2004 Queries

Crane in the Spanish-American War

For several years I have repeated a story about Crane in the Spanish-American War in my U.S. history survey classes.  In a period of intense fighting, Crane, wearing a white duster, stands on top on an earthwork for several minutes until another reporter says in effect, “Alright, Crane, now get down before you get hurt. We’ve all seen you and we know you’re here.” I’m convinced I read this but I don’t recall where.  Could it be the Greco-Turkish War?  Does Richard Harding Davis figure in this?  What was Crane’s awareness of his tuberculosis in 1898 and could he have been seeking a fast heroic-seeming death instead of lingering invalidism? Unless there are some letters somewhere, this last is probably too speculative. — John Yarbrough


This incident, reported by Richard Harding Davis in Notes of a War Correspondent (1910), occurred on the afternoon of 1 July 1898. Davis was covering the Cuban phase of the Spanish-American war for the New York Herald. Crane was a correspondent for the New York World. That morning American troops began to advance toward the fortifications of San Juan on the eastern outskirts of Santiago and the village of El Caney, six miles northeast of the city, where the enemy was entrenched. At 1:00 P.M. Theodore Roosevelt, who had become colonel of the Rough Riders following the promotion of Leonard Wood to brigadier general, led the volunteer regiment in a charge up Kettle Hill in advance of the regulars. At about 3:00 P.M., as Wood supervised the entrenchment of the Rough Riders under still extremely active Spanish fire, Crane walked to the crest of the San Juan Heights.  Richard Harding Davis watched as Crane “walked to the crest and stood there as sharply outlined as a semaphore, observing the enemy’s lines and instantly bringing on himself and us the fire of many Mausers. With every one else, Wood was crouched below the crest and shouted to Crane to lie down.  Crane, still standing, as though to get out of ear-shot, moved away, and Wood again ordered him to lie down. ‘You’re drawing the fire on these men,’ Wood commanded.  Although the heat-it was the 1st of July in the tropics-was terrific, Crane wore a long India rubber rain-coat [The photographer Jimmy Hare described this raincoat as gleaming white] and was smoking a pipe.  He appeared as cool as though he were looking down from a box at a theatre.  I knew that to Crane, anything that savored of a pose was hateful, so, as I did not want to see him killed, I called, ‘You’re not impressing any one by doing that, Crane.’ As I hoped he would, he instantly dropped to his knees.  When he crawled over to where we lay, I explained, ‘I knew that would fetch you,’ and he grinned, and said, ‘Oh, was that it?'” (p. 125)

Crane probably knew that he was suffering from tuberculosis. Later in July he visited Saranac Lake, New York, to consult the eminent lung specialist Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, but this would not necessarily be an indication that his actions at the San Juan Heights were suicidal. Crane was habitually reckless as a war correspondent. John Bass, for example, reported that Crane observed the Battle of Velestino on 4 May 1897 while seated on an ammunition box smoking a cigarette amid a shower of shells.
–Stanley Wertheim 12/30/04

Did Crane know Whitman?

QUESTION: I am curious about possible influence of Whitman on Crane’s poetry. Is there any evidence that Crane was familiar with LEAVES OF GRASS? Is there any evidence that the two ever met?

Thanks much.

J.R. Solonche
Assistant Professor of English
Middletown, NY 10940 jsolonch at sunyorange.edu


According to The Crane Log, both Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Agnes Repplier compared Crane’s poetry to Whitman’s, but those are the only references to Whitman in the book (145, 389). –D. Campbell


Crane video

QUESTION: Is there a good biographical video about Stephen Crane?  If so, who produced it?  How much is it, and how can I get it?

Dan Holtz dholtz@oakmail.peru.edu


No, there are no videos, good or otherwise, about the life of Stephen Crane. Although books are old-fashioned and tedious, you might try one of the biographies. Unfortunately, none of these are very good either. If I had to read one, I would choose Linda Davis’ Badge of Courage: The Life of Stephen Crane (1998).

–Stanley Wertheim

You might try The Crane Log: A Documentary Life of Stephen Crane by Wertheim and Sorrentino. (That is what I use for this site.) It’s a book rather than a video, however.

