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Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and Other Tales of New York

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  2,600 ratings  ·  51 reviews
"A powerful, severe, and harshly comic portrayal of Irish immigrant life in lower New York exactly a century ago."—Alfred Kazin.

Although fellow novelists William Dean Howells and Hamlin Garland immediately recognized genius in the twenty-one-year-old author of Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, in 1893 most readers were unwilling to accept its unconventional theme and were un

Paperback, Penguin Classics, 272 pages
Published March 29th 2001 by Penguin Classics (first published 1893)
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3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,600 ratings  ·  51 reviews

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Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
One thing a reader would instantly see in Crane's works is the vividness of his prose. Maggie is, without doubt, one of the most intensely animated writings I have ever read, classic or modern. The setting is so overpoweringly real and natural that reading just the first three chapters easily transported me into a place so poor and deprived that my heart just went out for Maggie and Jimmie as if they were real children. What is missing in the narrative, however, is the depth of characterization. ...more
J.M. Hushour
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first experience with Crane and I was pleasantly surprised. His writing is imbued with what appears now as a fresh-faced, never terribly stark, realism and a playful hilarity that underscores the banal Bowery life of the 1890s. Crane lived there as a young man briefly and his observations on and fictionalizing of the weird panoply of characters and events he must've based these stories off of never gets old. I'm reminded particularly of the urban lilt of Zola, of fictions that cut to ...more
Matthew Huff
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wonder if this work would be more powerful as a full novel; the sheer beauty and impression of his style, however, warrants the fourth star.
Russell Bittner
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
I must confess, I come to this review with a heavy heart. I’ve wanted to read Maggie: A Girl of the Streets for years — and have had this edition on my bookshelves for as long. Moreover, once I finally read a bit about Crane’s background and early death (at the age of 29), I wanted to read — and appreciate — it even more.

Perhaps I err. Perhaps I just don’t get it. Perhaps Crane’s naturalism is simply over my head—even if Emile Zola’s never was. If so, I apologize — and you can disregard this r
Joshua Emil
Oct 31, 2012 rated it liked it
I bought this book on my birthday. And started reading it on Halloween. Unfortunately, it remained in my bag or shelf untouched for a couple of months. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets has a gritty depiction of life in a growing New York City in the late 1890's. Along with Maggie, there are some Tales of New York. The tales of "The Broken Down Van", "An Experiment in Misery", "An Experiment in Luxury" and "The Adventures of a Novelist" somehow didn't make any sense to me and the rest did. I didn't ...more
Lauren Contreras-Loreto
This is a short and rather tragic story about a girl named Maggie who lives in a very poor part of town. The story considers the small change in people's lives that she makes, and the even smaller change after her death. Rather depressing.
Jeni Enjaian
Feb 21, 2015 rated it liked it
As I say with most of my reviews of any book that falls into the "classics" category, I find it very difficult to review these books, many times because I do not understand how the works came to be classified as classics. In the case of this particular book, the latter reason does not apply. That being said, I have three fairly negative criticisms and just one positive to give for this book.
First the positive. Crane's narrative throughout all the various short stories is vivid and highly realist
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've known Stephen Crane was a sterling, profound writer, and I've read The Red Badge of Courage twice. However, this is the first time I've explored the gold encasing that crown jewel in Crane's short but curiously prolific literary career. Maggie: A Girl of the Streets is a first-rate story: It's crisp and unexpected, hilarious and human, and its chapter-length vignettes bring to vivid life exactly the scenes of poverty and complex negotiations of personal morality and responsibility that Jaco ...more
Nov 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
I was assigned this book years ago when I was taking a 100-level U.S. history course in college. As it was an assignment that wasn't really a part of the class's core, and as I had work to do in several upper-level classes, I blew it off and just paid attention to the discussion in class. The other day while browsing the shelves at Barnes & Noble during my lunch break, I picked it up on a lark and opened the book for the first time, reading the first couple of pages. They were great. The wri ...more
Aug 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
[Maggie, a Girl of the Streets; An Experiment in Misery; When a Man Falls a Crowd Gathers]

