Essay on Stephen Crane and The Civil War

Essay on Stephen Crane and The Civil War

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Stephen Crane and The Civil War

One year after the publication of The Red Badge of Courage Crane released a continuation to the narrative in the form of a short story.  “The Veteran” characterizes an elderly Henry Fleming who recalls his first exposure to the experience of war.  Of the battle he remembers, “That was at Chancellorsville” (Crane 529-531).  While Crane never explicitly states the name of the battle in The Red Badge, the incidents mentioned in “The Veteran” indicate that the protagonist of each is one in the same (website).  Memories of his reasons for flight and sad recollections of the memory of Jim Conklin, the “tall soldier,” mirror the episodes mentioned in Crane’s second novel.  Studies have shown that the source Crane cites as his main source of information was a collection of memoirs from Union and Confederate officers.  The magazine, entitled Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (1884), was a typical publication revealing strategical information as well as topographical locations (website).  While the work did not characterize the emotions of the soldiers, it provided Crane with the necessary information to construct an atmosphere reflecting “one of the bloodiest struggles of the Civil War” (website).  An online site by the University of Virginia claims, “thematically, Crane utilized the battle of Chancellorsville in order to mount a critique of the fin de siecle American situation: the beleaguered position of the individual in a mass society, the harmful illusions of popular notions of heroism, and the abandonment, in materialistic gestures of denial, of the progress of Reconstruction begun in the Civil War.” (**Note - first paragraph of essay is a summarized version of website's findings.)


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...  Ed.  Dennis Poupard.  11 vols.  Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1983.

Hungerford, Harold R.  “Essay.”  Twentieth–Century Literary Criticism.  Ed.  Paul Kepos and Dennis Poupard.  32 vols.  Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1989.

“Stephen Crane Biography.” Twentieth–Century Literary Criticsim.  Ed.  Dennis Poupard.  11 vols. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1983.

“Stephen Crane Biography.” Twentieth–Century Literary Criticism.  Ed.  Paul Kepos and Dennis Poupard.  32 vols.  Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1989.

Internet 1 The Red Badge of Courage: An Episode of the American Civil War.  Online.  AskJeeves. 22  Mar. Available:

Wells, H.G.  “Stephen Crane from an English Standpoint.”  Twentieth–Century Literary Criticism. Ed.  Dennis Poupard.  11 vols.  Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1983.

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