Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: American Literature
Competition: US & Canada
The foremost scholar on the life and work of Stephen Crane, Paul Sorrentino is a Professor of English at Virginia Tech. Before joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1978, he was an Assistant Professor of English at the Wilkes-Barre campus of the Pennsylvania State University. He received degrees in English from Villanova University (A.B., 1967), Lehigh University (M.A., 1969), and Penn State (Ph.D., 1977).
Mr. Sorrentino has devoted his academic career to Crane studies. With Stanley Wertheim, he edited both the two-volume Correspondence of Stephen Crane (Columbia UP, 1988), and The Crane Log (Macmillan, 1993; paperback, 1994). These two works not only corrected long-standing errors of fact in previous Crane biographies and exposed as fabrications many of the letters Thomas Beer had presented as authentic in his 1923 biography of the author—a work that subsequent scholars had relied on in their own studies—but also reignited interest in Crane. With the support of an NEH Fellowship in 1996-97, he further fleshed out his emerging portrait of the author with Stephen Crane Remembered (U of Alabama Press, 2006), a critical edition of eyewitness of accounts of Crane’s life and career. Building on his more than twenty-five years of research on this late nineteenth-century writer, Mr. Sorrentino intends to finish the fourth and final installment in this series, a definitive biography of Crane, during his Guggenheim Fellowship term. Among his most significant contributions to Crane scholarship is his founding of the Stephen Crane Society, which publishes Stephen Crane Studies and hosts an annual meeting at the ALA conference. Mr. Sorrentino is also the author of Student Companion to Stephen Crane (Greenwood Press, 2005) and more than two dozen articles in refereed journals and anthologies.
Paul Sorrentino has also been recognized as an outstanding educator. He has received not only numerous teaching awards at Virginia Tech, but was one of only eight faculty members there who have ever been honored with both the Alumni Teaching Award (1984) and the W. E. Wine Award (2005), given in recognition of a history of teaching excellence. He was also inducted into Virginia Tech’s Academy of Faculty Service, its highest service-related honor. In 1990, the South Atlantic Association of Departments of English named him the outstanding English teacher in a four-year college in that region, and in 2006 the Governor of Virginia selected him for the state’s highest faculty honor, the Commonwealth of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award.