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The "Logic of Metaphor" at Work: Hart Crane's Marian Metaphor in the Bridge

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This essay explores Hart Crane's transformation of the figure of the Mother of God from its traditional Catholic dimension to an empowering spiritual presence redefined and re-examined according to Crane's ambitious aesthetic designs. While many key figures in The Bridge—from Columbus to Whitman to Williams and Cummings—have garnered ample critical attention, the Marian aspect so central to the poem has been all but neglected. Yet the evidence indicates that, as an iconic force, Mary is as important to the poem as the New World figure of Pocahontas in that she supplies an essential mythic presence for a project that aspires to nothing less than lending "a myth to God."

I argue that Crane, via his "Logic of Metaphor," has shrewdly transformed the Mary figure at key moments throughout the text, from the proem to "Virginia," making her role, along with that of Pocahontas, an integral feature of this rich and vibrant contribution to American poetry.


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