935, protagonist Eugene Gant, a struggling writer, physically assaults his Harvard chum, pretentious aesthete Francis Starwick, calling him a ``dirty little fairy''-yet the theme of Starwick's homosexuality is treated obliquely. Temple University English professor emeritus Kennedy, who chronicled Wolfe's literary career in The Window of Memory, now gives us the unexpurgated version of the Gant/Starwick relationship by publishing sections of the novel that Maxwell Perkins, Wolfe's editor, excised primarily because the manuscript was too long. In one key scene, the two friends visit a Parisian brothel where Gant makes macho, homophobic taunts as Starwick reveals his lack of sexual interest in women. Gant's ravings, Kennedy observes, mirror Wolfe's ``own paranoid tendencies'' and fear of homosexuality. Yet through Starwick's soul-baring conversations, we gain sympathetic insight into a gay individual who yearns to escape the torment of the closet. In his introduction to this fascinating volume, Kennedy details the promising career and shocking strangulation-murder of playwright Kenneth Raisbeck, Wolfe's gay friend at Harvard and the man on whom he modeled Starwick. Photos not seen by PW. Sept.
Booknews
Richard Kennedy (English, Temple U.), a biographer of Thomas Wolfe, discovered these unpublished sections of Wolfe's second autobiographical novel, Of Time and the River, at Harvard University's Houghton Library. The episodes, deleted by Wolfe's editor at Scribner's, flesh out the relationship between the main character, Eugene Gant, and his college friend, Francis Starwick, and include a scene in which Gant and Starwick visit a Parisian brothel. Also included are details of the life of Kenneth Raisbeck, the man Wolfe based the character of Starwick upon. Paper edition (1975-X), $11.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807119754
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1994
  • Series: Southern Literary Studies
  • Pages: 124
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.29 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Wolfe

LSU Press

Richard S. Kennedy (1920--2003) was a professor emeritus of English at Temple University, the biographer of Thomas Wolfe and E. E. Cummings, and the author or editor of numerous other literary works, including Literary New Orleans: Essays and Meditations and Welcome to Our City, by Thomas Wolfe.

LSU Press

Biography

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 University's 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 Wolfe's fiction as the Esther Jack character in The Web and the Rock (1939) and Of Time and the River.) Scribner's legendary Maxwell Perkins was the only editor to appreciate Wolfe's 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 Wolfe's 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. Wolfe's 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 Wolfe's rambling narratives betrayed the author's immaturity and solipsism.

Furthermore, Wolfe's intimate collaboration with his editor, Perkins were often derided by contemporaries, who insisted that Wolfe's inability to master novelistic form without significant editorial assistance rendered him artistically deficient. The rancorous extent of the criticism led to Wolfe's 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 Wolfe's 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 Can't Go Home Again (1940), as well as The Hills Beyond (1941), a collection which contained short fiction, a play, and a novella.

Wolfe's development as a novelist was truncated by his sudden death at the age of thirty-eight, yet the progression of his novels showcases Wolfe's 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.

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Thomas Clayton Wolfe (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 3, 1900
    2. Place of Birth:
      Asheville, North Carolina
    1. Date of Death:
      September 15, 1938
    2. Place of Death:
      Baltimore, Maryland

Table of Contents

A Note on the Text
Introduction: A Portrait of Kenneth Raisbeck 1
Pt. I At Harvard
Episode 1 Starwick's Secrecy 11
Episode 2 Starwick Introduces Eugene to Joyce's Ulysses 13
Episode 3 Eugene and Starwick Visit the Boston Museum 17
Episode 4 Starwick Attacks the Philistine Life and Reveals His Own Background 22
Pt. II In Europe
Episode 5 Starwick in Paris 51
Episode 6 Eugene's Homesickness for America 62
Episode 7 Exploring the Lower Depths of Paris 65
Episode 8 Eugene and Starwick Visit a Brothel 72
Episode 9 Starwick Seen as the Enemy 78
Episode 10 The Quarrel Between Eugene and Starwick 81
Episode 11 Eugene Attempts an Explanation of His Life 98
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)