On behalf of Lafayette College’s inaugural English 375: Making English class, welcome to our edition of “Stephen Crane’s Own Story.” The purpose of our course was to explore oft-ignored facets of English: how does a text become a text? What goes into the creation of a scholarly, critical, or school edition of a text? What decisions must be made–and who gets to make them? In the case of this particular story, the questions are multitudinous; even referring to it as “Stephen Crane’s Own Story” is complicated by the host of other titles we might have also used.
Our own exploration of these questions and the answers we found formed the basis for this edition of Stephen Crane’s work. This website is an attempt to reach out to future students in our place, and lead them through our own discoveries. Our annotations reflect the things that drew our interest and our curiosity, and made us want to ask questions and investigate further. Our philosophy in this edition was this: that the “story,” so to speak, may not only be found in the text itself, but in the way it shifted and transformed over time.
And as a final note: good luck, future students of 375!
How to Read:
Before you read our edition, it’s worthwhile to know how it was laid out and how you might like to read it. The Introduction provides historical details of the events in the story and the transmission of the articles from newspaper to newspaper, context for the story in relation to other works of Stephen Crane’s, and other questions and difficulties unique to analyzing a newspaper story.
The four texts presented here showcase the story as it appeared in four different newspapers: the New York Press, the Chicago Record, the New Orleans Times-Democrat, and the Chicago Tribune. Each has been annotated individually; hovering over colored words or phrases within the text will reveal the annotation. The notes page found in the sidebar for each edition may give more detailed information. Red annotations refer to notes about Stephen Crane’s choices, while blue ones represent comments on editorial choices. Other terms which have been underlined refer to terms that modern readers may find unfamiliar; clicking on these will take you to our glossary.
Other resources have also been provided: the Timeline of Publication shows when each article (including those not presented in our edition) was published, as well as the publication of the short story based on these events; and the Sources page reveals our most referenced sources.
The digital medium of our edition allows for flexibility and change over time. With that in mind, we welcome your reactions! They can help us improve our edition in the future, so if you have comments or questions, please contact us here!