Repository logo

Review of Brian Reed, Hart Crane: after his lights

Faculty Advisor




queer poetics, literary criticism

Abstract (summary)

As much a literary critic’s manifesto as a reading of 20th-century poetics, Hart Crane: After His Lights sets out to resurrect monographs devoted to single authors, a scholarly form that Brian Reed believes to have fallen out of favor over the past two decades. A more prevalent contemporary approach is to establish an apparatus through which the works of a number of writers are subsequently filtered, and Reed finds such an approach to scholarship critically impoverished and limited in its view of the achievement of individual artists. As researchers have abandoned many constituent queries about authors and their backgrounds, incomplete readings of creative achievement have barely been questioned. This development is particularly galling in the case of Hart Crane, who has come to be read as the representative gay American modernist male while being given single chapters in studies of queer poetics. After His Lights, however, does not seek to expand criticism of Crane simply by revisiting the work of the poet’s biographers; rather, Reed sets out to analyze the poet’s achievement from a number of different theoretical perspectives, sequentially. Careful never to appear dilettantish, the critic here chooses to question received knowledge in but a number of important areas, examining Crane’s credentials as a modernist poet, a queer poet, and an American poet, reexamining the foundation and durability of such labels.

Publication Information

Monk, Craig. Review of "Brian Reed, Hart Crane: after his lights." Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature 61.2 (Fall 2007): 40-41. Web. 30 Nov. 2015.



Item Type





All Rights Reserved