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Tom Wolfe, pioneer of 'new journalism' and writer of Bonfire of the Vanities, dies at 88

Tom Wolfe, chronicler and satirist of American culture, has died at age 88, reports AP. This statement has been given by the agent of the writer, who is best remembered for his books The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline BabyBonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff.

Tom Wolfe. Twitter/@KarlSmithStudio

Tom Wolfe. Twitter/@KarlSmithStudio

He died on 15 May at a Manhattan hospital, says a New York Times report. The agent, Lynn Nesbit, said that he had been hospitalised because of an infection.

Wolfe is credited with introducing novelistic techniques in reportage — such as scenes and dialogues — which made him one of the champions of what is now known as New Journalism. He joined the The New York Herald Tribune in 1962, and would go on to work at Harper's Bazaar, Esquire and Rolling Stone, among other renowned publications.

He was known for his biting satire aimed at American culture and his ability for noticing trends and naming them, such as "the Me decade" and "radical chic". He advocated 'saturation reporting', which involved following one's subject for long stretches of time before embarking on writing portraits of them, and which enabled one to witness them during vulnerable moments.

He is said to have reported on a variety of subjects, ranging from drugs to hippies to the space race, before he finally chose to begin writing fiction.

"Every kind of writer should get away from the desk and see things they don't know about," he once said, as quoted by the LA Times.

Updated Date: May 16, 2018 15:45 PM

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