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New MenReconstructing the Image of the Veteran in Late-Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture$
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John Casey

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823265398

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823265398.001.0001

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The Glorious Burden of the Aging Civil War Veteran

The Glorious Burden of the Aging Civil War Veteran

Chapter:
(p.104) 4 The Glorious Burden of the Aging Civil War Veteran
Source:
New Men
Author(s):

John A Casey

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823265398.003.0004

Toward the end of the nineteenth century a mythology of the Civil War veteran had been created. This myth was partially constructed by former soldiers who asserted they were the last real men in America. Middle-class white young men resented this claim that veterans held a monopoly over American manhood and sought ways to access social power and prestige. Since war had presumably made veterans into powerful social figures, the rising generation increasingly sought to understand the transformative power of war on these men and, failing that, to find a war of their own. This trend is reflected in the writing of Stephen Crane, who initially attempts in The Red Badge of Courage to intellectually understand how war makes men but then abandons this to find a battle of his own in the Spanish–American War.

Keywords:   Veterans, Civil War, Manhood, Mythology, Spanish–American War, Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage

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