Rundle: the krude yet kreative legacy of Tom Wolfe

16 May, 2018, 15:11 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Tom Wolfe author of

Author Tom Wolfe, who chronicled everything from hippies to the space race before turning his sharp eye to fiction, has died aged 88. Wolfe who pioneered "new journalism" passed away in Manhattan on Monday, his agent confirmed the news to the New York Times on Tuesday.

Born in Virginia in 1931, Wolfe went straight into reportage out of university, beginning at the Springfield Union in MA.

Wolfe started his writing career at the Springfield, Massachusetts, Union newspaper and also worked for the Washington Post, New York Herald-Tribune and New York Magazine.

His first book The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby was a collection of essays originally published in Esquire magazine.

Tom Wolfe brought stories to life with groundbreaking novels, including "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "The Right Stuff".

Wolfe seen here with then president George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush in 2002 after receiving the National Humanities Medal
Wolfe seen here with then president George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush in 2002 after receiving the National Humanities Medal

In 1973, Wolfe co-edited The New Journalism, an anthology that collected several of his pieces along with work from peers such as Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, and others. Throughout his work, Wolfe's marvelous facility with language created several new phrases, including "radical chic" and "the Me decade".

New Journalism mixed traditional journalism for stylized journalism, and "saturation reporting", where a reporter would shadow the subject, observes them over an extended period of time.

The Right Stuff, Wolfe's 1979 account of the early days of the US space program and the test pilots recruited for it, remains his best-selling work. Brian De Palma adapted it to film.

Wolfe lived in NY with his wife, Sheila.


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