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NY just lost another of its greats with Tom Wolfe's passing

18 May 2018

The New York Times reported that he had been in the hospital after suffering from an infection.

Known for ingenious phrase-making and white suits, he chronicled United States culture across five decades through books such as The Bonfire Of The Vanities, The Right Stuff and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Pioneering journalist and novelist Tom Wolfe died aged 88
Redferns Pioneering journalist and novelist Tom Wolfe died aged 88

Wolfe, who began working as a journalist for the New York Herald Tribune in 1962, was a pioneer of "new journalism", which melded traditional reporting methods and literary fiction techniques. Wolfe himself coined the term in 1973 when he published a book of articles called The New Journalism, featuring the likes of Truman Capote, Joan Didion and Gay Talese, who penned the famous literary-style profile "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold".

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) chronicled the rise of the hippy generation, while Radical Chic (1970) mocked the pretensions of Manhattan liberals and The Painted Word (1975) those of the art world. In 1987, Wolfe published "The Bonfire of the Vanities", a novel that also later became a film. 'He didn't just help me to become a writer, he did it with pleasure'. The book was later adapted into a film with Sam Shepard, Dennis Quaid and Ed Harris in 1983.

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Trained as a journalist, Wolfe was equally adept at non-fiction and fiction in a career that spanned over half a century.

Wolfe became a major figure in the NY social scene, identified with his distinct personal style - typified by a white, 3-piece suit. "And one ... coming up is on political correctness, which I think is the funniest subject in a long- in a long, long time", Wolfe said.

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NY just lost another of its greats with Tom Wolfe's passing