Hart Crane Additional Biography


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

ph_0111206273-Crane_H.jpg Hart Crane. Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Harold Hart Crane was born in Garretsville, Ohio, on July 21, 1899, the son of Clarence and Grace Hart Crane. He was an only child, stuck between incompatible parents who each demanded his allegiance. His father, a successful businessman who founded what became a prosperous candy company, wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. His mother, who resented her husband’s absences and abuse, pressed the boy to develop in a more artistic direction.

When he was nine, the family recriminations exploded so fiercely that his mother had a nervous breakdown and entered a sanatorium, while Crane was sent to live with his grandmother in Cleveland. Eventually the whole family relocated to Cleveland, where Crane went to East High School. He was an introverted adolescent, occupying his free time in voracious reading or taking long walks alone. His high school years were punctuated by a trip to visit his grandmother’s plantation on the Isle of Pines, Cuba. Although the trip was ruined by family discord, it introduced Crane to the tropical regions to which he would return and which he would picture so magically in his last poems.

In November, 1916, Clarence Crane moved out, and his wife filed for divorce. Their marriage was over. The young Crane, who had been viewing the Greenwich Village arts explosion from a distance and had a few months previously had his first poem published in one of its small magazines, Bruno’s Weekly, quit high school and set off for New York City. Over the following few years he would get to know many literary figures, such as Allen Tate and Waldo Frank. Although Crane was to achieve a measure of success...

(The entire section is 675 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

It is easy to imagine that writing, for Crane, was strenuous, even painful, for what he demanded of his verse was both lyrical intensity and intellectual density. At the core of his thought was a depiction of transcendence, a bursting of the bonds of received perception that led to a fuller recognition of how the past and myth were entwined with the present moment. He argued that the United States, addled in the 1920’s by materialism, could be regenerated by an increase in self-knowledge that could be gained by listening to its poets.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Hart Crane was born Harold Hart Crane to Grace Hart, a Chicago beauty, and C. A. (Clarence Authur) Crane, a self-made businessman who became a successful candy manufacturer. An only child, Crane felt that he was made the battleground of his parents’ conflicts. When Crane was fifteen years old, a family trip to his grandmother’s Caribbean plantation, the Isle of Pines, erupted in quarreling. Crane subsequently made two suicide attempts.

When he was seventeen, Crane went to New York to become a poet, not to prepare to enter college as his father thought. In the next several years, Crane alternated between living in Cleveland and New York, working at low-paying jobs, primarily in advertising, jobs that drained his...

(The entire section is 606 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Harold Hart Crane was an innovative and vital poet whose relatively small body of work established him as a significant twentieth century American poet. He was the only child of a prosperous family of New England background. Crane suffered an unhappy childhood, his affections divided between his estranged parents. Beginning when he was sixteen years old, he drifted from city to city, writing poetry as he moved. Following publication of one of his poems in The Little Review when he was eighteen, he rejected an opportunity to go to college. Instead, pursuing his interest in books, he found a job in a bookstore in New York. He soon left this job for work in a munitions plant, followed by employment in a Lake Erie shipyard,...

(The entire section is 475 words.)