Wolfe (1939) The Web and the Rock – 1st edition/1st printing (Johnston A 7.I.a)


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Wolfe, Thomas. The Web and the Rock. (New York & London: Harper & Brothers, 1939) First edition, first printing of this posthumously published novel in near fine condition.  (Johnston A 7.I.a)

Octavo. 695 pages. Hardcover. Bound in dark blue cloth-covered boards stamped in maroon and gilt Spine stamped in maroon, gilt and blind. Fore-edge untrimmed.

Condition: Near Fine. Cover crisp and sharp. No fading or color loss noticed. Small Ex-Libris bookplate attached to, plus previous bookseller’s notes written in light pencil on, first free end-paper.  Slight darkening to paper. Slight bump to lower rear corner. Minor bumping to spine ends.  Sans DJ.

Thomas Clayton Wolfe (October 3, 1900 – September 15, 1938) was an American novelist of the early twentieth century.

Wolfe wrote four lengthy novels as well as many short stories, dramatic works, and novellas. He is known for mixing highly original, poetic, rhapsodic, and impressionistic prose with autobiographical writing. His books, written and published from the 1920s to the 1940s, vividly reflect on American culture and the mores of that period, filtered through Wolfe’s sensitive, sophisticated, and hyper-analytical perspective.

After Wolfe’s death, contemporary author William Faulkner said that Wolfe may have been the greatest talent of their generation for aiming higher than any other writer. Wolfe’s influence extends to the writings of Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac, and of authors Ray Bradbury and Philip Roth, among others. He remains an important writer in modern American literature, as one of the first masters of autobiographical fiction, and is considered North Carolina’s most famous writer. – Wikipedia


The Web and the Rock is an American bildungsroman novel by Thomas Wolfe, published posthumously in the 1939. Like its sequel, You Can’t Go Home Again (and also The Hills Beyond) it was extracted by Edward Aswell from a larger manuscript after Wolfe’s death.

Wolfe believed that the book represented an artistic evolution for him… The book, which like all of Wolfe’s major works mirrors Wolfe’s own life experience, takes Webber from a Southern small-town boyhood to college (with its escape from the “web” of family ties), to New York City where he seeks the meaning of life and attempts to establish himself as a novelist, engages in a stormy affair with the sophisticated married woman Esther Jack (based on Wolfe’s real-life affair with Aline Bernstein), goes to Europe, is disillusioned by Hitler’s rise to power, and dreams of returning to his home town, but realizes that he can’t recapture the past: the book’s ending words are the title of his next novel – “you can’t go home again.” – Wikipedia