Recognized as the foremost authority on Stephen Crane, Virginia Tech’s Paul Sorrentino has dedicated his career to studying the life of the author of “The Red Badge of Courage.”

Sorrentino, the Clifford A. Cutchins III Professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, has now penned a seminal biography, “Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire” (Harvard University Press, 2014).

In writing his latest book, Sorrentino has sifted through garbled chronologies and contradictory eyewitness accounts, scoured archives, and followed in Crane's footsteps. He even unearthed some lost Crane papers in Hawaii in 1984. The result is the most complete and detailed account of the poet and novelist written to date.

“Sorrentino’s authoritative and sympathetic portrait revives a ‘bohemian rebel’ and prolific, groundbreaking writer,” as noted in Kirkus Reviews. According to The New York Times book review by Jayne Anne Phillips, “Sorrentino tracks Stephen Crane's life with lively precision."

  • Sorrentino will talk about his new book on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 1 p.m. on the second floor of Newman Library, in the semester’s kickoff lecture to the Visible Scholarship Initiative. The event is free and open to the public.

Sorrentino, who came to Virginia Tech in 1978, received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009 and a year-long fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1996. He has written seven other books and a textbook, dozens of articles and book chapters, and multiple notes and reviews. He is the founder and editor of Stephen Crane Studies.

In 2006, Sorrentino received both the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award and Virginia Tech’s William E. Wine Award. He received his bachelor's degree from Villanova University, a master's degree from Lehigh University, and his Ph.D. from Penn State University.

A collaboration between the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the University Libraries, the Visible Scholarship Initiative seeks to make visible the stages of research and creative scholarship in the liberal arts and human sciences.



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