Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane, 1871–1900, American novelist, poet, and short-story writer, b. Newark, N.J. Often designated the first modern American writer, Crane is ranked among the authors who introduced realism into American literature. The 14th child of a Methodist minister, he grew up in Port Jervis, N.Y., and briefly attended Lafayette College and Syracuse Univ. He moved to New York City in 1890 and for five years lived in poverty as a free-lance writer.

His first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893), a grimly realistic story of slum life, was unpopular but gained the young writer the friendship of Hamlin Garland and William Dean Howells. Crane's next novel, The Red Badge of Courage (1895, restored ed. 1982), brought him wide and deserved fame. Set during the Civil War, the novel traces the development of a young recruit, Henry Fleming, through fear, illusion, panic, and cowardice, to a quiet, humble heroism. This remarkable account of the emotions of a soldier under fire is all the more amazing since Crane had never been in battle. On the strength of the novel he served as a foreign correspondent in Cuba and in Greece.

Around 1897 Crane married Cora Taylor, who ran a brothel in Florida. His marriage, coupled with his unorthodox personality, aroused scandalous rumors, including those that he was a drug addict and a satanist. Because of this slander Crane spent his last years abroad; he died of tuberculosis in Germany at the age of 28.

Crane was a superb literary stylist who emphasized irony and paradox and made innovative use of imagery and symbolism. Thus, although realistic, his novels are highly individual. Crane also wrote superb short stories and poems. The title stories of The Open Boat and Other Tales (1898) and The Monster and Other Stories (1899) are considered among the finest stories in English. His two books of epigrammatic free verse, The Black Rider (1895) and War Is Kind (1899), anticipated several strains of 20th-century poetry.

See his works, ed. by F. Bowers (10 vol., 1969–76); letters, ed. by S. Wertheim and P. Sorrentino (2 vol., 1988); biographies by J. Berryman (1950, repr. 1975), R. W. Stallman (1968), and L. H. Davis (1998); studies by M. Holton (1972), R. M. Weatherford, ed. (1973), F. Bergon (1975), D. Halliburton (1989), and C. Benfey (1992); bibliography by R. W. Stallman (1972).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

A Stephen Crane Encyclopedia
Stanley Wertheim.
Greenwood Press, 1997
Stephen Crane
John Berryman.
William Sloane, 1950
The Red Badge of Courage, and Other Stories
Stephen Crane.
Harper & Brothers, 1957
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets; George's Mother
Stephen Crane.
Fawcett, 1960
The Poetry of Stephen Crane
Daniel Hoffman.
Columbia University Press, 1957
Stephen Crane: A Study in American Letters
Thomas Beer.
Alfred A. Knopf, 1924
"Distributing the News": War Journalism as Metaphor for Language in Stephen Crane's Fiction
Crisman, William.
Studies in American Fiction, Vol. 30, No. 2, Autumn 2002
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Understanding The Red Badge of Courage: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents
Claudia Durst Johnson.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Barron's Simplified Approach to the Red Badge of Courage: Stephen Crane
Robert L. Gale.
Barron's Educational Series, 1966
Disabling Fictions: Race, History, and Ideology in Crane's "The Monster." (Stephen Crane)(Fictions of Reform)
McMurray, Price.
Studies in American Fiction, Vol. 26, No. 1, Spring 1998
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Virtues of the Vicious: Jacob Riis, Stephen Crane, and the Spectacle of the Slum
Keith Gandal.
Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Crane and Slum Fiction"
Fact, Not Fiction: Questioning Our Assumptions about Crane's "The Open Boat"
Eye, Stefanie Bates.
Studies in Short Fiction, Vol. 35, No. 1, Winter 1998
Cora Crane: A Biography of Mrs. Stephen Crane
Lillian Gilkes.
Indiana University Press, 1960
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