|Name:||E. E. Cummings|
|Birth Day:||October 14, 1894|
|Death Date:||September 3, 1962(1962-09-03) (aged 67)
Madison, New Hampshire, U.S.
|Birth Place:||Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States|
|#2||Anne Minnerly Barton||Spouse||N/A||N/A||N/A|
As per our current Database, E. E. Cummings died on September 3, 1962(1962-09-03) (aged 67)
Madison, New Hampshire, U.S..
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
Edward Estlin Cummings was born on October 14, 1894 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Edward Cummings and the former Rebecca Haswell Clarke, a well-known Unitarian couple in the city. His father was a professor at Harvard University who later became nationally known as the minister of South Congregational Church (Unitarian) in Boston, Massachusetts. His mother, who loved to spend time with her children, played games with Cummings and his sister, Elizabeth. From an early age, Cummings' parents supported his creative gifts. Cummings wrote poems and drew as a child, and he often played outdoors with the many other children who lived in his neighborhood. He grew up in the company of such family friends as the philosophers William James and Josiah Royce. Many of Cummings' summers were spent on Silver Lake in Madison, New Hampshire, where his father had built two houses along the eastern shore. The family ultimately purchased the nearby Joy Farm where Cummings had his primary summer residence.
Cummings wanted to be a poet from childhood and wrote poetry daily from age 8 to 22, exploring assorted forms. He graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1915 and received a Master of Arts degree from the university in 1916. In his studies at Harvard, he developed an interest in modern poetry, which ignored conventional grammar and syntax, while aiming for a dynamic use of language. Upon graduating, he worked for a book dealer.
In 1917, with the First World War ongoing in Europe, Cummings enlisted in the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps. On the boat to France, he met William Slater Brown and they would become friends. Due to an administrative error, Cummings and Brown did not receive an assignment for five weeks, a period they spent exploring Paris. Cummings fell in love with the city, to which he would return throughout his life.
During their service in the ambulance corps, the two young writers sent letters home that drew the attention of the military censors. They were known to prefer the company of French soldiers over fellow ambulance drivers. The two openly expressed anti-war views; Cummings spoke of his lack of hatred for the Germans. On September 21, 1917, five months after starting his belated assignment, Cummings and William Slater Brown were arrested by the French military on suspicion of espionage and undesirable activities. They were held for three and a half months in a military detention camp at the Dépôt de Triage, in La Ferté-Macé, Orne, Normandy.
They were imprisoned with other detainees in a large room. Cummings' father failed to obtain his son's release through diplomatic channels, and in December 1917 he wrote a letter to President Woodrow Wilson. Cummings was released on December 19, 1917, and Brown was released two months later. Cummings used his prison experience as the basis for his novel, The Enormous Room (1922), about which F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "Of all the work by young men who have sprung up since 1920 one book survives—The Enormous Room by e e cummings... Those few who cause books to live have not been able to endure the thought of its mortality."
Cummings returned to the United States on New Year's Day 1918. Later in 1918 he was drafted into the army. He served in the 12th Division at Camp Devens, Massachusetts, until November 1918.
Cummings' first marriage, to Elaine Orr, began as a love affair in 1918 while she was still married to Scofield Thayer, one of Cummings' friends from Harvard. During this time he wrote a good deal of his erotic poetry. After divorcing Thayer, Orr married Cummings on March 19, 1924. The couple had a daughter together out of wedlock. However, the couple separated after two months of marriage and divorced less than nine months later.
Cummings returned to Paris in 1921 and lived there for two years before returning to New York. His collection Tulips and Chimneys was published in 1923 and his inventive use of grammar and syntax is evident. The book was heavily cut by his editor. XLI Poems was published in 1925. With these collections, Cummings made his reputation as an avant garde poet.
In 1926, Cummings' parents were in a car crash; only his mother survived, although she was severely injured. Cummings later described the crash in the following passage from his i: six nonlectures series given at Harvard (as part of the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) in 1952 and 1953:
During his lifetime, Cummings published four plays. HIM, a three-act play, was first produced in 1928 by the Provincetown Players in New York City. The production was directed by James Light. The play's main characters are "Him", a playwright, portrayed by William Johnstone, and "Me", his girlfriend, portrayed by Erin O'Brien-Moore.
Cummings married his second wife Anne Minnerly Barton on May 1, 1929. They separated three years later in 1932. That same year, Minnerly obtained a Mexican divorce; it was not officially recognized in the United States until August 1934. Anne died in 1970 aged 72.
During the rest of the 1920s and 1930s, Cummings returned to Paris a number of times, and traveled throughout Europe, meeting, among others, artist Pablo Picasso. In 1931 Cummings traveled to the Soviet Union, recounting his experiences in Eimi, published two years later. During these years Cummings also traveled to Northern Africa and Mexico. He worked as an essayist and portrait artist for Vanity Fair magazine (1924–1927).
