Remember Tom Wolfe with John Freeman's Interview

Posted by Jackson Howard
May 17, 2018

Tom wolfe Lithub

On May 14, we lost Tom Wolfe, one of the great masters of modern prose. To remember him, revisit John Freeman’s interview with Wolfe–excerpted from his 2013 book How to Read a Novelist–which is up on Lithub.

“I’ve begun working on a writers’ Hippocratic oath,” Wolfe says. “The first line of the doctors’ Hippocratic oath is ‘First, do no harm.’ And I think for the writers it would be: ‘First, entertain.’ Entertain is a very simple word. I looked it up in the dictionary. Entertainment enables people to pass the time pleasantly. And any writing—I don’t care if it’s poetry or what—should first entertain. It’s a very recent thing that there’s a premium put on making writing so difficult that only a charmed aristocracy is capable of understanding it.”