Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

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Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

Post by Rachid Amri on Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:56 pm

Stephen Crane (1871-1900), American journalist, poet, and author wrote The Red Badge of Courage: an episode of the American Civil War (1895);
But he was amid wounds. The mob of men was bleeding. Because of the tattered soldier's question he now felt that his shame could be viewed. He was continually casting sidelong glances to see if the men were contemplating the letters of guilt he felt burned into his brow.
At times he regarded the wounded soldiers in an envious way. He conceived persons with torn bodies to be peculiarly happy. He wished that he, too, had a wound, a red badge of courage. --Ch. 9
An exemplary novel of realism, Henry Fleming's experience as a new recruit and his struggles internal and external while under fire was hailed as a remarkable achievement for Crane and remains in print today. Crane lived a very short but eventful life--author and publisher Irving Bacheller hired him as reporter and he travelled across America, to Mexico, down to Cuba to report on the Spanish-American conflict, and later to Greece. He was respected by many authors, among them Henry James and H.G. Wells, and influenced many others including Joseph Conrad and Ernest Hemingway.
Stephen Townley Crane was born on 1 November 1871 at 14 Mulberry Place in Newark, New Jersey into the large family of Mary Helen Peck (1827-1891) and Jonathan Townley Crane (1819-1880), Methodist minister. After his father's death the Cranes moved to 508-4th Avenue in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The home is now preserved as a museum. After attending public school, Crane attended the College of Liberal Arts at Syracuse University, but did not graduate. For many years he had been writing, but his first novel, which he published himself, Maggie, a Girl of the Streets: a Story of New York (1893) was unsuccessful. The grim story of a prostitute and tenement life did however gain the notice of editor and author William Dean Howells.
After school Crane began writing sketches and short stories for newspapers, living in New York's bowery district. Started as a serial, The Red Badge of Courage gained Crane almost instant fame and the esteem of Bacheller. Crane's ensuing travels inspired further works including "The Black Riders and Other Lines" (1895), "The Little Regiment" (1896), "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" (1897), The Third Violet (1897), "The Blue Hotel" (1898), "War Is Kind" (1899), The Monster and Other Stories (1899), Active Service (1899), and, said to be his finest short work, "The Open Boat" (1898), a fictionalised account of his own harrowing experience adrift in a boat after the Commodore sank.
Crane met Cora (Howorth) Taylor (1865-1910), owner of a brothel in Florida, and instantly fell in love. They moved to England, first living at Ravensbrook House in Oxted, Surrey, then Brede Place in Northiam, Sussex. The same year that Wounds in the Rain (1900) and Whilomville Stories (1900) were published, Crane became gravely ill again. He went to a sanatorium in the Black Forest of Badenweiler, Germany. At the age of twenty-eight, Stephen Crane died on 5 June 1900, and now rests in the family plot at the Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, Union County, New Jersey. Cora survived him by ten years.


Last edited by Rachid Amri on Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

Post by rahma beji on Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:33 pm

STEPHEN CRANE

Stephen Crane was born on November 1, 1871, six years after the close of the Civil War. Born in Newark, New Jersey as the fourteenth and final child of a devoutly Methodist family, Crane moved frequently in his youth, for his father was an itinerant minister. As a youth, he suffered greatly. His health was poor, and his father died when he was eight, leaving the large family almost destitute. For a brief time, he attended a military school, Claverack College, where he rose to the rank of captain; but he was not a good student and never finished his education. As a young man, he moved to New York City and worked as a newspaper correspondent. In New York, he began to write novels, determined that they would be realistic instead of sentimental or romantic.

His first significant work was Maggie: A Girl of the Street, a book about a prostitute. Its contents were so shocking that Crane could not find a publisher; he borrowed money and had the book privately published in 1893. Few copies were sold, and Crane was forced to live in poverty. He next wrote The Red Badge of Courage, which first appeared as a serial newspaper publication. It was published in book form in 1895, when Crane was twenty-four years of age. The novel brought him brief fame and allowed him to escape poverty before his early death. Today the novel is judged as a masterpiece of psychological realism.

The year of 1896 was a significant one for Crane. He published George's Mother, The Little Regiment, and The Third Violet. Maggie: A Girl of the Street was also republished and gained popularity. During the year, Crane became disillusioned with his notoriety and accepted an offer to cover the Cuban rebellion against Spain, departing on December 31, 1896. It would be the first time he had ever seen war first hand, but his boat sank before arriving in Cuba.

Crane met Cora Taylor, the proprietor of the Hotel de Dream in Jacksonville, Florida, and fell in love with her, even though she was married. Thinking marriage to Cora impossible, he left to cover the Greek-Turkish war as a correspondent. To his surprise, Cora joined him in Greece, and they then settled in Sussex, England. The couple eventually moved into a manor house, called Brede House, and had the writers Henry James and Joseph Conrad as neighbors and friends. During the American War with Spain in 1898, Crane traveled to Cuba as a war correspondent and contracted malaria, which accelerated his already failing health. He died from tuberculosis in 1900, at the young age of 28.

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Re: Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

Post by rahma beji on Fri Mar 14, 2008 10:34 pm

LITERARY/HISTORICAL INFORMATION
Crane was a leading proponent of naturalism, a school of literary thought in which the environment, rather than individual will, determines the outcome of characters' lives. Since naturalism applies social environment to literature, Crane's many, varied experiences, especially his time as a foreign war correspondent, helped him to understand society better and to apply it to his writing. In time, Crane was able to develop his own particular version of literary naturalism. Unlike the work of other naturalists, he spends less time on documenting facts and more time on evaluating the responses of characters to the harsh realities of their lives. Like the naturalists, his characters are, first and foremost, types not individuals; they are created in broad enough terms that the reader can see Crane's characters as representative of whole classes of people.

