Lecturer Peter Richardson Discusses Career of Writer Tom Wolfe

Thursday, May 17, 2018

DAILY POST (PALO ALTO) -- Peter Richardson, a historian who teaches classes on California culture at San Francisco State University, said he was struck by Wolfe’s East Coast outsider perspective on his sojourns in the Bay Area.

“I think his interest was kind of anthropological. For him, it was so different from his own experience,” Richardson told the Post. “It’s the view of the periphery from the center of the culture.”

Wolfe grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington. in 1951. He earned his Ph.D. in American studies at Yale, then reported at the Springfield Union in Massachusetts and the Washington Post before moving to New York.

“For him it was a big eye-opener. He had a very high opinion of Kesey. He thought he was one of the most important American writers,” Richardson said.

Wolfe was also very concerned with status, Richardson noted. The lack of this preoccupation in California counterculture in the 1960s “shocked” Wolfe.