Sunday, November 9, 2014


  When it came night,
  the white waves
  paced to and fro in
  the moonlight, and
  the wind brought
  the sound of the great
  sea's voice to the men
  on shore, and they 
  felt that they could
  then be interpreters.

The Red Badge of Courage will need no prompt-
ing to recall the last of The Open Boat, as
the uncanny Stephen Crane resorted again to
the terrestrial telegraph. Called a supernova
by the editor of my walking-around collection
of his prose and poetry, no one seems to re-
sist the appellation in his case, as Heming-
way explained what happened to him: "He died
.. He was dying from the start."

All agree - Hemingway, the most - that this
extraordinarily projected life simply has not
met that end, and that, phosphorescently, the
touch of Stephen Crane imparts its flame be-
yond all imitation. Yet although his stamp 
upon American literature is staggering, and 
upon so many stylists, seductive, this is
his only real resemblance to Rimbaud.  

Now again we have an important study of Crane,
to add to John Berryman's and Christopher Ben-
fey's, and the constant lode in the learned
periodicals. I'm looking forward to reading
Paul Sorrentino's biography, which was warmly
received in [the] TLS. But that fine scholar-
ship must be content to compete with Crane's
astoundingly compelling writing, which draws
the mind beyond corroboration, again except
terrestrially -

    I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
    Round and round they sped.

Stephen Crane
1871 - 1900
The Open Boat
Black Riders
  and Other Lines
Gary Scharnhorst, editor
The Red Badge of Courage
  and Other Stories
op. cit.

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