The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback)

$3.95
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, October 18

Overview

The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction, by Stephen Crane, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works. Young Henry Fleming dreams of finding glory and honor as a Union soldier in the American Civil War. Yet he also harbors a hidden fear about how he may react when the horror and bloodshed of battle begin. Fighting the enemy without and the terror within, Fleming must prove himself and find his own meaning of valor.

Unbelievable as it may seem, Stephen Crane had never been a member of any army nor had taken part in any battle when he wrote The Red Badge of Courage. But upon its publication in 1895, when Crane was only twenty-four, Red Badge was heralded as a new kind of war novel, marked by astonishing insight into the true psychology of men under fire. Along with the seminal short stories included in this volume—“The Open Boat,” “The Veteran,” and “The Men in the Storm”—The Red Badge of Courage unleashed Crane’s deeply influential impressionistic style.

Richard Fusco has been an Assistant Professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia since 1997. A specialist in nineteenth-century American literature and in short-story narrative theory, he has published on a variety of American, British, and Continental literary figures.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781593080105
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Publication date: 05/01/2003
Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 160,990
Product dimensions: 4.13(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.64(d)

Read an Excerpt

From Richard Fusco's Introduction to The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction

What still fascinates is how, amid such conditions, Crane was able to informally pursue his aesthetic education and produce a novel that is one of the better summations of American sensibilities in the 1890s. His mind was, in effect, a sponge, capable of absorbing the principles of past and current literary traditions, the insights of the leading writers of the day, the beliefs held by competing philosophical schools, the dogmas held by diverse Christian sects, and the trends of political and economic thought. His artistic genius resided in his ability to knit many dissimilar and, at times, conflicting perspectives so thoroughly in a text that we pay more attention to their similarities than their differences. He paints a grim but objective portrait of war's horror in one passage in Red Badge, yet when we turn the page we find ourselves immersed in Fleming's subjective reflection about that event.

Many critics have debated over the years whether Crane was essentially a Realist, a Naturalist, or an Impressionist. I and many others contend that he was all those things and much more. For Crane, the scene or the moment dictates the artistic device the writer should employ. Novels such as Red Badge, then, become compendia of many aesthetic possibilities. In a Crane text, this oscillation among so many ways of looking at the world reflects what all humans must contend with in life. The religious, political, philosophical, or artistic belief that seems best to explain one moment may prove inadequate for the next. Crane's novel about the Civil War offers a chain of partially successful attempts by Henry Fleming to comprehend his environment and purpose. The Red Badge of Courage thus not only chronicles Crane's own restless mind; it also embodies the multifaceted dilemmas with which all intellects curious about man's relationship with the universe must cope.

The dominant literary figures in the United States after the Civil War were the Realists. By the 1890s, Realism's most accomplished practitioners included Mark Twain and Henry James, but William Dean Howells had become the artistic director of the school. Through his magazine columns (the most prominent was "The Editor's Study" in Harper's Monthly), through the example he set in his novels and short stories, and through the new writers whose work he promoted, Howells established a good number of artistic principles for the postbellum generation of American fictionalists. Above all other considerations, he stressed that writers ought to write about subjects, people, and environments with which they were wholly familiar. Realists should not impose their personal biases or philosophical, political, and ethical predispositions on the voice of a text's third-person narrator. The world should be described as if one were looking through a camera lens. The Realist should avoid presenting portraits of people who reside at the extreme ends of the human condition; those who occupy the center of American society are fitter subjects for literary art. Thus, the goal of the writer is to capture with fidelity that which typifies a society.

