Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 July 2010
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 25, 1900, p. 7
Was Stephen Crane a genius? Did he do permanent work; something that will last and become a part of the lasting literature of the English language? There are critics who claim that nothing can really be termed “literature” until it has stood the test of time, and has really become more or less of a classic. It is not often that fiction attains to this distinction, and Crane was a fictionist, pure and simple. His power lay in a certain genius for minute analysis and description, and the skill to endow these with an unusual degree of interest, even when the subject was of the most trivial character. He died before he had come to the full fruition of his genius—power, skill—call it what you will—and we will never know what he might have done had his life been spared, and his mind had time to ripen and expand with increasing knowledge of men and the world of men. But does the work he left behind give any evidence that in time he might have come to a high place among those whose interpretations of human life have secured for them a deathless fame with the generations that come after them? Was it worth while to be so minute in the delineation of a trivial subject? Was it not photography instead of art?