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Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,496 Ratings  ·  252 Reviews
In 1892 Stephen Crane (1871-1900) published Maggie, Girl of the Streets at his own expense. Considered at the time to be immature, it was a failure. Since that time it has come to be considered one of the earliest American realistic novels. Maggie is the story of a pretty child of the Bowery which is written with the same intensity and vivid scenes of his masterpiece -- Th ...more
Paperback, 92 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by (first published 1892)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 11, 2014 Tfitoby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
This tiny novella, this "shocking portrait" of working class life, might win points for its approach towards capturing the dialect and mileau of the time and place but the overall feeling I took from it was not a call to understand the people that were trodden underfoot by the educated classes but more a sense of humouous observation, almost like these drunks and whores, these scoundrels and brutes are a human zoo fit only for ogling from afar by their betters. There's a fine line between captur ...more
Jen Knox
Aug 04, 2010 Jen Knox rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a treasure, as much for the story of Crane's trying to get it published as for the story itself. I am always drawn to authors' first books. There's often an energy there lost in latter books. The energy and intensity of this story made gave it a momentum that wasn't lost on The Red Badge of Courage but was toned down. I admire the raw honesty of the prose here; there's something alive in it that refuses to be toned down for the audience's sake.

Nov 19, 2008 Kandice rated it did not like it
I think the moral of the story was lost on me, as the times have changed so much. Everything was inferred instead of said outright. Did she actually have "relations" with Pete? I can't be sure, so am unclear why her mother disowned her. Did she kill herself? Was her situation really so severe that was her only way out? Obviously there was quite the double standard. Sins were not arranged in order of importance. The parents could be alcoholic lowlifes, and beat their children, but she was thrown ...more
Jose lana
Oct 03, 2015 Jose lana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is perhaps the most sordid short novel i ever read;the journey to depravity prostitution and death forced by the loneliness, doublé moral and necesity of a por beautifull girl born in a miserable suburb of New York.The prostitution of the body not of the soul that remains pure and clean to his final death.This is i think the firs naturalist novel in USA
Mar 16, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book on-screen in my down time at work. It's set in late 19th-century New York, from what I gather, which is what attracted me to it, as I'm in the midst of a long documentary on New York. I don't know that I would include the book among my top 10, but I like it very much. The language is absolutely delectable. I want to eat it and hug Crane for writing it. His language is crystal clear; he constructs sentences in such a way to emit a vivid visual experience from between the words. H ...more
Apr 17, 2011 Christina rated it it was amazing
Really loved this novella. It directly transports one to 1880's Lower East side Manhattan. I thought Crane was born and raised in the Irish slums of the Bowery, but he had spent very little time there before the novel. His use of dialogue and slang made me feel like I was there in the tenement with Jimmy and Maggie. It taught me about history, the slums of old New York, and the puritanical views of lower class Irish at the time. I got a little bit of sociology, anthropology, history, and fiction ...more
Sep 02, 2015 Sarah rated it did not like it
Considered "too immature" by critics when it was released, I also consider it shallow. It seemed like the same few phrases were repeated by every character until they said it enough to qualify enough words for a novel. This seems more of a sneer at the lower class rather than the narrative on how women with little resources and restricted freedom could be forced and then harshly judged for living immorally by society's standards. And I was hoping for the latter.

I suppose the ambiguity of Maggie
We read this in my junior year American studies class in high school. Honestly, I wasn't a fan of a lot of books that we read in that class, mostly because I favor 19th century Brit lit over 19th century American lit (Gatsby and Slaughterhouse Five were the two shining exceptions) just in subject and tone, and well, everything. But! This little story really stuck with me. I read it a couple of times that first night, and I lead the discussion the next day, mostly because I couldn't shut up.

