E. E. Cummings American Literature Analysis
Because of his idiosyncratic punctuation and typography, E. E. Cummings is often labeled an experimentalist, and indeed his art is innovative and revolutionary. One of the most curious aspects of Cummings’s work, however, is that it combines experimentation with tradition, a point Gertrude Stein noted in her book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933):Gertrude Stein who had been much impressed by The Enormous Room said that Cummings did not copy, he was the natural heir of the New England tradition with its aridity and its sterility, but also with its individuality.
In all of his works—prose, poetry, drama, and autobiography—Cummings celebrated this quality of individuality, seeing it as the legacy of his New England upbringing and also as the outstanding characteristic of modernism. For Cummings, individuality was both a theme and a technique. Thematically, it was a faith in a world in which the independent, alive, living individual struggled against the cerebral, joyless nonindividual. Cummings celebrated the existence of the individual and satirized the boring, mechanistic lives of nonindividuals. Technically, individuality was at the core of Cummings’s experiments with word coinings, free verse, innovations with typography and punctuation, and other strategies that make his literature, especially his poetry, look and sound different from almost any other artist’s work, especially those who preceded him. Thematically...
(The entire section is 3508 words.)
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