–Donna Campbell



about the videos on Crane: there’s a video about Crane and The Red Badge of Courage: , «Great Books – The Red Badge of Courage», Roundabout Productions Inc. for TLC, 1999, Discovery Communications, Inc.

David Furtado, 3/2/05

Crane’s works in Spanish 

QUESTION: I am interested in finding out when was the first translation dated of Stephen Crane’s work into Spanish, mainly “Maggie, a girl of the streets.” This is for a possible comparison with a Spanish author who has a very similar story and he was believed to be extremely influenced by american writers, to the point of copying their style. Please if you have a date email me at niquinon@yahoo.com

Nancy Q Reeves 10-24-04

List of Bibles

Where can I obtain a list of the Bibles (Old and New Testament) in the Crane family library?

Linda Landau landau@info-gate.co.il 10-20-04

In accordance with the will of his mother, who died in December, 1891, Stephen Crane was allowed to select one fourth of the books in his family library when he reached the age of twenty one on November 1, 1892.  The remaining books went to his surviving siblings. Since Crane’s father, Jonathan Townley Crane, was a prominent Methodist minister and his maternal grandfather and granduncle were distinguished pastors and theologians in the Methodist Episcopal church, there is little doubt that a good number of Bibles were among the family books. Crane chose and retained at least two or three of these since they remained in his  personal library until his death, along with religious books by his ancestors and other authors. Specific bibliographical information about these Bibles and books may be found in James E. Kibler, “The Library of Stephen and Cora Crane.” Proof: The Yearbook of American Bibliographical and Textual Studies I, ed. Joseph Katz (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1971): 199-246.

–Stanley Wertheim, 10-24-04

Crane, Myth, and “The Monster”

Note: This query appeared on the H-AMSTDY list and is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

Has anyone previously identified or specifically noted mythological references, primarily Norse, within Stephen Crane’s novella “The Monster”? In his other works perhaps? The Monster seems rife with medieval associations, syntax and diction. I believe Crane’s style in the short, as well as the plot and characters analogous relation to Scandinavian legends (i.e. stories of Thor and Loki paralleling the experience of Henry Johnson), is purposeful. The language Crane employs evokes ideas oftribalism andearly hunter-gatherer culture and it is widely understood that the author spent the last years of his life among the dense foliage of Germany’s Black Forest. Can anyone clarify, repudiate or assist in theprovision of a basis for my assumption on Crane’s implicit mythological bent?

Evan Hall 10-3-04

No, nobody has noticed any  references specific or implied, to Norse mythology in “The Monster”; that is  because there are none. Nor are there any “medieval associations, syntax, and diction” in the novelette. There is some mock Homeric language, such as in the description in the fifth section of the Tuscarora HoseCompany Number Six rushing to quell the fire at Dr. Trescott’s house. This is a common satiric technique in Crane’s fiction. Crane had no knowledge whatever of Norse mythology. I was quite surprised to read that it is “widely understood that the author spent the last years of his life among the dense foliage of Germany’s Black Forest.” According to all Crane biographies, Crane spent nine days (in bed) at Badenweiler, where he died on 5 June 1900. He had never before been in Germany. Furthermore, as someone who was born in Germany and has spent a great deal of time there (The town of Wertheim is in the Black Forest), I can assure you that there is no dense foliage in the Schwarzwald. There are, in fact, few trees. The area has been farmland for over 200 years, and the name is a metaphor for the rich, black soil. Furthermore, even if Crane had spent years in the Black Forest it is extremely unlikely that he would have been exposed to Norse mythology, a subject that in Germany has traditionally been consigned to the genre of children’s stories, except, of course, by the Nazis. This is this kind of query that convinces me that there shouldbe a moratorium on Crane criticism until graduate students learn how to use libraries again.

