Christopher Benfey   The Double Life of Stephen Crane.
Knopf, 294 pages, $25

reviewed by Guy Davenport

In 1925 Thomas Beer’s Stephen Crane, along with Wilson Follett’s twelve-volume The Work [sic] of Stephen Crane (1925-26), fixed Crane securely in the American canon. There had been a biography in 1923, by Thomas L. Raymond. Follett’s collected works had prefaces to individual volumes by Willa Cather (who met the young Crane in a Nebraska newspaper office), Carl Van Doren, Amy Lowell, and Henry Mencken. Beer’s charming biography had for an introduction a thirty-three-page essay by Joseph Conrad. Crane figures in the reminiscences of H.G. Wells and Ford Madox Ford, among others. No American student can get through high...


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