Tobias Wolff (June 19, 1945 - ..)
Born: 19th June, 1945
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Writer
Region: Birmingham, Alabama, "The Barracks Thief", "Old School"
Notable works: National Medal of Arts, PEN/Faulkner Award

Tobias Wolff Facts

Biography

Tobias Wolff, in full Tobias Jonathan Ansell Wolff, (born June 19, 1945, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.), American writer who was primarily known for his memoirs and for his short stories, in which many voices and a wide range of emotions are skillfully depicted.

Wolff's parents divorced when he was a child. From the age of 10, he traveled with his mother, who relocated frequently and finally settled in Seattle, Washington, where she remarried. Wolff wrote about his childhood in the 1950s, including his relationship with his abusive stepfather, in This Boy's Life: A Memoir (1989; film 1993), which was perhaps his best-known work. His older brother, the novelist Geoffrey Wolff, was brought up by their father (an aeronautical engineer and a pathological liar) and wrote about his childhood in The Duke of Deception: Memories of My Father (1979). The brothers were reunited when Tobias was a young teenager.

Wolff served in the military as a paratrooper during the Vietnam War, after which he was educated at the University of Oxford (B.A., 1972; M.A., 1975) and Stanford University (M.A., 1978). He was appointed writer in residence at Syracuse (New York) University, where he taught from 1980 to 1997. His first published collections of short stories were In the Garden of the North American Martyrs (1981; U.K. title, Hunters in the Snow) and Back in the World (1985). Wolff also edited several anthologies of short stories, including Matters of Life and Death: New American Stories (1983), A Doctor's Visit: Short Stories by Anton Chekhov (1988), and The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories (1994).

Later works by Wolff include the memoir In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of a Lost War (1994), about his experiences and maturation in Vietnam, and The Night in Question (1996), a collection of 14 stories, many of which again reflect Wolff's time in Vietnam. The novel Old School (2003) is a penetrating look at what happens when a prep-school student plagiarizes someone else's work in an attempt to win a literary competition. A latter collection of short stories, Our Story Begins, appeared in 2008.

Wolff was the recipient of numerous awards, notably the 1985 PEN/Faulkner Award for the novella The Barracks Thief (1984), which follows the lives of three young paratroopers who are awaiting their orders to be shipped out to Vietnam. Wolff also won three O. Henry Awards (1980, 1981, and 1985). In 2015 he received the National Medal of Arts.

