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  • Maggie, a Girl of the Streets and Other New York Writings
  • Written by Stephen Crane
    Introduction by Luc Sante
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780375756894
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  • Maggie, a Girl of the Streets and Other New York Writings
  • Written by Stephen Crane
    Introduction by Luc Sante
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307769732
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Maggie, a Girl of the Streets and Other New York Writings

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Written by Stephen CraneAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Stephen Crane
Introduction by Luc SanteAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Luc Sante

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On Sale: December 08, 2010
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-307-76973-2
Published by : Modern Library Random House Group
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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READER'S GUIDE READER'S GUIDE
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

This harrowing tale of a young girl in the slums is a searing portrayal of turn-of-the-century New York, and Stephen Crane's most innovative work. Published in 1893, when the author was just twenty-one, it broke new ground with its vivid characters, its brutal naturalism, and its empathic rendering of the lives of the poor. It remains both powerful, severe, and harshly comic (in Alfred Kazin's words) and a masterpiece of modern American prose.

This edition includes Maggie and George's Mother, Crane's other Bowery tales, and the most comprehensive available selection of Crane's New York journalism. All texts in this volume are presented in their definitive versions.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Excerpt

Chapter 1

A very little boy stood upon a heap of gravel for the honor of Rum Alley.

He was throwing stones at howling urchins from Devil's Row who were circling madly about the heap and pelting at him.

His infantile countenance was livid with fury. His small body was writhing in the delivery of great, crimson oaths.

"Run, Jimmie, run! Dey'll get yehs," screamed a retreating Rum Alley child.

"Naw," responded Jimmie with a valiant roar, "dese micks can't make me run."

Howls of renewed wrath went up from Devil's Row throats. Tattered gamins on the right made a furious assault on the gravel heap. On their small, convulsed faces there shone the grins of true assassins. As they charged, they threw stones and cursed in shrill chorus.

The little champion of Rum Alley stumbled precipitately down the other side. His coat had been torn to shreds in a scuffle, and his hat was gone. He had bruises on twenty parts of his body, and blood was dripping from a cut in his head. His wan features wore a look of a tiny, insane demon.

On the ground, children from Devil's Row closed in on their antagonist. He crooked his left arm defensively about his head and fought with cursing fury. The little boys ran to and fro, dodging, hurling stones and swearing in barbaric trebles.

From a window of an apartment house that upreared its form from amid squat, ignorant stables, there leaned a curious woman. Some laborers, unloading a scow at a dock at the river, paused for a moment and regarded the fight. The engineer of a passive tugboat hung lazily to a railing and watched. Over on the Island, a worm of yellow convicts came from the shadow of a grey ominous building and crawled slowly along the river's bank.

A stone had smashed into Jimmie's mouth. Blood was bubbling over his chin and down upon his ragged shirt. Tears made furrows on his dirt-stained cheeks. His thin legs had begun to tremble and turn weak, causing his small body to reel. His roaring curses of the first part of the fight had changed to a blasphemous chatter.

In the yells of the whirling mob of Devil's Row children there were notes of joy like songs of triumphant savagery. The little boys seemed to leer gloatingly at the blood upon the other child's face.

Down the avenue came boastfully sauntering a lad of sixteen years, although the chronic sneer of an ideal manhood already sat upon his lips. His hat was tipped with an air of challenge over his eye. Between his teeth, a cigar stump was tilted at the angle of defiance. He walked with a certain
swing of the shoulders which appalled the timid. He glanced over into the vacant lot in which the little raving boys from Devil's Row seethed about the shrieking and tearful child from Rum Alley.

"Gee!" he murmured with interest, "A scrap. Gee!"

He strode over to the cursing circle, swinging his shoulders in a manner which denoted that he held victory in his fists. He approached at the back of one of the most deeply engaged of the Devil's Row children.

"Ah, what deh hell," he said, and smote the deeply-engaged one on the back of the head. The little boy fell to the ground and gave a hoarse, tremendous howl.
Stephen Crane

About Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane - Maggie, a Girl of the Streets and Other New York Writings
Stephen Crane was born, in 1871, in Newark, New Jersey. Raised in a strict Methodist household, he rebelled Openly, developing a strong and lasting attraction to the vices his parents had condemned. He attempted college twice, the second time failing a theme-writing course while writing articles for newspapers such as the New York Tribune. In 1892 Crane moved to the poverty of New York City’s Lower East Side–the Bowery so vividly depicted in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Destitute and depressed after the initial failure of that book, Crane had almost decided to abandon his writing and find a suitable trade when word came to him that William Dean Howells had read Maggie, and admired it, going so far as to compare Crane to Tolstoy.

Elated, Crane continued his work, and in 1894 the serial publication began of The Red Badge of Courage, his acclaimed and widely popular novel of a young soldier’s coming of age in the Civil War. In 1895 he toured the western United Stated and Mexico, and his experiences soon found form in such short stories as The Blue Hotel and The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky. Bound for Cuba in January of 1897, Crane and three companions survived a shipwreck off the Gulf Coast; the ordeal was the basis for his masterful story The Open Boat. He then traveled to Greece as a correspondent and returned to Cuba to report on the Spanish-American War. At twenty-eight, in failing health, Crane traveled from England to Germany to recuperate the healing atmosphere of The Black Forest. He died there while working on a humorous novel, The O’Ruddy, in June of 1900.
Praise

Praise

"He was the first American writer because he was the first to be passionately interested in the life that surrounded him and the life that surrounded him was that of America."
Discussion Questions

Discussion Guides

1. Taking the writings in this volume together, discuss the picture of slum life in turn-of-the-century New York that Crane gives us. What are some of its defining features? How is poverty reflected in the lives of Bowery dwellers?

2. Reflect on the continuities and differences between the characters in Crane’s two Bowery Tales, “Maggie” and “George’s Mother.” For instance, how does Jimmie compare to George Kelcey?

3. How does “Maggie, a Girl of the Streets” speak to the constraints imposed by gender conventions? What choices are available to Maggie? Why does she go with Pete? Why is she driven from her mother’s house?

4. Alcohol figures centrally in Crane’s depiction of poverty and “low life,” from the status that accrues to Pete because of his job as bartender, to the powerful hold of alcohol over the lives of the poor in general. Discuss Crane’s depiction of alcohol in his New York writings.

5. Critics have praised Crane’s style-especially in “Maggie, a Girl of the Streets,” with its stark, minimal style-as breaking with nineteenth-century literary conventions, and in many ways anticipating major features of subsequent American writing. What makes Crane’s writing unique and innovative?

6. In his emphasis on the realistic depiction of the inexorable effects of outside forces-social and natural-on the lives and destinies of individual characters, Crane is often described as a literary naturalist. Is this an apt description? Discuss naturalism in relation to Crane’s New York writings, and the relationship of Crane’s work to that of other writers (like Dreiser and Norris) usually associated with the term.


  • Maggie, a Girl of the Streets and Other New York Writings by Stephen Crane
  • March 13, 2001
  • Fiction - Classics
  • Modern Library
  • $10.00
  • 9780375756894

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