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Stephen Crane’s 150th Birthday

STEPHEN CRANE, born 150 years ago on this date, had a working life that lasted barely a decade, but he created an immense literary afterlife. His enthusiastic disciple Ernest Hemingway handed Crane’s stories to aspiring young writers seeking advice. Ralph Ellison said that Crane influenced not only Hemingway but also most modernist writers of the 20th century, including himself. Southern novelist Caroline Gordon conveyed her admiration for Crane to her protégé Flannery O’Connor. No American writer before Crane portrayed immediate perceptual and sensuous experience with such power. “He had great, great genius,” Henry James repeatedly said. For all the praise heaped on Crane’s idiosyncratic style, a question remains: How did he learn to write that way? Read more

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