The Brooklyn Bridge as Metaphor and Object

“A long poem (1930) by the US poet Hart Crane (1899-1932). The work is a Whitmanesque celebration of America, its culture and history, and the image of Brooklyn Bridge acts as a link between past and present, a symbol of imagination and striving:

‘O Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the prairies dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.’
Hart Crane, The Bridge, proem ‘To Brooklyn Bridge’

Brooklyn Bridge is a suspension bridge in New York City, spanning the East River and so linking Brooklyn and Manhattan Island. It was built in 1869-83, and incorporates a number of impressive technical innovations. With its tough, angular, futuristic structure, it became something of an icon for American modernists, being the subject of semi-abstract paintings by, for example, John Marin (1910-1932) and Joseph Stella (1917-1918). More recently, David and Victoria (‘Posh Spice’) Beckham chose to call their son Brooklyn because he was conceived while they crossed the bridge.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

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