Saturday, June 4, 2016

Review: Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby

Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby by Geoffrey Wolff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It may have been Bukowski's correspondence with Caresse Crosby that led me to seeking more about this "Lost Generation" character, or some other tangent I've now forgotten. This is the second, counting Cowley, and likely last biography of the minor poet Harry Crosby. (Aside, minor figures do not get much new treatment). Bearing this in mind, it becomes more important to take in the story with a skeptical eye. Is it definitive? In the face of the author's research against our lack of it, we can only surmise. On that note, Edward Brunner has a good take here: http://www.postroadmag.com/Issue_3/Et...

Brunner writes: "Geoffrey Wolff broke from Cowley’s example by refusing to accord Crosby representative status, but his decision instead to focus on Crosby as exemplifying a weak and indulgent character, while it made for a gripping (if heavily moralistic) narrative, hardly served to promote interest in his writings." I agree that the narrative can be heavily moralistic, an annoyance.
Otherwise there are passages of good analysis and overall, this account is worth reading. The roles of other literary figures that were drawn to the Black Sun flame, Lawrence, MacLeish, et al., are fascinating.

Last but not least, the telling of how Harry and Caresse chose Lescaret as their printer, and of the genesis of the Black Sun Press as a whole, makes for interesting reading about a small, deluxe press that furthered the cause of literature, beautifully.





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