STEPHEN CRANE (1871 -1900), regarded now as one of the most original writers of his generation, was a poet, novelist and short story writer. He taught himself to read before he was four, although he did not excel as a student; he declared college to be a “waste of time'” and left to become a writer. He was attracted to slum life, whose characters he found to be “open and plain, with nothing hidden.” His first novel, Maggie was self-published, and was about a prostitute. (His reputation was ruined later by his involvement and mishap in the arrest of an alleged prostitute.) The Red Badge of Courage, published in 1895, was the result of an obsession with war. His intention was to write a “psychological portrayal of fear,” and it met much success. He settled in England where he befriended Conrad, Wells and others. Poverty and ill health (he suffered several severe pulmonary hemorrhages) led to a premature death.