Revealing episodes in the life of the elusive writer, as told by acquaintances This book collects reminiscences by contemporaries, friends, and associates of Stephen Crane that illuminate the life of this often misunderstood and misrepresented writer. Although Crane is widely regarded as a major American author, conclusions about his life, work, and thought remain obscure due to the difficulties in separating fact from fiction. His first biographer recorded mostly vague impressions and, to mythologize his subject, invented a multitude of the episodes and letters used in his account of Crane’s life. Subsequent biographies were either cursory summations or compendiums of verifiable facts. Crane himself was both reclusive and mercurial, protective of his inner life while projecting a variety of personae to suit others. A flamboyant personality and close friend of writers such as William Dean Howells, Henry James, and Joseph Conrad, Crane made telling impressions on his contemporaries. They often constitute the best assessments of Crane’s own personality and work. The 90 reminiscences gathered here offer a much-needed account of Crane’s life from a variety of viewpoints, as well as important information about the contributors themselves.
Paul Sorrentino was the Clifford A. Cutchins III Professor of English at Virginia Tech and author of Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire, coauthor of The Crane Log: A Documentary Life of Stephen Crane, 1871–1900 and coeditor of The Correspondence of Stephen Crane.
“ . . . a valuable contribution to Crane studies. . . . Sorrentino’s comments are likely to sharpen critical thinking in biographical scholarship and contribute to strengthening courses concerning methods of biographical study.” —Stephen Crane Studies
“I was especially struck by the ‘pictures’ of Crane in New York City living among the young illustrators and painters, of Crane in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, and of Crane at Brede Place, as a neighbor of Wells and James.” —George Monteiro, author of Stephen Crane’s Blue Badge of Courage
“For many years the truth about Crane's life was difficult to ascertain, first, because Crane (1871-1900) was contradictory and evasive about himself and, second, because his first biographer, Thomas Beer, fabricated many details in his eponymous book about the writer (1923). The most reliable biography remains R. W. Stallman's Stephen Crane: A Critical Biography (CH, Jul’73). The current volume complements that one and will help the reader understand Crane better as man and writer. Sorrentino has collected 90 reminiscences from some 60 individuals who knew Crane--family members, friends, neighbors, and fellow writers and editors. Among the more familiar names found here are Hamlin Garland, Willa Cather, Ford Maddox Ford, and H. G. Wells. The occasional particular reminiscence is suspect, but Sorrentino provides sufficient information to contextualize its value. Highly recommended.” —CHOICE