Recent Changes

Wednesday, June 3

Thursday, March 13

  1. page To_Brooklyn_Bridge edited ... 20: caravan : this may be the line of cars traveling across the bridge. Why is it "speech…
    ...
    20: caravan : this may be the line of cars traveling across the bridge. Why is it "speechless"? Does this mean that no one honks, because no one notices the jumper?
    21: Down Wall : "Wall" is capitalized in the poem, and surely refers to Wall Street in Manhattan. But I think "down wall" could also describe the movement of the sun as noon arrives, sliding down the wall of a (perhaps unfinished) skyscraper, from "girder into street."
    ...
    example, which I overlooked for
    ...
    you are right to.right.
    22: a rip-tooth : some feel that the "rip-tooth" is the sun. Others feel that it refers to the jagged skyline made by skyscrapers. Concretely, the term refers to a "rip-tooth saw," also called a "rip saw." Wikipedia has an extensive article on the history of the saw.
    22: acetylene : acetylene proper is a colorless, poisonous gas, but as commonly mixed with oxygen in an acetylene torch (invented ca. 1900), it is blue.
    ...
    31: the prophet's : i.e., the poet's pledge, my pledge.
    32: lover's cry : orgasmic, in part.
    ...
    die"). So it seems thatcalling an "unfractioned idiom"idiom unfractioned is a contradiction in terms, and that's probablyredundant. Perhaps the point.point is simply to underline that this is the aspect of idioms (their indivisibility) that interests Crane here.
    35: beading : alluding to rosary beads?
    36: And we have seen night lifted in thine arms : invokes a Pietà (Italian for "pity"), a work of art showing the Virgin Mary cradling the dead Jesus, as Harold Bloom observes in his introduction to the Simon edition of Crane's poems.
    (view changes)
    8:47 am
  2. page The Tunnel edited ... 60: burnt match : invokes a post-orgasmic penis, perhaps (see note to lines 51-52). 60: skati…
    ...
    60: burnt match : invokes a post-orgasmic penis, perhaps (see note to lines 51-52).
    60: skating : the choice of verb gives a delicious elegance to a rather crass image.
    ...
    line 82). This may allude to Mark 6.21-29, in which Herod's daughter (called in different texts Salome or Herodias) asks for the head of John the Baptist and it is brought to her on a platter.
    78: evermore : alludes to Poe's poem "The Raven," in which stanza after stanza ends with "Nevermore" (though stanza 2 of "The Raven" does in fact end with "evermore").
    ...
    American writer (of poetry and fiction) Edgar Allan
    The commentators I've read agree that the idea here is that Poe should have denied the ticket. But I keep thinking of the apostle Peter, who denied Christ three times (see Matthew 26.33-35 and Matthew 26.69-75). Could the "ticket" be a subway ticket and/or a ticket to eternal life? Eternal life for a Christian, as we know, is obtained only through accepting Christ, and I think one must accept Christ aloud (as opposed to "denying" him, I'm suggesting). Cf. "Lazarus" in line 119.
    83: Gravesend Manor . . . Chambers Street : both actual subway stops.
    ...
    127: the oily tympanum of waters : I think this refers to the membrane-like oil slick atop the water. A tympanum is a membrane in the ear against which sound resonates, or the taut skin over the head of a drum, so the water could be either listening or offering itself up to be played.
    131: by the River that is East : refers to Manhattan's East River, which separates Manhattan (where Crane has been) from Brooklyn (where he is going home to). The East River is also, of course, the river that the Brooklyn Bridge spans.
    ...
    the tides (actually(which are caused I believe by the moon)?combined effects of the moon and the sun)?
    137: O Hand of Fire : a handwritten note in my copy claims this represents dawn. Cf. "Ave Maria" line 93, "O Thou Hand of Fire."
    This page has been edited 33 times. The last modification was made by MisterMartin on Mar 13, 2008 8:39 am
    (view changes)
    8:39 am
  3. page The Tunnel edited ... 120: sod : this word choice bothers me a bit: Lazarus was not buried in the ground, but entomb…
    ...
    120: sod : this word choice bothers me a bit: Lazarus was not buried in the ground, but entombed in a cave with a stone rolled in front of its entrance.
    120: billow : billow as a noun means a great wave or a mass like a great wave, as of flame or smoke. The East river would not truly have great waves on its surface, but perhaps Crane is being hyperbolic. Or perhaps this refers to the dawn that may be breaking at the end of the poem (cf. note to line 137), in which case the emergence of the train and of the sun are yoked.
    ...
    relating to electricelectrical circuits. "Lifting ground" in that context might mean "removing the ground," thoughground."
    Though
    I'm not sure what that would do, electrically speaking. But when you work on your computer, you are advisedno electrician, if I understand the Wikipedia article I linked to above, one purpose of having a ground yourself so there isn'tis protective; a spark that destroys the circuit board. Perhapsground in such a rough sense, "liftingcase is usually a literal connection to the ground" might make you less safe, more electrified, more visionary? Any electriciansearth, an object so large relative to a person or physicists reading please weigh in.a machine that it is effectively infinite, so any charge can drain away into it. Removing such a protective ground would allow charge or static electricity (if I'm using that term correctly) to build up. In figurative terms, things would start to get energized and dangerous. This would be a good metaphor for the kind of Romantic visionary state that Crane subscribes to.
    124: galvanic : electric or electrifying (I think it means "electrifying" here).
    127: the oily tympanum of waters : I think this refers to the membrane-like oil slick atop the water. A tympanum is a membrane in the ear against which sound resonates, or the taut skin over the head of a drum, so the water could be either listening or offering itself up to be played.
    (view changes)
    8:26 am

