Download The Painted Word Audiobook

The Painted Word Audiobook, by Tom Wolfe Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Tom Wolfe Narrator: Harold N. Cropp Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 1998 ISBN: 9781481537377
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No one skewers the popular movements of American culture like Tom Wolfe. In 1975, he turned his satirical pen to the pretensions of the contemporary art world, a world of social climbing, elitist posturing, and ingeniously absurd self-justifying theorizing. He addresses the scope of Modern Art, from its founding days as Abstract Expressionism through its transformations to Pop, Op, Minimal, and Conceptual. In the process he debunks the great American myth of Modern Art in an incandescent, hilarious, and devastating blast. Wolfe’s style has never been more dazzling, and his wit never more keen.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In this reading Harold N. Cropp shows considerable artistry. He conveys erudition while maintaining a youthful, hip vivacity. Cropp may be too restrained to consistently capture Wolfe’s relentless, derisive edge, but he does give the presentation the proper cynical slant and moves it along crisply.”


  • The Painted Word may well be Tom Wolfe’s most successful piece of social criticism to date.”

    New York Times

  • “A masterpiece. No one in the art world…could fail to recognize its essential truth. I read it four times, each of them with mounting envy for Wolfe’s eye, ear, and surgical skill.”

    Washington Post

  • “His eye and ear for detailed observations are incomparable; and observation is to the satirist what bullets are to a gun.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Wolfe is a journalist who always manages to combine an encyclopedic store of inside knowledge with the obstinate detachment of a visitor from Mars, not to mention a brilliant style and incisive wit.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “If you have ever stared uncomprehendingly at an abstract painting that admired critics have said you ought to dig, take heart. Tom Wolfe, in a scathing new satire, The Painted Word, is on your side.”

    New York Sunday News

  • “Wolfe has great fun destroying the straw houses of modern art theory, and reader Harold Cropp provides the perfect condescending tone.” 

    Library Journal

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About the Author

Tom Wolfe (1931–2018) was the author of numerous books considered contemporary classics, including The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, among others, and several of his books have been made into major motion pictures. He was also a journalist and founder of the New Journalism movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He is credited with introducing such terms as “the right stuff,” “radical chic,” “the Me Decade,” and “good ol’ boy” into the English lexicon. A native of Richmond, he earned his BA degree at Washington and Lee University and a PhD in American studies at Yale.

About the Narrator

Harold N. Cropp is the artistic director of Commonweal Theatre Company and holds a BA in theater from Brown, an MBA from Santa Clara University, and an MFA in acting from the National Theatre Conservatory in Denver. He was the 2006 Sally Irvine Award winner for Initiative.