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Look Homeward, Angel
16 November 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
What is it about great sprawling family sagas that continues to enthral readers and audiences?
If Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet has become the great Australian family-story, then Thomas Wolfe’s mighty 1929 novel is its American forebear.
Both tell the story of large crazy families living in unruly old houses. Both trace the attempts of children to escape their families, while, at the same time, finding themselves drawn back into the circle. And both do it with great compassion and a rich layer of humour.
Thomas Wolfe was a larger-than-life figure, who wrote larger-than-life novels – that translate powerfully to the stage.
Look Homeward Angel is based on his own life, and large, eccentric family in Asheville, North Carolina, in the early part of the twentieth century. Like his hero, Eugene Gant, Wolfe was filled with words, images and ideas, bursting to break away and become a writer.
Wolfe’s genius was recognised by the legendary editor, Maxwell Perkins, at Charles Scribner Sons in New York. Perkins had discovered, and edited, Ernest Hemingway
and F Scott Fitzgerald.
Reading Wolfe’s sprawling manuscript, Perkins realised that he had a masterpiece in his hands, and worked with Wolfe to wrestle the novel into shape. It was published in1929, to universal acclaim.