Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Tales of New York (Anglais) Broché – 29 mars 2001
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MAGGIE: A GIRL OF THE STREETS
AND OTHER TALES OF NEW YORK
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Greeting from France :-)
“Well, it was dis way, Pete, see! I was goin’ the lick dat Riley kid and dey all pitched on me.”
Jimmie has a young brother, just a baby really, and a sister, Maggie. His father’s an alcoholic, drinking until he falls down, and his mother’s not much better, and it’s no surprise to learn Jimmie grows up to be a bit of a handful himself. It takes an extremely brave author to kill off his darlings but Stephen Crane does it without a backwards glance. Just after we’ve got to meet all the main players and got to understand their place in the story we’re told in the cleanest and simplest of terms that; ‘The babe, Tommie, died. He went away in a white, insignificant coffin, his small waxen hand clutching a flower that the girl, Maggie, had stolen from an Italian. She and Jimmie lived.’
That is such subtle and exquisite writing. Nobody could write that nowadays. It would take three undernourished chapters detailing the baby’s illness or whatever he died of, the family’s emotions, the sense of grief and loss, but all Stephen Crane tells us is ‘The babe, Tommie, died.’
So why introduce him in the first place? Well, to kill him off, I would imagine. To demonstrate how cheap life was in the Bowery in the late 1800’s.
Jimmie becomes a ‘young man of leather,’ studying human nature in the gutter and finding it no worse than he expected. He fights, gets into bar-room brawls, gets arrested, ignores women who claim to be pregnant, yet in his reverent moments can be quite poetic; “Deh moon looks like hell, don’t it?”
Maggie ‘blossoms in a mud puddle’ and somehow none of the Rum Alley dirt enters her veins; “Dat Johnson goil is a puty good looker,” and Jimmie warns her that she either has to ‘go the hell’ or go to work. Going to hell, the reader is led to believe is falling into prostitution, and this is the fate that eventually awaits Maggie, although saying so much in a book was considered too risqué at the time.
The writing is gaunt and transparent, and this is Crane’s genius. No wasted verbs or adjectives, no necessity for alliteration, no long-drawn out explanations, Crane just states it as it is with no frittering of words; “Whoop!” said the Rum Alley tenement house’ in the middle of a fight between Jimmie and his drunken mother. “T’ree to one on deh red!”
But it’s Crane’s ability to write in the colloquial dialect of the Bowery – which I take to be immigrant Irish - that is his true talent. This is never easy. There are many authors who just can’t write conversation at all, yet Stephen Crane offers us ‘Maggie’ as if he banged the whole book out in one weekend.
It’s a gift.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
My problem with this product is that it looks just like the Penguin Classic edition of the book, when really it's just some sort of counterfeit book. The picture is clearly stolen, blown up, with the Penguin name just edited off. No copyright or publishing info on the inside. The font has also been shrunk down to like 8-point font so it's hard to read. The book is like some 30-page play bill compared to the actual Penguin edition thats somewhere over 100 pages. DON'T bother buying this. I'm shocked that Amazon is even legally allowed to sell this. It's very fishy and seems like it must breach some sort of copyright infringement against Penguin Books.
This "Norton Critical Edition" of Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is richly endowed with insightful essays concerning the author and his craft. Some of these, for example, provide crucial biographical and contextual information concerning the development of Crane's social and religious views; others examine the author's usage of irony, satire, symbolism, and American naturalism in the novel. One of my favorite essays was Katherine G. Simoneaux's "Color Imagery in Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets," which highlights Crane's skillful usage of color imagery to evoke a variety of emotions in the reader. I highly recommend this first-time novel by one of America's greatest authors to all aficionados of American literature, historians of the Gilded Age, or the general reader in search of a "good read."