WOLFE, THOMAS. 1900-1938.
Autograph Letter Signed ("Tom"), 3 pp recto and verso, 8vo, New York, October 27, 1928, to Edith Simpson, on Harvard Club stationery, with original autograph transmittal envelope featuring full Wolfe signature in return address, light smudging to ink of p 1, very mild toning, thumbing to envelope with loss at flap.
Provenance: Edith Simpson to her niece; by descent to the present owner.
WOLFE ON THE EARLY REVIEWS OF "LOOK HOMEWARD, ANGEL." After years as a struggling playwright, Wolfe turned to long form fiction, producing the highly autobiographical Look Homeward, Angel. The book's publication date was October 16, 1929; he writes this letter to a woman he met the previous summer. In part: "I am of course very much pleased with the review in the Times. It is quietly written but it says some tremendous things and I think it will help the book, as the Times has a tremendous Sunday circulation through the country. / I believe there will be a review in the book section of the Herald-Tribune next Sunday if not the week after, but probably next. If you get a chance, read it, and if it's good pass the news around. We all feel at Scribners now that the book has an excellent chance of success. The first edition is almost exhausted, and in Scribner's book store at Fifth Avenue it is now selling as well as Hemingway's new book. The remarkable thing about this is that it happened without advertising, and without reviews. Now that we have some good reviews, I think they will begin to advertise. They are quite happy and excited about it and so am I!"
Wolfe also mentions the reception the book received in his hometown: "North Carolina is quite stirred up over the book most of them are reading it not as a novel should be read, but as an almanac of gossip. I have had several reviews, and a good many letters, most of them highly favorable, although one letter from an old woman said I ought to be lynched!" Wolfe closes by enjoining Simpson to "Do all the talking you can."
Edith Simpson of Lima, Ohio was a single woman of independent means who met Wolfe while the two were on board the cruise ship Rotterdam in July of 1929.