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E.E. Cummings : the creative artist in "The Enormous Room" Murray, Patricia Mary 1970-12-31

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E. E. CUMMINGS:  THE ORBATIYE ARTIST,  IN "THE ENORMOUS ROOM" by PATRICIA MARY.. MURRAY: B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1 9 6 8  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF. THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  i n the Department of English  "We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1 9 7 0  In  presenting  an  advanced  the I  Library  further  for  degree shall  agree  scholarly  by  his  of  this  written  this  thesis  in  at  University  the  make  that  it  purposes  for  may  be  It  financial  for  of  of  Columbia,  British  by  gain  Columbia  for  the  understood  StvfflMi.  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8, Canada  of  extensive  granted  is  fulfilment  available  permission.  Department  Date  freely  permission  representatives. thesis  partial  shall  Head  be  requirements  reference copying  that  not  the  of  agree  and  of my  I  this  or  allowed  without  that  study. thesis  Department  copying  for  or  publication my  ABSTRACT'  The Enormous Room i s an autobiographical novel organized around the journey i n The Pilgrim*s Progress.  The  l i n k s between the two works, however, do not end with the organization:  both the novel and the allegory are based  on prison experiences; d i d a c t i c elements.  both contain autobiographical  Furthermore, both novelist and a l l e g o r -  i s t use the journey as an image f o r the l i f e , of the  spirit.  Neither the path of Christian's journey nor that of mings  1  i s the way  and  Oum-  of the world.  While Oummings does carry more than one of his themes by accommodating The Pilgrim"s Progress, he i r o n i c a l l y i n verts Bunyan''s ideas f o r the same purpose.  The  Puritan  cleanliness ethic, for example, i s inverted, placing cleanl i n e s s next to ungodliness i n The Enormous Roonu Whereas t h i s inversion has given r i s e to great d i s pute, the i n d i v i d u a l character studies i n the hovel remain indisputably one of i t s greatest achievements.  To a c e r t a i n  extent characterization i n The Enormous Room depends upon animal imagery i n The Pilgrim"s Progress;  but where  yan's imagery i s concentrated, Oummings* i s diffused; Bunyan's animals evoke fear and horror, C^^I__ings  ,  ous or merely  picturesque.  Bunwhere  are humor-  if  I t i s i n the area of s e t t i n g that Oummings and are perhaps f a r t h e s t a p a r t . the C i t y of D e s t r u c t i o n and minating  Bunyan's p i l g r i m a g e  Bunyan  begins  extends a c r o s s the e a r t h ,  i n the C e l e s t i a l C i t y .  Oummings' journey,  ter-  on  other hand, i s s t r i c t l y c i r c u m s c r i b e d g e o g r a p h i c a l l y , w i t h i n the g e o g r a p h i c a l  in  the but  l i m i t s he c r e a t e s a changing, s e t -  t i n g through p r e c i s e d e s c r i p t i o n s of the p r i s o n e r s at La Ferte. The  comparison and  c o n t r a s t between the two  works con-  cludes with an examination of the excremental v i s i o n i n the novel.  Norman 0. Brown's l i n k between excrement and  i n L i f e Against Death:  A P s y c h o a n a l y t i c a l Meaning of H i s t o r y  i s r e a p p l i e d to i l l u s t r a t e the f i n a l connection Bunyan"s a l l e g o r y and The  Oummings  1  between  novel.  t o p i c of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n examined i n the  chapter appears f o r re-examination  i n Chapter I I .  c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n i s r e l a t e d to the humour i n the and  death  the r o l e of games;  first There  novel  both are then l i n k e d to the r o l e s  assumed by three of the main c h a r a c t e r s :  Count Bragard,  Jean l e Negre, and S u r p l i c e . In the t h i r d chapter the humorous s i t u a t i o n s of the n o v e l , examined i n Chapter I I , are shown to be  bal-  anced by tense episodes.  