Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire

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Harvard University Press, Jun 5, 2014 - Biography & Autobiography - 494 pages

With the exception of Poe, no American writer has proven as challenging to biographers as the author of The Red Badge of Courage. Stephen Crane's short, compact life—"a life of fire," he called it—continues to be surrounded by myths and half-truths, distortions and outright fabrications. Mindful of the pitfalls that have marred previous biographies, Paul Sorrentino has sifted through garbled chronologies and contradictory eyewitness accounts, scoured the archives, and followed in Crane's footsteps. The result is the most complete and accurate account of the poet and novelist written to date.

Whether Crane was dressing as a hobo to document the life of the homeless in the Bowery, defending a prostitute against corrupt New York City law enforcement, or covering the historic charge up the San Juan hills as a correspondent during the Spanish-American War, his adventures were front-page news. From Sorrentino's layered narrative of the various phases of Crane's life a portrait slowly emerges. By turns garrulous and taciturn, confident and insecure, romantic and cynical, Crane was a man of irresolvable contradictions. He rebelled against tradition yet was proud of his family heritage; he lived a Bohemian existence yet was drawn to social status; he romanticized women yet obsessively sought out prostitutes; he spurned a God he saw as remote yet wished for His presence.

Incorporating decades of research by the foremost authority on Crane's work, Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire sets a new benchmark for biographers.

 

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STEPHEN CRANE: A Life of Fire

User Review  - Kirkus

Thoroughly researched biography of Stephen Crane (1871-1900), who shocked his contemporaries with raw, gritty fiction.Sorrentino (English/Virginia Tech; editor: Stephen Crane Remembered, 2006, etc ... Read full review

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Great work on this book. We have a Stephan Crane day here in Daytona and I play his part. This is a great help to keep the story of Stephan Crane go on.

Contents

Introduction
1
Final Days JanuaryJune 1900
10
Part I The Wrenches of Childhood
17
Part II Learning the Craft
81
Part III Fame Notoriety an Altered Point of View
167
Part IV New Start Old Habits
249
Part V Search for Respectability Country Squire
319
Abbreviations
371
Notes
373
Acknowledgments
453
Index
455
Copyright

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About the author (2014)

Paul Sorrentino is the Clifford A. Cutchins III Professor of English at Virginia Tech.

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