Thomas Wolfe Review
Seven years is a long time to be away from home. For Thomas Wolfe, it must not have seemed long enough. He had last visited Asheville in September 1929, some six weeks before the publication of Look Homeward, Angel. During the intervening years, he had not set foot in his hometown, but he had brooded occasionally in writing and untold times in thought over the anger and consternation his novel had caused --or even would cause--in Asheville. Now, in the spring of 1937, he was finally heading home, where he might face the neighbors who were feeling this anger and experiencing this consternation. While he was in town, his old friend George McCoy asked him to write a piece for the Asheville Citizen-Times. The result was "Return," a poetic, enigmatic, and remarkably unjournalistic piece of journalism that appeared on May 16, the day after Wolfe left town. A close examination of this essay and its context, along with a consideration of Wolfe's relationship with the Asheville Citizen, provides some useful insights into the author's perspectives on journalism, Asheville, and himself.