Like many others, I was first exposed to Stephen Crane in school. In middle school, I think, we all read The Red Badge of Courage. It had no impact on me that I can recall. I don’t really remember the story at all – I remember what people have said about it.
On the other hand, some years later, I was exposed to Crane’s excellent poetry.
A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
I loved it, and still do. Much of my own (miserable) poetry is influenced by Crane’s.
In any case, I downloaded Wounds in the Rain along with a bunch of other classics. I’m glad I did. Despite the ghastly title, and the fact that the stories are unsurprisingly all about war, this is an excellent collection. Virtually all told from the perspective of a correspondent reporting on the Cuban war of independence, the stories are moving, funny, and grim in turn. They all carry a pretty clear message (war is awful), but it’s not heavy handed, and the stories are not solely about that. One or two of the stories get a little long, and the war theme is a bit wearing, but read in bits and pieces, these stories are excellent.
Overall, an excellent collection, and well worth checking out for an author whose prose is as concise and trenchant as his poetry.