Stephen Crane was born in 1871 in Newark, NJ, the youngest of fourteen children. He wroteMaggie: A Girl of the Streets while an undergraduate at Syracuse University. In 1895 he achieved acclaim forThe Red Badge of Courage, hailed as the epitome of war stories, although he had never seen battle. An active journalist, he reported from Greece and Cuba in addition to being an acclaimed novelist. He died of tuberculosis in Germany in 1900.
Herman Melville was born in August 1, 1819, in New York City, the son of a merchant. Only twelve when his father died bankrupt, Melville tried work as a bank clerk, as a ship's cabin-boy, and as an elementary schoolteacher, before shipping out in 1841 on a whaler bound for the Pacific. Deserting ship the following year in the Marquesas, he made his way to Tahiti and Honolulu, returning as ordinary seaman on a frigate to Boston, where he was discharged in October 1844. Books based on these adventures won him immediate success. By 1850 he was hard at work on his masterpiece Moby-Dick. Literary success soon faded; his complexity increasingly alienated readers. In 1863, during the Civil War, he moved back to New York City, where from 1866-1885 he was a deputy inspector in the Custom House, and where, in 1891, he died. A draft of a final prose work,Billy Budd, Sailor, was left unfinished and was packed away by his widow, where it remained until its rediscovery and publication in 1924.
Sandra Newman is the author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, includingThe Country of Ice Cream Star. She has taught writing and literature at Temple University, Chapman University, and the University of Colorado, and she has published fiction and nonfiction inHarpers, Granta, and Londons Observer, Telegraph, andMail on Sunday newspapers, among other journals and newspapers.
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