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Ed, it isn't TOM Wolfe whose work I love -- although he's a fine writer -- it's THOMAS Wolfe, who wrote "Look Homeward Angel," "You Can't Go Home Again," etc. His books were published during the 30's and he died, very young, in 1938.

It's interesting that writers whose work we love can become, as people, very dear to us. When I learned that Wolfe had died long before I dicovered his books, I wept as at the loss of a beloved friend. It had been a dream of mine to go to New York and meet him, this man who had contributed so much to my life. What is wonderful is that, today, as a result of a letter I wrote him, I have a new and dear friend: Pat Conroy, the writer of such books as "Beach Music" and "Prince of Tides." I love his work, whidh is profoundly influenced by Thomas Wolfe. Through coming to know Pat it feels almost as if I've at last, all these years later, met and come to know Thomas Wolfe.

I'm green with jealousy that you've been able to see all of Wagner's operas. You showed very good judgment in not being brought up in Winnipeg.

Barbara

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By the way, for Judith or others interested in getting into the opera part of Wagner, Act I of Die Walküre is a great place to start. But for one of the most moving and emotional scenes in all of opera and indeed all of music, listen to the end of the opera, when Wotan says farewell to his most beloved daughter, Brünnhilde. Or better still, watch the broadcast version by James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera from 2001.

Okay! I ordered it from Amazon and it's on its way.

Last night I also dug up my DVD of Tristan and Isolde. I had actually packed it to take with me to the 2005 TOC conference "in case I had nothing to do some night and wanted to watch it on my computer". Hah. I fell on my face with exhaustion every night during that conference and still haven't watched that DVD and it has been buried in my house under stuff ever since. (I also, incidentally, managed at last to dig up my collection of all of Mahler's symphonies last night.)

Must...make...time...to...watch....

Judith

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Sorry Barbara, wrong Wolfe. But what a beautiful story! Thanks for posting! And I'm sorry to hear that Winnipeg was not a Wagnarian hotbed. NYC, LA, DC and lots of places in Germany are better on that score.

And Judith, who do you have doing your Mahler set? (I'll be seeing Mahler's 1st in a few months with the National Symphony under Slatkin, who's a big Mahler fan.) Also I'm glad you found your Tristan. It's probabaly Wagner's least theatric opera but, as I mentioned, has some incredible music.

Judith is no doubt in ecstasy right now listening to the "Mild und leise" from Tristan. But for those of you who, through complete, irresponsible neglect of your rational self-interest, don't have a disc and libretto of that opera readily at hand, here is a link to Kirsten Flagstad doing it and here is the libretto in German and English. Isolde, standing over the body of Tristan, simply cannot comprehend that he is dead as she sings to his grief-strickened friends of her love and death. If this does not move you, it might be because you are dead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV9ievcSKwU

Mild und leise ------ Softly and gently

wie er lächelt, ------ how he smiles

wie das Auge ------- how his eyes

hold eröffnet ------ fondly open

--seht ihr's, Freunde? ------ do see, friends?

Säht ihr's nicht? ------ would you not see it?

Immer lichter ------ always brighter

wie er leuchtet, ------ he shines,

Stern--umstrahlet ------ how in a blaze of stars

hoch sich hebt? ------ he raises himself aloft?

Seht ihr's nicht? ------ do you not see it?

Wie das Herz ihm ------ how his heart

mutig schwillt? ------ boldy swells?

voll und hehr ------ full and proud

im Busen ihm quillt? ------ rises in his breast?

wie den Lippen, ------ how from his lips,

wonnig mild, ------ joyously tender,

süsser Atem ------ sweet breath

sanft entweht: ------ gently flows:

Freunde, seht! ------ Freinds, look!

Fühlt und seht ihr's nicht? ------ do you not feel and see it?

Höre ich nur ------ do I along hear

diese Weise, ------ this melody,

die so wundervoll und leise, ------ which so wonderfully and softly

Wonne klagend, ------ bliss lamenting

Alles sagend ------ saying everything,

mild versöhnend ------ gently reconciling

aus ihm tönend, ------ sounding from him,

in mich dringet, ------ forces itself into me,

auf sich schwinget, ------ rises by its own power

hold erhallend ------ gently echoing

um mich klinget? ------ resounds about me?

