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Look Homeward, Angel

wolfe novel town novels

a novel by Thomas Wolfe, published in 1929. Subtitled ‘A Story of the Buried Life’, it is the first of a series of novels about the Gant family. In this youthful semi-autobiographical work Wolfe appears as Eugene Gant, an artist growing up in Altamont, a small Southern town in the state of Old Catawba. He is caught in the cross-currents of his parents' stormy relationship, between his mother's practicality and his father's romantic passion. The novel charts his education from school, where he is persecuted for being a loner, to university where, after an awkward start, he develops into a major figure on the campus. It tells of his encounters with a prostitute, events on the campus, an unhappy love affair, concluding with the death of his brother as he decides to leave the town behind. The novel deals with the revolt of the individual from the constrictions of the provincial American small town South, in the same vein as novels by Sherwood Anderson and Sinclair Lewis. In a style marked by topographical detail and imagery, this romantic and often satiric portrait reveals Wolfe's stylistic debts to the modernist influences of Joyce, Dreiser, and other contemporaries.

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