Tom Wolfe in the NYPL

The papers of the Man in the White Suit, Tom Wolfe, have been acquired by the New York Public Library, making him “officially an Important Writer,” as Oliver Wiseman states. The papers have been made available to the public only recently. (via Prufrock)

Wolfe has not published a memoir or autobiography. In general he leaves himself out of his writing. But the career of Tom Wolfe, as told by Tom Wolfe, is the story of an outsider swimming against the tide, first in non-fiction and then in novels. Things got interesting when a strike knocked out New York’s newspapers in 1963. “You weren’t going to catch me on a picket line,” Wolfe said in an interview several years ago. “So I went to Esquire with a story about custom cars.” That article, his first magazine piece, was originally titled “There Goes (Varoom! Varoom!) That Kandy-Kolored (Thphhhhh!) Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby (Rahghhh!) Around the Bend! (Brummmmmmmmmmmmmmm) . . .” Tom Wolfe was already Tom Wolfe.

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