A Note on the Text
The period of American literary realism was a time when writers were willing to write what publishers were unwilling to publish. Few works better illustrate this truism than Stephen Crane’s Maggie. Publishing the work himself, Crane avoided the editorial cleansing that unquestionably would have taken place had a commercial press accepted the work. The 1893 text closely represents the work as Crane intended it. Once he achieved fame with the publication of The Red Badge of Courage in 1895, that work’s publisher, D. Appleton and Co., asked Crane for another work they might publish, and he offered them Maggie. Though Appleton was anxious to capitalize on the fame Red Badge created, the firm was unwilling to publish Maggie as Crane originally had written it. For the 1896 edition, they cleaned up the printing errors, yet they also cleaned up Crane’s language and his imagery, deleting expletives and expurgating important descriptive passages that had been part of the 1893 Maggie. Despite the changes and deletions, the watered-down version helped further Crane’s reputation, and the 1893 first edition text was forgotten. Reprints through the 1950s all were based on the 1896 Appleton edition. Not until Joseph Katz’s 1966 article “The Maggie Nobody Knows” was the 1893 version recognized as the superior text.