Wednesday, March 12

  1. page The Tunnel edited ... 120: sod : this word choice bothers me a bit: Lazarus was not buried in the ground, but entomb…
    ...
    120: sod : this word choice bothers me a bit: Lazarus was not buried in the ground, but entombed in a cave with a stone rolled in front of its entrance.
    120: billow : billow as a noun means a great wave or a mass like a great wave, as of flame or smoke. The East river would not truly have great waves on its surface, but perhaps Crane is being hyperbolic. Or perhaps this refers to the dawn that may be breaking at the end of the poem (cf. note to line 137), in which case the emergence of the train and of the sun are yoked.
    120: lifting ground : given the use of "galvothermic" and "galvanic" in this poem, it seems relevant that a "ground" is a term relating to electric circuits. "Lifting ground" might mean "removing the ground," though I'm not sure what that would do, electrically speaking. But when you work on your computer, you are advised to ground yourself so there isn't a spark that destroys the circuit board. Perhaps in a rough sense, "lifting the ground" might make you less safe, more electrified, more visionary? Any electricians or physicists reading please weigh in.
    124: galvanic : electric or electrifying (I think it means "electrifying" here).
    127: the oily tympanum of waters : I think this refers to the membrane-like oil slick atop the water. A tympanum is a membrane in the ear against which sound resonates, or the taut skin over the head of a drum, so the water could be either listening or offering itself up to be played.
    (view changes)
    5:48 pm
  2. page The Tunnel edited ... 87: each eye attending its shoe : the riders of the escalator look down at their feet. Marian…
    ...
    87: each eye attending its shoe : the riders of the escalator look down at their feet.
    Mariani says that this change of trains and riding of the escalator happens at the 14th Street stop (p. 234).
    91: Thunder is galvothermic here below : Perhaps means, "We have a different kind of thunder, the product of modern physics and its technology, here under the ground where the trains run." There is no real word "galvothermic," but it seems to be Crane's yoking together of "galvanic," which appears in line 124 and means "electrical," and "thermal," which means "related to heat."
    Is it possible that this is an inversion? It is actually lightning after all, rather than thunder, that is associated with electricity and heat.

