Lee Edelman: On "Atlantis"

[The last stanza of the poem is quoted]

Even a cursory reading of this passage must acknowledge that whatever "synthesis" Crane may be trying tom proclaim here undergoes serious modification by other, less "conclusive" elements. On the one hand, the stanza offers images of transcendence: the bridge leads "beyond time," while its strung cables "leap and converge"; but on the other hand, it introduces this concept of "infinity" through the image of those cables viewed as "spears ensanguined of one tolling star / That bleeds inifinity." Though this bloody wound heralds a kind of triumph rather than defeat, its violence cannot be overlooked, especially when the strings that "leap and converge" are characterized as "orphic." Convergence and consolation thus mingle here with wounds and dismemberment – a dismemberment directed against the poet’s own stringed instrument of "Song." By the same token, that celebratory cry, that apparent hymn of synthetic unity – "One Song, one Bridge of Fire" – gives way immediately to a strangely inquisitive mood that terminates in the disjunctive void of an ellipsis. Despite the "rainbows" that betoken a promise of reconciliation, the poem ends with a refusal of closure, leaving the "whispers antiphonal" to "swing" unsteadily in an ambiguous field of "azure."


Title Lee Edelman: On "Atlantis" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Lee Edelman Criticism Target Hart Crane
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 30 Jun 2021
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Transmemberment of Song: Hart Crane’s Anatomies of Rhetoric and Desire
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