I was lost on a recent trip to North Carolina when I stumbled upon Wolfe’s Angel, the marble angel that is regarded as the inspiration for the title and much of the underlying symbolic theme in Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward Angel.

Wolfe’s father, W.O. Wolfe, was reputed to be a reprobate and drunkard, but a master stone-cutter. His masterpiece was this monument, which stands in Oakdale Cemetary in Hendersonville. Young Thomas watched his father carve it in 1905.

Here’s how Wolfe described the angel in the novel:

…by the door, he put the heavy simpering figurine of an angel…it had come from…

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