Thomas Wolfe, a ‘great, obnoxious beast’?

“Thomas Wolfe, the novelist, has just taken an apartment at 865 First Avenue….Going down in the elevator the other morning, he was joined by a lady with a big police dog. The dog took an immediate liking to Mr. Wolfe, and began jumping up on him, and kissing him. Mr. Wolfe, who is only moderately fond of dogs, pushed this one away, whereat the lady spoke up sharply. ‘Wolfe!’  she said. ‘You great, obnoxious beast!’

“Being a gentleman, Mr. Wolfe made no reply, but he was terribly hurt. He spent the rest of the day wandering along the waterfront in the rain, bumping into warehouses and brooding, like a character in one of his own novels. However, the matter was cleared up when he returned home that evening. The elevator man explained that the police dog is named Wolf …. The lady… was bawling out the dog and not the novelist, whom, as a matter of fact,  she rather admires.”

—  The New Yorker, March 6, 1937

I’d be surprised if this Talk of the Town amusement wasn’t apocryphal. In fact, it almost predicts the Reggie Jackson (Eddie Murphy, et al.) urban legend of half a century later

 

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