When Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities first came out, didn't it have a sort of manifesto-like introduction? That introduction doesn't seem to be in the copies of the book that are now being printed. But somewhere or other -- I'll source this in a comment later if I can track it down -- I remember Wolfe writing about the difference between being a twentysomething and a fortysomething writer, mocking his twentysomething self because his writerly ambition was for his prose to be "crystalline," which he laughs off as a totally meaingless goal. I would counter that the idea of "crystalline" prose is perfectly intelligible -- it implies clearness and also the hope of planting something that will grow. (Perhaps even resonance although that might be getting a bit New Age.) As the child is father to the man, the wide-eyed Wolfe who wanted his prose to be "crystalline" was a necessary stage on the way to the pragmatic mature Wolfe who poses as a sourge of pretension.
The other thing I remember Wolfe writing was something like, I doubt if there's a writer over forty who doesn't think the relative importance of what you have to say and how you say it is something like sixty percent substance, forty percent style. In my twenties I wanted to reply, more like sixty percent style, forty percent substance. But now I am over forty, I guess I more or less agree with Wolfe. Any other thoughts on this? Is it naturally to be expected that young writers are more obsessed with developing their style, while middle-aged writers have figured that side of things out, and can concentrate on setting down their ideas?