New Arrival

Superior Copy in Original Dust Jacket

The Red Badge of Courage.

New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1895.

Price: $27,500.00

About the item

First edition, first issue. 1 vols. 8vo. Superior Copy in Original Dust Jacket. Original cream cloth stamped in black, red, and gilt. Lower inner hinge tender, a fine copy in near fine dust jacket (spine panel a bit toned, minor soiling; tiny archival repairs to verso at head and foot of spine, front flap folds). Red quarter morocco box.

Item #367836

Crane's classic tale of fear, shame, bravery, and redemption has captivated generations of readers with its naturalistic, impressionistic literary style, groundbreaking for its time. A contemporary review stated, "At times the description is so vivid as to be almost suffocating. The reader is right down in the midst of it…. This is war from a new point of view." While ostensibly a book about the Civil War, the novel delves far more into the internal struggles of its protagonist, Henry Fleming, as opposed to graphic battle scenes, an approach which influenced many subsequent authors, and it has never gone out of print.

The Red Badge of Courage initially appeared as a serialization in the Philadelphia Press in December 1894, and thence to nearly 800 newspapers and periodicals nationwide, establishing the young 24-year-old author as a fresh new cultural celebrity. Crane's original manuscript totaled 55,000 words, but in order to accommodate spatial requirements, only 18,000 words were permitted for the serial version, severely limiting the story's intended breadth and scope.

For this, the first book-length printing of the novel, published in 1895, only 5,000 words were excised, but this still resulted in the removal of the entire twelfth chapter and significant sections of several others. While a 1982 version based on Crane's complete manuscript purported to be the definitive version of the book, other scholars have posited that it was Crane himself who made the edits in 1895, thus making the first edition the one closest to his final vision for the novel (Lentz, Private Fleming at Chancellorsville: The Red Badge of Courage and the Civil War, 2006).