Books: Legend of a Giant

THOMAS WOLFE (441 pp.)—Elizabeth Nowell—Doubleday ($5.95).

Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings.

—Joseph Conrad Thomas Wolfe was an undisciplined, ungovernable American Conrad whose sea was the land of his birth. His words, seeking "to find language again in its primitive sinews," rioted onto paper in millions, growing out of him, over him, and sometimes beyond him. In the West a few years before he died, he saw a sequoia for the first time. He stared upward for a moment in...

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