I thi
Dec 11, 2011 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Required reading for AP English Literature Grade 11 or 12
This was a short enough novel that it wasn't a chore to read. I had a friend in high school named Maggie and I recall that we would sometimes call her "Maggie Girl of the Streets" while we were reading this book... The only other thing I remember about this book is the main character looking up and saying, "The moon looks like shit" - and my teacher dissecting this sentence to mean that the character's life was so terrible she couldn't think of anything wonderful to compare the moon to.
Rahil Swan
Jan 28, 2016 Rahil Swan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women, realistic
Stephen Crane, I DON'T KNOW U, BUT I'LL FIND YOU , AND I'LL KILL U ,even though you're already dead ! -_- This is one of the books that suffocates the shit out of you, I wanted to throw it away several times, not just because of The Somehow-old-English-used-that-sounds-like-Chinese , No , but for the depressing story ! Why do we mourn people when they die, while we curse them , hate them, and bore them when they're alive ?! The confusing thing is that it's her own mom who did so ! I see a lot of ...more
NDlessly TreeLeaf
Feb 24, 2016 NDlessly TreeLeaf rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-for-school
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Penny Landon
Jun 10, 2014 Penny Landon rated it did not like it
I had such high expectations for this book because the subject matter is so interesting and historical. The idea of a narrative that deals with a women being driven into prostitution really had potential. What I got was a hot mess that really should not have as much fame and so much scholarship written about it. Unless you are a close reader and make A LOT of assumptions, the whole premise of the book is lost on you. I ended up referring to a summary online just to make sure I was reading it cor ...more
Jan 16, 2008 Zakiyah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-shelf
This book was amazing. I applaud Stephen Crane for writing this book. I really liked it. It told me that Black people wernt the only ones treated badly. That other people like the Irish people were.
Something bad about the book was that I could not understand the lingo. I mean I could understand it but I either had the read it aloud, or read it really slowly. Also sometimes even when i understood the words, I couldnt understand what it meant.
Some positive things About Maggie girl from the stre
Jan 18, 2008 Tyler rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anybody
Recommended to Tyler by: Mr. MacConnell
Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, written by Stephen Crane, is a story of how a young Irish girl grows up on the streets of New York. With little to no education, barely any money, and her only peers of the neighborhood fighting at all times, this girl's life is full of hardships.

During her childhood, Maggie's younger brother Jimmie was always getting into fights with the neighborhood kids. Her mother was always drinking and her father barely cared for his family at all. Maggie's father died whil
Jun 14, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
Crane loves drama and he steeps this novella in the same mash of din and color as his Red Badge of Courage, but this ostensible failure (it wasn't popular until after he grew famous for Red Badge) is actually an odd mix of Jacob-Riis-esque documentary of the Bowery slums and a throw back of the mid-century temperance tales like Solon Robinson's wildly popular temperance tale, "Hot Corn," which was serialized in the New York Tribune (later published in novel format) and which spawned numerous min ...more
Sep 11, 2013 Rhian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This very short novella set in a poor district of New York at the end of the nineteenth century tells the story of a young girl's descent into prostitution. The daughter of a drunken and abusive mother and father, Maggie succumbs to the charms of her brother's friend, Pete, who seems to promise a little more fun and excitement that she has ever known. But of course it goes badly wrong.

The blurb on the back says that the book 'shocked a world unprepared for his grim and starkly realistic explorat
Afifah Widya
Apr 23, 2016 Afifah Widya rated it it was amazing
The world isn't soft here. And I think, forever more when I think of Maggie, I would remember and associate her as somekind of a ruined Ophelia. She has her Laertes. She has her Hamlet.
Jan 19, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 26, 2015 Pamela rated it really liked it
Surprisingly, I thought this was wonderfully done.

Full review to come.
Sep 20, 2015 Andy rated it liked it
I read this a couple months ago, just getting around to reviewing it. This was the fifth naturalism novel I read in my "Summer of Naturalism." This is considered THE first example of naturalism in American literature.

The story follows Maggie as she grows up in a poor district of Manahattan. Her home is a horrible place, full of drinking, fighting and strife. She sees her brother Jimmie's friend, the self-confident bartender Pete as a way to escape, naively not realizing that Pete is just as shal
Frank Terry
I think this was the perfect book to read before Easter. I've wanted to read this for a long time ever since I fell in love with Stephen Crane's poetry.

