LETTERS OF HART CRANE AND HIS FAMILY by Thomas S.W. -- Ed. Lewis

LETTERS OF HART CRANE AND HIS FAMILY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is the complete text of the extant correspondence between Hart Crane and his family -- no doubt an event of great importance for scholars, but a disappointment otherwise. For one thing, the most interesting and dramatic letters, or passages therefrom, are familiar to readers of the many Crane biographies, notably Unterecker's Voyager (1969). For another, Crane never seems to have been really at ease writing his mother, father, or grandmother -- certainly hardly ever inspired. ""Just imagine looking out your window directly on the East River with nothing intervening between your view of the Statue of Liberty, way down the harbour, and the marvelous beauty of Brooklyn Bridge close above you on your right!"" This sounds like a schoolboy, but it's really Crane at Columbia Heights just prior to envisioning his masterpiece. Also the sad domestic triptych -- lyrical son, blundering father, engulfing mother (plus a wise old grandmother wanly mediating the squabbles) -- has about had its day. ""I think you write well. . . but no business is any good unless it pays a dividend and if writing does not pay a dividend then you have to do something else."" So advises Clarence Crane a few years before his son's plunge into the Caribbean. Hart, however, did leave a ""dividend"": his genius, which critics and professors and editors have been drawing on for decades.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1974
Publisher: Columbia Univ. Press