    101: Wop : insulting American slang term for an Italian.
    102: cuspidors : a cuspidor was a large bowl, often made of metal, for spitting in (especially useful for people who chewed tobacco).
    ...
    115: caught like pennies beneath soot and steam : does this refer to the child's game of putting a penny on a train track to see it flattened by a passing train? (I assume it is "we," and not "thou," who are caught like pennies.)
    116: Kiss of our agony thou gatherest : If the penny reading is right, this would describe the moment when the pennies are crushed by the train and yield up their "kiss" to its wheels.
    ...
    intelligence or emotion (perhapsemotion; further, I think it means individual people, who are being gathered up like pennies in a continuation of the senselines above.
    119: to : I would expect "we" here. "We are gathered like pennies, we are shrill ganglia that fail to keep the song, and yet we rise like Lazarus." But instead we get "to," which leaves the verb implicit: Is Crane saying that it is great when we do rise from underground, or it would be great if we rose from underground, which might or might not happen? The grammar favors the latter reading (though not conclusively). But the facts
    of individual people).the literal story favor the former, since the train certainly does emerge from underground. Perhaps this is an intended tension.
    If you want to push it, you could suggest that in Crane's poetic world, to fully imagine an experience in one's mind is the same as to actually have it, so if we can truly envision a rise like Lazarus's, then we have accomplished it. This would certainly make Blake a fitting choice of epigraph, if my memories about Blake are correct.

    119: Lazarus : the man Jesus raised from the dead (John 11.1-12.19).
    Jesus himself was raised from the dead (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21). I have an idea (though no proof in the text of the Gospels) that Jesus is thought of as having been lifted up into Heaven on his death and then returned to Earth when he was resurrected. If so, that motion up and then back down might be inverted by "The Tunnel," in which the train goes down under the river and then back up.
    The Gospels always use the word "raised" to refer to someone brought back to life from the dead. Considered by itself, this word implies that Jesus moved down in death and then came back up; but that might be too strict a reading. Could "raised" refer simply to the way the prone body of a dead person stands back up?
    120: sod : this word choice bothers me a bit: Lazarus was not buried in the ground, but entombed in a cave with a stone rolled in front of its entrance.
    120: billow : billow as a noun means a great wave or a mass like a great wave, as of flame or smoke. The East river would not truly have great waves on its surface, but perhaps Crane is being hyperbolic. Or perhaps this refers to the dawn that may be breaking at the end of the poem (cf. note to line 137), in which case the emergence of the train and of the sun are yoked.

