At War with The Red Badge of Courage
Title Details

236 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

Series: Literary Criticism in Perspective

Imprint: Camden House

At War with The Red Badge of Courage

A Critical and Cultural History

by Kevin J. Hayes

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
The story of the critical reception of Crane's great Civil War novel from its publication to the present, with particular attention to the effects of later wars on that reception.
Stephen Crane's masterpiece The Red Badge of Courage was a sensation when it first appeared in 1895: many readers were astonished that this upstart, born after the Civil War, had written the single best novel on the subject. It remains one of the best books on the experience of war in American literature. Since its publication, The Red Badge has been repeatedly subjected to new scrutiny - not only by the passing of time and the changing of critical trends, but by every new war - to see if Crane's story still holds its power. So far, it has done so, not just in the eyes of literary critics but also among soldiers. The two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: all these have shaped the book's critical reception; and veterans, many of whom have commended Crane's insight into the experience of battle, have significantly affected how it has been read and understood. After World War I, Red Badge was closely associated with modernist novels written by those with wartime experience, Ernest Hemingway most importantly. After World War II and Korea, the book resonated with the manyveterans the G.I. Bill brought into the classroom to study American literature, some of whom became critics themselves. And during and after Vietnam and the other controversial wars that have followed, Crane's book has continuedto call forth a steady stream of critical response. Kevin J. Hayes's book is the story of the critical reception of The Red Badge both in and out of war.
Introduction
"Read the Badge"
Red Badge in the Trenches
The Rise of Literary History
The Red Badge of Courage and World War II
Academia after the War
The Vietnam Era
Trauma, Disability and the War on Terror
Works Cited

KEVIN J. HAYES is emeritus Professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma. He is the author of many books including George Washington: A Life in Books (2017) for which he won the $50,000 George Washington Prize, and The Red Badge of Courage: A Critical History (Camden House, 2020).

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9781640140561

December 2020

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Title Details

236 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

Series: Literary Criticism in Perspective

Imprint: Camden House