Heller schallend, ------ Ringing more brightly,

mich unwallend, ------ flooding around me,

sind es Wellen ------ are they waves

sanfter Lüfte? ------ of gentle breezes?

sind es Wogen ------ are they billows

wonniger Düfte? ------ of blissful fragrance?

Wie sie schwellen ------ How they swell

mich umrauschen, ------ murmur about me,

soll ich atmen, ------ shall I breathe,

soll ich lauschen? ------ shall I listen?

Soll ich schlürfen, ------ shall I drink them in,

untertauchen? ------ plunge into them?

Süss in Düften ------ sweetly in their fragrance

mich verhauchen? ------ expire?

In dem wogenden Schwall, ------ in the billowing flood,

in den tönenden Schall, ------ in the echoing sound,

in des Welt-Atems ------ in the world-breaths

wehendem All-- ------ wafting Allness--

ertrinken-- ------ drown--

versinken--- ------ sink---

unbewusst--- ------ unconscious---

höchste Lust! ------ highest joy!

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And Judith, who do you have doing your Mahler set? (I'll be seeing Mahler's 1st in a few months with the National Symphony under Slatkin, who's a big Mahler fan.) Also I'm glad you found your Tristan. It's probabaly Wagner's least theatric opera but, as I mentioned, has some incredible music.

Klaus Tennstedt, with the London Philharmonic. Here's the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00000C2K...8420972-0981741

Judith is no doubt in ecstasy right now listening to the "Mild und leise" from Tristan.

Well -- no. I'll be at the office for a few more hours at least, and I doubt I'll have time to watch the opera when I get home -- I'm hoping to get in earlier tomorrow, which means I'll have to hit the sack earlier tonight. Sigh.

Kirsten Flagstad

If this does not move you, it might be because you are dead:

(*gulp*)

I see.

Maybe I'll leave a bit early tonight.

Judith

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Ed, it isn't TOM Wolfe whose work I love -- although he's a fine writer -- it's THOMAS Wolfe, who wrote "Look Homeward Angel," "You Can't Go Home Again," etc. His books were published during the 30's and he died, very young, in 1938.

It's interesting that writers whose work we love can become, as people, very dear to us. When I learned that Wolfe had died long before I dicovered his books, I wept as at the loss of a beloved friend. It had been a dream of mine to go to New York and meet him, this man who had contributed so much to my life. What is wonderful is that, today, as a result of a letter I wrote him, I have a new and dear friend: Pat Conroy, the writer of such books as "Beach Music" and "Prince of Tides." I love his work, whidh is profoundly influenced by Thomas Wolfe. Through coming to know Pat it feels almost as if I've at last, all these years later, met and come to know Thomas Wolfe.

I'm green with jealousy that you've been able to see all of Wagner's operas. You showed very good judgment in not being brought up in Winnipeg.

Barbara

Barbara,

It seems that I have made the mistake of thinking of Tom Wolfe as your favorite writer--the writer of The Pump House Gang and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test--only to find that you mean an entirely different person. I have never read either Tom, but I did paint a picture of Tom Wolfe holding a copy of The Painted Word.

I must confess that your passion for this unknown-to-me writer, Thomas Wolfe, your fave, has me very curious. What book of his would you recommend to a first time reader?

-Victor

Edited by Victor Pross
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Judith -

Good listening!!

Tennstedt was a superb Mahlerian by all accounts. I have his No.3 which is the only recording to come anywhere near the Jascha Horenstein version which, sonically, was years ahead of its time. There are so few recordings available of any performances by Horenstein - which is a shame. He never fails to inspire!

If you haven't heard No3 for a while just take a quick re-listen to the 4th movement (the vocal setting of Nietzsche's Midnight Song). Superb.

Edited by Peter
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Maybe I'll leave a bit early tonight.

Okay. Just finished the Tristan and Isolde DVD. So much for getting to the office early today.

My god. I can't believe that this stuff was allowed on the stage in Victorian times. It's erotic as hell. Even for the 1950s! Holy smoke!

Nobody warned me that I'd be crying my eyes out at the end of Act II and Act III. Jesus. Kurt Moll played King Mark to perfection in terms of portraying the bewilderment that always gets to me. Stabbed me right in the heart. Still gets to me just thinking about it.

I can see why experts warn singers not to consider singing Wagner before age 30. I can't imagine singing like that -- the incredible power, the range, the stamina, the volume -- Christ. I wish I could do that.

