Stephen Crane Panels at ALA 2015 (Deadline: 1.10.15)

Call for Papers: Stephen Crane Society at ALA 2015

The Stephen Crane Society will sponsor two sessions at the American Literature Association Conference at the Westin Copley Place, Boston, on May 21-24, 2015. All topics are welcome. Here, for example, are a few suggestions:

  • Crane’s depiction of war
  • Crane and the arts (e. g., painting, photography, music)
  • Crane’s depiction of the city
  • Crane’s poetry
  • Crane’s journalism
  • the Sullivan County tales and sketches
  • the Western stories
  • the Whilomville stories
  • one of Crane’s lesser-known novels (The Third Violet, Active Service, or The O’Ruddy)
  • Crane’s depiction of women
  • Crane’s relationship with other writers, e. g., Garland, Howells, Conrad, or Frederic

Presentations will be limited to 20 minutes.

You may also propose a roundtable discussion on, say, teaching Crane’s short stories.
Please email abstracts or papers of no more than ten double-spaced pages by January 10, 2015, to the program chair:

Paul Sorrentino

For further information, please consult the ALA website at

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Stephen Crane in the News: NY Times Review of Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire


Stephen Crane, circa 1895. CreditPhotoQuest/Getty Images

Stephen Crane, whose likeness appears on the album cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” was America’s first rock-star writer. He self-published his realist novella “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets” at 21, losing so much money that he took to starving himself and wearing rubber boots because he couldn’t afford shoes. By the time he was 23, he had imagined “a creature, naked, bestial, / Who, squatting upon the ground, / Held his heart in his hands, / And ate of it. / I said, ‘Is it good, friend?’ / ‘It is bitter — bitter,’ he answered; / ‘But I like it / Because it is bitter, / And because it is my heart.’ ”

Crane worked on “The Black Riders,” his first book of poems, while he wrote “The Red Badge of Courage.” Internationally famous after newspapers serialized “Red Badge” in 1894, he still struggled to make a living as an investigative reporter, hounded by gossip and conventional morality. The poet Hamlin Garland, an early Crane supporter and the president of the American Psychical Society, suspected Crane of automatic writing, a popular idea in an era fascinated by spiritualism. According to Paul Sorrentino’s evocative new biography, “Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire,” Garland “tested Crane by having him write a new poem on the spot. Without hesitation, out came the memorable ‘God fashioned the ship of the world,’ a bitter parody of Genesis in which ‘at fateful time’ humanity was doomed to drift ‘forever rudderless’ while ‘many in the sky / . . . laughed at this thing.’ ”

[Read the rest at the link above]

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Stephen Crane in the News: THE RED AND THE SCARLET: The hectic career of Stephen Crane. BY CALEB CRAIN

From The New Yorker:
The hectic career of Stephen Crane.
BY JUNE 30, 2014

Early readers of “The Red Badge of Courage” assumed that its author was a war veteran.

Early readers of “The Red Badge of Courage” assumed that its author was a war veteran.

In Stephen Crane’s novel “Maggie” (1893), it’s impossible to pinpoint the moment when the title character is first set on the path to prostitution. Maybe it happens when her brother’s friend Pete tells her that her figure is “outa sight.” Maybe it happens a little later, when her job making shirt collars on an assembly line begins to seem dreary. Is it a mistake when she lets Pete take her to a music hall? What about when she lets him spirit her away from her rage-filled mother, who has collapsed on the kitchen floor after a bender? Women in the neighborhood gossip, and a practiced flirt steals Pete away—perhaps they are instrumental. Or maybe the end is determined from the beginning, when the girl has the misfortune to be born into poverty with attractive looks and an alcoholic parent.

[Read the rest at]

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New Books: Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire

craneStephen Crane
A Life of Fire

Harvard University Press

[From the Harvard University Press web site] With the exception of Poe, no American writer has proven as challenging to biographers as the author of The Red Badge of Courage. Stephen Crane’s short, compact life—“a life of fire,” he called it—continues to be surrounded by myths and half-truths, distortions and outright fabrications. Mindful of the pitfalls that have marred previous biographies, Paul Sorrentino has sifted through garbled chronologies and contradictory eyewitness accounts, scoured the archives, and followed in Crane’s footsteps. The result is the most complete and accurate account of the poet and novelist written to date.

