Official Blog of Author MICHAEL THOMAS BARRY.
A blog which discusses varied topics that are related to the authors many books. Michael is a columnist for CrimeMagazine.com and a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books.
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Friday, January 2, 2015
Stephen Crane Survived Shipwreck - January 2, 1897
This week (January 2-8) in English literary history –
Stephen Crane survived shipwreck (January 2, 1897); Herman Melville set sail
for the South Pacific (January 3, 1841); J.R.R. Tolkien was born (January 3,
1892); T.S. Eliot died (January 4, 1965); John Gardner won the National Critics
Circle Award (January 5, 1977); Harriet Beecher married Calvin Ellis Stowe
(January 6, 1836); Zora Neale Hurston was born (January 7, 1891); E.L. Doctorow
won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Ragtime (January 8, 1976).
Highlighted Story of the Week –
On January 2, 1897, Stephen Crane survived the sinking of
The Commodore off the coast of
Florida. He turned the event into his classic short story "The Open
Boat" (1897). The 25-year-old writer had gained international fame with
the publication of his novel The Red
Badge of Courage in 1896. A Civil War story told from the soldier's point
of view, the novel originally appeared as a syndicated newspaper series.
Crane, the youngest of 14 children, was born in 1871 and
grew up in New York and New Jersey. He became a journalist in New York, working
short stints for various newspapers and living in near poverty. Immersed in the
hand-to-mouth life of poor New York, Crane closely observed the characters
around him, and in 1893, at age 23, he self-published Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, about a poor girl's decline into
prostitution and suicide. The book was a critical success but failed to sell
well. He turned his attention to more popular topics and began writing The Red Badge of Courage.
After the book's success, the same newspaper syndicate
dispatched Crane to write about the West and Mexico, and in 1897 Crane headed
to Cuba to cover the insurrection against Spain. On the way there, he met his
future lifelong companion, Cora Howard Taylor, the proprietress of a rundown
hotel where he was staying. After The
Commodore sank, Crane and four of his shipmates spent a day in a 10-foot
lifeboat before they reached Daytona Beach. Crane published an account in a New
York newspaper five days later, and "The Open Boat" was published in
Scribner's magazine the following June. Crane later covered the war between
Greece and Turkey, and settled in England, where he befriended Joseph Conrad,
H.G. Wells, and Henry James. Crane contracted tuberculosis in his late 20s.
Cora Howard Taylor nursed him while he wrote furiously in an attempt to pay off
his debts. He exhausted himself and exacerbated his condition. He died on June 5,
1900 at the age of 28, in Germany and was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in
Newark, New Jersey.
Check back every Friday for a new installment of "This Week In English Literary History."
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of six nonfiction books
that includes Literary Legends of the
British Isles and America’s Literary
Legends. Visit Michael’s website www.michaelthomasbarry.com
for more information. His books can be purchased from Amazon through the following