Ideas: Wolfe Among the Pigeons

A new "literary manifesto" ruffles some feathers

At this weak, pale, tabescent moment in the history of American literature, we need a battalion, a brigade, of Zolas to head out into this wild, bizarre, unpredictable, Hog-stomping Baroque country of ours and reclaim it as literary property.

The man who would lead this crusade has the proper mettle -- or at least the proper brass -- for the job. He is none other than Tom Wolfe, apostle of the New Journalism, archaeologist of radical chic and, most recently, best-selling author of Bonfire of the Vanities (1987), which gleefully pilloried the greed and corruption of New York City life. Wolfe's...

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