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Transcript of e.e. cummings
was and is forever will be strictly and distinctly
a question of individuality...Nobody else can be
alive for you; nor can you be alive for
anybody else.” (Harvard Magazine) Cummings was primarily distinguished by his shocking disregard for traditional form and structure -his manipulation of syntax, punctuation, and format
came to define Cumming's unique style “What looks like a thin trickle of letters becomes, to a reader who has learned Cumming’s tricks, a picture in print” Rebellious cummings had his own "criticism" of other poets who were afraid to step out of the box and try something knew like he did. “And he is scornful of everyone who
takes refuge in received ideas and
(Harvard Magazine) Common Themes in His Poems Distrust of Authority
Cummings' experience in the internment camp during World War I made him feel disconnected with government and politics
often went to rural New Hampshire to his family's summer house
Innocence of Youth Convention
Invention To begin... Traditional Criticism Captivated by Modernism & Cubism
"The New Art"
Put his time into his work when he moved to N.Y.
Joined Ambulance Service in France during WWI Arrested for suspicion of treason, sent to internment camp
Wrote his first series of poems published in his first book, "The Enormous Room"
Theme --> “The victory of the innocent individual over a corrupt system.” (Martin)
Also influenced some of his poetry in 1x1 married in 1924 to Elaine Thayer
divorced a year later
Jenny Penberthy said his first marriage inspired “scores of Cummings’ best erotic poems,” which “were meant to shock the Puritanical sensibilities of the 1920s” He lived in Greenwich Village and Connecticut, but often took trips to Paris
He also had a summer house in N.H. where he gained appreciation for nature
Became the second most read poet in the U.S. Edward Estlin Cummings
Born in Cambridge M.A. 1894
His father was a professor at Harvard
His parents were supportive of his growing interest for literature
Attended Cambridge Latin High School
Later Received his B.A. and M.A. from Harvard University Shock, disapproval, misunderstanding
R.P. Blackmur characterizes Cummings' language as "baby talk" Primarily focused on Cummings'
use of punctuation, typography,
manipulation of syntax "The typographical peculiarities of his verse have caught and irritated public attention. Excessive hyphenation of single words, the use of lower case 'i', the breaking of lines, the insertion of punctuation between the letters of a word..carries almost no reference to the meaning of the poems." - R.P. Blackmur "Cummings' typography is so perverse that the reader is scared off before he has gone very far. The puzzle of his punctuation is not even an amusing one; it is certainly not worth solving" - Harriet Monroe plato told (1x1) plato told
him: he couldn't
believe it (jesus
told him:i told him
(he didn't believe it,no
a nipponized bit of
the old sixth
el:in the top of his head:to tell
him plato told (1x1) Stems from E.E. Cummings' distrust in authority
Criticizes President Roosevelt for major mistake Written during final years of World War II, blaming Roosevelt for U.S.'s entry into the war
Believes that, since American steel was sent to Japan, it was made into the planes that ambushed Pearl Harbor
Cummings' mistrust shown through his lack of political efficacy Works Cited: Blackmur, R.P. "Notes on E.E. Cummings' Language." The Hound & Horn 4.2 (Jan.-Mar. 1931): 163-192. Rpt. in
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz and Cathy Falk. Vol. 68. Detroit: Gale Research, 1991. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Nov. 2012.
Cummings, E. E. Poems 1923-1954. 1st ed. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968. Print.
Penberthy, Jenny. "E(dward) E(stlin) Cummings." American Poets, 1880-1945: Second Series. Ed. Peter Quartermain.
Detroit: Gale Research, 1986. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 48. Literature Resource Center. Web. 28 Nov.
Martin, Robert K. "E(dward) E(stlin) Cummings." American Writers in Paris, 1920-1939. Ed. Karen Lane Rood.
Detroit: Gale Research, 1980. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 4. Literature Resource Center. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
Maurer, Robert E. "Latter-Day Notes on E.E. Cummings' Language." The Bucknell Review (May 1955). Rept. in
Contemporary Literary Criticism Select. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resource Center. Web. 14 Nov. 2012.
Wilson, Richard L. "Japanese Trade with the United States." Salem Press. EBSCO Publishing, n.d. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. Contemporary Criticism Quote: Appreciate Cummings' unique style
all of Cummings' idiosyncrasies and stylistic choice provide greater depth and meaning to his poetry
begin to view Cummings' style as revolutionary
respect the way in which Cummings manipulates his language "Cummings is a prime example of the old adage that an artist must know all the rules before he can break them."
- Robert E. Maurer For example,
"One of the most important elements in Cummings' technique of immediacy is the set of parenthetical marks....In order to catch the effect of 'all-at-oneness,' Cummings inserts some part of the experience within the boundaries of parentheses and so suggests the simultaneousness of imagery..."
-S.V. Baum in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
wee in Just- in Just- Theme- Nature, Youth, inspired by his frequent trips to New Hampshire during the summer as a young person
desires to create a light, innocent and playful tone
ex: "puddle-wonderful" and "mud-luscious"
groups together words to convey sense of energy, hurry pace at which reader reads
sense of simultaneousness
purpose- to capture the feeling of recent arrival of springtime, convey an atmosphere, not just an image