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The War on WordsSlavery, Race, and Free Speech in American Literature$
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Michael T. Gilmore

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226294131

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226294155.001.0001

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Crane and the Tyranny of Twelve

Crane and the Tyranny of Twelve

(p.244) Crane and the Tyranny of Twelve
The War on Words

Michael T. Gilmore

University of Chicago Press

Stephen Crane published his classic novel about the Civil War, The Red Badge of Courage, in 1895, a full three decades after hostilities ended. Crane's tale, a major document of American realism, incarnates the ex post facto spirit. Crane's novella of a black stable hand who loses his face while saving a white child alerts us to another element in the postbellum détente that hampered dissent: the modernized reach of the doxa. The Red Badge of Courage and The Monster were both products of the post-Reconstruction depths, a temporal congruity too often overlooked in their usual isolation as narratives about, respectively, the Civil War and small-town parochialism. The Monster (1899) was also the context for his reimagining of the clash between North and South. The tale about the ostracizing of a physician for his allegiance to a damaged black stable hand is a strongest evidence for Crane's alienation from his culture's ideological rigidities.

Keywords:   Stephen Crane, Civil War, The Red Badge of Courage, American realism, postbellum, The Monster

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