The particular production I had was really quirky in terms of sets -- the first act was set on what looked like a cruise ship with deck chairs and tropical drinks, the second act had Tristan and Isolde sitting on a yellow sofa with pink flowers, the third act had Tristan sitting in a living room chair watching a slide show -- I'm probably going to look for another, more traditional one on DVD, but I'm also going to look for Kurt Moll again. But definitely.

Judith

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Ed - thank you so much for that Flagstad link.

Superlatives just stop in their tracks - the hairs on the back of the neck tingle - truly amazing!

I see from the YouTube posted comments that the conductor was Furtwangler........another artist the Nazis sought to keep under their umbrella.....along with Richard Strauss.......

Which brings me full circle via the 4 Last Songs which was premiered by Kirsten Flagstad

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Victor: "I must confess that your passion for this unknown-to-me writer, Thomas Wolfe, your fave, has me very curious. What book of his would you recommend to a first time reader?"

Wolfe wrote four major novels, which should be read in order: Look Homeward Angel, Of Time and the River, The Web and the Rock, and You Can't Go Home Again. It is said of Wolfe that he is best discovered when one is an adolescent, and that may be so. But that is also said of Rand. And I think what people mean by it is that by the time one is an adult, one has ceased to be an idealist.

I recommend that you read the original version of Look Homeward Angel, under the title Wolfe chose for it: O Lost: A Story of the Buried Life. It has been the accepted wisdom for many years that Wolfe brought his editor, Maxwell Perkins, an unpublishable, endlessly long, emotionally self- indulgent manuscript entited O Lost, and that Perkins, with herculean effort, whipped it into the literary sensation Look Homeward Angel. Well, a few years ago the original manuscript of O Lost was discovered and published -- and in my opinion it is immensely superior to the earliler version.

When I first listened to the music of Mahler, a friend told me something that applies equally to Wolfe. He said that Mahler had to be listened to in a very particular way. "Be very quiet inside," he said. "Give yourself up to the music, and especially to his pace, be willing to follow wherever he goes. You won't be sorry." I did what he suggested. I wasn't sorry.

If you decide to read Wolfe, I'll be interested to know your reaction.

Barbara

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Victor: "I must confess that your passion for this unknown-to-me writer, Thomas Wolfe, your fave, has me very curious. What book of his would you recommend to a first time reader?"

Wolfe wrote four major novels, which should be read in order: Look Homeward Angel, Of Time and the River, The Web and the Rock, and You Can't Go Home Again. It is said of Wolfe that he is best discovered when one is an adolescent, and that may be so. But that is also said of Rand. And I think what people mean by it is that by the time one is an adult, one has ceased to be an idealist.

I recommend that you read the original version of Look Homeward Angel, under the title Wolfe chose for it: O Lost: A Story of the Buried Life. It has been the accepted wisdom for many years that Wolfe brought his editor, Maxwell Perkins, an unpublishable, endlessly long, emotionally self- indulgent manuscript entited O Lost, and that Perkins, with herculean effort, whipped it into the literary sensation Look Homeward Angel. Well, a few years ago the original manuscript of O Lost was discovered and published -- and in my opinion it is immensely superior to the earliler version.

When I first listened to the music of Mahler, a friend told me something that applies equally to Wolfe. He said that Mahler had to be listened to in a very particular way. "Be very quiet inside," he said. "Give yourself up to the music, and especially to his pace, be willing to follow wherever he goes. You won't be sorry." I did what he suggested. I wasn't sorry.

If you decide to read Wolfe, I'll be interested to know your reaction.

Barbara

Barbara,

Thank you. My interest in reading Wolfe has been peaked, and that is due to your influence. This is similar to how I came across Ayn Rand. I had heard here and there what a tremendous writer she is and just had to read one of her books.

-Victor

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When I first listened to the music of Mahler, a friend told me something that applies equally to Wolfe. He said that Mahler had to be listened to in a very particular way. "Be very quiet inside," he said. "Give yourself up to the music, and especially to his pace, be willing to follow wherever he goes. You won't be sorry." I did what he suggested. I wasn't sorry.

Barbara

Barbara -- An excellent observation about listening to Mahler. I was first attracted to the strength of his music. But he's a composer that I can listen to over and over, as you say, allowing the music to play itself out and go where it's going within you.

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Judith -- I've heard good things about the Tennstedt Mahler. Sounds like you have some good listening ahead!

