Vehicular Networks and the Modernist Seaways: Crane, Lorca, Novo, Hughes

Harris Feinsod*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This essay salvages the clich of transatlantic liners passing in the night as a figure for the comparative cultural history of modernist poetics, literalizing the trope of passing liners through a fresh enumeration of some archives of shipboard and portside poetry. Reckoning the blind resemblances between the poems of Hart Crane, Federico García Lorca, Salvador Novo, Langston Hughes, and others, the essay proposes a divergent history of transnational poetics. Instead of a story of planetary simultaneism in the age of a "shrinking world," it is a story of internationalism flaring intermittently across incongruent registers of discourse and experience in an age of discrepant modernities. By tracing the iconology of sailors and the demotic reverence for the vehicular argot of seamen across the interwar poetry of the Atlantic seaways, we see conspicuous affinities between and among corpora that otherwise neglect to mark debts to one another.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-716
Number of pages34
JournalAmerican Literary History
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Hart Crane
  • Langston Hughes
  • Salvador Novo
  • maritime literature
  • modernism
  • poetry
  • transnationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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