Despite Stephen Crane's great interest in social themes of his time, few critics have analyzed the historical and political significance of his work. This book demonstrates that only an analysis capable of grasping the politics of Crane's texts can adequately account for their stylistic and aesthetic qualities. Focusing on
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and
The Red Badge of Courage, as well as on seldom studied bestsellers of the American 1890s such as R.H. Davis's
Soldiers of Fortune and F.M. Crawford's
Via Crucis, it offers new insights into the formal and ideological relationship of Crane's fiction to popular literature.