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Maggie, a Girl of the Streets

Stephen Crane

Book Overview: 

Stephen Crane's first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets has been called "the first dark flower of American Naturalism" for its distinctive elements of naturalistic fiction. The chief character, Maggie, descends into prostitution after being led astray by her lover. Rather than focusing on those that make up the very rich or middle class, the novel highlights the deplorable living conditions of the working class during the so-called Gilded Age in New York's Bowery.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .While they got warm at the stove, he told his hearers just where he calculated they stood with the Lord. Many of the sinners were impatient over the pictured depths of their degradation. They were waiting for soup-tickets.

A reader of words of wind-demons might have been able to see the portions of a dialogue pass to and fro between the exhorter and his hearers.

"You are damned," said the preacher. And the reader of sounds might have seen the reply go forth from the ragged people: "Where's our soup?"

Jimmie and a companion sat in a rear seat and commented upon the things that didn't concern them, with all the freedom of English gentlemen. When they grew thirsty and went out their minds confused the speaker with Christ.

Momentarily, Jimmie was sullen with thoughts of a hopeless altitude where grew fruit. His companion said that if he should ever meet God he would ask for a million dollars and a bottle of beer.

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Community Reviews

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“Maggie ragazza di strada” è l’esordio letterario di Stephen Crane, scrittore e giornalista che ebbe una breve vita (1871-1900).
Il breve romanzo fu pubblicato per la prima volta nel 1893 ed è indicato come la prima opera del Realismo americano.

Fin dalle prime righe si è catapultati in storia d...more

The novel sets in the Bowery area of New York City, It describes the sordid and almost hopeless existence of Maggie Johnson. As children, she and her brothers are alternately neglected and abused by their drunken parents, and her baby brother Tommie dies as a result of this mistreatment.

What men love is sluts. Show a man a poor innocent pretty young girl forced by circumstance or evil into prostitution and he cannot wait to start sighing and what-a-pitying and that-poor-waifing and but-what-was-she-wearinging and it's liable to get pretty maudlin in here by the time she dies. (W...more

A fine if grievous overview of squalid Bowery and its way of life... The story stands out as resolutely immersive to say the least!

Some comparison may be drawn between this one and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, as both yield naturalistic-friendly contents and gloomy depictions of human misery.

Mat...more

Questo suo primo romanzo Stephen Crane lo ha scritto a 20 anni e ci impiegò due giorni e due notti. Presumo a mano. Avrebbe potuto darci qualcosa di più, oltre il secondo romanzo Il segno rosso del coraggio ed alcuni racconti, se non fosse morto a 29 anni.

Storia di strada, quartiere Bowery, che a...more

Must've been a bold book at the time, and is a little hyperbolized in order to make the reader draw the right conclusions of where the blame lay. I imagine a lot of people may have been outraged about an author choosing to talk about such subjects at the end of the 19th century, when polite socie...more

For as much as I love Crane, I just can't get over the hump on this one and connect the dots to many of his other works I find nearly perfect. It might be the disconnected ending that makes the reader flip back pages to see if we accidentally missed a chapter, the Irish patois of the chronically...more

This is perhaps the most sordid short novel i ever read;the journey to depravity prostitution and death forced by the loneliness, doublé moral and necesity of a por beautifull girl born in a miserable suburb of New York.The prostitution of the body not of the soul that remains pure and clean to h...more

This book is a treasure, as much for the story of Crane's trying to get it published as for the story itself. I am always drawn to authors' first books. There's often an energy there lost in latter books. The energy and intensity of this story made gave it a momentum that wasn't lost on The Red B...more

This tiny novella, this "shocking portrait" of working class life, might win points for its approach towards capturing the dialect and mileau of the time and place but the overall feeling I took from it was not a call to understand the people that were trodden underfoot by the educated classes bu...more

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