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The Red Badge of Courage Paperback – September, 2004
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From Library Journal
Like the Carroll volume above, this edition of the seasoned veteran provides a new twist. Crane's Badge was originally serialized in the New York Press in 1894, a year before the story was published in novel form. This volume offers both the slightly different serial version and the finished work. Though every library no doubt has numerous copies of Red Badge, academic and public libraries supporting American literature curricula should pop for this one, too, especially at the price.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The Red Badge Of Courage has long been considered the first great 'modern' novel of war by an American—the first novel of literary distinction to present war without heroics and this in a spirit of total irony and skepticism."—Alfred Kazin
From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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Stephen Crane’s writing has aged gracefully since the novel was first published in 1893. The forbidding atmosphere of war is ideally suited to a style that might be considered florid by today’s standards. The potent tone fits the story but the writing feels strangely modern, authentic and devoid of sentimentality.
Henry’s character is laid bare as he experiences both cowardice and bravery in battle. Both emotions are seen as almost uncontrollable responses in times of war and the author doesn’t pass judgment, letting subtle ironies prevail instead. Red Badge of Courage is as much a psychological novel as a war story. And faced with what Henry and many of his comrades confronted, the reader might well have turned and headed for the trees as well.
Images of war are lightly rendered in comparison to modern novels but just as jarring. In one scene the wounded trudge to their impending deaths (as anyone injured in battle during the Civil War frequently had mere hours to live), and young Henry describes a soldier he encounters who has two wounds, ‘one in the head, bound with a blood-soaked rag, and the other in the arm, making that member dangle like a broken bough.’
Hemingway said that Red Badge of Courage was ‘one of the finest books of American literature.’ Reading Crane’s prose, it’s easy to see precursors of Hemingway’s own style:
‘It rained. The procession of weary soldiers became a bedraggled train, despondent and muttering, marching with churning effort in a trough of liquid brown mud under a low, wretched sky.’
Stephen Crane modestly stated that he wanted to write a war story reminiscent of the books he read as a boy, and ended up penning an adventure story that doubles as fine literature and perhaps the ultimate anti-war novel.
Halfway through this book: "The youth took note of a remarkable change in his comrade since those days of camp life upon the river bank. He seemed no more to be continually regarding the proportions of his personal prowess. He was not furious at small words that pricked his conceits. He was no more a loud young soldier. There was about him now a fine reliance...."
Toward the end of the battle: "...The lieutenant, also, was unscathed in his position at the rear. He had continued to curse, but it was not with the air of a man who was using his last box of oaths..."
At the end of the book: "A specter of reproach came to him. There loomed the dogging memory of the tattered soldier - he who, gored by bullets and faint for blood, had fretted concerning an imagined wound in another; he who had loaned his last of strength and intellect for the tall soldier; he who, blind with weariness and pain, had been deserted in the field..."
A powerful reflection upon the changing of a man during the course of a battle. It's slow reading, because it does warrant reflection.