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Lot #423
Stephen Crane AQS from Final Unfinished Work

Rare quote from Crane's final, unfinished work: "Last words written today on ‘The O’Ruddy'"

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Estimate: $2000+
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Rare quote from Crane's final, unfinished work: "Last words written today on ‘The O’Ruddy'"

Incredible AQS on an off-white 4.75 x 4.75 sheet of Brede Place, Northiam, Sussex letterhead, signed at the bottom, “Stephen Crane,” who adds the date above, “England, March 15, ‘00.” The quote, in full: “‘When I misunderstand you don’t enlighten me for I find these explanations very hard to bear.’ Last words written today on ‘The O’Ruddy.’” In very good to fine condition, with trimmed edges, scattered light staining, and light toning from prior display.

After covering the Rough Riders in Cuba during the Spanish-American War, Crane returned to England in January 1899 and eventually moved into the 14th-century manor Brede Place, which had neither electricity nor indoor plumbing. Under financial duress, Crane worked feverishly during the first months at Brede, telling his publisher that he was ‘doing more work now than I have at any other period in my life.’ His efforts, while not entirely unprofitable, took a further toll on his already diminished well-being, and by late 1899 he was asking friends about health resorts.

Crane suffered a severe pulmonary hemorrhage on December 29th, but by January 1900 he'd recovered sufficiently to work on a new novel, The O'Ruddy, completing 25 of the 33 chapters. He suffered two more hemorrhages in March and April and, with funds supplied by friends, traveled to the German health spa Badenweiler. Despite his weakened condition, Crane continued to dictate fragmentary episodes for the completion of The O'Ruddy, before dying at the age of 28 on June 5, 1900. This rare quotation derives from the work’s 22nd chapter.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring Classical Music
  • Dates: #661 - Ended April 12, 2023

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