Edward Aswell

Aswell in 1926

Edward Campbell Aswell (October 9, 1900, Nashville, Tennessee – November 5, 1958, Chappaqua, New York)[1] was a 20th-century American editor. He was Thomas Wolfe's last editor and edited Wolfe's three posthumous books. This required considerable editorial work as the manuscripts were not in publishable form at Wolfe's death, but how much credit for the resulting three books devolves to Wolfe, and how much to Aswell, remains a subject of dispute.[2][3]

Aswell was graduated from Harvard University in 1926[4] and worked as an assistant editor for The Atlantic Monthly and then Harper & Brothers Publishers, where he eventually became editor-in-chief. Aswell persuaded the novelist Thomas Wolfe to sign with Harper & Brothers, and Wolfe turned over his manuscripts to the publisher.[4]

After Wolfe’s death in September 1938, Aswell began editing the manuscripts. The initial development of this was Wolfe's first posthumous novel, The Web and the Rock, published a year later. Two years later You Can't Go Home Again and the short story collection The Hills Beyond were published, also edited by Aswell.

Aswell later moved to McGraw-Hill and then to Doubleday & Company, becoming a senior editor. In 1947 Aswell gained significant control over the Thomas Wolfe estate, succeeding Maxwell Perkins. The estate's collection of documents included Wolfe's correspondence. Aswell curated this correspondence and contributed "An Introduction to Thomas Wolfe" for the abridged Look Homeward, Angel published by the New American Library.

Aswell's correspondence with Elizabeth Nowell, Thomas Wolfe's literary agent, was collected in the 1988 book In the Shadow of the Giant.[5][6][7]


  1. Edward McCoy Campbell Aswell at Find a Grave
  2. John Halberstadt (March 19, 1981). "Who Wrote Thomas Wolfe's Last Novels?". New York Review of Books. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  3. Richard S. Kennedy (July 16, 1981). "'Crying Wolfe': An Exchange". New York Review of Books. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  4. 1 2 "Edward C. Aswell Papers on Thomas Wolfe". North Carolina University at the Louis Round Special Collections Library. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  5. Doll, Mary Aswell; Stites, Clara, eds. (1988). In the Shadow of the Giant: Thomas Wolfe—Correspondence of Edward C. Aswell and Elizabeth Nowell, 1949-1958. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. ISBN 978-0821409046.
  6. John Halberstadt (July 30, 1989). "In Wolfe's Clothing". New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  7. Field, Leslie (Summer 1989). "In the Shadow of the Giant: Thomas Wolfe—Correspondence of Edward C. Aswell and Elizabeth Nowell, 1949-1958 (review)" (PDF). MFS Modern Fiction Studies. Johns Hopkins University Press. 35 (2): 287–288. doi:10.1353/mfs.0.0262. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
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