Thomas Wolfe home in Asheville, North Carolina.
I am going on a little trip to Asheville, North Carolina. It is a cozy town in the Blue Ridge Mountains full of arts and food and shops and a castle. Or what passes for a castle in America: The Biltmore Estate, the enormous home built in the late 1800s by George Vanderbilt II, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. It has something like 250 rooms and acres upon acres of farms, gardens and vineyards.
But I am not going there this time.
I am just going to poke around the shops and galleries and, you know me, a couple of bookstores. It will be nice to be in the cool mountains for a couple of days.
Also on my agenda is a visit to the home of Thomas Wolfe which is located just a few blocks from my hotel. I have visited it before. At that time it stood as the original boarding house (oddly enough named Old Kentucky Home) that Mr. Wolfe lived in when he was a young man and used for the setting of his novel Look Homeward, Angel. The structure standing today is pretty much a replica as the actual house and many of its original artifacts were extensively damaged by fire (arson) in the late 1990s.
I know I should be taking a copy of Mr. Wolfe's book but I am not. Instead I will pack my Kindle (I am currently reading Agatha Christie's A Body in the Library) and one hardcover book: The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton. I bought and read this book when it first came out in 2002. It not only takes on travel - why we go places and yet are likely to be disappointed once we arrive - but art, biography, history, architecture, and philosophy. Heady stuff. I look forward to reading it again. I like that it has pictures of many of the paintings and places that Mr. de Botton discusses.
I do believe it will be the perfect traveling companion.
Ooh, lucky. Asheville is so pretty, and definitely cooler than what we're experiencing right now. I like your book choices, too. Hope you have a great trip.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Kathy. I didn't have my computer with me so couldn't respond until now, but I had a great trip.The weather was so pleasant. I had some literary adventures which I will write about soon.Delete
That sounds like a lovely summer break. I've never been to any of the southern states except Virginia (if that counts) and Florida. A friend of mine spent a lot of time in Asheville and was so enchanted that she thought about moving there. I hope you'll post about it after you get back.ReplyDelete
Virginia definitely counts as Southern, Joan. As does Florida but that state seems to be filled with Northerners! Lots of people want to move to Asheville - very artsy. I'll be writing about my literary adventures soon. (I didn't have my computer so couldn't respond to your greeting till now.)Delete
Bell that's exciting to be visiting the home of Thomas Wolfe. As an outsider I must say that I find Mr Wolfe one of the most underrated American author. I truly love his writing and find it so much more satisfying than Mr Hemingway(..there I have said it!!!).ReplyDelete
The other American writer that is seriously neglected is John Williams I think he only wrote one major novel "Stoner" but what a novel (a little biased as my former teacher John McGahern wrote the introduction to the new edition). Have a great and safe trip!
Hi, Tullik. Yes, the Wolfe house and legend takes pride of place in Asheville. I visited the house and museum and will have photos and comments to post soon.Delete
I am not familiar with John Williams but I see that Julian Barnes gave the 50-year-old novel "Stoner" a great review in 'The Guardian' last year. I attended University of Missouri but didn't have the epiphany that Stoner had there. Just slogged along in the Journalism School.