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War is Kind (collection)

War is Kind (collection) by Stephen Crane
By: (1871-1900)

Published in 1899, just a year before his death, War Is Kind by Stephen Crane evokes again the dark imagery of war which made his fortune in The Red Badge Of Courage. Unlike that book, this collection leaves the battlefield itself behind to explore the damage war does to people’s hearts and minds. Reeking of dashed hopes, simultaneously sympathetic with the victims of war and cynical about the purposes of war, Crane implicitly criticizes the image of the romantic hero and asks if Love can survive.

The poetic voice is one of an old and wearied soul, stark and disillusioned, which is all the more intriguing since Crane was dead before he reached his 30th birthday. His work calls to mind the Beat Poets of the mid 20th century in its powerful use of language and bleak idiomatic landscape. It is poetry on the cusp of the fin de siècle; echoing the passing age and presaging the newborn century.

First Page:


by Stephen Crane

Drawings by Will Bradley


Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind. Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky And the affrighted steed ran on alone, Do not weep. War is kind.

Hoarse, booming drums of the regiment, Little souls who thirst for fight, These men were born to drill and die. The unexplained glory files above them, Great is the battle god, great, and his kingdom A field where a thousand corpses lie.

Do not weep, babe, for war is kind. Because your father tumbled in the yellow trenches, Raged at his breast, gulped and died, Do not weep. War is kind.

Swift blazing flag of the regiment, Eagle with crest of red and gold, These men were born to drill and die. Point for them the virtue of the slaughter, Make plain to them the excellence of killing And a field where a thousand corpses lie.

Mother whose heart hung humble as a button On the bright splendid shroud of your son, Do not weep... Continue reading book >>

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