First published in 1895, "The Red Badge of Courage" written by Stephen Crane is a story about an idealistic young man who comes of age during a horrific battle in the Civil War. Henry Fleming has always dreamed of being a hero. He can't wait to be old enough to join the army and fight in glorious battles. He pictures … [Read more...] about The Red Badge of Courage
Stephen Crane (1871 – 1900) was an American novelist and poet. He was born in Newark, New Jersey and went to school at the Lafayette College and Syracuse University, but had little interest in school and left to pursue his dream of writing. He had been writing since he was four years old, and was published at sixteen. He moved to New York to become a reporter. He became a freelance reporter in the slums and wrote about his impoverished existence in his first book, Maggie, a Girl on the Streets (1893). Although it was praised by other writers, it didn't do well commercially.
His next book, The Red Badge of Courage (1895) did so well that he won international recognition. Although never having been in the military himself, Crane's depictions were so realistic that he was immediately courted by American and foreign newspapers who wanted to hire him as a war correspondent during the Greco-Turkish War (1897) and the Spanish American War (1898). While traveling from the United States to Cuba in 1896, Crane was shipwrecked. His suffering before rescue was believed to be what brought on tuberculosis that led to his death in 1900. He used the shipwreck as fodder for his book, The Open Boat and Other Stories (1898). In 1897, Crane retired to England, where he had numerous affairs with married women and scandalized the gossipers in America and England.
In 1896, just before boarding the boat that would almost kill him, Stephen Crane met Cora Taylor. He was twenty-five years old and she was thirty-one and married. After he returned they met up in Cuba and began an affair that lasted the rest of his life. She proclaimed herself as Cora Crane and was his common law wife, without ending her marriage to a British military officer. She was an American businesswoman who owned a nightclub and a bordello. She also did some writing and was recognized at the first woman war correspondent when she joined Crane in Cuba.
Crane was a prolific writer in his short life. He was one of the first Americans to use the naturalistic style of writing. His portrayals are pessimistic and brutal, yet he shows a sympathetic understanding of his characters. Crane was also an innovator in verse techniques with his poetry. He published two volumes; The Black Riders and Other Lines (1895), and War is Kind and Other Poems (1899). Both are important early examples of experimental free verse. Most of the themes in his novels are defined for its distinct dialect and scenery. His use of description makes the scenes stand out and touch the reader emotionally. In most of his works, social exile, spiritual questions and fear play major roles.
Although he died at the age of 28, Stephen Crane had a huge impact on the literary world. He was friend with great writers such as Joseph Conrad and Henry James. Ernest Hemingway is one of the writer of the twentieth century who was influenced by his work. Crane is thought to have given inspiration to the Modernists movement and the Imagists.