November 1 ~ A Sense of Obligation 4 Classic American Novels

"A man said to the universe:
Sir, I exist!
However, replied the universe,
The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation."
~ Stephen Crane

Stephen Crane

Born on this day in Newark, New Jersey, American poet and short-story writer Stephen Townley Crane (18711900) was the 14th child of a Methodist minister and published his first story at age 14. Through his writing he introduced a bold realism to American literature.

"A high cold star on a winter's night is the word he feels... Thereafter he knows the pathos of his situation," he wrote. Upon his death of tuberculosis at age 28, Crane had produced over 100 stories and two volumes of poetry.

"Every sin is the result of a collaboration," he observed in The Blue Hotel (1898).

The brilliant writer is best known for The Red Badge of Courage (1895), an American Civil War novel about the battle experiences of Henry Fleming, a Union soldier under fire who confronted death and heroism.

"He had been to touch the great death," Crane said in Chapter 24, "and found that, after all, it was but the great death. He was a man."

Joseph Conrad recalled that reading the book was, "one of the most enduring memories of my literary life." H. L. Mencken called it "a flash of lightning out of a clear winter sky."

A year before his death, Crane wrote the following with irony and in experimental free verse: "War is kind. Do not weep."

affirmation: celebrate all the passionate colors of life!Give your best to the universe!