Litkicks Message Board Archive

Look, Homer, Angles!

Posted to WritersAndGenres

I agree to spend minutes on research. I reach over and pick up Jack's Book, the interesting oral history. I go to the index. I turn pages.

Scotty Beaulieu; page 26:

Instead of making practice he plunged into the novels of Thomas Wolfe, who, he wrote, "woke me up to America as a Poem instead of America as a place to struggle around and sweat in."


He called it "Vanity of Duluoz," the same title he chose in 1967 for the last of his major novels to be published. By his own word the stories he had written on the rented Underwood mimicked Hemingway, Saroyan, and Wolfe.

Allan Temko; 66:

Burroughs had told him to read Gide and Céline, and Professor Weaver had sent Jack to Melville and the Gnostics. But Wolfe remained his principal model -

John Clellan Homes; 74:

I didn't want to go back and read him, although Jack was still very enthusiastic about Wolfe.

Burroughs; 190:

It is very much, of course, in the tradition of Wolfe. The method of composition was very similar. It's the flow and writing at great speed.

At that time, in Mexico, his whole theory was pretty well developed. That is, of sketching with words, and of the flow and using the first version - the first words that came.

Malcolm Cowley; 206:

Jack never lost his enthusiasm for Thomas Wolfe. That same way of writing: headlong, but at the same time in periods.

I should place Wolfe, outside of Ginsberg, as the greatest influence on Jack. He speaks of Proust instead, but Proust and Wolfe were alike in one thing: not in genius but in the fact that their whole work was essentially based on memory. They were the great rememberers. So, just as Wolfe was going to do his whole life as one more or less connected novel, Jack was going to do his whole life as one more or less connected novel.