The Web and the Rock

The Web and the Rock is an American bildungsroman novel by Thomas Wolfe, published posthumously in 1939. Like its sequel, You Can't Go Home Again, it was extracted by Edward Aswell from a larger manuscript after Wolfe's death, and features writer George Webber as its protagonist.

Webber, a novelist from North Carolina, is clearly based on Wolfe himself, and is reminiscent of Eugene Gant, the protagonist of Wolfe's earlier novels Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and The River. The novel follows Webber's growth and journey from a small southern town to New York City, where he attempts to establish himself as a writer and becomes engaged in a love affair with Esther Jack (who first appeared in Of Time and the River), a sophisticated married woman.

The Web and the Rock is sometimes described as uneven and is not usually considered as highly as You Can't Go Home Again and Wolfe's earlier novels. “Read, as it should be, as an intensely articulated mural, first of the provincial and then, climatically, of the urban landscape, it not only does not suffer by comparison with its famous predecessor, but is not to be compared [...]” with anything else.[1]


  1. Gurko, Leo. Thomas Wolfe: Beyond the Romantic Ego. New York: Crowell, 1975.

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