StephenCrane - Stephen Crane was one of America's foremost...

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Stephen Crane was one of America's foremost realistic writers, and his works have been credited with marking the beginning of modern American Naturalism. His Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage(1895) is a classic of American literature that realistically depicts the psychological complexities of fear and courage on the battlefield. Influenced by William Dean Howells's theory of realism, Crane utilized his keen observations, as well as personal experiences, to achieve a narrative vividness and sense of immediacy matched by few American writers before him. While The Red Badge of Courageis acknowledged as his masterpiece, Crane's novella Maggie: A Girl of the Streets(1893) is also acclaimed as an important work in the development of literary Naturalism, and his often-anthologized short stories "The Open Boat," "The Blue Hotel," and "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" are among the most skillfully crafted stories in American literature. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Crane was the youngest in a family of fourteen children. His desire to write was inspired by his family: his father, a Methodist minister, and his mother, a devout woman dedicated to social concerns, were writers of religious articles, and two of his brothers were journalists. Crane began his higher education in 1888 at Hudson River Institute and Claverack College, a military school where he nurtured his interest in Civil War studies and military training. Throughout his college years, Crane wrote, working as a freelance writer for his brother's news service, and it is thought that he wrote the preliminary sketch of Maggiewhile still at Syracuse University. In 1891, deciding that "humanity was a more interesting study" than the college curriculum, Crane quit school to work full time as a reporter with his brother and part time for the New YorkTribune.In New York he lived a bohemian existence among the local artists and became wellacquainted with life in the Bowery; from his first-hand knowledge of poverty during this period he was able to realistically depict tenement life in his writings. In 1893 Crane privately published his first novella, Maggie,under a pseudonym after several publishers rejected the work on the grounds that his description of slum realities would shock readers. According to Crane, Maggie"tries to show that environment is a tremendous thing in the world and frequently shapes lives regardless." Critics suggest that the novel was a major development in American literary Naturalism and that it introduced Crane's vision of life as warfare: influenced by the Darwinism of the times, Crane viewed individuals as victims of purposeless forces and believed that they encountered only hostility in their relationships with other individuals, with society, with nature, and with God. Also prominent in his first novel is an ironic technique that exposes the hypocrisy of moral tenets when they are set against the sordid reality of slum life. Although Maggiereceived the support of such literary figures as Hamlin

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