Tom Wolfe: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers)

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9780313313837: Tom Wolfe: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers)
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Always controversial, Tom Wolfe's writings inarguably have had enduring cultural impact through the decades, starting with his short stories in the 1960s and the publication of his first nonfiction novel, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test(1968). This book offers the fullest treatment of Wolfe's life and literary output available to date, with full analysis of his major works including The Right Stuff (1979), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), and his most recent novel A Man in Full(1999). With insightful historical perspectives to Wolfe's literary and cultural contributions, this book situates all the book-length works both in the context of Wolfe's own life and of the literary forms he either shaped or rebelled against. Wolfe's readers will enjoy the fascinating account of his personal and professional life. A full chapter is devoted to exploring Wolfe's place in contemporary American literature, which places the writer alongside other notable writers who made their start in journalism, including Twain and Hemingway. In addition to the discussions of character and plot development for each book, Wolfe's thematic concerns are also fully explored so that readers will be able to understand and appreciate his ideas on society, religion, and gender. Each work is illuminated from an interesting literary perspective, which includes a feminist reading of Radical Chic, a religious reading of A Man in Full, and a reading that places the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in the tradition of the picaresque novel. A select bibliography, including reviews, completes this companion.

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Review:

"Ragen does an excellent job of explaining the characteristics of realistic-fiction writing and of placing it in context....extremely accessible."-School Library Journal

"Intended for the general reader, and as a resource for students."-Reference & Research Book News

?Intended for the general reader, and as a resource for students.?-Reference & Research Book News

?Ragen does an excellent job of explaining the characteristics of realistic-fiction writing and of placing it in context....extremely accessible.?-School Library Journal

"What a refreshing and exciting work of criticism! This concise study of a man of large talent and of his rich, complex literary corpus is a spirited and engaging presentation of the essential Tom Wolfe. Ragen has chosen every quotation, detail, and idea with precision, presenting Wolfe's life and works in a lively, hard-edged style that engages throughout. Balanced, sensible, and very lucid, this is the best single work on Wolfe. A must read!"-Emory Elliot University of California Distinguished Professor of English, Riverside Campus

Synopsis:

Offers the fullest treatment of the life and work of Tom Wolfe available to date. Always controversial, Tom Wolfe's writings inarguably have had enduring cultural impact through the decades, starting with his short stories in the 1960s and the publication of his first "nonfiction novel," The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968). This book offers the fullest treatment of Wolfe's life and literary output available to date, with full analysis of his major works including The Right Stuff (1979), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), and his most recent novel A Man in Full (1999). With insightful historical perspectives to Wolfe's literary and cultural contributions, this book situates all the book-length works in the context both of Wolfe's own life and of the literary forms he either shaped or rebelled against. Wolfe's readers will enjoy the fascinating account of his personal and professional life. A full chapter is devoted to exploring Wolfe's place in contemporary American literature, which places the writer alongside other notable writers who made their start in journalism, including Twain and Hemingway.

In addition to the discussions of character and plot development for each book, Wolfe's thematic concerns are also fully explored so that readers will be able to understand and appreciate his ideas on society, religion, and gender. Each work is illuminated from an interesting literary perspective which includes a feminist reading of Radical Chic, a religious reading of A Man in Full and a reading that places the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test in the tradition of the picaresque novel. A select bibliography, including reviews, completes this companion.

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