From The New Yorker:
THE RED AND THE SCARLET
The hectic career of Stephen Crane.
BY CALEB CRAIN
JUNE 30, 2014
Early readers of “The Red Badge of Courage” assumed that its author was a war veteran.
In Stephen Crane’s novel “Maggie” (1893), it’s impossible to pinpoint the moment when the title character is first set on the path to prostitution. Maybe it happens when her brother’s friend Pete tells her that her figure is “outa sight.” Maybe it happens a little later, when her job making shirt collars on an assembly line begins to seem dreary. Is it a mistake when she lets Pete take her to a music hall? What about when she lets him spirit her away from her rage-filled mother, who has collapsed on the kitchen floor after a bender? Women in the neighborhood gossip, and a practiced flirt steals Pete away—perhaps they are instrumental. Or maybe the end is determined from the beginning, when the girl has the misfortune to be born into poverty with attractive looks and an alcoholic parent.
[Read the rest at http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2014/06/30/140630crbo_books_crain]