Crane is a crucial transitional figure in American literature. The psychological depths of Henry James, the master realist of Crane’s lifetime, went virtually unrecognized at the time; the dominant figure was William Dean Howells, most of whose genteel social realism is unread today except by scholars. It was Crane who made the great leap inward—who, in The Red Badge of Courage, exhumed buried feelings to which the public responded with a shock of recognition. Such a response to a work so radically new is almost unheard of in the history of literature. For an instantaneous success to continue to speak to later generations is rarer still. Crane’s fiercely unconventional honesty, above all, makes of his small body of fiction a treasure.
To some degree, Stephen Crane’s life followed a perverse pattern. He was acclaimed for the authenticity of his writings about events that he had never experienced and then spent the remainder of his few years experiencing the events that he had described in prose—often with disastrous consequences.
Born on November 1, 1871, in Newark, New Jersey, Crane was the last child in the large family of a Methodist minister, Jonathan Townley Crane. The family moved frequently from parish to parish and, in 1878, came to Port Jervis, New York, in forested Sullivan County, where Crane would set most of his early stories. Two years later, his father died, and his mother had to begin struggling to support the family, doing church...
(The entire section is 623 words.)
Born on November 1, 1871, in the Methodist parsonage in Newark, New Jersey, Stephen Crane was the fourteenth and last child of Mary Peck Crane and Reverend Jonathan Crane, whose family dated back more than two centuries on the American continent. On the Peck side, almost every male was a minister; one became a bishop. By the time his father died in 1880, Crane had lived in several places in New York and New Jersey and had been thoroughly indoctrinated in the faith he was soon to reject. Also around this time, he wrote his first poem, “I’d Rather Have.” His first short story, “Uncle Jake and the Bell Handle,” was written in 1885, and the same year he enrolled in Pennington Seminary, where he stayed until 1887. Between 1888...
(The entire section is 526 words.)
Born in a Methodist parsonage in Newark, New Jersey, Stephen Crane was the fourteenth and last child of a minister whose family had been in America for more than two centuries. On his mother’s side, almost every man was a minister; one became a bishop. By the time his father died in 1880, Crane had lived in several places in New York and New Jersey and had been thoroughly indoctrinated in the faith he was soon to reject. Also around that time, he wrote his first poem, “I’d Rather Have—.” His first short story, “Uncle Jake and the Bell Handle,” was written in 1885, and the same year he enrolled in Pennington Seminary, where he stayed until 1887. Between 1888 and 1891, he intermittently attended Claverack College, the...
(The entire section is 525 words.)
Born in Newark in 1871, Stephen Crane was the fourteenth child in the ministerial household of the Reverend Jonathan Townley Crane and his wife Mary, an active participant in the New Jersey temperance movement. His father’s frequent moves to pastorates in New Jersey and New York gave the youngest Crane an opportunity to grow up in a variety of environments. As a boy he shocked his family by announcing his disbelief in hell, a protest against the apparent futility of his father’s devoted service to Methodism. Ideals with which the Reverend Crane sternly allied himself did not correspond to life as his son came to know it. Stephen later wrote of his father, who died in 1880, “He was so simple and good that I often think he...
(The entire section is 1177 words.)
Stephen Crane Biography
Stephen Crane was born on November 1, 1871, the last of fourteen children in a devout Methodist family. Son to a roaming minister, Crane soon left his birthplace of Newark, New Jersey, to begin a life of wandering. His schooling was short-lived, and Crane began a writing career by going to work with his brother on a newspaper in New York.
Crane's first serious attempt to publish a novel was unsuccessful. In Maggie: A Girl of the Street, Crane wrote about the harsh realities of a prostitute's life, but the novel's material made it nearly impossible for him to obtain a publisher. Crane's next endeavor, however, The Red Badge of...
(The entire section is 212 words.)
Stephen Crane was born November 1, 1871, in Newark, New Jersey, the fourteenth and last child of the Reverend Jonathan Townley Crane and Mary Helen Peck Crane. Dr. Crane was an eminent Methodist ecclesiastic, one consequence of which was that the family moved frequently: in 1874, 1876, and finally, in 1878, to Port Jervis, New York, a town that would figure in Stephen Crane’s late fiction as Whilomville (Whilomville Stories, 1900). Dr. Crane died suddenly in 1880.
One plausible source of Stephen Crane’s universal skepticism is rebellion against his religious upbringing. His rootlessness and death-haunted fiction may have been influenced by the crucial events of his early childhood. On the positive side,...
(The entire section is 1003 words.)