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The Art of Youth: Crane, Carrington, Gershwin, and the Nature of First Acts

by Nicholas Delbanco 

The Art of Youth is a moving inquiry into the nature of artistic prodigies who did their major work at an early age. Renowned novelist Nicholas Delbanco gives us a triptych of indelible portraits: the Ameri­can writer Stephen Crane (immortalized by The Red Badge of Courage); British art­ist Dora Carrington (called “the most ne­glected serious painter of her time”); and the legendary composer George Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue, Porgy and Bess).

All three lived colorful, productive lives before dying early, at an average age of thirty-five. In this learned and elegant book, Delbanco discovers what it is we mourn in authors who pass away so young, and muses on his own life—one marked by both early success and longevity.