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Download Stephen Crane, Journalism, and the Making of Modern American Literature epub

by Michael Robertson

Portrays Crane (1871-1900) as an exemplar of the shift in American novels between an earlier antagonism toward journalists to the embracing of journalism beginning in about the 1890s. He was the first of the post-Civil War reporters to win fame, and ennobled journalism by continuing to write for newspapers after becoming a successful novelist. Paper edition (10969-5), $16.50. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Download Stephen Crane, Journalism, and the Making of Modern American Literature epub
ISBN: 0231109687
ISBN13: 978-0231109680
Category: Literature
Subcategory: History & Criticism
Author: Michael Robertson
Language: English
Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr (December 1, 1997)
Pages: 253 pages
ePUB size: 1982 kb
FB2 size: 1631 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 665
Other Formats: rtf doc lrf txt

A near-perfect example of a researcher biased in favor of a pre-determined thesis/agenda stemming from a flawed aesthetic sensibility, in support of which he marshals such data as he can manage to gather while concurrently ignoring, dismissing or downplaying such data as would run counter to his thesis/agenda, thereby either weakening or undermining it.

The author clearly has done his homework and has some not uninteresting data to share and points to make, but with respect both to tone of presentation, and selectivity and prioritizing of data, the work as a whole is so narrowly focused on and transparently slanted in favor of elevating the importance of what he ad nauseum calls the "fact-fiction discourse," of valorizing what he identifies as the "symbiotic relationship" of journalism and literature--as if "literary" journalism is somehow of commensurate worth with literature and "journalistic" literature somehow of commensurate worth with non-journalistic literature--that the result, if not entirely unconvincing, is at best problematic and at worst specious.

It is an empirical fact that there have existed, to this day continue to exist, any number of examples (in addition to Crane, the author for some reason known only to him focuses on Dreiser and Hemingway while scarcely mentioning the more salient names Poe, Whitman, Twain, Bierce, Dos Passos, etc.) of fiction writers who began their writing careers working for newspapers, magazines and other non-fiction outlets. To suggest, however, that such writers were and/or remain of more determinative importance to the evolution of "Modern American Literature" than those writers who did not work for such outlets, or that such writers were of importance precisely because their fiction employed journalistic techniques and mechanisms, is highly questionable.

While it can reasonably be argued that Stephen Crane is a seminal figure in "the Making of Modern American literature" (that is, literature OF A CERTAIN SORT) in the sense that his work signifies or is representative of the turn away from the traditionally romantic/sentimental/moralistic and towards the (at the time) unconventionally naturalist/realist/impressionist "school" of fiction in this country--something considered quite innovative, even daring at the time, if the height of philistinism now--where the author goes wrong is in not only exaggerating by dint of omission of other schools the importance of that particular school, but in failing to address the placement of that school within a broader literary context.
Robertson is a really excellent writer, and his frame for discussion is compelling reading. As the issues that face the media today continue to be complicated ones, this book provided me with a valuable look at the intersection between journalism and fiction in the late 19th century. I found the "fact/fiction discourse" that Robertson discusses to be a robust concept and still relevant.