The Epic Mode of The Bridge: The Other and the I
Appropriate to the poetics of bridging, Crane’s poem includes in its discourse a countervailing voice we can call “epic.” In contrast to the lyric mode’s sometimes intense subjectivity, the I/eye in a gaze upon the Other, the epic voice presents another sensibility, an Other gazing back upon an “I.” The epic mode can be considered “objective” in the sense that it is modulated by other “voices” or by personae. But the poet never vanishes or reduces his subjective position in the discourse. Beyond the province of voice, the epic mode includes history and physical action in a fuller sense than the lyric, as well as immensity and the crises of cultural memory: generally an aura of scope. It stands against the lyric mode’s meditative function, and complicates the existential situation of the solitary singer.
KeywordsCultural Critique Cultural Memory Cultural Text American Possibility Native American Culture
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