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Participant Observance

Crane, Finitude, ‘Anthropologism’

Anthony Splendora

Pages 459 - 481


Confronting unrejoined critical challenges regarding Stephen Crane’s impeti while acknowledging his ambiguous ‘mens auctoris’ and other difficulties, this paper illuminates Crane’s fictions as direct rational-aesthetic witnessing to his intrasubjective conditions and milieu. Focused personalizations, his originary linguistic declarations, invariably actualized in significant monologic speech, manifest as ‘logoi’, projective performatives (conferred substantialities) bearing autonomous metalinguistic ‘sentence’ in a myth-toned (stripped of specifics) art both persistent and interdictively rebellious with humanistic meaning. Shown impending pervasively and indicatively in an age of objectified alterities are Crane’s melodramatic portrayals of relative time, both as suspensively crystallized quasi-mythically and as expent preciously in evanescent, living theater, especially in crucial, allegorizing, Modernistic self-dramatization. Essayed here are not granular textual exegeses, not analyses of internal forms, but a partial mapping of Crane’s critically unique historical and psychological situatedness, an adverbial reading proffering a narratological “how,” “why” and “wherefore” of his fiction by functioning in the rhetorical- analytical speech-performative plane of inference whereupon, as touchstone, Shakespeare’s avatar Prospero (‘pro’ + ‘spes’ = “according to hope,” “as desired,” “I profit”), epilogically addressing ‘Tempest’ audiences metadramatically, discharges.


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