E. E. Cummings' Modernism and the Classics: Each Imperishable Stanza

ISBN : 9780198767152

J. Alison Rosenblitt
400 ページ
135 x 216 mm
Classical Presences

This volume is a major, ground-breaking study of the modernist E. E. Cummings' engagement with the classics. With his experimental form and syntax, his irreverence, and his rejection of the highbrow, there are probably few current readers who would name Cummings if asked to identify 20th-century Anglophone poets in the Classical tradition. But for most of his life, and even for ten or twenty years after his death, this is how many readers and critics did see Cummings. He specialised in the study of classical literature as an undergraduate at Harvard, and his contemporaries saw him as a 'pagan' poet or a 'Juvenalian' satirist, with an Aristophanic sense of humour. In E.E. Cummings' Modernism and the Classics, Alison Rosenblitt aims to recover for the contemporary reader this lost understanding of Cummings as a classicizing poet. The book also includes an edition of previously unpublished work by Cummings himself, unearthed from archival research. For the first time, the reader has access to the full scope of Cummings' translations from Horace, Homer, and Greek drama, as well as two short pieces of classically-related prose, a short 'Alcaics' and a previously unknown and classicizing parody of T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land. This new work is exciting in its own right and essential to understanding Cummings' development as a poet.


List of figures
E. E. Cummings as a Classical Poet
1 Preface
2 Cummings and the Classics
3 'smoking centuries of hecatombs': Cummings and translation
Childhood, Harvard, and Paganism
4 The Pagan World of Goat-footed Pan
5 Classics and Childhood: Protectors and Transgressors
The Great War and Beyond
6 'a twilight smelling of Vergil': Cummings, Classics, and the Great War
7 'let not thy lust one threaded moment lose': Death in the Meadow
8 'cast like Euridyce one brief look behind': The Post-war World
Cummings, Classics, and Modernism
9 Modernity and Antiquity: 'smite the sounding bollox'
10 A Homeric Affair: Reflections on the Ambitions of Modernism
Translations, Further Verse, and Prose by E. E. Cummings
Translations from Horace's Odes
Translations from Sophocles
Translations from Euripides
Translation from Aeschylus
Translations from the Odyssey
Translation exercise from Euripides' Hecuba
Further Verse
Editing the Unpublished Work
Appendix: Cummings' classical education and personal library


J. Alison Rosenblitt trained as an ancient historian and has published both in the field of Roman history and in the field of classical reception. As an historian, she studies ancient historiography (especially Sallust), late republican political history, and Roman oratory. On the classical reception side, she is interested in the poetry of the Great War and in early modernism and its relationship to the classics. She specializes in E.E. Cummings, whose relationship to the classical past is provocative and disobedient. Dr Rosenblitt took a double first in Ancient and Modern History at Wadham College, Oxford, with academic prizes, and completed her D.Phil. at Balliol College, Oxford. She has been a lecturer at various Oxford colleges and was a Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford.