Of Time and the River

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First edition
(publ. Charles Scribner's Sons)

Of Time and the River (subtitled A Legend of Man's Hunger in his Youth) is a 1935 novel by American novelist Thomas Wolfe. It is a fictionalized autobiography, using the name Eugene Gant for Wolfe's, detailing the protagonist's early and mid-twenties, during which time the character attends Harvard University, moves to New York City and teaches English at a university there, and travels overseas with the character Francis Starwick. Francis Starwick was based on Wolfe's friend, playwright Kenneth Raisbeck. The novel was published by Scribners and edited by Maxwell Perkins.

A Howard Rodman adaption of this story was presented in the Hallmark Hall of Fame on 1953-10-04. It starred Thomas Mitchell as William Oliver Gant. The English composer John McCabe's Fourth Symphony is subtitled Of Time and the River.

Excerpt[edit]

"At that instant he saw, in one blaze of light, an image of unutterable conviction, the reason why the artist works and lives and has his being--the reward he seeks--the only reward he really cares about, without which there is nothing. It is to snare the spirits of mankind in nets of magic, to make his life prevail through his creation, to wreak the vision of his life, the rude and painful substance of his own experience, into the congruence of blazing and enchanted images that are themselves the core of life, the essential pattern whence all other things proceed, the kernel of eternity."

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