A distinguishing feature of literary naturalism was its determination to write the experiences that had never been in the pages of literature before. Crane definitely wrote about previously untold experiences, such as those of a pregnant young prostitute or a disillusioned, young foot soldier. To make his writing more realistic, he learned as much as possible about his subject matter. In preparing to write The Red Badge of Courage, Crane conducted extensive interviews with veterans who knew war first hand. Even though he had never seen battle himself, the war scenes in the novel are extremely realistic. They also describe for the first time the radical change in warfare created by the modern bullet, which made combat a distanced affair, rather than a hand-to-hand combat.

The setting of the novel is the Civil War, which took place between 1860 and 1865. Since this is largely a psychological novel about Henry Fleming, Crane is never too concerned about the historical details of the war. He never states the date or place of the action. He does, however, clearly indicate that Henry joins the Union (Northern) forces. He leaves his New York Country home and travels south, further than Washington D.C. Although it is never stated in the novel, it is believed by most critics that the battle scenes in The Red Badge of Courage take place in Chancellorsville, Virginia, for Crane does mention the Rappahannock River and the proximity to Richmond.

The actual Battle of Chancellorsville began on May 2, 1863. General Lee attacked the Union troops, cutting the northern army in half. The Union troops managed to set up a defensive line against the South, and the fighting raged for four days. The Union army, however, could not hold out against the Confederate forces. Hooker, the commander of the northern troops, finally retreated, for he had lost many men to death, wounds, and desertion. The Confederate victory was, however, bittersweet, for Lee lost his most able general in the fight. Stonewall Jackson was wounded on the first day of fighting and died eight days later.

Because of his victory at Chancellorsville, Lee decided to invade the North again. In June of 1863, the Confederate forces marched into Pennsylvania. On July 1, the battle began at Gettysburg. For the first three days in July, a Union army of 90,000 soldiers fought a Southern army of 75,000 in the greatest battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere. Although the South fought valiantly, they could not defeat the strong Union enemy. It was the turning point of the war. Lee, having lost 20,000 men, withdrew his battered troops to Virginia. Never again did he have the strength to undertake a major offensive against the North.

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Re: Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

Post by mani mariem on Thu May 08, 2008 1:59 pm

Much of Crane's imagery uses animals to enhance the brutal aspects of war. When describing battles and retreats, Crane sometimes creates the feeling of scampering squirrels, or diving birds of prey. This helps to portray the soldiers and their actions more fully than a direct description because it causes the reader to associate them with the most common qualities of that animal; with this, the enemy becomes "flies sucking insolently at his blood" (93). The repeated use of animal imagery is used to show the inhumanity of war, bringing out its savageness. Crane also uses imagery to describe the movements of the forces, sometimes as waves, with "sprays of light" (119) to bring out an image of a powerful, brutal ocean. In addition, the image of a machine dominates descriptions of the army. Crane often brings the whole of Henry's regiment into one being, portraying the individual as an expendable part of the whole. This aspect of naturalism, that man is insignificant, adds to the impersonality and harshness of war by depicting battle as a mechanical, inhuman process.

The recurring colors in the novel serve to bring out certain characteristics of war, from fear and danger to hope and purity. In the earlier parts of the book, red, yellow, and gray dominate, bringing out fear and foreboding especially. Immediately preceding one skirmish, Crane describes the "faded yellow of their facings..." (69) to evoke foreboding of the danger in the battle to come. This also occurs in the first paragraph of the novel, where a "river, amber-tinted" and a landscape that "changed from brown to green" (1) bring out fear and foreboding concerning Henry's regiment, which will soon be exposed to the brutality of war. Throughout Henry's experiences with the war's unrelenting harshness, these kinds of descriptions occur frequently; Crane uses them to evoke fear, danger, and foreboding. As Henry progresses through the war, the dominating colors change to blue, purple, and gold. There are many descriptions of the Union soldiers as "the men in blue" (124), "the blue whirl of men" (124), or something of that nature, which are used to illustrate the soldiers' purity and strength as they move forward into battle. This color fades on some men's uniforms, especially those of the dead, representing the fading of the characteristic it brings out. There are also several places toward the end where Crane uses purple or gold to represent the hope and triumph of the Union soldiers.

Crane's word selection also serves to show the brutality of war, bringing out man's powerlessness and the harsh inhumanity of battle. After emerging from the shocking savageness of battle, Henry "turned, with sudden, livid rage, toward the battlefield. He shook his fist" (57). Crane's phrasing effectively brings out Henry's passionate feelings, telling the reader that Henry is angry at his utter helplessness in the face of war, where he is subject to forces he cannot control. Crane does the same sort of thing when describing actions, manipulating verbs to give the reader an accurate, clear picture of the action. He also brings the artillery to life with his wording, often depicting their firing as "a mighty altercation" (69) through his use of words describing arguments. Crane's diction provides effective, clear representations for the reader, capturing the essential qualities of events and people in metaphors and expressive verbs.

Crane's novel brings out war's features of naturalism with man's insignificance, fear and foreboding, impersonality, and animal-like brutality. As Henry experiences these through the novel, Crane's use of imagery, color, and wording show how Henry's perspective changes to encompass a certain understanding and acceptance.

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