Thomas Wolfe: His imperial country at war, possessed of the inspiration for murder

Antiwar literary selections


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Thomas Wolfe: Santimony and cant of war


Thomas Wolfe
From Look Homeward, Angel (1929)


Fear is a dragon that lives among crowds – and in armies.


He walked by lapping water through the dark. He heard its green wet slap against the crusted pier-piles: he drank its strong cod scent, and watched the loading of great boats drenched in blazing lights as they weltered down slowly into the water. And the night was loud with the rumble of huge cranes, the sudden loose rattle of the donkey-engines, the cries of the overseers, and the incessant rumbling trucks of stevedores within the peer.

His imperial country, for the first time, was gathering the huge thrust of her might. The air was charged with murderous exuberance, rioting and corrupt extravagance.

Through the hot streets…

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