100 Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings

By E. E. Cummings

E.e. cummings is with no query one of many significant poets of this century, and this quantity, first released in 1959, is crucial for each lover of contemporary lyrical verse. It includes 100 of cummings’s wittiest and so much profound poems, harvested from thirty-five of the main substantially inventive years in modern American poetry. those poems convey all of the impressive lyricism, playfulness, technical ingenuity, and compassion for which cummings is legendary. They reveal superbly his extrapolations from conventional poetic constructions and his departures from them, in addition to the original synthesis of lavish imagery and acute creative precision that has gained him the adulation and recognize of critics and poetry fanatics everywhere.

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It allows one to make sense, for example, of the strategy employed by Modernist painters from the cubists onward of placing all planes and perspectives on the canvas simultaneously, so that the viewer could not select individual facets of the painting for attention but would have to experience it as a fused whole. The same passion for integration accounts for the predilection of twentieth-century thinkers and writers for such devices as paradox (which joins seeming opposites) and ambivalence (the fusing of contradictory emotions, such as love and hate).

It was this moral dichotomy above all that constituted the deepest guiding principle of the Victorian outlook. On the "human'' or ''civilized" side of the dividing line fell everything that served to lift humans above the beasts education, refinement, manners, the arts, religion, and such domesticated emotions as loyalty and family love. The "animal" or "savage" realm, by contrast, contained those instincts and passions that constantly threatened self-control and therefore had to be repressed at all cost.

In short, where the Victorians saw art as didactic in purpose as a vehicle for communicating and illustrating preordained moral truths to Modernists it has become the principal vehicle for exploring and fashioning meaning in a world where meaning must constantly be re-created. This, indeed, would prove one of the new culture's foremost attractions to Faulkner as he struggled to make sense of his region's troubled plight in the midst of a twentieth-century world undergoing rapid transformation. 22 Thus the Modernist worldview has taken shape.

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