The Complete Short Stories of Thomas Wolfe

Thomas Wolfe, Author, Francis E. Skipp, Editor Scribner Book Company $27.5 (621p) ISBN 978-0-684-18743-3
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Wolfe's death and a suitable occasion for a retrospective. Of the 58 stories in this volume, 35 have never before been collected, and one, ""The Spanish Letter,'' is published for the first time. Wolfe was not a short story writer; most of these fragments were plucked from his massive manuscripts, and many would be more appropriately classified as essay or memoir. ``The Spanish Letter,'' relating the author's visits to Nazi Germany, strongly condemns the ``poisoning'' of German culture and society by Hitler and his followers. It's a fine piece, but elsewhere Wolfe's well-known faults are conspicuously displayed. Even one of the best known of these stories, ``Only the Dead Know Brooklyn,'' now embarrasses with its inept attempt to reproduce a Brooklyn accent. The puerile ``Portrait of a Literary Critic'' and heavy-handed ``Justice Is Blind'' are equally disappointing. With all its flaws, this collection serves as a useful reminder of Wolfe's once-formidable presence and the wide influence he formerly exerted. (May 5)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1987
Release date: 05/01/1987
Paperback - 656 pages - 978-0-02-040891-8
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