Quote of the Week | Tom Wolfe

Well, everyone, we’ve made it to week two. First and foremost, congratulations. Between classes, assignments, and publishing events, we’ve all hit the ground running.

For returning students, the transition from summer to fall is a familiar one. For new students, many of whom have never lived – or perhaps even visited – this dense and sprawling city, the shift and pace of life can seem overwhelming and mysterious. Even the great mystery novelist Agatha Christie is reported to have said, “It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.”

That said, the American novelist, poet, and short story writer John Updike is renowned for having said, “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.” 

These teaser quotes have paved the way for what the blog is going to spotlight today for the Quote of the Week. It is an uplifting, hopeful statement  meant to put New York City newbies – those who are familiarizing themselves with Updike’s understanding of the city’s charms – at ease.

One belongs to New York instantly. One belongs to it as
much in five minutes as in five years. “
 — Tom Wolfe

Tom Wolfe
was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1931. After studying at Washington and Lee and Yale, he became a reporter. Very early on in his career, his coverage of Cuba for The Washington Post won him the Washington Newspaper Guild’s foreign news prize. Wolfe is best known, however, for helping to bring about the New Journalism movement, in which literary techniques were combined with journalistic principles to highlight actual events. Wolfe is also the author of 14 books. His most recent novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons, was published by Picador in 2005. (Picador is a Macmillan imprint.)

For more on Tom Wolfe, check out this interview with The Daily Beast on memoirs and memory.


“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

–Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

Oscar Wilde, an Irish playwright, poet, and novelist, became one of London’s most popular playwrights during his time with plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest.

Wilde spoke highly of aestheticism and made attempts at several forms of literature including publishing a book poetry, lecturing on the new “English Renaissance in Art” in the United States and Canada, and became a journalist when he returned to London. Wilde became one of the best-known personalities of his day, known for his wit and flamboyant dress.

While The Importance of Being Earnest was still running in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for criminal libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The trial revealed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with men. After two more trials, Wilde was convicted and imprisoned for two years. After he was released, Wilde left to France and began his final work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol, a long poem commemorating the harsh realities of prison life.

quote of the week

“The fact that I’m me and no one else is one of my greatest assets.”

Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir

murakami-harukiMasterful literary fiction writer Haruki Murakami is responsible for world-renowned books such as Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, Kafka on the Shore, and IQ84. Born and raised in Japan, Murakami is fairly private and removed from academic literary circles, pursuing his love of writing and creating jazz music unencumbered by the opinions of anyone but his wife (who he considers his first real reader) and family.


quote of the week

“Everything in the world was in precarious balance, pure risk, and those who didn’t agree to take the risk wasted away in a corner, without getting to know life.”

— Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name

51putd03r7l-_sx317_bo1204203200_A prolific Italian writer, the pseudonymous author structures her books around the female experience in relationships and life. Some of Ferrante’s books that amassed her impressive following include My Brilliant FriendThe Days of Abandonment, and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay.

Ferrante, despite her cult-like success and her fans’ respect of her desire to keep her identity private, was recently in the news for being doxxed by a male Italian jocover_9781609452766_109_600urnalist. Ferrante’s exposure has been widely criticized, and the general consensus is that this treatment of Ferrante was unnecessary and unfair. It’s unknown if Ferrante will keep writing novels, since she has previously released a statement that she would cease to do so if her identity was ever discovered, but that doesn’t take away from the incredible voice and narratives that she has already given readers.

quote of the week

“Publishing a book is like stuffing a note into a bottle and hurling it into the sea. Some bottles drown, some come safe to land, where the notes are read and then possibly cherished, or else misinterpreted, or else understood all too well by those who hate the message. You never know who your readers might be.”

– Margaret Atwood, “Why We Must Defend Writers

imgresMargaret Atwood is a poet, writer, essayist, literary critic, screenwriter, scientific innovator and inventor, public speaker, and editor from Canada. Atwood has an extensive history of winning awards, including winning the Booker Prize 5 times and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Literature, among many others. Some of Atwood’s more famous works include Oryx and CrakeThe Handmaid’s Tale, and Cat’s Eye. Atwood is also an feminist and environmental activist and is a noted humanist, earning the official title by the American Humanist Society.