–Stanley Wertheim, 10-13-04

Publication Date for “A Man Adrift on a Slim Spar” 

QUESTION: I am a teacher putting together an anthology for my students, and I would like to know when “A Man Adrift on a Slim Spar” was first published. Rob McGhee



According to the Stephen Crane Encyclopedia, “‘A man adrift on a slim spar’ was inexplicably omitted from War is Kind and was first published posthumously in the April 1929 issue of the Bookman” (215). –D. Campbell
“Midnight Sketches” 

I wanted to know, if possible, which are the texts included in the sequence «Midnight Sketches». Were they published separately in book form when Crane was alive, or after his death?

Thank you for this great website

Dave davidf@net.sapo.pt 6/26/04

The American edition of The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure was published by Doubleday & McClure in April 1898. The English edition, published simultaneously with the American by William Heinemann, is titled The Open Boat and Other Stories. In the English edition, the stories of the American edition appear under the heading “Minor Conflicts” and there is an added section of New York City and Asbury Park, New Jersey, stories under the heading “Midnight Sketches that includes “An Experiment in Misery,” “The Men in the Storm,” “The Duel that Was Not Fought,” “An Ominous Baby,” “A Great Mistake,” “An Eloquence of Grief.” “The Auction,” “The Pace of Youth,” and “A Detail.” The headings were editorially supplied. “The Pace of Youth” is set in Asbury Park.

–Stanley Wertheim, 7/4/04

“The Art Students’ League Building”
QUESTION: Hello. Do you know where and when «The Art Students’ League Building» was published?
I would also like to know the contents of «Midnight Sketches» According to the «Crane Log» they are all about New York, but «The Pace of Youth» takes place in New Jersey. Any comments?

Thank you davidf@net.sapo.pt 

David Furtado 6/26/04

Burial Service in “The Upturned Face”

I am writing to you from Iran because I am doing
an essay on Stephen Crane’s “The Upturned Face” and I have hit a stump. The part in the story where they recite part of a burial service…well I need the full version of that burial service.Thanks alot.
Sina Mehraeen 6-4-04

There are occasional identifications to the fragmented burial service in “The Upturned Face” as being adapted from The Book of Common Prayer used by the Anglican and Episcopal churches. There are, of course, many versions and revisions of this book. I have not been able to find anything resembling Crane’s text in the burial rites any of those I have examined, and I strongly suspect that the prayer, with its satiric references to “bubbles” is Crane’s own creation. However, I cannot be certain of this.

–Stanley Wertheim 7/5/04

People as Adverbs?

QUESTION: I am looking for Crane’s eact quote in which he states “people are not nouns they are acverbs.” Boyd Dressler

This is from the Easterner’s (Mr. Blanc’s) speech to Bill, the cowboy, at the end of “The Blue Hotel”:”We are all in it! This poor gambler isn’t even a noun. He is kind of an adverb. Every sin is the result of a collaboration. We, five of us, have collaborated in the murder of this Swede. Usually there are from a dozen to forty women really involved in every murder, but in this case it seems to be only five men- you, I, Johnnie, old Scully, and that fool of an unfortunate gambler came merely as a culmination, the apex of a human movement, and gets all the punishment.”

(Link to commentary on part of the the quotation)

Scholars on Crane?

Who are considered the foremost scholars on Crane today?  I am interested in both biographers and literary critics.  Thank you. John W. Roberts


My list would have to include Stanley Wertheim and Paul Sorrentino; also Donald Pizer, George Monteiro, Patrick K. Dooley, James Nagel, Michael Robertson, John Clendenning, Thomas Gullason, and Donald Vanouse, for a start. This is just a very short list by one person, of course; more suggestions would be appreciated.

–Donna Campbell, 4-5-04

Rejection slipsQUESTION: I have heard that Stephen Crane received many rejection slips from publishers. How many did he receive, and do any of the contents of these letters known? Daniel Chase mervymitchell@hotmail.com 3-30-04 Very probably Crane received a good number of rejection slips early in his career. His poverty during the first two years he worked as a free-lance reporter in New York attests to this. No actual rejection slips have survived, but Crane was forced to publish Maggie: A Girl of the Streets privately at his own expense. His first book of poems, The Black Riders, was accepted by a small experimental firm in Boston, but they published it only after Crane deleted poems to which they objected and in a format to which he consented only reluctantly. The McClure syndicate retained the manuscript of The Red Badge of Courage for almost six months until Crane withdrew it and submitted it to the Bacheller syndicate. The newspaper publication of The Red Badge in December 1894, however, projected Crane into instant success, and in following years there was always a demand for his work by newspaper, magazine, and book publishers.

