Columbia Library columns (v.2(1952Nov-1953May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  v.2,no.2(1953:Feb): Page 12  

An Unwritten Life of Stephen Crane


\ TEPHEN CRANE'S great time has come at last. During his
own short life The Red Badge of Courage brought him fame
— for having written the most vivid book describing a war
that ended five years before he was born. But Crane was almost
forgotten after his death, at twenty-eight, in 1900; the twenties
saw a revival of interest, but literary fashions changed and his work
was in the shadow again. Now, however, we can realize that he,
more than any other American author of his time, had what Henry
James called "the imagination of disaster." Stephen Crane looms
large among the authors from our past who speak directly to us in
the present. The news is therefore especially welcome that Colum¬
bia has just acquired by purchase what is probably the largest single
collection of Crane materials in the library of any institution.

In the Columbia Crane collection there are over thirteen hun¬
dred items. Holograph and typewritten manuscripts of much of
his fiction and poetry reveal the creative methods of this writer of
haunting intensity. Folders bulge with letters, photographs, dance
cards, household accounts, military passes, legal papers, and all
sorts of memorabilia concerning the families of Crane and his wife,
Cora Howorth. Here, too, are valuable letters to the Cranes from
their friends: Henry James, William Dean Howells, Joseph Con¬
rad, Wells, Shaw, Harold Frederic, Hamlin Garland—a literary
Who's Who of England and America in the 1890's.

Mrs. Crane kept five scrapbooks, following her husband's career
with wifely devotion; they are here, with clippings of newspaper
articles not hitherto identified as Crane's, and reviews of his books
from the newspapers of three continents. Cora Crane's own note¬
books and manuscripts are here too, for she was herself a writer of
parts—and one of the strangest, most puzzling women in the his-
  v.2,no.2(1953:Feb): Page 12