I don't know really what else to say. It almost seems like a shame to say how brilliant this book is and how brilliant of a writer Stephen Crane is. But, he really brings the 1890's and industrial America to life in a perfect way, the bleak beast that it was.

I have to say Stephen Crane's authorial power is very strong, too. After reading this I
Matthew Wielgus
Feb 25, 2016 Matthew Wielgus rated it really liked it
There is no moral to this story.
What we find here is a painful microcosm of the price of progress. Sure, we have images of black smoke skies but seldom do we really feel or attempt to feel for those that work under those skies or in the buildings that produce those skies. It's too easy to be enraptured by the beautiful elite, the glamorous adventures of those not too worn down by the daily grind, the self-fulfilling of external and internal oppressions. Maggie: A Girl on the Streets does not pa
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Read for use in tutoring Eng Lit students.
I didn't care for this novella on many levels. Granted, its young author died at the age of 26 of tuberculosis, which may explain the stunted development in part, but does not explain why Crane couldn't use the past tense correctly (bended for bent, etc). It is also his first published work, which shows. (I can't imagine why the university couldn't choose a later, more interesting work of Crane's.) There is far too much physical description of fights etc
Apr 07, 2016 Briana rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
Maggie is exactly the kind of book I normally wouldn't like, and one that I think doesn't adhere to the structural conventions most contemporary readers expect of books. As a naturalist book\, it attempts to show how humans are shaped by their surroundings--in this case, a New York tenement--and strives to create a sense of realism with short, impressionistic chapters that don't show any real overarching connections between characters. This means that characters are introduced, are dropped, some ...more
Emily Whelchel
Sep 27, 2014 Emily Whelchel rated it liked it
Crane writes in extremes, sharing with vividness the brutality of the lower class living in New York in the late nineteenth century. This story shares Maggie's descent into prostitution. She is a young and naive girl growing up in relative poverty and an abusive household. Ultimately, Maggie is left in ruin and tragedy alongside other girls who have nowhere else to turn except for the "crimson legions."

While this story is short and brash, I was impacted by its depiction of the characters. At on
Rebecca Curtis
Never judge a book by its title....this book is one of the most stirring commentary on Irish immigrant life in the New York City Bowery that I have ever read. I say this having read a great many of them. Maggie is a girl from a loaded Irish family, both her parents drink and once her father dies her mother becomes quite violent especially towards Maggie. Maggie feeling abandoned and lost in her familial setting then strays to find love in the arms of a familiar face only to be betrayed once her ...more
Vanessa Braganza
Sep 12, 2014 Vanessa Braganza rated it it was amazing
This story is heartrending - the tale of a girl from the slums of New York who seeks love and beauty in a heartless world. Hypocritically, the characters who commit society's great atrocities find a way to condemn this beautiful and kindhearted dreamer as evil.
Sara Story
Aug 26, 2013 Sara Story rated it did not like it
I was surprised at home much I detested this story since I love Crane's "Open Boat" and "Blue Hotel". Something about it just made me nauseous and I was happy when I had finished it.
Feb 16, 2016 Debbie rated it did not like it
Knowing that Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage is a classic often read in high school literature classes, I was curious to read his first work. (I think I read RBoC but can't remember anything about it!) I know now why this one didn't sell well then and still doesn't. It took a lot of effort to read the characters' prose, written to mimic their slang, accents and limited, repetitive vocabulary. The characters were also very limited; we only read about them beating and swearing at each other. ...more
Athena Herondale
Had to read for school. It takes play in the past, early 1900s. It was very sad and...well there isnt much more to say....
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Stephen Crane was an American novelist, poet and journalist, best known for the novel Red Badge of Courage. That work introduced the reading world to Crane's striking prose, a mix of impressionism, naturalism and symbolism. He died at age 28 in Badenweiler, Baden, Germany.

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“The man had arrived at that stage of drunkenness where affection is felt for the universe.” 18 likes
“The girl, Maggie, blossomed in a mud puddle.” 6 likes
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