“Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” (scenes 1 – 5, Crane and Cora’s New York apartment, February 1898)

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USS Maine Tablet (1912), old Rochester City Hall, Fitzhugh Street

Scene 1: Havana, February 1898

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from 1896 film, Boxing match or Glove Contest

Scene 2: Pawtucket, Rhode Island, February 1898

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Scene 3: Washington, February 1898

600x300xBuffalo.jpg.pagespeed.ic_.Gy-iNOWiNpScene 4: Montana, February 1898

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Scene 6: The Cuban

Scene 7: Havana, May 1898

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1893 edition

Scene 8: Havana, May 1898evangelina-cosío-cisneros%202

crank 2Scene 9, Siboney, Cuba June 1898

see On Spanish-American War Monuments and Rochester. And remembering the Buffalo Soldiers on Veteran’s Day

On early war films  Filming, faking and propaganda: The origins of the war film, 1897-1902

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Stephen Crane in Greece, Greco-Turkish War, 1897

“Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” Scene 5 New York, February 1898

craneStephen Crane is at his writing table in his Greenwich Village apartment, decorated in the Bohemian style of New York in the 1890s.

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Cora and Stephen Crane, 1899

Cora (his wife) enters the room: Stevie, it’s the reporters from the Times.  They want to interview you.

Crane: I wish they would go away.  It will be nothing but The Red Badge of Courage ad nauseum and ad absurdum.

Cora: But Stevie, they pay well.

Crane: (grinning) Ah, filthy lucre. As far as I can tell, money is nothing but almost entirely useless scraps of paper.  My mother always taught me to eat plenty of greens.  So one day I swallowed a five-dollar bill.  It gave me a fit of diarrhea.   Next time I will use a ten-dollar bill to wipe my arse

(Cora laughs)

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Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage (1895) was an immediate best seller and made him a celebrity author. The Red Badge remains one of the most read novels in American literature

The reporters enter.

Reporter:   Mr. Crane, we are here to congratulate you on the latest printing of The Red Badge of Courage.  It is now the best selling novel of our time.

Crane: That’s fine with me. As long as school marms don’t get hold of it and teach it to their prisoners.  That will be the end of my good name.

Reporter: Critics have marveled at how vividly you captured the reality of war in your novel.  But how could you write about war if you’d never experienced it?  How could you know it was true?

Crane: I can safely say that fielding endless questions from the critics is equivalent to being on the very front of the firing-lines.  Only worse.  There is no chance you will be killed and put out of your misery.  To answer your question.  I have read your paper every day for ten years.  Doing so has taught me how to perfect the art of fabrication.

Reporter: They are now calling you the American Tolstoy?  What do you think of that?

Crane: I had heard that in Moscow they are now calling Tolstoy the Russian Crane.

Reporter: What will be your next novel?

The Red Badge of Courage (1951)1

from the film, The Red Badge of Courage (1951)

Crane: I don’t know.  I suppose I will have to have an experience.  (softly)  Yet I am not yet thirty and feel as if I have lived a thousand men’s lives . . .

Suddenly a newsboy bursts into the room

Boy: (winded)  Sirs, the Times sent me directly over here.  The Maine has been blown up in Havana harbor.  Over 250 are dead.  Many think it was a Spanish mine!ImpUS7

Reporters: Good God!  (They get up to leave).  Crane, what is your comment?

Crane: It is sure to be war.  We haven’t had a good one in a long time.

The Reporters leave.

Crane: Gentlemen, haven’t you forgotten something?

Reporter: The check will be in the mail . . .

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Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros (September 23, 1877 – April 29, 1970) was the focus of events that played out in the years 1896–1898 during the Cuban War of Independence. Her imprisonment as a rebel and escape from a Spanish jail in Cuba, with the assistance of the reporter, Karl Decker from William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal, created wide interest in the United States press, as well as accusations of fraud and bribery.

Crane stands silent for a moment then goes to the telephone.

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article on Evangelina Cosio y Cisneros

Crane (after dialing): Hello Pulitzer.  Its Crane.  The Margharita Quesados case, the one you have been bleating about for weeks.  What about it?  I am going to Cuba to rescue her and write her story.  So save space on the front page.  And from there I am going to see the war.  What’s that?  Yes, yes.  That old Red Badge of Courage thing.  I want to know, once and for all, if I got it all right.