The Red Badge of Courage is an 1895 war novel by American author Stephen Crane (1871–1900). Taking place during the American Civil War, the novel features a young recruit who overcomes initial fears and shame to become a hero on the battlefield. Although Crane was born after the war and had not at the time experienced battle firsthand, the novel is known for its Realism.
Stephen Crane published his first novel, Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, in March 1893 at the age of 21. Maggie was not a success, either financially or critically. Most critics thought the unsentimental Bowery tale crude or vulgar, and Crane was forced to publish the work privately after it was repeatedly rejected for publication. Crane found inspiration for his next novel while spending hours lounging in a friend's studio in the summer of 1893. There, he became fascinated with issues of Century Magazine that were largely devoted to famous battles and military leaders from the Civil War. Frustrated with the dryly written stories, Crane stated, "I wonder that some of those fellows don't tell how they felt in those scraps. They spout enough of what they did, but they're as emotionless as rocks." Crane returned to...