The Red Badge of Courage: Biography: Stephen Crane
Stephen Crane was born on November 1, 1871 in Newark, New Jersey, and he grew up, the son of a Methodist minister, in Port Jervis, New York. He attended Lafayette College and later Syracuse University, but he did not graduate from either. Instead, he moved to New York City and tried to make a living as freelance writer and journalist.
When Crane was twenty-two years old he wrote his first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893). It was a realistic story of the life of a prostitute. Publishers turned it down so he published it himself. It was Crane’s next novel, The Red Badge of Courage (1895) that was to secure his reputation. Set in the American Civil War, it was a remarkable novel because Crane had never served in an army or observed any battles. It was also the first successful American novel written in the realistic style.
As a result of the international fame his novel won for him, Crane was given assignments as a journalist to report on wars and insurrections in Cuba and Greece. He also wrote short stories and poems. The stories were published as The Open Boat and Other Tales (1898) and The Monster and Other Stories (1899), and the poetry as The Black Rider (1895) and War Is Kind (1899).
In 1897, on his way to Cuba, Crane met Cora Taylor, who ran a hotel in Florida that was commonly regarded as a brothel. Crane spent the last three years of his life with her. In the summer of 1897, the couple settled in England, where Crane made friends with the day’s most famous writers, such as Joseph Conrad, H.G. Wells, and Henry James.
Crane died of tuberculosis at Badenweiler in Germany on June 5, 1900.