Hart Crane: An Introduction and Interpretation

By Samuel Hazo | Go to book overview

THE LIFE

HAROLD HART CRANE was born in Garrettsville, Ohio, on July 21, 1899, the only child of Clarence Arthur and Grace Hart Crane, whose lives were to become more and more incompatible until their divorce in 1916. Almost from the day of his birth the boy was fated to be the emotional victim of two inescapable pressures. The first was his father's ambition to have his son continue his own dream of success in the candy business. The other was the scapegoat role he was forced to assume when alone with his mother. Often he simply became his mother's whipping boy and bore the abuse of her spells of depression, induced by her husband's abuse, possessiveness, or deliberate absence. Both of these pressures became progressively more intense in their effect on the young Crane, and it would be difficult to deny that much of his instability of personality and insecurity as an adult was derivative in large part from the titanic conflicts between his mother and father.

Because the elder Crane was more interested in an heir than in a son inclined to poetry, the growing boy naturally turned toward his mother. At times he found her amenable to his questions; but more often she would direct toward him, rather than toward her husband, her anger and humiliation. The sense of divided loyalty, insecurity and unnecessary grief that his parents' selfishness was to have upon Crane can only be imagined. Years later, though,

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Hart Crane: An Introduction and Interpretation
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • About the Author i
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Chronology viii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Life 4
  • 2 - New Purities 17
  • 3 - Knowledge, Beauty and the Sea 48
  • 4 - Far Rockaway to Golden Gate 68
  • 6 - The Broken World 124
  • 7 - Beneath the Myth 133
  • Selected Bibliography 136
  • Index 142
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