Rundle: the krude yet kreative legacy of Tom Wolfe

Rundle: the krude yet kreative legacy of Tom Wolfe

Wolfe's influence is profound on American culture and its lexicon - "the right stuff", "radical chic" and "the Me Decade" (read Wolfe on all three by clicking their respective links) being but three of Wolfe's phrases which demonstrate his exceptional linguistic acumen - it will be felt for time immemorial. He first came to wide notice with the 1968 novel The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, an account of counterculture icon Ken Kesey and friends, aka the Merry Pranksters, traveling the country in their painted bus and the adventures they experienced. In addition to the aforementioned "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "The Right Stuff" - novels that were later recaptured as Hollywood feature films - he wrote theatrical and entertaining stories for magazines such as Esquire, Harper's, and NY magazine.

Wolfe started his writing career at the Springfield, Massachusetts, Union newspaper and also worked for the Washington Post, New York Herald-Tribune and New York Magazine.

Wolfe, known for his signature white suit, was easily recognizable when taking walks in his neighborhood.

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Wolfe became fascinated with astronauts after Rolling Stone magazine assigned him to cover an Apollo programme launch in 1972.

"The Right Stuff" was adopted into a film in 1983. The resulting bestseller, The Bonfire Of The Vanities, defined the late-1980s era of Wall Street ambition, power and money.

"I thought so many times about what went wrong", DiNovi said in the book.

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Wolfe complained that novelists did not bring enough reality to their books, and while bemoaning the state of American literature, offered himself as an exemplar of what it should be.

"He is probably the most skillful writer in America - I mean by that he can do more things with words than anyone else", wrote William F. Buckley in the pages of the National Review.

Wolfe is survived by his wife and two children.

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