Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Crane, Stephen. (1871 - 1900).

L i f e

- a rebel against conventions in his bohemian life, choice of his life partner (mistress of one ‘of the better houses of ill fame’), and his ‘muckraker’ work

- a newspaper reporter in New York slums, a correspondent on often violent events in Mexico, the American West, Cuba, and Greece > endowed his work with pessimism

W o r k

- realist, naturalist, and impressionist

- characteristically ironic tone

- concern: war and other forms of physical and psychic violence

- an acute observer of psychological and social reality

F i c t i o n :

Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1890):

- concerned with the plight of an individual in society = environmental determinism

- set in the Lower Manhattan Bowery tenement houses full of alcohol, fights, and violence

- the characters’ attempts to escape their environment and their failure due to social determination

=> criticism of society’s problems of slums and tenement houses

The Red Badge of Courage (1895):

- concerned with the education of a young man in the context of a struggle

- a traditional story-type x but: a modernist approach to personal identity as complex and ambiguous

- a characteristically troublesome conclusion: the young soldier’s certainty of having recognised the value of heroic action x the narrator’s doubts thereof

=> a masterpiece of impressionist literature

“The Open Boat” (1898):

- a story based on his own experience of surviving the sinking of a ship

- concerned with the physical, emotional, and intellectual responses of men under extreme pressure

- accompanies nature’s indifference to humanity’s fate with a tough-minded irony

P o e t r y :

- original, spare, and unflinchingly honest

- experimental in form: poems without titles = ‘lines’

- unconventional in philosophical outlook: the dark mood of his vision

- characteristic by irony (“Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind”) and cosmic irony (“A Man said to the universe” and “I walked in a desert”)

The Black Riders, and Other Lines (1895)
War is Kind, and Other Poems (1899)


(Crane in 1899. Source: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Stephen Crane. (1871 - 1900). American.
  • Work

    Novelist. Short story writer. Poet. Journalist. Author of Maggie, A Girl of the Streets (1890).
  • Genres

    Realism. Naturalism. Impressionism. Irony.


Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.

Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American  Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.

Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.

McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.

Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od  puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.

Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.


"If there is a witness to my little life, / To my tiny throes and struggles, / He sees a fool; / And it is not fine for gods to menace fools".

From The Black Riders and Other Lines (1895).


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