Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane

Excerpt

This is a biography, though it did not begin as one, and a critical study. After Crane's death at twenty-eight in 1900 his reputation disintegrated rapidly. For twenty years he was forgotten except by friends, authors whom he influenced, and a few other writers like A. E. Housman and T. E. Lawrence, so that in 1921 Edward Garnett was complaining that "If America has forgotten or neglects Crane's achievements, above all in 'Maggie' and 'The Open Boat', she does not yet deserve to produce artists of rank." Very likely; and when did countries or men get what they deserve? That same year, at any rate, appeared here Vincent Starrett's little pioneering collection Men, Women and Boats, followed then by Thomas Beer Stephen Crane: A Study in American Letters (1923) and a costly twelve-volume assemblage of his Work (1925-1927), majesty and trash scrambled together. Through the 'twenties Crane's fame rose, it dropped during the sociological 'thirties and rose again during the latest war, depending always mostly upon The Red Badge of Courage. For some reason he seems now to be accepted as standard, though few read his best tales and no critical study has ever appeared. Until Twenty Stories (1940) his fiction apart from the war novel was hard indeed to come by and this is no doubt one reason why scarcely any critic of consequence has . . .

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