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Stephen Crane 1871-1900

Stephen Crane 1871-1900

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Stephen Crane 1871-1900

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  1. Stephen Crane1871-1900 Anger and Intelligence

  2. Background • One of eight surviving children of a Methodist minister and his wife • Home schooled by his father and mother at first because of poor health • Extraordinarily bright—taught himself to read by his fourth birthday • Enrolled in school in 1880 and completed two grades worth of work in six weeks

  3. Childhood • Father died when crane was eight • Mother simply left and left him to be raised by his brothers and sisters • He was raised largely by his siblings—especially Agnes, 15 years older • Series of tragedies began—death of siblings and in-laws, including Agnes • Mother had series of nervous breakdowns at loss of husband and ultimate loss of four children in six years • Sent to Pennington Seminary and then Claverack College from 1885-1888 • Began to play baseball at Claverack

  4. Early Work as a Newspaperman • Began in 1888 as his brother’s assistant • Published articles beginning in 1890 • Was published in college newspaper at Syracuse and in the New York Tribune by 1891

  5. New York Bowery and “Investigation” • Crane left college and went to New York to find work as a newspaper reporter • Spent time in the Bowery • Attracted to the downtrodden and the fallen • Wanted to write an “honest and unsentimental” account of people living in trying circumstances • Was involved with a married woman and spurned by her by 1898

  6. Freelance Work and Fiction • Crane struggled to make it by doing freelance writing • He also began work on his first novel • Maggie: A Girl of the Streets was published privately by Crane (for $890) in 1893. It sold so poorly that he gave away 100 copies. It was well reviewed but too “depressing” and about “depraved” subjects • Red Badge of Courage –chapters were first printed in serial form in newspapers and in magazines. That stirred up interest in the novel, which was printed in 1894 and was a bombshell • The Black Riders and Other Lines—Crane’s first book of poetry—was published in 1894 as well. It sold well and made Crane’s reputation as a poet

  7. Travels • In 1895, Crane took a job writing travel articles for the Bacheller Syndicate • Traveled west to St. Louis, Galveston, and, ultimately, Mexico • In 1896, Crane began writing a series of articles for the McClure Syndicate by traveling to Civil War battlefields and reporting on the battles and what had become of the battlefields

  8. Reputation and Rescue • Crane became involved in a criminal case dealing with prostitution • He was exonerated, the girl was cleared of charged, but Crane’s reputation took a hit • Crane was sent to cover the troubles in Cuba • He was on the S.S. Commodore when it hit a sandbar and sank • One of the men in the boat died trying to swim to shore, though Crane was fine—inspired “The Open Boat”

  9. Love and War • Crane met and fell in love with Cora Taylor while in Jacksonville • She had already been married and divorced twice when he met her • She was also older—31 to his 27 • Crane could not obtain documents to get to Cuba • Traveled to Greece to cover the Greco-Turkish conflict • Taylor went with him • Taylor also became a correspondent and they covered the conflict for two different newspapers

  10. English Interlude • Greece and Turkey signed a peace treaty • Crane and Taylor moved to England and stayed for a while, living together • Third novel (The Third Violet) received horrible reviews • Literary reputation worsening, money situation worsening • U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana harbor and Crane traveled to Cuba to report on war • Witnessed the U.S. Marines take Guantanamo Bay • Sent home by U.S. military because of illnesses

  11. Compounding illnesses • Crane was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis in 1895 • He had probably contracted it in childhood • Caught malaria and yellow fever in Cuba • Eventually earned enough to buy passage to England where Taylor was waiting • Suffered a tubercular hemorrhage on Dec. 29, 1899 • Sent to a spa for tuberculosis patients in Badenweiler, Germany, with Taylor as his companion. • Died there on June 5, 1900, at 28

  12. Literary Importance • Naturalism • Realism • Photographic realism • Red Badge of Courage • Major themes: ideals versus realities, spiritual crises, fear, and isolation • Poetry: Crane's poems tend to affirm certain elemental attitudes, beliefs, opinions and stances toward God, man and the universe