STEPHEN CRANE by John Barryman


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A serious and deeply analytical book about the life and complete works of the author of The Red Stephen Crane was first made popular if not famous--fame had already come in a selected group--by Thomas Beers' charming and colorful, if over-romantic and not always accurate biography, appearing in about 1924. Here Crane appears as a sort of Villon of American letters, the friend of outcasts and prostitutes, something of a vagabond himself, and withal a man of genius. Berryman overlays--or underlays this picture with a deep patina of Kafka. Berryman is of the psychoanalytical school of writers, and in digging into Crane's childhood and youth, he professes to find the source and explanation of Crane's ""impressionism"". In doing this he reduces Crane to his component parts, rather than creating a complete picture of him. Nevertheless Berryman despite his adherence to Freud, is a very intelligent critic of English literature and the book as it progresses grows in interest and grasp. Berryman does not let Crane's fame rest alone on The Red as it does for most people; but takes up all his works, novels, poems and short stories with serious--often grim--interest. He brings out the interesting fact that Crane was the personal friend and artistic confrere of such great artists as Henry James and Joseph Conrad. A compelling and high callbered piece of literary criticism, marred as it is by a lack of humor, an affected style, and the lack of perspective common to the writers. A real addition to modern critical writing. For students of literature, American or English, and for those interested especially in Stephen Crane.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1950
Publisher: William Sloane