STEPHEN CRANE (1871-1900) was an American novelist, poet, and short story writer. Born in Newark, New Jersey to a family of Methodists, Crane was the youngest of fourteen children. He was a sickly child who excelled from a young age in reading and writing and, when he officially entered school at the age of nine, quickly surpassed the requirements and standards for his age group. As a teenager he attended military school, where he became a star baseball player and developed an interest in military life and history while performing poorly in academics. Crane briefly attended Syracuse University before embarking on a career as a full-time writer, composing short stories, sketches, and articles for several New York newspapers before using his own money to publish his first novella in 1893 after several publishers rejected Crane’s manuscript. Although it generated some critical praise, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets was largely a commercial failure for Crane. Despite this, the novella has since been recognized as an important early work of Crane’s and as an invaluable precursor to The Red Badge of Courage (1895), a Civil War novel which cemented the writer’s reputation as a leading voice in contemporary fiction and pioneer of realism and literary Naturalism. When an 1896 scandal tarnished his reputation at home, Crane travelled abroad to work as a war correspondent, met his common-law wife Cora Taylor, survived a shipwreck off the coast of Florida, and moved to England, where he befriended such figures as Joseph Conrad and H.G. Wells. After a period of financial difficulty, Crane succumbed to tuberculosis at a sanatorium in Germany at the age of 28.