These and other like precepts pervaded the literary scene that Crane encountered in New York during the early 1890s. They became salient and valuable for him after he heard Hamlin Garland lecture about Howells's work and influence in Avon, New Jersey, in 1891. Crane published a newspaper piece about the talk, which attracted Garland's notice. At that time, Garland, ten years Crane's senior, was himself an emerging Realist of the local-color school. Many American local colorists, who had their aesthetic origins in Ivan Turgenev's seminal short-story collection Sportsman's Notebook, published realistic fiction based upon their regional experiences, chronicling the lives and manners of the people they grew up with or lived among for a long time. Adherents to this approach included Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Rose Terry Cooke, Bret Harte, and George Washington Cable. During the summer of 1891, Garland himself contributed to this collective effort to portray America region by region through publishing Main-Travelled Roads, a story collection based on his family's farming experiences in the Midwest. (Donna Campbell provides an excellent discussion of Crane's tenuous relationship with the local-color movement in her Resisting Regionalism: Gender and Naturalism in American Fiction, 1885-1915; see "For Further Reading.")

When Crane began to gather materials for Red Badge in 1893, most of his immediate resources had realistic assumptions underlying their intentions. Matthew Brady's photographs of the Civil war had recorded with graphic accuracy the ghastliness of battle. Nonfictional reminiscences and novels such as Wilbur F. Hinman's Corporal Si Klegg and His 'Pard', Joseph Kirkland's The Captain of Company K, and the novel that some critics believe marks the incipient moment of American Realism, John William De Forest's Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Succession to Loyalty, all share the desire to acquaint a civilian reader with the actualities of war and of military life.

Crane's most immediate source, however, owed its realistic intentions to another sort of discourse-history. In 1893 he borrowed from the mother of a former childhood playmate the multivolume work Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (1887), a compilation of a mammoth series of articles that had first appeared in The Century magazine years earlier. Here Crane found a rich vein of primary material, including essays by participating Union and Confederate officers, such as Generals Darius N. Couch, Alfred Pleasonton, Oliver O. Howard, and R. E. Colston. With these accounts, Crane began to understand the facts, tactics, and strategies of the Battle of Chancellorsville that he would integrate into his story. Despite the occasional note of nostalgia or bravado, despite the defensive tone adopted by a general in explaining the misdeeds of his troops, these historical sources on the whole do comply with the empirical spirit pursued by a new generation of nineteenth-century historians. These writers presented firsthand testimony when available and assembled all known facts in their correct chronological sequence in order to illustrate an historical event as accurately as the evidence allows.