Yes, Tristan und Isolde is quite powerful, musically and dramatically. It's Wagner's most focused opera on human love, though I think his most human Ring opera, Die Walkure, is better overall. Wagner, of course, saw himself creating a new art form, the musical drama that integrated much more tightly music and plot. That's why I love the "Mild und leise" from the last act!

Unfortunately, companies like to experiment with weird staging, as it sounds like they did in the version you have. I saw a Rheingold last year in which the gods were like garden party 1930s English royalty. The music overcame the silly staging. (But I thought that sort of staging worked in the movie version of Richard III with Ian McKellen.) The French especially tend to be into weird stagings and I'm affraid a lot of otherwise right-thinking folks have caught the French disease.

I saw a more traditional Walkure staging a couple of years ago in DC with Placido Domingo as Siegmund that was excellent all around. I suspect the version I'll see soon in DC will be sillier, but the music and singing will still carry it.

By the way, while many might disagree with me, I see Puccini's Madama Butterfly as the same in terms of integration of music and drama as many Wagner opera. I saw that one again recently and the "Un bel di" is in the category of the Tristan aria as one of the handful of best in all of music.) In the 19th century a young Japanese girl, Butterfly, has been married off to an American sailor who promptly sails away. It's been three years. Will the man she loves return? She explains to her skeptical maid. Here's

doing this piece the justice it deserves, with words in Italian and English below:

Italian -------------------------------- English

Un bel dì, vedremo -------- One fine day we'll see

levarsi un fil di fumo -------- arising a thread of smoke

sull'estremo confin del mare -------- in the distance from the edge of the sea

E poi la nave appare. -------- and then the ship appears.

Poi la nave bianca -------- Then the white ship

entra nel porto, -------- enters the port

romba il suo saluto. -------- thundering its salute.

Vedi? È venuto! -------- See? He is coming!

Io non gli scendo incontro. ------- I don't go down to meet him.

Io no. -------- Not I

Mi metto -------- I stay

là sul ciglio del colle -------- on the ridge of the hill

e aspetto, e aspetto -------- waiting, waiting

gran tempo -------- a long time

e non mi pesa, -------- I won't tire.

la lunga attesa. -------- of the long wait.

E... uscito dalla folla cittadina -------- And from out of the crowd

un uomo, un picciol punto -------- a man, a little speck

s'avvia per la collina. -------- in the distance climbing the hill.

Chi sarà? chi sarà? -------- Who shall it be? Who shall it be?

E come sarà giunto ------- And as he arrives

che dirà? che dirà? -------- What shall he say. What shall he say?

Chiamerà Butterfly -------- He shall call "Butterfly"

dalla lontana. -------- from afar.

Io senza dar risposta -------- I feel like responding

me ne starò nascosta -------- I stay quite concealed.

un po' per celia -------- A little bit to tease

e un po' per non morire -------- A little so I won't die

al primo incontro, -------- at our first encounter.

ed egli alquanto in pena -------- And somewhat in fear

chiamerà, chiamerà: -------- He'll call, he'll call.

Piccina mogliettina ------- Dear little wife

olezzo di verbena, -------- little orange blossom

i nomi che mi dava al suo venire. ------- The names he called me when he came here.

Tutto questo avverrà, ------- All of this will occur

te lo prometto. ------- I promoise you.

Tienti la tua paura, -------- Put aside your fears.

io con sicura -------- I have certainty

fede l'aspetto. ------- faith that he'll appear.

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I've heard good things about the Tennstedt Mahler. Sounds like you have some good listening ahead!

AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! (*runs screaming from the room, overwhelmed with all the things on the list to read, watch, and hear*)

Life is just full of good things to do. Ain't it rough? :D

I saw a more traditional Walkure staging a couple of years ago in DC with Placido Domingo as Siegmund that was excellent all around. I suspect the version I'll see soon in DC will be sillier, but the music and singing will still carry it.

I envy your living close enough to a major opera company to see stuff like this on a regular basis. I saw "Tosca" last year, and before that it was decades. I've been promising myself to get down to the Met or the Kennedy Center or to Toronto this year to see a production, but I just haven't gotten around to it -- and having to make an entire weekend out if it is quite expensive.

