In one of his letters Hart Crane wrote, "Appollinaire lived in Paris, I live in Cleveland, Ohio," comparing—misspelling and all—the great French poet’s cosmopolitan roots to his own more modest ones in the midwestern United States. Rebelling against the notion that his work should relate to some European school of thought, Crane defiantly asserted his freedom to be himself, a true American writer. John T. Irwin, long a passionate and brilliant critic of Crane, gives readers the first major interpretation of the poet’s work in decades.
Irwin aims to show that Hart Crane’s epic The Bridge is the best twentieth-century long poem in English. Irwin convincingly argues that, compared to other long poems of the century, The Bridge is the richest and most wide-ranging in its mythic and historical resonances, the most inventive in its combination of literary and visual structures, the most subtle and compelling in its psychological underpinnings. Irwin brings a wealth of new and varied scholarship to bear on his critical reading of the work—from art history to biography to classical literature to philosophy—revealing The Bridge to be the near-perfect synthesis of American myth and history that Crane intended.
Irwin contends that the most successful entryway to Crane’s notoriously difficult shorter poems is through a close reading of The Bridge. Having admirably accomplished this, Irwin analyzes Crane’s poems in White Buildings and his last poem, "The Broken Tower," through the larger context of his epic, showing how Crane, in the best of these, worked out the structures and images that were fully developed in The Bridge.
Thoughtful, deliberate, and extraordinarily learned, this is the most complete and careful reading of Crane’s poetry available. Hart Crane may have lived in Cleveland, Ohio, but, as Irwin masterfully shows, his poems stand among the greatest written in the English language.
|Publisher:||Johns Hopkins University Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||21 MB|
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|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
John T. Irwin is the Decker Professor in the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. His other books include F. Scott Fitzgerald's Fiction: "An Almost Theatrical Innocence"; The Mystery to a Solution: Poe, Borges, and the Analytic Detective Story; and Unless the Threat of Death Is Behind Them: Hard-Boiled Fiction and Film Noir, all published by Johns Hopkins.
Table of Contents
Part One: The Bridge
1. The Pictorial and the Poetic; The Bridge as a Prophetic Vision of Origins
2. The Visual Structure of Prophetic Vision; a Simultaneous Glimpse Before and Behind
3. Spengler's Reading of Perspective as a Culture-Symbol
4. The Bridge and the Paintings in the Sistine Chapel; Moses and Jesus: Columbus and Whitman; Joseph Stella; El Greco's Agony in the Garden; the Grail; Dionysus and Jesus
5. Counterpoint in The Bridge
6. Foreshadowing and Lateral Foreshadowing; the Grail Quest; Eliot's The Waste Land
7. The Return to Origin; the Total Return to the Womb; the Primal Scene; Vision and Invisibility; the Dual Identification
8. The Reversal of the Figures of Father and Mother in "Indiana"; Crane's Dream of the Black Man by the River; Crane's Quarrel with His Father; the Composition of "Black Tambourine"
9. Crane's Dream of His Mother's Trunk in the Attic
10. Fantasies of Return to the Womb and the Primal Scene; Three Dimensions Reduced to Two as a Sign of Body Transcendence; the Triple Archetype; Goethe's Faust; Plato's Cave Allegory as a Sublimated Womb Fantasy; Helen as Mother; the Influence of Williams and Nietzsche; Demeter, Kore, and the Amerindian Corn Mother
11. Building the Virgin; Crane's "To Liberty"; Lazarus's "The New Colossus"; Helen and Psyche; Astraea and the Constellation Virgo; Demeter and Kore; the Virgin Mary and Queen Elizabeth I
12. The Education of Henry Adams; Arnold's "Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse"; Wandering between Two Worlds; Seneca's Medea; Whitman and the Rebound Seed
13. "Three Songs"; Golden Hair; "Quaker Hill" and the Motherly Artist; the Return of the Golden Age; Astraea and Atlantis
14. Epic Predecessors: Aeneas and Dido; Survival through a Part-Object; Stellar Translation and the Golden-Haired Grain
15. The Historical Pocahontas and the Mythical Quetzalcoatl; Prescott, Spence, and D. H. Lawrence as Influences on The Bridge; Waldo Frank's Our America and the Image of Submergence
16. Nietzsche and the Return of the Old Gods; Zarathustra and Quetzalcoatl; the Eagle and the Serpent; the Dance
17. The Aeneid, Book 6, and "The Tunnel"; "Cutty Sark" and Glaucus in Ovid; Burns's "Tam o' Shanter"; Glaucus in Keats's Endymion
18. Time and Eternity in "Cutty Sark"; Stamboul Rose, Atlantis Rose, and Dante's Rose; Moby-Dick and "Cutty Sark"
19. The Historical Cutty Sark; Hero and Leander; Jason and the Argo; Dante and the Argo
20. Constellations and The Bridge
21. Constellations Continued; Panis Angelicus
22. Time and Eternity; Temporal Narrative and Spatial Configuration; the Bridge as Memory Place; "Atlantis"; One Arc Synoptic of All Times
23. "Atlantis" and the Image of Flight; Shelley's "To a Skylark"; Pater and the Tears of Dionysus
24. Love and Light; Love-as-Bridgeship; Pater and Botticelli's Venus; Venus and the Rainbow; Foam-Born; Pyramids and Fire; From Ritual to Romance; Venus and Adonis
25. Three Structures; the Visualization of the Womb Fantasy in The Last Judgement; the Transumptive Relationship
26. Michelangelo's Self-Portrait; Marsyas and the Suffering Artist
Part Two: White Buildings and "The Broken Tower"
1. "Legend," "Black Tambourine," "Emblems of Conduct," "My Grandmother's Love Letters," "Sunday Morning Apples"
2. "Praise for an Urn," "Garden Abstract," "Stark Major," "Chaplinesque"
3. "Pastorale," "In Shadow," "The Fernery," "North Labrador"
4. "Repose of Rivers," "Paraphrase," "Possessions"
5. "Lachrymae Christi"
7. "The Wine Menagerie," "Recitative"
8. "For the Marriage of Faustus and Helen"
9. "At Melville's Tomb," "Voyages I, II, III"
10. "Voyages IV, V, VI"
11. "The Broken Tower"
Notes to Part One: The Bridge
What People are Saying About This
"A difficult poetPindar, Shelley, and Rimbaud fused into one creative mindCrane has defeated most commentary until now. Irwin reverses that dark failure. Decades of maturation have brought this study to an apotheosis. Wallace Stevens said that poetry was one of 'the enlargements of life.' After reading John Irwin’s celebration of Hart Crane, the reader can know better what Stevens meant."
"As always with Irwin's work, his poetry and his critical studies, enlargement is not only of lifeof Crane's and indeed of the reader'sbut of the life of reading itself."
"What a gift John Irwin has given us in this, his in-depth, articulate, and convincing reading of Hart Crane’s poetry. I know of nothing to compare with Irwin’s analysis of this young visionary whose lifelike Shelley’s and Keats’sended far too abruptly and, for the better part of a century, as if in failure. For those of us who have felt that Hart Crane’s poetry has held a profound key to who we have been as a nation and a people, this book is as much a vindication as it is a celebration. Crane heard among the thousand choiring webs of his bridge a complex, choiring music, and now Irwin helps us to hear that beautiful, tragic, transforming music as well."
"The fullest, deepest, most discerning, most instructive reading of The Bridge ever produced. An event in Crane criticism."