“It was not well to drive men into final corners; at those moments they could all develop teeth and claws": Rare First Edition of Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage

  • The Red Badge of Courage.
  • The Red Badge of Courage.

The Red Badge of Courage.

$8,800.00

Item Number: 12092

New York : D. Appleton and Company, 1895.

First edition, first printing with page [235] advertising the three works of Gilbert Parker’s Best Books, and the last page of advertisements (page 238) ending with The Land of the Sun, by Christian Reid; last gathering, including ads on laid paper. Octavo, original publisher’s tan cloth. In near fine condition with a touch of rubbing. From the library of noted collector Donald G. Drapkin, with his bookplate, contemporary name on the endpaper. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. An exceptional example.

An abbreviated version of The Red Badge of Courage was first serialized in The Philadelphia Press in December 1894. This version of the story, which was culled to 18,000 words by an editor specifically for the serialization, was reprinted in newspapers across America, establishing Crane's fame. Crane biographer John Berryman wrote that the story was published in at least 200 small city dailies and approximately 550 weekly papers. In October 1895, a version, which was 5,000 words shorter than the original manuscript, was printed in book form by D. Appleton & Company. “Stephen Crane, with no more military experience than his lively imagination could cull from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War and from Tolstoy, told so graphically how a raw recruit feels in battle that The Red Badge of Courage must be regarded as the first artistic approach to the war. It pictures no historical figure or event, except that Chancellorsville is its setting, but its sense of the helplessness and meaninglessness of the common soldier, maneuvered by superiors and circumstance, is a brilliant achievement in impression… Its illusion of authentic experience has made it a minor classic of the war” (Leisy, 158-59).

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