Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was an American novelist, poet and journalist. He is best known for his novel Red Badge of Courage (1895). The novel introduced for most readers Crane's strikingly original prose, an intensely rendered mix of impressionism, naturalism and symbolism. He lived in New York City a bohemian life where he observed the poor in the Bowery slums as research for his first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (1893), a milestone in uncompromising realism and in the early development of literary naturalism. He became shipwrecked in route to Cuba in early 1897, an experience which he later transformed into his short story masterpiece, The Open Boat (1898). Crane's poetry, which he called 'lines' rather than poems, was also strikingly new in its minimalist meter and rhyme. It employed symbolic imagery in order to communicate at times heavy-handed irony and paradox. Other works include Active Service (1899), The Monster (1899), The Blue Hotel (1899), Whilomville Stories (1900) and Wounds in the Rain (1900). Stephen Crane (1871-1900) was born in 1871 in Newark, New Jersey. He was educated at Lafayette College and Syracuse University. In 1891, he got a job as a freelance reporter, writing articles about the slums of New York. Without steady work as a reporter, Crane, himself, was a poor man and lived in The Bowery, New York's worst slum. This firsthand experience of poverty gave Crane the material he needed for his first novel, Maggie, a Girl of the Streets. It was a tragic story about a young prostitute who commits suicide. Crane used what little money he had to publish the book in 1893, using the pen-name Johnston Smith. Although it was not a commercially successful novel, the book received excellent critical reviews. In 1895, Crane published his second novel, The Red Badge of Courage. It was a powerful and realistic psychological portrait of a young soldier fighting in the American Civil War. This novel brought Crane international recognition as a great novelist. He was one of the first American writers to work in the style known as Naturalism. Naturalism portrayed characters who were not in total control of their lives, but rather, were strongly affected by natural forces. These forces could be the internal emotions or personality conflicts of the characters themselves, or they could be external elements like the stormy sea in The Open Boat, or social situations, such as war in The Red Badge of Courage. Although Crane had never been a soldier himself, he worked as a war correspondent for several American and foreign newspapers. He reported on the war between Greece and Turkey in 1897, as well as on the Spanish-American War, fought between the United States and Spain, in Cuba and the Philippines in 1898. Just before the Spanish-American war broke out, Crane was shipwrecked while on an expedition to Cuba. This experience is the basis of The Open Boat. The character referred to in the story as the correspondent is most likely Crane himself. Sadly, Crane developed tuberculosis as a result of his weakened condition after the shipwreck. He died in 1900 at the age of 28.