Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Short Fiction Kindle Edition

3.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0553213553
ISBN-10: 0553213555
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  • Length: 240 pages
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Page Flip: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The first social expose in fiction to render "how the other half lives", Stephen Crane's Maggie is one of the most powerful depictions of the urban poor of its time. As a reviewer stated shortly after the work's appearance in 1893: "Maggie is a study of life in the slums of New York, and of the hopeless struggle of a girl against the horrible conditions of her environment; and so bitter is the struggle, so black the environment, so inevitable is the end, that the reader feels a chill at his heart".

About the Author

Stephen Crane was born, in 1871, in Newark, New Jersey. Raised in a strict Methodist household, he rebelled Openly, developing a strong and lasting attraction to the vices his parents had condemned. He attempted college twice, the second time failing a theme-writing course while writing articles for newspapers such as the New York Tribune. In 1892 Crane moved to the poverty of New York City’s Lower East Side–the Bowery so vividly depicted in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. Destitute and depressed after the initial failure of that book, Crane had almost decided to abandon his writing and find a suitable trade when word came to him that William Dean Howells had read Maggie, and admired it, going so far as to compare Crane to Tolstoy.

Elated, Crane continued his work, and in 1894 the serial publication began of The Red Badge of Courage, his acclaimed and widely popular novel of a young soldier’s coming of age in the Civil War. In 1895 he toured the western United Stated and Mexico, and his experiences soon found form in such short stories as The Blue Hotel and The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky. Bound for Cuba in January of 1897, Crane and three companions survived a shipwreck off the Gulf Coast; the ordeal was the basis for his masterful story The Open Boat. He then traveled to Greece as a correspondent and returned to Cuba to report on the Spanish-American War. At twenty-eight, in failing health, Crane traveled from England to Germany to recuperate the healing atmosphere of The Black Forest. He died there while working on a humorous novel, The O’Ruddy, in June of 1900.

Product Details

  • File Size: 618 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0553213555
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics (October 31, 2006)
  • Publication Date: October 31, 2006
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000MAH7IQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #976,167 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Martin Asiner on August 29, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For those who read the full title of MAGGIE: A GIRL OF THE STREETS, it is forgivable if they assume that Stephen Crane's novel is a sensationalistic tale of a fallen woman. Sensational it may be in parts, but it is far closer to the flood of naturalism that was dominating American literature in 1893. Naturalistic writing was marked by a belief that human beings were at the mercy of a brute and unfeeling nature that rigged the deck against anyone who dared to attempt to rise above his station. The usual result was the crushing defeat or death of that person. Crane had done extensive reading of European authors who led the way with their own naturalistic writings. In MAGGIE, Crane wrote of a good girl who wanted no more than to find the right guy to love, but everyone in her environment, even her own family, worked in tandem not only to stop her from achieving her goal but to demolish her in the process.

Maggie lives in the slum section of New York. Her dreams to better her life are much more modest than the heroines of any novel by Edith Wharton. Lily Bart of Wharton's HOUSE OF MIRTH was poor like Maggie but Lily sought to mingle with money and to marry into it. Maggie's dream was no more than to find love, and when her brother brought home his friend Pete, she thought she found it. Pete was handsome and what today we would call a "player." He dates Maggie for a while, raising her hopes of marriage, but after living with her, he tires of her and dumps her. Maggie's family is outraged, not so much at Pete for being a cad, which he certainly was, but at her for violating the Puritanical rules that forbad such a relation. Her family itself was not a paragon of virtue.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me first state that I do not own this specific edition of Maggie, and that I am only reviewing the actual story of Maggie: A Girl of the Streets. I wasn't going to review this book since it is not the one that I own; however, after reading a previous review I decided that I had to review it.

First, this book is pretty much about what everyone said it is about. It is about a family living in the slums of turn-of-the-century New York. The protagonist of the book is a young girl named Maggie, whom is full of dreams and aspirations, unlike her loser relatives. Her main dream is to meet a good man and fall in love with him and start a family, to live happily ever after. However, the fellow that she chooses to fall in love with is a loser whom ends up leaving Maggie. Her family, not yet satisfied with all the harm that they caused Maggie during her childhood, disowns Maggie and drives her to her doom. I won't spoil the ending, but let's just say that it doesn't end well for Maggie. It is extremely sad and disappointing to realize what Maggie could've been so much more. She was a beautiful and moral girl. Instead, she ends in tragedy.

Now, the previous reviewer stated that this book cannot be a classic because it is too short. I wasn't aware that there is a length requirements for classics. Also, the outdated slang and cussing is outdated because the story takes place in turn-of-the-century New York. I personally felt that this slang added greatly to the feel of the story.

You, the reader, should be the judge on the quality of this novel. Do not let poor reviews detract you from picking it up and giving it a good read. I am confident that if you focus on what Maggie could have been, it will make it easier for you to enjoy the story.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Just to let folks know--this version has passages that have been altered, shortened, or entirely removed from the original, and the ending is considerably changed. If you want Crane's work as it was originally published--and the ending that is both heartbreakingly bleak and visually evocative of her descent into the depths, definately buy another version. I recommend the Penguin Classics edition.
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One knows right from the start that "Maggie: A Girl of the Streets" is not going to have a happy ending, since it definitely does not have a happy beginning. Crane's portrait of turn-of-the-century Bowery life is unflinching in its bleakness of poverty, highlighted by moments of black comedy and Crane's insistence upon color description. It is a quick paced examination of the realities of what living in poverty can do to the human spirit.

The title character grows up in an abusive household, her father soon dead and her mother a drunk. Maggie is forced to work at a shirt factory to help out, dreaming all the while that a better life exists somewhere. For Maggie, it might, since she is a beautiful young woman. But her innocence and naievete cost her when she is taken in by the charms of Pete the bartender, her brother Jimmy's friend. Believing that Pete loves her, Maggie is completely seduced by him and finally forced into a life of prostitution. It is not a situation from which the reader can expect a happy fate.

Crane's novella is populated with mean sketches - of the poor and the wealthy, of Maggie's drunken and abusive mother, of the neighbors who love to see someone else in misery. Crane realistically depicts the speech patterns of this Irish immigrant family (which might be difficult for some readers to decipher) and captures the hardships that awaited those who could not rise above their station in life.
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