AT THE TIME OF THIS RARE HANDWRITTEN STEPHEN CRANE LETTER THE SYMPTOMS OF TUBERCULOSIS, THAT WAS TO PROVE FATAL, HAD ALREADY SET IN. CRANE HAD SETTLED IN ENGLAND WITH HIS PARTNER, CORA TAYLOR, IN AN AREA THAT WAS A MAGNET FOR OTHER WRITERS INCLUDING HIS NEW FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR JOSEPH CONRAD. THEY BECAME GOOD FRIENDS AND WERE EVEN DISCUSSING WORKING ON A NEW PLAY TOGETHER. BUT WITHIN A FEW WEEKS CRANE WOULD BE HIRED BY PULITZER TO WRITE FOR THE NEW YORK WORLD ON EVENTS IN CUBA WITH THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR AND TEDDY ROOSEVELTS ROUGH RIDERS.
Stephen Crane (1871-1900) Extremely Rare Handwritten Letter Signed, "Yours Faithfully, Stephen Crane", one page, 5.25 x 8.25, Ravensbrook, Oxted, Surrey letterhead, England, January 30, 1898. In full: "Dear Madam: Send me a copy of the book when published for which I will return cheque." In fine condition. The book in question may very well be a soon-to-be published volume base around Crane's 1897 short story The Open Boat, a recounting of his own experience of surviving a shipwreck off the Floridian coast earlier that year while traveling to Cuba. Crane and three other men (including the captain of the ship) were stranded at sea for thirty hours when his ship, the SS Commodore, sank after hitting a sandbar. In April 1898, the story was published in an American volume entitled The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure, and in England as The Open Boat and Other Stories. Crane was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer. Prolific throughout his short life, he wrote notable works in the Realist tradition as well as early examples of American Naturalism and Impressionism. He is recognized by modern critics as one of the most innovative writers of his generation. Crane's first novel was the 1893 Bowery tale Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, generally considered by critics to be the first work of American literary Naturalism. He won international acclaim in 1895 for his Civil War novel The Red Badge of Courage, which he wrote without having any battle experience. He attended Claverack College, a quasi-military school. Although academically weak, Crane gained experience at Claverack that provided background (and likely some anecdotes from the Civil War veterans on the staff) that proved useful when he came to write The Red Badge of Courage. Declaring college "a waste of time", Crane decided to become a full-time writer and reporter. He later served as a war correspondent, covering the Greco-Turkish War (1897) after which he settled in England, and the Spanish-American War for foreign newspapers. Crane died of tuberculosis in a Black Forest sanatorium in Germany at the age of 28. Although recognized primarily for The Red Badge of Courage, which has become an American classic, Crane is also known for his poetry, journalism, and short stories such as "The Open Boat", "The Blue Hotel", "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky", and "The Monster". His writing made a deep impression on 20th-century writers, most prominent among them Ernest Hemingway, and is thought to have inspired the Modernists and the Imagists. Stephen Crane's signature is virtually unobtainable in any form and especially so in the extremely rare handwritten letter signed offered here. In fine condition, with usual letter fold and one small ink stain.