By the way, while many might disagree with me, I see Puccini's Madama Butterfly as the same in terms of integration of music and drama as many Wagner opera. I saw that one again recently and the "Un bel di" is in the category of the Tristan aria as one of the handful of best in all of music.) In the 19th century a young Japanese girl, Butterfly, has been married off to an American sailor who promptly sails away. It's been three years. Will the man she loves return? She explains to her skeptical maid. Here's
doing this piece the justice it deserves

THAT ... was sublime.

I've never actually seen "Butterfly". Must rectify that.

Judith

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Ed, it isn't TOM Wolfe whose work I love -- although he's a fine writer -- it's THOMAS Wolfe, who wrote "Look Homeward Angel," "You Can't Go Home Again," etc. His books were published during the 30's and he died, very young, in 1938.

It's interesting that writers whose work we love can become, as people, very dear to us. When I learned that Wolfe had died long before I dicovered his books, I wept as at the loss of a beloved friend. It had been a dream of mine to go to New York and meet him, this man who had contributed so much to my life. What is wonderful is that, today, as a result of a letter I wrote him, I have a new and dear friend: Pat Conroy, the writer of such books as "Beach Music" and "Prince of Tides." I love his work, whidh is profoundly influenced by Thomas Wolfe. Through coming to know Pat it feels almost as if I've at last, all these years later, met and come to know Thomas Wolfe.

I'm green with jealousy that you've been able to see all of Wagner's operas. You showed very good judgment in not being brought up in Winnipeg.

Barbara

Revisiting this thread: You know, I am always on the lookout for "new" novelists to read, and maybe Thomas Wolfe is just the ticket. I am very much enamored with some of James Hilton's books from the same time period. My favorite novelist was from around then, Sinclair Lewis. Probably because he's a Welshie too. His keen sense of observation in "Dodsworth" is a masterpiece, and even applies today, when he writes of American expatriates who affect European attitudes, and of how the so-called European "sophistication" is often a front for provincialism, chauvanism and just plain loafing. I read "The Fountainhead" at 17 after I heard Rand admired Lewis's writing.

BTW, I like Winnipeg. Some of my best photographs taken there.

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Robert: "You know, I am always on the lookout for 'new' novelists to read, and maybe Thomas Wolfe is just the ticket."

I hope you'll tell me your reaction. I'll be very interested. For one thing, you'll see that he is not like any other writer; he is sui generis. And there are scenes and passages in his books of heart-stopping beauty and passion. It was thrugh reading Wolfe that I fell in love with the magic of words, of rhythm and cadence and tempo, and I learned the beauty of the English language. He -- and in smaller part Somerset Maugham -- was the writer who first opened up the world to me and told me there was a whole universe beyond Winnipeg, and people who cared about important things and were doing important things. He affected many young people as Rand does in one crucial respect: he fired everything idealistic in them and told them that a wonderful life was possible. Like Rand, he told them they were right.

You say you like Winnipeg. It's a nice place to visit. . .

Barbara

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Barbara; I've never read Wolfe but many years ago I heard John Hospers read a long passage from him. What I heard was very good. The other encounter was the passage Miss Rand read from Wolfe in her lecture at NBI. I think I will look into him.

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I'm delighted that some of you now want to read Thomas Wolfe. But you need to be warned. If you don't like Wagner, you won't like Wolfe. And if you don't likle the following quotes, don't read Wolfe.

Quotes by Thomas Wolfe:

"...a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a stone, a leaf, a door. And of all the forgotten faces. Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth. Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone? O waste of loss, in the hot mazes, lost, among bright stars on this most weary unbright cinder, lost! Remembering speechlessly we seek the great forgotten language, the lost lane-end into heaven, a stone, a leaf, an unfound door. Where? When? O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again."

"Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas. . . . The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London cutpurse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time."

"At that instant he saw, in one blaze of light, an image of unutterable conviction, the reason why the artist works and lives and has his being--the reward he seeks--the only reward he really cares about, without which there is nothing. It is to snare the spirits of mankind in nets of magic, to make his life prevail through his creation, to wreak the vision of his life, the rude and painful substance of his own experience, into the congruence of blazing and enchanted images that are themselves the core of life, the essential pattern whence all other things proceed, the kernel of eternity."

