“1895. Crane arrives in Nebraska to cover the destitution and starvation wrought by the previous summer’s drought and the extremely cold winter of 1894-95. In the evening, he meets Willa Cather, who in December had copy edited THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE for the STATE JOURNAL.”
Many of you have heard about this ALA-sponsored symposium through postings on other sites, but I wanted to make sure that all of the ALA affiliated groups new about the upcoming symposium on “God and the American Writer.” The symposium will be held at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, on February 26-28, 2015. The deadline for paper proposals is December 1st. All proposals should be sent to Jeanne Reesman at email@example.com.
Aside from great panels with great papers, the symposium will also feature two keynote addresses, one by Harold K. Bush on Mark Twain and one by Jonathan Cook on Herman Melville. We’ll also have a poetry reading with the theme of women and spirituality featuring Bonnie Lyons, poet and critic, and Enedina Vasquez, poet, artist, and lay Episcopal minister. In addition, we’ll have a screening of Terence Malik’s film The Tree of Life with an informance by Stacey Peebles. There will be a mariachi reception and luncheons and a tour of local historic missions and the San Fernando Cathedral.
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
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:
‘Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire,’ by Paul Sorrentino
By JAYNE ANNE PHILLIPS
AUG. 1, 2014
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.’ ”
From The New Yorker:
THE RED AND THE SCARLET
The hectic career of Stephen Crane.
BY CALEB CRAIN JUNE 30, 2014
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.
[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.
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?