Top 27 Tobias Wolff quotes

The reader really has to step up to the plate and read a short story.
Plate
Read
Reader
Really
Short
Step
Story
Up
There's a joy in writing short stories, a wonderful sense of reward when you pull certain things off.
Certain
Certain things
Joy
Off
Pull
Reward
Sense
Short
Short stories
Stories
Things
Wonderful
Wonderful sense
Writing
I try to help people become the best possible editors of their own work, to help them become conscious of the things they do well, of the things they need to look at again, of the wells of material they have not even begun to dip their buckets into.
Again
Become
Begun
Best
Conscious
Dip
Editors
Even
Help
Help people
Look
Material
Need
Own
You don't teach information in a writing workshop.
Information
Teach
Workshop
Writing
You
I teach one semester a year, and this year I'm just teaching one course during that semester, a writing workshop for older students in their late 20s and early 30s, people in our graduate program who are already working on a manuscript and trying to bring it to completion.
Bring
Completion
Course
Early
Graduate
Just
Late
Manuscript
Older
Our
People
Program
Semester
Students
That, for me, is a very important test of a young writer's commitment because most of them are going to have to continue doing that when they've finished the program.
Because
Commitment
Continue
Doing
Finished
Going
Important
Me
Most
Program
Test
Them
Very
Writer
One of the last courses I taught was on the Russian short story, which I love.
Courses
I love
Last
Love
Russian
Short
Story
Taught
Which
I love Chekhov. I could go on all day about him.
About
All day
Chekhov
Could
Day
Go
Him
I love
Love
Because I don't have to be careful of people's feelings when I teach literature, and I do when I'm teaching writing.
Be careful
Because
Careful
Feelings
Literature
People
Teach
Teaching
Writing
Anybody can be very destructive in that position without at all meaning to be, and I know that I have been inadvertently destructive in the past for certain people on certain occasions.
Anybody
Been
Certain
Destructive
In the past
Inadvertently
Know
Meaning
Occasions
Past
People
Position
Very
Without
Like so many writers I started writing stories because I didn't have much time for anything else.
Anything
Anything else
Because
Else
Like
Many
Much
Started
Stories
Time
Writers
Writing
I believe that the short story is as different a form from the novel as poetry is, and the best stories seem to me to be perhaps closer in spirit to poetry than to novels.
Believe
Best
Closer
Different
Form
I believe
I believe that
Me
Novel
Novels
Perhaps
Poetry
Seem
Short
Everything has to be pulling weight in a short story for it to be really of the first order.
Everything
First
Pulling
Really
Short
Story
Weight
You have to be kind of clued into them, they are a world of their own, and most people find them disappointing because the best short stories are not constructed like novels.
Be kind
Because
Best
Constructed
Disappointing
Find
Kind
Like
Most
Novels
Own
People
Short
Short stories
Because the more you write the more you're aware of the weight of your tradition and the difficulties of the form and the more you have already done that you do not want to do again.
Again
Aware
Because
Difficulties
Done
Form
More
Tradition
Want
Weight
Write
You
Your
There are writers who do start doing the same thing again and again and almost inevitably fall into self-parody.
Again
Almost
Doing
Fall
Inevitably
Same
Same thing
Start
Thing
Who
Writers
But a lot of writers - and I'm one of them - do tend to feel dissatisfied. It makes you a little hard to live with, but it's a goad and does keep you alert and restless.
Alert
Dissatisfied
Does
Feel
Hard
Keep
Little
Live
Lot
Makes
Restless
Tend
Them
Writers
And you can tell the writers who do it - Robert Stone, for example, who with each new novel is doing something new. I appreciate that in other writers.
Appreciate
Doing
Each
Example
For example
New
Novel
Other
Robert
Something
Something new
Stone
Tell
Who
Work for most people is really very social, and the actual thinking is often done in community.
Actual
Community
Done
Most
Often
People
Really
Social
Thinking
Very
Work
Of course it's why you want to become a writer - because you have the liberty to do that, but once you have the liberty you also have the obligation to do it.
Also
Because
Become
Course
Liberty
Obligation
Once
Want
Why
Writer
You
It's probably why I'm a short story writer. I tend to remember things in the past in narrative form, in story form, and I grew up around people who told stories all the time.
Around
Form
Grew
In the past
Narrative
Past
People
Remember
Short
Stories
Story
Tend
Things
Time
Most of us don't live lives that lend themselves to novelistic expression, because our lives are so fragmented.
Because
Expression
Fragmented
Lend
Live
Lives
Most
Our
Our lives
Themselves
Us
Perhaps that is why the novel flourished in England. You had these communities that would stay put and people would see one another all the time and cause one another to change and have the opportunity to observe the changes over time.
Another
Cause
Change
Changes
Communities
England
Had
Novel
Observe
Opportunity
Over
People
Perhaps
Put
The short story, on the other hand, is the perfect American form.
American
Form
Hand
Other
Perfect
Short
Story
But as my brother was doing his research for a book about my father, it became his opinion that the most influential anti-semitism my father encountered when he was growing up was from Jews, because his relatives were German Jews, and doctors.
About
Anti-semitism
Became
Because
Book
Brother
Doctors
Doing
Encountered
Father
German
Growing
Growing up
He
Memory is funny. Once you hit a vein the problem is not how to remember but how to control the flow.
Control
Flow
Funny
Hit
How
Memory
Once
Problem
Remember
Vein
You
When I was about 14 or 15 I decided to become a writer and never for a moment since have I wanted to do anything else.
About
Anything
Anything else
Become
Decided
Else
Moment
Never
Since
Wanted
Writer

Tobias Wolff essays

Read more informative topics on our blog
Summary Of Several Literary Bits English Books Essay
"Interpreter of Maladies" explores the cultural clashes of two families and the power that interpretation must bring forth communication and interconnection, yet also its potential to expose the reality. Mr. Kapasi's job as an 'interpreter of maladies" allows a connection between himself and Mrs. Das, a connection that brings him to believe " that all was right with the planet. , that all problems were rewarded, that all of life's problems made sense in the end. " (156) Getting rid of his child at a age, moving further and further away from his partner, Mr. Kapasi is unsatisfied and dissatisfied..
The NEED FOR Short Story Authors English Books Essay
Assess the importance of omission as a technique in the work of two brief story freelance writers you have analyzed on the course. The omission in this question seems to make reference to two different techniques in writing, both which are very useful to and prevalent in the short story genre. It might refer to either the utilization of minimalism by creators whereby they omit using a good amount of descriptive words but instead use more simplistic terms to give an apt and emotive yet short account of incidents in a tale. It could also, however, refer to another literary approach by which creators..
State Yes Simply by Tobias Wolff Essay illustrations
In the history Say Yes by Tobias Wolff, a relationship is broken overnight by a revelation with the insufficiency of their love inside the test. Combined with husband's incorrect response to the "Love Test", the relationship can be dramatically demolished by Ann's sudden recognition of the " light " love of her partner. Even though her husband attempts to please Ann with the right solution, her thoughts of love has already been shattered by distrust and suspicion. The hypothetical "Love Test" in the story uncovers the superficiality of his love,..
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