New journalism pioneer Tom Wolfe dead at 88

Deborah Feingold  Corbis via Getty Images

Deborah Feingold Corbis via Getty Images

The NYPL is also planning a pop-up display in the same building this week to showcase a few items from the collection in tribute of the late author and journalist who died Monday in Manhattan at the age of 88.

Wolfe was known primarily for his reach within the field of New Journalism, a reporting style that emerged in the 1960s and '70s characterized by novelistic writing and literary storytelling techniques.

"Everything that bloggers have done for journalism - and I personally think they've done a lot - Wolfe did it first, he did it 30 years earlier, and he did it better", novelist Rex Grossman told NPR. He was a star pitcher in high school and in college at Washington and Lee and unsuccessfully tried out for the New York Giants.

Wolfe was the author of nine nonfiction works from 1965 to 1981.

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"The Right Stuff" was adopted into a film in 1983. In addition to the aforementioned "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "The Right Stuff" - novels that were later recaptured as Hollywood feature films - he wrote theatrical and entertaining stories for magazines such as Esquire, Harper's, and NY magazine.

"The Bonfire of the Vanities" hit the big screen in 1990, directed by Brian De Palma and toplined by Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, and Melanie Griffith.

In 2016, Wolfe published his last book, "The Kingdom of Speech", which sought to challenge society's understanding of Darwinism.

Wolfe, who coined the term "the me decade" for the 1970s and "radical chic", was also known for the distinctive tailored white suits he started wearing in 1962. He is survived by his wife Sheila, the cover designer for Harper's Magazine, his daughter Alexandra, and son Tommy.

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