Whether Crane was dressing as a hobo to document the life of the homeless in the Bowery, defending a prostitute against corrupt New York City law enforcement, or covering the historic charge up the San Juan hills as a correspondent during the Spanish-American War, his adventures were front-page news. From Sorrentino’s layered narrative of the various phases of Crane’s life a portrait slowly emerges. By turns taciturn and garrulous, confident and insecure, romantic and cynical, Crane was a man of irresolvable contradictions. He rebelled against tradition yet was proud of his family heritage; he lived a Bohemian existence yet was drawn to social status; he romanticized women yet obsessively sought out prostitutes; he spurned a God he saw as remote yet wished for His presence.

Incorporating decades of research by the foremost authority on Crane’s work, Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire sets a new benchmark for biographers.

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Crane Queries: Mary Helen Peck Crane Archives?

I’m a graduate student at Baylor University doing research on Stephen Crane and his mother. I know it must seem strange getting an email out of the blue, but I’m just about out of luck researching on my own.  I know that Mary Helen Peck Crane was an active temperance worker and writer, but I’m having trouble locating an archive or collection of her writings. Do you know who might house or index Mary Crane’s writings, especially her temperance work?


Jeremy Land

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Stephen Crane Panels at ALA in Washington, D.C.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Session 10-B Culture and Context in Stephen Crane’s Work
12:40-2:00 p.m.
Organized by the Stephen Crane Society

Chair: Paul Sorrentino, Virginia Tech

1. “Creative Destruction: Conflagration, The Newspaper Sketch, and Stephen Crane’s ‘The Monster,’”
Jennifer Travis, St. John’s University
2. “Tommie’s Resurrection: The Role of the Impoverished Child in Stephen Crane’s New York
Sketches,” Maggie Morris Davis, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
3. “Re-reading the Animals in Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage,” Qizhi Shu, Xiangtan

Session 12-K Business Meeting: Crane Society
University/University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Session 11-H Culture and Context in Stephen Crane’s Work
2:10-3:30 p.m.
Organized by the Stephen Crane Society

Chair: Benjamin F. Fisher, University of Mississippi

1. “’A Spector of Reproach’: Revisiting Figures of Shame in The Red Badge of Courage,” Keiko Nitta,
Rikkyo University/Yale University
2. “Stephen Crane’s Literary Journalism and the Limits of Liberalism in the Progressive Era,” Clemens
Spahr, Mainz University
3. “Structures of Feeling within Stephen Crane’s ‘The Blue Hotel,’” Robert Welch, Indiana University of

Session 12-K Business Meeting: Crane Society

3:40-5:00 p.m.

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February 1895-1896: Stephen Crane Around the Web

Feb[2] 1896. In a letter to editor Ripley Hitchcock, Crane notes, “I see also that they are beginning to charge me with having played base ball. I am rather more proud of my base ball ability than of some other things.” (From the Almanac at this site)

From “When I Knew Stephen Crane” by Willa Cather

Irving Bacheller, the founder of the first major American newspaper syndicate, sent one of his young reporters, Stephen Crane, to Nebraska in February 1895 to report on the extreme drought and famine endured by the state’s residents during the previous two years. Only two months earlier the Nebraska State Journal had published the serialized version of The Red Badge of Courage. At the time, Willa Cather was a senior at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and the drama critic for the Journal, writing several articles each week. At some point during Crane’s stay in Lincoln, the 23-year-old author met the 21-year-old student, who was overwhelmed with a heavy course load and a full-time job requiring her to attend the local theater productions most nights of the week.


Willa Cather, 21, meets her first “man of letters” Stephen Crane, 23 (Reader’s Almanac)The block known as “Genius Row” in the Village: Washington Square South was home to both Crane and Cather (Ephemeral New York)
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