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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Comments

I've always liked Crane's poetry too. All but two of these are familiar to me -- the dialogue with God and the 999 lying tongues. The others were in the various standard anthologies I read in the 60s, which were my introduction to "modern" poetry.

Third of his = thud of his

Yes, I saw the "thud" in the web version I referenced. My copy of Complete Poems of Stephen Crane has "third", though, so that's how I transcribed it. It might just be because of familiarity, but that's how I like it; "thud" sounds too literal to me.

I didn't understand how to parse "third of his defeat."

I always took it to be a stylized rendering of "And you will hear the third [speak] of his defeat" (or "And you will hear [from] the third of his defeat"). I honestly don't know which one Crane actually wrote, though "thud" is starting to seem more likely. Could I really have been misled by a typo all these years? Damn you, Joseph Katz!

The Library of America edition of Crane has "thud." In the note on the texts at the end of the volume, no variants (even as typos) are listed. It looks like "thud" is probably correct, especially since I agree it's hard to get "third of his defeat" to parse. Even if Crane wrote "third", some other word seems to be missing.

Thanks for the link to the Amazon listing of the Complete Poems, though. I loved the one-star review it got in 1999: "... very dull. The poems were not inspiring."

Cavil me all you want, but I have a hand-signed proof from Stephen Crane himself that I think settles the matter.

I am impressed at your speed in obtaining this proof. It surprises me, though, because Crane seems to use plain, unadorned language in the rest of the poems lines quoted above. But I will cavil no more.

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