Synopses & Reviews
The Red Badge of Courage was published in 1895, when its author, an impoverished writer living a bohemian life in New York, was only twenty-three. It immediately became a bestseller, and Stephen Crane became famous. Crane set out to create "a psychological portrayal of fear." Henry Fleming, a Union Army volunteer in the Civil War, thinks "that perhaps in a battle he might run....As far as war was concerned he knew nothing of himself." And he does run in his first battle, full of fear and then remorse. He encounters a grotesquely rotting corpse propped against a tree, and a column of wounded men, one of whom is a friend who dies horribly in front of him. Fleming receives his own "red badge" when a fellow soldier hits him in the head with a gun. "The idea of falling like heroes on ceremonial battlefields," Ford Madox Ford remarked later, "was gone forever." Shelby Foote, author of The Civil
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Meet Henry Fleming, a youth who dreams of glory as a Union Army soldier during the Civil War. In the middle of his first battle, Henry runs from the fighting in terror. He begins to grow up when he has to face his fellow soldiers, some of whom are wounded and dying. Now, Henry knwos that war is not as glorious as he thought. An another major battle begins, will Henry flee or find the courage to stay and fight?
About the Author
Stephen Crane was born in Newark, NJ in 1871, the son of a Methodist minister. Before he reached twenty-five, Crane had made his mark on the American literary scene by writing two major works: Maggie
: a Girl of the Streets (1893) and The Red Badge of Courage
(1895). He failed a theme-writing course in college at the same time he was writing articles for newspapers, among them the New York Herald Tribune. Maggie
, drawn from firsthand observations in the slums of New York, was praised and condemned for its sordid realism. By contrast, The Red Badge of Courage
, also praised for its realism, was drawn entirely from newspaper accounts and research, as Crane himself never went to war. Crane's adventurous spirit drove him to Cuba in 1896, providing the experience for his most famous short story, The Open Boat
, a tale of sufferings endured by Crane and his three companions aboard a lifeboat after their ship sank. He traveled to Greece as a correspondent, and returned to Cuba to cover the Spanish-American war. At the age of twenty-eight, in failing health, he traveled from England to Germany to recuperate in the healing atmosphere of the Black Forest. While working on a humorous novel, The O'Ruddy, he died in Germany of tuberculosis in June of 1900.
From the Paperback edition.