    124: galvanic : electric or electrifying (I think it means "electrifying" here).
    127: the oily tympanum of waters : I think this refers to the membrane-like oil slick atop the water. A tympanum is a membrane in the ear against which sound resonates, or the taut skin over the head of a drum, so the water could be either listening or offering itself up to be played.
    (view changes)
    5:40 pm
  3. page The Tunnel edited ... Jesus himself was raised from the dead (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21). I have an i…
    ...
    Jesus himself was raised from the dead (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21). I have an idea (though no proof in the text of the Gospels) that Jesus is thought of as having been lifted up into Heaven on his death and then returned to Earth when he was resurrected. If so, that motion up and then back down might be inverted by "The Tunnel," in which the train goes down under the river and then back up.
    The Gospels always use the word "raised" to refer to someone brought back to life from the dead. Considered by itself, this word implies that Jesus moved down in death and then came back up; but that might be too strict a reading. Could "raised" refer simply to the way the prone body of a dead person stands back up?
    124: galvanic : electric or electrifying (I think it means "electrifying" here).
    127: the oily tympanum of waters : I think this refers to the membrane-like oil slick atop the water. A tympanum is a membrane in the ear against which sound resonates, or the taut skin over the head of a drum, so the water could be either listening or offering itself up to be played.
    131: by the River that is East : refers to Manhattan's East River, which separates Manhattan (where Crane has been) from Brooklyn (where he is going home to). The East River is also, of course, the river that the Brooklyn Bridge spans.
    134: How far away the star has pooled the sea : could this refer to the tides (actually caused I believe by the moon)?
    137: O Hand of Fire : a handwritten note in my copy claims this represents dawn. Cf. "Ave Maria" line 93, "O Thou Hand of Fire."
    This page has been edited 33 times. The last modification was made by MisterMartin on Mar 13, 2008 8:39 am
    (view changes)
    5:18 pm
  4. page The Tunnel edited ... 104-105: do you bring mother eyes and hands / Back home to children and to golden hair? : I th…
    ...
    104-105: do you bring mother eyes and hands / Back home to children and to golden hair? : I think this means, "Do you have children?" But it's a bit puzzling, because I think (I may be wrong) that blond hair is uncommon among Italians.
    106: Daemon . . . yawn! : I think it is the titular tunnel that Crane personifies as a daemon, and pictures as a yawning opening.
    ...
    passing train? (I assume it is "we," and not "thou," who are caught like pennies.)
    116: Kiss of our agony thou gatherest : If the penny reading is right, this would describe the moment when the pennies are crushed by the train and yield up their "kiss" to its wheels.

    117: ganglia : a ganglion is simply a mass of tissue, but in neurological contexts it means a mass of nerve tissue existing outside of the brain. And so figuratively, it can mean a center of intellectual or economic activity. I think it relates here to nexuses of intelligence or emotion (perhaps in the sense of individual people).
    119: Lazarus : the man Jesus raised from the dead (John 11.1-12.19).
    (view changes)
    11:53 am
  5. page The Tunnel edited The Tunnel ... going home. His trip takes him East under the river, since Brooklyn is to the …

    The Tunnel
    ...
    going home. His trip takes him East under the river, since Brooklyn is to the East of Manhattan. This seems to clash a bit with (or purposefully invert?) the "Western path" in the epigraph.
    (numbers refer to lines of the poem)
    epigraph: From "Morning," by English early Romantic poet and highly iconoclastic Christian visionary William Blake (1757-1827). (Text from Lewis p. 355.)
    (view changes)
    11:51 am
  6. page The Tunnel edited ... 115: caught like pennies beneath soot and steam : does this refer to the child's game of putti…
    ...
    115: caught like pennies beneath soot and steam : does this refer to the child's game of putting a penny on a train track to see it flattened by a passing train?
    117: ganglia : a ganglion is simply a mass of tissue, but in neurological contexts it means a mass of nerve tissue existing outside of the brain. And so figuratively, it can mean a center of intellectual or economic activity. I think it relates here to nexuses of intelligence or emotion (perhaps in the sense of individual people).
    ...
    dead (John 11.1-12.19)11.1-12.19).
    Jesus himself was raised from the dead (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21). I have an idea (though no proof in the text of the Gospels) that Jesus is thought of as having been lifted up into Heaven on his death and then returned to Earth when he was resurrected. If so, that motion up and then back down might be inverted by "The Tunnel," in which the train goes down under the river and then back up.
    The Gospels always use the word "raised" to refer to someone brought back to life from the dead. Considered by itself, this word implies that Jesus moved down in death and then came back up; but that might be too strict a reading. Could "raised" refer simply to the way the prone body of a dead person stands back up?

    127: the oily tympanum of waters : I think this refers to the membrane-like oil slick atop the water. A tympanum is a membrane in the ear against which sound resonates, or the taut skin over the head of a drum, so the water could be either listening or offering itself up to be played.
    131: by the River that is East : refers to Manhattan's East River, which separates Manhattan (where Crane has been) from Brooklyn (where he is going home to). The East River is also, of course, the river that the Brooklyn Bridge spans.
    (view changes)
    11:47 am

More