CRANE'S LAST POEM

The Broken Tower

1932. Typescript signed (“Hart Crane”) of Crane's poem “The Broken Tower” 2 pages (11 x 8 3/8 in.; 278 x 214 mm), Mixcoac, Mexico, 25 March 1932, carbon copy, 10 quatrains, single- spaced on the rectos of two sheets of thin typewriter paper, Crane’s name, Mexican address, and date typed at the end, signed in ink by him over the date, with about 20 ink corrections (of spelling, punctuation, etc.) and a one-word ink revision by him; with a couple of tiny holes (one touching a letter in his signature). “The bell rope that gathers God at dawn...” Crane composed what the critic Harold Bloom calls his “final perfection” in Mexico during February and March 1932. A month after the date of this typescript he would commit suicide by leaping from the stern of a ship returning him to America. The poem was first published in The New Republic, the 8 June 1932 issue; it appeared in book form in Crane’s "The Collected Poems," 1933. Bloom, in his introduction to the Complete Poems of Hart Crane (2001), comments “The Broken Tower” “vies with ‘Voyages II,’ ‘Proem: To Brooklyn Bridge,’ and ‘Repose of Rivers’ as Crane’s formal masterwork” and signals out the “superb” fifth quatrain for special praise: And so it was I entered the broken world / To trace the visionary company of love, its voice / An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled) / But not for long to hold each desperate choice." By the numbering system in “The Literary Manuscripts of Hart Crane,” compiled by Kenneth A. Lohf, this would be document C46a. Lohf records five earlier and two later typescripts of the poem (at Columbia, Yale, and Virginia). Ours is the so-called “Neville Typescript,” described in Marc Simon's "Crane's "'The Broken Tower,' in Papers Of The Bibliographical Society of America, March, 1992, also described in detail in Studies In Bibliography. Papers Of The Bibliographical Society Of The University Of Virginia. Volume 36, 1983, Crane, Joan St. C., “Hart Crane's Last Poem “The Broken Tower.” As virtually all of Crane’s manuscripts are in institutional repositories, items like this typescript of “The Broken Tower” are very rare on the market. Provenance: Samuel Loveman (sale 1055, Swann Galleries, March 1977, lot 71, ). Sotheby’s, New York, April 13, 2004. Item #32586

Price: $35,000.00

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