A precocious biographer


Tom Wolfe, author of Bonfire 0f The Vanities, died in May at the age of 88. Unfortunately, he never completed his biography of Napoleon:


Regarding writing, was there any particular book that influenced you?


I was greatly struck by Emil Ludwig’s biography of Napoleon, which is written in the historical present. It begins as the mother sits suckling her babe in a tent. 


And that impressed you? 


It impressed me so enormously that I began to write the biography of Napoleon myself, though heavily cribbed from Emil Ludwig. I was eight at the time.


Did it start the same way, with a babe being suckled in . . .


It did, though no one would tell me what suckled meant. I only knew that that was what Napoleon did at the start. I always liked Napoleon from when I was six on because he was small and had ruled the world and at the time I was small. I liked Mozart for the same reason.


Photo credit:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/89463420@N00/23829604571

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