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"Born in New Jersey in 1871 Stephen Crane was the youngest of fourteen children born to a Methodist Minister and his wife, the daughter of a Methodist bishop. Educated first at Claverack College he then went on to Lafayette College and then Syracuse University. While at Syracuse he is thought to have started work on his first book, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets.
"Later the same year, Crane started to write The Red Badge of Courage. Drawing on only his reading and his imaginative power the book was published in 1895 to great critical acclaim.
"While on an expedition to Cuba in 1896 to report on the Spanish-American War Crane narrowly escaped death when his ship sank. His experience later formed the basis for his most famous short story 'The Open Boat'.
"It was during this period that Crane first met Cora Steward, the madame of the Hotel de Dream in Jacksonville, Florida. She became his lover. Returning to New York in 1898, he was met by rumours not only about his common-law wife, but also that he was a drunk and a drug addict. Disgusted by this notoriety, Crane settled in England with Cora in 1899. While here he became friends with Joseph Conrad (to whom his work has been compared), H. G. Wells and Henry James.
"Still plagued by ill health which was finally diagnosed as tuberculosis, Stephen Crane died in June 1900 at Badenweiler in Germany. He was twenty-nine years old."
Source: Penguin Web Site (http://www.futurenet.co.uk/Penguin/Authors/128.html). Accessed 10 June 1997.
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Stephen Crane in war correspondent's attire, 1897. (Source: Christopher Benfey. The Double Life of Stephen Crane. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992. Page 214. PS 1449 C85Z554 1992 ROBA.)
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