"Play us a tune on an unbroken spinet, and let the bells ring, let the bells ring! Play music now: play us a tune on an unbroken spinet. Do not make echoes of forgotten time, do not strike music from old broken keys, do not make ghosts with faded tinklings on the yellowed board; but play us a tune on an unbroken spinet, play lively music when the instrument was new, let us see Mozart playing in the parlor, and let us hear the sound of the ladies' voices. But more than that; waken the turmoil of forgotten streets, let us hear their sounds again unmuted, and unchanged by time, throw the light of Wednesday morning on the Third Crusade, and let us see Athens on an average day."

"He turned, and saw her then, and so finding her, was lost, and so losing self, was found, and so seeing her, saw for a fading moment only the pleasant image of the woman that perhaps she was, and that life saw. He never knew; he only knew that from that moment on his spirit was impaled upon the knife of love. From that moment on, he never was again to lose her utterly, never to wholly re-possess unto himself the lonely, wild integrity of youth which had been his. At that instant of their meeting, the proud inviolability of youth was broken, not to be restored. That moment of their meeting she got into his life by some dark magic, and before he knew it, he had her beating in the pulses of his blood –- somehow thereafter –- how he never knew – to steal into the conduits of his heart, and to inhabit the lone, inviolable tenement of his one life; so, like love’s great thief, to steal through all the adyts of his soul, and to become part of all he did and said and was –- through this invasion so to touch all loveliness that he might touch, through this strange and subtle stealth of love henceforth to share all that he might feel or make or dream, until there was for him no beauty that she did not share, no music that did not have her being it, no horror, madness, hatred, sickness of the soul, or grief unutterable, that was not somehow consonant to her single image and her million forms –- and no final freedom and release, bought through the incalculable expenditure of blood and anguish and despair, that would not bear upon its brow forever the deep scar, upon its sinews the old mangling chains, of love."

Barbara

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Barbara,

These excerpts are fascinating and bear rereading several times, like quietly sipping strong, well-aged armagnac on a clear night with someone you love.

I think I can see why Rand did not like Wolfe (in addition to not caring for you, her Randian heroine at the time, admiring another writer who wrote in a predominantly poetic style). Wolfe presents the emotional landscape and looks out on the world in general terms from that lens. He does not follow the pattern: (1) observed thing, (2) evaluation and (3) emotion. Instead, he follows (1) evaluation (as a broad statement that evokes a remembered emotions), (2) observed thing, (3) other emotions through a broad statement. Of course, these are only general patterns and not hard-and-fast rules.

He is quite good at tracing emotional shifts. From these excerpts, he comes across as more poet than storyteller. Obviously, his novels must tell a story, but it seems like he uses the story as a frame to present his poetry, instead of using poetic elements to highlight aspects of the story (as in Rand).

I fully intend to read him. Also, I was another who carried around the wrong Wolfe in my heart. I did it for years (until about 2 years ago). I used to wonder what the devil it was all about and how you could possibly find heroic inspiration in social satire...

Michael

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Michael: " Obviously, his novels must tell a story, but it seems like he uses the story as a frame to present his poetry, instead of using poetic elements to highlight aspects of the story (as in Rand)."

Not quite, Michael. Rather, he does tell a story -- the story of his own remarkable and dramatic life -- but he tells it as a poet speaks. He was a boy from a small Southern town who dreamed of writing novels and electrifying the world with them -- and he did so. He dreamed of a romance that would rival the great love stories he had read -- and his relationship with Aline Bernstein, the acclaimed Broadway designêr, is surely one of the most magical love stories of all time. He dreamed of travel -- and he journeyed to the great cities of the earth. (He visited Germany in the 30's, and his poet's eye, incredibly, saw what was to come.) He dreamed of enduring friendships, and was beloved by men and women of great achievement. He lived fiercely, as though his life would be a short one, and it was; he was under forty when he died.

Barbara

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Someone once made this observation about Robert Ingersoll's prose, and ever since I've been sensitive to it in other people's writing.

Did you notice that much of his writing could be set as iambic pentameter if you wanted to break it up that way?

Judith

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... he does tell a story -- the story of his own remarkable and dramatic life -- but he tells it as a poet speaks.

Barbara,

You found the words for what I glimpsed and was trying to express. Talking like a poet is an inherent part of this style. Normally, talking like a poet is often used by writers as a character trait of a specific character. In Wolfe's case, it permeates everything (I presume—I really need to read him to make statements like that with certainty).

But now I can see even more why Wolfe's style would grate on Rand's nerves.

I don't know why, but the excerpts you provided reminded me of Lord Byron. I can imagine him talking like that.

Michael

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