About the Author
Stephen Crane was born November 1, 1871 in Newark, New Jersey, the youngest of fourteen children. He wrote his first poem at age eight. The family moved to Port Jervis, New York in 1876 so his father could become the pastor of a Methodist Church. His father passed away just four years later at age 60. After his father’s death, his mother moved back to New Jersey, leaving him with his brother Edmund, then his brother William, then his sister Helen. At the age of 14, Crane wrote his first full story. Eventually, Stephen attended Claverack College, a military school, but he would often skip classes to play baseball. He was academically weak and not very popular, but there were Civil War veterans on the staff at the school and their stories would provide him with material for “The Red Badge of Courage.” Then, he transferred to a college in Easton Pennsylvania to pursue a degree in mining engineering. After one semester, he transferred to Syracuse University, but took only one class. He finally declared that college was a waste of his time and became a writer and reporter. Moving back once again to New Jersey, he became a heavy smoker and developed a hacking cough. He wrote a novel entitled “Maggie: A Girl of the Streets” under the name Johnston Smith, but lost his own money funding it. In 1893, Stephen became frustrated with the dry Civil War stories that were prevalent at the time, and decided to tell a story written with the true emotions of a soldier in battle. He handwrote “The Red Badge of Courage” as he could not afford a typewriter. It was published in serialized form in multiple newspapers, becoming quite popular. Finally in 1895, the book was published in novel form and rose to the top of several bestseller lists. He finally made it to Cuba as a correspondent during the Spanish-American War and actually served as a courier during the fighting with Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. His money was running out however and he was developing signs of tuberculosis. Becoming friends with Joseph Conrad, Henry James and H. G. Wells, he began working on another novel, but his health continued to worsen. Crane finally passed away on June 5, 1900 at the age of 28 while in Badenweiler, Germany. He is buried in Hillside, New Jersey.
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