"A stone, a leaf, an unfound door": Thomas Wolfe's Platonic search

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1988
Authors
Burger, John
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English
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English
Abstract

Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angelis the story of such a search. Subtitled "A Story of the Buried Life," it takes its clue mainly from Plato, but also from the British Romantic poets, particularly William Wordsworth. This thesis will show Wolfe's place in the Platonic-Romantic tradition, and look at the way Wolfe not only uses, but makes new, the Platonic myth of prenatal existence. I will look at his symbolism of "A stone, a leaf, a door" in connection with Plato's theory. And, in light of a letter he wrote in 1923, in which he said, "Someday, I'm going to write a play . . . for my soul's ease and comfort" (Wolfe Letters 41), I will try to determine if he was working toward a new mythology that would explain the fact of death for his own peace of mind.

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