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Prometheus

The best short novel of all-time ?

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Another nominee - but with an * - is Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage. The story, for those in Europe who might not be acquainted with it, deals with a (probably teenaged) soldier, a new recruit, at the beginning of the Civil War, and how he alternates between fighting and running away in disgrace in his first battle experience.

 

The asterisk is for the two versions which exist now: the shorter originally published version is rather different from Crane's original manuscript, which was restored by Professor Henry Binder and published in 1979.

 

The restored original is to be preferred over the rather severely truncated, and ultimately incompetently edited version, which many Americans read in school. I will not be too detailed in delineating the differences, so as not to spoil anyone's experience, but one critic remarked that the book must now be reinterpreted: the war becomes much more realistic, and the main character is a much more complex figure.

 

So if you have not read the Binder version with Crane's original intentions intact, or have never read the book, this is the one to read.

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Recently I read The Subteraneans and Pic by Jack Kerouac as they were both in the same book and thought they were brilliant. Also displaying his versatility as a writer.

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The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe.

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I agree with some of the previous posters, in particular about Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Time Machine. I would also like to add The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Edited by KEV67

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