I loved Crane's writing. His eloquence juxtaposed perfectly against the vernacular of the late 19th century New York City slums. He captured the daily life of the the people, many immigrants, and gave the reader a deeper look into the lives and thoughts of the lower/working class during the turn of the century. The stories themselves were not fantastic and I mean that in the sense of plot because these stor
Mark Mallett
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued by the description of this as being a collection of writings from Stephen Crane concerning the seedy side of New York City life near the turn of the century. Once I got started I didn't know if I'd make it through it; the opening reportage story, "Maggie: A Girl of the Streets," was pretty tedious and the writing somewhat restrained and oblique compared to what you find from reporters today. Once I got past that, though, I was fascinated and highly engaged. Maybe, I dunno, it too ...more
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Picked this up in a second-hand bookstore and thought I would give it a try. Glad I did. It is spectacular. Beautifaul language that really sets the tone, though dreary, of turn-of-the-century America. Many people complain about the dialogue which takes some effort to get through as it is the genuine article, the language of the day which is an Irish/New York slang of the period. The works in this book all have a moralistic tone that does not always travel well with us today. Plus the reader has ...more
Rachel M.
This novel has vivid imagery and profound diction. The way in which Crane shapes the meaning of this story through his Impressionist-like writing is beautiful. Even the dialect adds to the flavor of the story. It is also interesting to note how Crane makes the point that entertaining Romantic thoughts and holding onto Romantic ideals is deadly. (This is the way in which he makes a case for Realism/Naturalism instead of Romanticism.) It can be argued that Maggie's death is the result of her inabi ...more
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very moving story of a young girl constrained by her setting in society. It took time to get into the rhythm of the language, but once I did, it help give an 'I was there' feeling to the writing.

This edition included a number of other stories and essays by Crane. The second one "George's Mother" was just as good. While it was about his mother, it was about him also... "Upon reflection, he saw, therefore, that he was perfectly willing to be virtuous if somebody would come and make it easy for h
Maggie, George, and the other stories in this book were interesting sketches from late 1800s New York. The first two stories were both very good and not just a little tragic, but the rest of the collection fell kind of flat. I got the impression Crane wanted to deliver a thorough and true to life account of the lower classes in New York, but the brevity of most of the articles really did not suit that kind of meditation.

I was weary of the dialogue at first because a lot of it is written in diale
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
I had to read this book at school (with much regret) but we read it. It is a classic and classics are totally NOT my style. But when i finished i was like wow. It takes place in the lower east side of new york, i place i vist often. It is sad and it shows you the hardships of the main character maggie.

Weither classics are your favorite genre or its mystery, paranormal-romance(like me), or dystopian fiction, you should read it.
Mar 02, 2008 rated it liked it

I was curious about this novel after reading Hotel de Dream by Edmund White. White imagines the last days of Stephen Crane and invents a version of his rumored last novel, The Painted Boy, a manuscript Crane burned before his death.

Maggie was Crane's first book and I'm finding I much prefer it to Red Badge of Courage.
John Yelverton
Feb 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
It was a sad story with very crude subject matter and constant and continuous foul language. I felt no kinship or even sympathy for any of the characters, and was very grateful when the book ended, pathetic as the ending was.
Jun 01, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a short, impactful novel, anyone interested in history
short. terse. to the point. very illustrative. demonstrates the predator/prey relationship and social darwinist ideals of the early 20th century. shows the impact of family values and environment on individuals amazingly well.
May 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: for-classes
man, this book was tedious. i liked the end though. great birth metaphor -- or perhaps unbirth, the giant fat man near the river swallowing her up. (also, by "great birth metaphor" i meant "kind of disgusting birth metaphor").
David Ward
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Maggie, A Girl of the Streets and Other New York Writings by Stephen Crane (Modern Library 2001)(Fiction) is a moralistic tale of the depths to which young girls in the city must stoop to survive in the late 19th century. Piffle. My rating: 3/10, finished 10/6/11.
Short and to the point, though I think it could have benefited from a bit more detail. It's so sparse that I barely cared what happened to the characters, especially Molly, who seems almost secondary.
Neal Kerrigan
Intense fight scenes, but the other stories in the version I read were better, Open boat, Bride comes to yellow Sky, The Blue Hotel, The Monster. Those were the ones that had real effect.
Harper Eliot
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Incredibly atmospheric.
Sep 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
maggie: a girl of the streets and george's mother are both stellar stories. dark, dismal, and very real.
Seth Courrégé
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Maggie is decent, at best. However, some of Crane's other short stories in the collection like the Open Boat and the Blue Hotel make this book worth picking up.
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely adore this story. Stephen Crane weaves a poetic, yet truthful account of life in New York City tenements.
Matthew Olgin
Maggie and George's Mother were great. Its because of the other included stories that I give this a three. Without them it would be a four.
Jul 22, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Naturalism better than Thomas Hardy's Tess. A disappointing ending - but cause for good discussion.
Beth Carpenter
Pretty boring. The book had several stories in it all set in turn of the century New York.
Would not recommend this book..
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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.