For all his research in these and other historical texts, however, Crane could not compensate for his one obvious deficiency, one that challenged any claim he might make to call himself a Realist. Realists were supposed to confine their efforts to subjects they knew well and had experienced intimately. Born six years after the Civil War ended, Crane had never even seen a battle before he finished the manuscript for Red Badge. His mentor Howells would later chide him about this predicament, telling him that Maggie was more artistically successful because he based it upon what he had lived and observed directly, unlike Red Badge, which was constructed from the observations of others and Crane's own guesses. How ironic it was, after the latter novel was published, that the reading public hailed Crane as the nascent star of American Realism.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The Red Badge of Courage and Selected Short Fiction (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 120 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Crane's classic descriptions of the battlefield's sights and sounds paint a lasting picture of the Civil War battlefields. His words resonate today whether you talk of Iraq or Afghanistan. Although geographically different, the thick smoke, smell of decomposing bodies, and the bloodbath's of battle are still the same. The fear is palpable as he describes the valiant soldiers and their reaction to battle. He really makes the reader understand the psychological turmoil that war brings as well as the camaraderie that develops among soldiers in the heat of the battle. The symbolism in the Red badge of Courage would make this a great choice for a classic book club discussion.
RioLindaSunshine More than 1 year ago
I decided to start reading in my leisure at the early age of 50. Classics were the best bet, since I did not want to waste time. This book is very good because it described the fear of dying and not know if running in the face of battle was going to be the end of your life. Fear was highly described in the heat of the battle. This is a great book and I am glad I read it since I currently have a son in the armed forces.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stephen Crane's story "The Red Badge of Courage" is an outstandingly well written story. The vocabulary in the story is very realistic to the time period of when it takes place. The vocabulary seemed like the story could be a nonfiction story. The one part that I don't like about the book is the way that it skips around through out. The story will be talking about one scene, but then the chapter ends, so the story skips the rest of the first scene and goes to a whole new scene. I have no other complaints about the book at all. It is an amazing story. Therefore I give this story a four star.
HistReader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading classics puts modern day concerns into perspective quite nicely. For example the hue and cry over television violence. Sure, motion pictures provide a powerful medium and create an indelible memory upon impressionable youngsters, no doubt about it. Yet reading this book, the visions Stephen Crane describes so vividly in word, will make a lasting impression with me. Our society has so removed violence - a good thing - that any aggression is seen as a horror - occasionally a bad thing. From the dawn of man and his fight for survival, violence has been a necessity and product of the environment and his will to live. Mr. Crane's short story of a young enlistee is filled with such detail in so little space, it was truly breathtaking. I literally found myself reading a page before noticing I was reading with bated breath. Nary a page went by where he wasn't enticing all the sense to understand the sensations of a raging battlefield. The "hurry-up-and-wait" way of the military. The anticipatory build up to what becomes a surprise despite waiting for the event. Mr. Crane personifies everything that isn't human. Not so distant clumps of forest, obscured by gun smoke and morning fog become living foes; housing unseen Rebels, only their gross movements and gun barrel flares give life to them like some fantasy world forest waiting to devour lost travelers. Lines of men become singularly animal-like as they snake across the horizon; enemy platoons become grey, black, or brown silhouettes ominously moving to and fro in the hazy distance, individually they would be less daunting foe than they are a blurred together mass.The Barnes & Noble Classic's edition also contains some short stories. "The Veteran" follows-up the life of Henry Fleming. While reading The Red Badge, I waited for the untimely death of the hero; triumphantly it never came to fruition and ended with optimism. "The Veteran" concludes his life succinctly, proving him to remain as bravely as he became during the two days of the original story.
figre on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Classics. How do you approach them? In the context of the time it was written, in the context of the time in which it was popular, in the context of the time it is being read, in the context of being forced to read it as part of 7th Grade literature? (Well, probably not that last.) Trying to cover all is a fool¿s game, so I tend to focus on the enjoyment I am getting from reading a classic the second I am reading it. (When push comes to shove, how is any other approach anything more than ¿being forced to read it as part of 7th Grade literature¿?)And, in that context, The Red Badge of Courage suffers. Not because it is not a good book and a good read. But because the virgin ground it originally plowed has now been almost farmed to death. In its time, this book took the subject on in this way for the first time and it had an immediate impact. And that impact included innumerable books that have gone on to further explore humans and their personal reactions to war and battle. This book opened the door, and everyone else piled into the room. And for the reader that has spent any time in that dog pile, the impact of this book is lessened.So what do we wind up with? A good book about the civil war that gives us a realistic representation of the foot soldiers¿ war, and a compelling story of a young man (boy) facing his limitations and growing past them. Is this bad? No ¿ it is, in fact, worth the time. Does it distract from the power of this book that others have taken what it achieved and done more? Unfortunately, yes. So we wind up with a decent introduction to the civil war and to books on wars in general. But, the impact has been lost over time.(A coda. This edition includes three short stories ¿ including one which takes up the story of Courage¿s protagonist when he is an old man ¿ which are meant to add to the enjoyment and understanding of the writing. It does nothing but distract, and the stories do not feel particular powerful in this context. Add the point that this edition is heavy with foot- and endnotes describing the most easily understood concepts [after all, we must make sure that the 7th grader is told every little nuance] and, while I recommend anyone read the book, I also recommend that stay as far away as possible from this edition.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite book. I would rather read this book than watch the cooking channle. I would enCORAGE young readers to read this book. I always go into a diffrent world when i read a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It really captures the horrors of war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago