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 -- The Red Badge of Courage. In her short life, Maggie "blossomed in a mud puddle", was driven to prostitution, and died by her own hand while still a teenager.
Crane, who worked as a free lance reporter, was in many ways addicted to the low life of the cities. He died at the age of 29.