Stephen Crane

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Crane, Stephen

Crane, Stephen, 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 ninth 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 freelance journalist.

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 (serialized in newspapers in 1894, pub. 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), L. H. Davis (1998), and P. Sorrentino (2014); 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).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Crane, Stephen


Born Nov. 1, 1871, in Newark, N.J.; died June 5, 1900, in Badenweiler, Germany. American writer.

Crane's literary debut was Maggie: A Girl of the Street (1893), which depicted the tragic fate of a woman worker and the hypocrisy of “decent” society. Social motifs increased in Crane's later work (the collection Midnight Essays, 1894). In The Red Badge of Courage (1895; Russian translation, 1962), Crane drew on Tolstoy's work to realistically portray war and its ordinary participants. Crane was one of the founders of war reporting in American literature. His psychological stories deal with the lives of children, the everyday routine of urban slums, and the tragic quality of life in the hinterlands. Crane combined realistic descriptions and psychological analysis with elements of naturalism and impressionism.


The Complete Novels. [New York] 1967.
The War Dispatches of Stephen Crane. New York, 1964.
In Russian translation:[Short stories]. In Amerikanskaia novella XIX v. Moscow, 1958.


VasiPevskaia, O. V. Tvorchestvo Stivena Kreina. Moscow, 1967.
Solomon, E. Stephen Crane. Cambridge, Mass., 1966.
Stephen Crane: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 1967. (Bibliography, pp. 181–191.)
Williams, A., and V. Starrett. Stephen Crane: A Bibliography. Glendale, Calif., 1948.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Crane, Stephen (Townley)

(1871–1900) writer, poet; born in Newark, N.J. He studied at Claverack College and Hudson River Institute, near Hudson, N.Y. (1888–90), and briefly at Lafayette College, Pa., and Syracuse College, N.Y. (1891). He moved to New York City (1892), worked as a journalist, published his first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893), and wrote poetry. In 1895 he published his most famous work, The Red Badge of Courage, a novel concentrating on a young Civil War soldier. He traveled widely as a journalist and war correspondent but in 1898 settled in England where he became friends with several important writers including Joseph Conrad. Crane died prematurely of tuberculosis, but he left a body of work that has secured him a place as an American master.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Crane, Stephen. "The Blue Hotel" in The Norton Anthology of American Literature Shorter 5th edition.
Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, The Short story by Crane, Stephen , published in The Open Boat and Other Stories in London and a smaller collection, The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure, in New York in 1898.