–Stanley Wertheim 4-5-04

Publishers of Crane editions

QUESTION: Searching for the printing Company(s) who published editions of “George’s Mother in
Bowery Tales,” 1900,1915 and 1918.


Mike michael_ray_wilson@yahoo.com


George’s Mother was first published in May 1896 by the Anglo-American firm of Edward Arnold.Bowery Tales was published posthumously in England in June 1900 and in subsequent printings by William Heinemann. This is a reprinting of the 1896 English edition of Maggie, with William Dean Howells’s introduction, and the Arnold text of George’s Mother. There is no new material in this volume and it has no textual authority.

–Stanley Wertheim 4-5-04

Comments on language in The Red Badge of Courage

QUESTION: I have not seen any discussion of the contrast between the lofty prose of the narrator in the Red Badge and the farm language used by Henry and his comrades. Also interesting is the use of those very short sentences which only Crane can use that well. Does anyone know if he developed this style on his own or did it come from someone whom he admired as a writer etc? It is the way he puts things that is fascinating “they neglected to stand in picturesque attitudes”. “There was a great deal of flurry in her movement. He often thought of it” et al. Very beautiful way of putting certain thoughts down on paper, when there were so many ways to express the thought, Crane chose the short, but beautiful sentences. I think the Red Badge is the most beautifully written book, style wise and use of words that I have ever read. Does anyone agree with that? My background is not literature but criminal law and I have 15,000 cases behind me after 24 years, and yet literature is still one of my main interests, surpassing that of law by light years……..Davis C. Bruce dcb188@uid.onemain.com


The question of style in The Red Badge of Courage is complex. You identify two distinct patterns: the standard English of the narrative voice and the inconsistently developed dialect of the soldiers. Crane was familiar with the dialect of veterans to whose recollections he listened as a boy under the impressive Civil War monument that still stands in Orange Square in Port Jervis, New York. The movements of Crane’s fictional 304th New York roughly correspond to those of the 124th New York State Volunteer Regiment, which had its first combat experience at Chancellorsville, the setting of The Red Badge of Courage. Crane had also read many personal chronicles of the battles of the Army of the Potomac written by veterans who reproduced the dialect speech of soldiers.

The narrative style of The Red Badge is often identified as impressionistic. The ideal of impressionism in literature as in painting is to render experiences as they pass through the mind. The essential movement of the novel consists of emotional transitions in the mind of the protagonist. The world of Henry Fleming’s perceptions is vividly alive. There are numerous personifications. Smoke is “lazy and ignorant”; wagons are “terror stricken”; cannon are “surly and relentless.” There is pervasive use of animal imagery. Dependent upon their actions, soldiers are characterized as chickens and rabbits or lions and tigers. No other American novel is as saturated with color images, used both descriptively and metaphorically. Like the impressionist painters, Crane records the impression of light and color on the eye, rendering experience as fleeting and subjective. To a great extent, these qualities account for the distinctive style of The Red Badge.

–Stanley Wertheim, 4-5-04


“The Blue Hotel” as a movie, circa 1956?


I have come across this reference that suggests that James Agee’s adaptation of “The Blue Hotel” was once produced on television:

Fultz, James R., Heartbreak at the Blue Hotel: James Agee’s Scenario of Stephen Crane’s Story, Midwest Quarterly: A Journal of Contemporary Thought. Pittsburg, KS, v. 21, pp. 423-34:
“While the film was never produced, it was on TV for Omnibus on Nov 25, 1956 with Rip Torn and Arthur O’Connell”

Can anyone verfiy if this is true?


John Wranovics 2-10-04

The only version of The Blue Hotel listed on IMDB is one from 1977 (there’s also a version in German from 1974). Here’s a complete list on all movies/TV productions they credit to Crane:


— Bob Houk 4-15-04

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