The American Civil War is widely recognized as the single most defining event in U.S. history, a time of tragic upheaval that greatly influenced the character of the nation and helped to chart its course for generations afterward. Much of the fiction focusing on the war not only has literary merit but also offers important views into the cultural, political, and socioeconomic conditions and nuances of the time. This collection of essays, written by novelists and scholars of the Civil War, offers an examination of 14 works considered classics of Civil War fiction published before 1950. Along with discussing such recognized masterpieces as Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, Ambrose Bierce's Tales of Soldiers and Civilians, and William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!, the contributors examine such once-famous novels as Ellen Glasgow's The Battle-Ground, Joseph Stanley Pennell's The History of Rome Hanks and Kindred Matters, and Ross Lockridge Jr.'s Raintree County. The novels and stories of John William De Forest, Mary Johnston, John Peale Bishop, DuBose Heyward, Allen Tate, and MacKinlay Kantor are also richly explored. Most of the contributions were expressly written for this volume with the exception of Robert Penn Warren's essay on The Long Night by Andrew Lytle and Peggy Bach's on The Wave by Evelyn Scott. Previously published in 1991, this new edition of Classics of Civil War Fiction will be associated with the series in Civil War Fiction reprinted by the University of Alabama Press. The editors of this volume, David Madden and Peggy Bach, have provided a thorough introduction that surveys Civil War fiction as a genre and invites a reassessment of its place in American literary history. At a time of fervent and continued interest in all aspects of the American Civil War, Classics of Civil War Fiction offers readers and scholars a cornerstone to the literary canon.
David Madden is Founding Director of the United States Civil War Center and Donald and Velvia Crumbley Professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University. Founder of the Civil War Book Review, he has authored or edited more than forty books, including Sharpshooter: A Novel of the Civil War. Peggy Bach was at work on the authorized biography of Evelyn Scott when she died in 1996.