Friday, November 16, 2012

Getting the Right Wolfe

In late 1962, the New York Typographical Union called a strike, depriving New Yorkers of their seven daily newspapers for more than four months. The strike became famous for at least two of its long-lasting cultural consequences. A group of eggheads, suffering withdrawal pangs from their Sunday dose of the New York Times Book Review, founded the New York Review of Books; and Tom Wolfe temporarily lost his job at the Trib. He took a freelance assignment from Esquire to cover a car show in California. When he returned, he stumbled into a writer’s block, and his editor, with the deadline approaching, told him simply to type up his notes so a rewrite man could use them to make an article. In an all-night session at the typewriter, Wolfe described his California experiences in a freewheeling letter to his editor, who was so pleased with all 49 pages that he simply struck the salutation from the top and ran the notes as Wolfe wrote them.

Read the rest of Andrew Ferguson's Commentary magazine essay here. [If only all magazines were as good as Commentary.]

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