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
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
Crane died of tuberculosis
at Badenweiler in Germany on June 5, 1900.