The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipseby Geoffrey Wolff
of Harry Crosby
In a 1929 letter poet Hart Crane explained, “It takes a book to describe the Crosbys—but it has already led me to new atrocities.” Forty-seven years later, Geoffrey Wolff wrote that book and did so with the verve, agility, and cool-headedness needed to capture Harry Crosby in words. The nephew of J. P. Morgan, Crosby left his aristocratic Boston family for 1920s Paris. He brought along a new wife and enormous literary aspirations, which quickly took shape as his connections gained him entry into the legendary expatriate community of artists, writers, and swells. He counted Crane and Kay Boyle among his closest friends and founded a small press that published exquisite editions by James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, and, of course, himself. Popular and vivacious, Crosby was known for his joie de vivre. In 1929, in an upscale Boston hotel, he murdered his girlfriend and killed himself.