According to his testimony in EIMI, Cummings had little interest in politics until his trip to the Soviet Union in 1931. He subsequently shifted rightward on many political and social issues. Despite his radical and bohemian public image, he was a Republican and later an ardent supporter of Joseph McCarthy.
In 1934, after his separation from his second wife, Cummings met Marion Morehouse, a fashion model and photographer. Although it is not clear whether the two were ever formally married, Morehouse lived with Cummings in a common-law marriage until his death in 1962. She died on May 18, 1969, while living at 4 Patchin Place, Greenwich Village, New York City, where Cummings had resided since September 1924.
Fellow poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, in her equivocal letter recommending Cummings for the Guggenheim Fellowship he was awarded in 1934, expressed her frustration at his opaque symbolism. "[I]f he prints and offers for sale poetry which he is quite content should be, after hours of sweating concentration, inexplicable from any point of view to a person as intelligent as myself, then he does so with a motive which is frivolous from the point of view of art, and should not be helped or encouraged by any serious person or group of persons... there is fine writing and powerful writing (as well as some of the most pompous nonsense I ever let slip to the floor with a wide yawn)... What I propose, then, is this: that you give Mr. Cummings enough rope. He may hang himself; or he may lasso a unicorn."
Tom, A Ballet is a ballet based on Uncle Tom's Cabin. The ballet is detailed in a "synopsis" as well as descriptions of four "episodes", which were published by Cummings in 1935. It has never been performed.
In 1943, modern dancer and choreographer Jean Erdman presented "The Transformations of Medusa, Forever and Sunsmell" with a commissioned score by John Cage and a spoken text from the title poem by E. E. Cummings, sponsored by the Arts Club of Chicago. Erdman also choreographed "Twenty Poems" (1960), a cycle of E. E. Cummings' poems for eight dancers and one actor, with a commissioned score by Teiji Ito. It was performed in the round at the Circle in the Square Theatre in Greenwich Village.
Santa Claus: A Morality was probably Cummings' most successful play. It is an allegorical Christmas fantasy presented in one act of five scenes. The play was inspired by his daughter Nancy, with whom he was reunited in 1946. It was first published in the Harvard College magazine, Wake. The play's main characters are Santa Claus, his family (Woman and Child), Death, and Mob. At the outset of the play, Santa Claus' family has disintegrated due to their lust for knowledge (Science). After a series of events, however, Santa Claus' faith in love and his rejection of the materialism and disappointment he associates with Science are reaffirmed, and he is reunited with Woman and Child.
Cummings is known for controversial subject matter, as he wrote numerous erotic poems. He also sometimes included ethnic slurs in his writing. For instance, in his 1950 collection Xaipe: Seventy-One Poems, Cummings published two poems containing words that caused outrage in some quarters.
The use of lowercase for his initials was popularized in part by the title of some books, particularly in the 1960s, printing his name in lower case on the cover and spine. In the preface to E. E. Cummings: The Growth of a Writer by Norman Friedman, critic Harry T. Moore notes Cummings "had his name put legally into lower case, and in his later books the titles and his name were always in lower case." According to Cummings' widow, however, this is incorrect. She wrote to Friedman: "You should not have allowed H. Moore to make such a stupid & childish statement about Cummings & his signature." On February 27, 1951, Cummings wrote to his French translator D. Jon Grossman that he preferred the use of upper case for the particular edition they were working on. One Cummings scholar believes that on the rare occasions that Cummings signed his name in all lowercase, he may have intended it as a gesture of humility, not as an indication that it was the preferred orthography for others to use. Additionally, the Chicago Manual of Style, which prescribes favoring non-standard capitalization of names in accordance with the bearer's strongly stated preference, notes "E. E. Cummings can be safely capitalized; it was one of his publishers, not he himself, who lowercased his name."
In 1952, his alma mater, Harvard University, awarded Cummings an honorary seat as a guest professor. The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures he gave in 1952 and 1955 were later collected as i: six nonlectures.
Cummings spent the last decade of his life traveling, fulfilling speaking engagements, and spending time at his summer home, Joy Farm, in Silver Lake, New Hampshire. He died of a stroke on September 3, 1962, at the age of 67 at Memorial Hospital in North Conway, New Hampshire. Cummings was buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts. At the time of his death, Cummings was recognized as the "second most widely read poet in the United States, after Robert Frost".
In 2020, University of Oxford Senior Lecturer Alison Rosenblitt revealed that in 1917, before his first marriage, Cummings had shared several passionate love letters with a Parisian sex worker, Marie Louise Lallemand. Despite Cummings' efforts, he was unable to find Lallemand upon his return to Paris after the front.
Currently, E. E. Cummings is 127 years, 0 months and 7 days old. E. E. Cummings will celebrate 128th birthday on a Friday 14th of October 2022.
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