Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1 - Stephen Crane

Realist author Stephen Crane was born on November 1, 1871, in Newark, NJ, the last of 14 children of a Methodist minister and his wife. Though sickly as a child, he was precocious and taught himself to read by age 4. He spent less than two years as a college student, partly at Syracuse University, before starting a freelance writing career in New York, where he lived in the gritty, impoverished world of the Bowery in Lower Manhattan. From this emerged his first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893), the tale of a girl driven to prostitution. He also contracted various diseases in this period (and later as a war correspondent abroad). Crane’s fascination with stories of Civil War battles resulted in his masterwork of naturalism, The Red Badge of Courage (1895), which he called "a psychological portrayal of fear," told through the inner experiences of a young Union private whose dreams of glory disappear when he flees from battle. Crane had never been to war, but the book became a huge bestseller in the United States and Britain. He died of tuberculosis at age 28.

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