J u s t as the dramatic s i t u a t i o n s  i n the novel are balanced  so too are the emotions of the  n a r r a t o r , f l u c t u a t i n g between anguish  at the inhumane  iii  treatment i n the prison and delight i n the Delectable Mountains and the sight of New York upon his return to America. The sense of unity and mystery associated with the sight of New York i s expanded i n Chapter V;, "The Fusion . of Subject and Object i n The Enormous Room."  There the  "mysterious" relationship between the i n d i v i d u a l perceiver and the external world i s examined and an attempt i s made to answer two fundamental questions deriving from this relationship: transmuted  how can an external and material object be into the i n t e r i o r and immaterial s e l f and  how  can this transmutation be expressed i n words. F i n a l l y i n Chapter V the p a r t i a l visions of the f i r s t four chapters are related to the whole novel:  the  a r t i s t ' s v i s i o n i s studied i n terms of form and content, character and s i t u a t i o n .  We return to a genre study,  claiming the term "novel" f o r Cummings work and themat,  i c a l l y l i n k i n g i t with the contemporary war nonrels.  In  form another claim i s made f o r t h i s novel - the claim to be l i k e poetry, painting, and photography. For each of the f i v e chapters an introductory remark or series of them have been selected to present i n a meani n g f u l way the issues expressed i n the p a r t i c u l a r chapters The aim of presenting these remarks i s twofold:  to show .  precedents and antecedents f o r the ideas and t h e i r expres-  sion and to l i n k the concerns of the novelist with those of other creative a r t i s t s .  Such a presentation i s i n  keeping with a central concept i n Oummings  1  v i s i o n , that of unity.  artistic  TABLE OF'CONTENTS  Chapter  INTRODUCTION Background Material ( 1 ) ; Approach ( 5 ) 1.  "THE ENORMOUS ROOM" AND "THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS" I. C r i t i c a l Remarks Linking the Two Works « :  II.  Oummings" Use of Source Material i n the Novel ( 1 0 ) ; In the Poetry ((11)}; Evaluation of David E. Smith's C r i t i c a l Remarks ( 1 2 ) A Cbmparisoh and Contrast:: General Remarks and Methods of Characterization ••••••.••<»• General Statements ( 1 5 ) ; Oummings' Inversion of Values ( 1 6 ) ; Use of Animal Imagery (17); The Search for Identity ( 2 3 ) ; . Minor Characters ( 2 5 )  III.  A Comparison and Contrast: The Setting and the Concept of the Journey •• General Remarks ( 2 7 ) ; The Changing Landscape.of "The Enormous Room" (28); The Divided Universe; ( 3 0 ) ; Oummings' Use of Source i n the Setting ( 3 2 ) ; Journeys' End ( 3 4 ) ; Compared with "Narcissus and Goldmund" ( 3 5 ) ; "Sons and Lovers" ( 3 5 ) ; "The: Rainbow" ( 3 6 )  VI  r Chapter  Page IV.  The Excremental Vision i n "The Enormous Room" : A Review of C r i t i c i s m and Concluding Statements ....  38  C r i t i c i s m of the Excremental Vision (38); Zola's Defense (39); David E». Smith's Psychoanalytical Study (4l); Related to Bunyan and Cummings (43); Concluding Statements (45) 2..  CHARACTERIZATION I F "THE ENORMOUS ROOM" I* Characterization and Comedy i n the Novel: The Source of the Comedy and Revelation of Character Through Hands and Eyes ••••• 1  46  The Narrator's Position i n the Comedy (46); Comic Scenes (47); Comic Roles (51); Cummings' Use of Hands Compared with Rilke's (52); Cummings and Lachaisei (54) II,  Game Playing and Its Function i n "The Enormous Room": Count Bragard, Jean, Surplice and Their Roles <••••  56  The A r t i f i c i a l i t y of Bragard (56); Jean"s Games (59); Compared with "Homo Ludens" (59); Ambiguity of Games (61); Surplice the Scapegoat (62) 3.,  THE ACHIEVEMENT OP BALANCE IN "THE ENORMOUS ROOM" I. The Dramatic Balance i n the Novel The "Revolver Scene" (64); The Interviews (65); The Prison at Gre (67); The Enormous Room (69); Camera Technique i n the Room (70); Compared with James Reaney"s "Colours i n the Dark (71); The Pinal Vision (72)  64  itf i i '  Chapter  Page 11 in •  The Emotional Balance i n the Narrators Anguish and Delight  .  ••  74  World of Emotions (74); Anguish (75); Hayakawa and Harvey on the Tough Guy (75); Delight (76); The Parisienne World (78); New York (79) 4.  THE FUSION OF SUBJECT AND OBJECT IN "THE ENORMOUS ROOM"  .81.  Transmutations (82); June E. Downey's Remarks (84): "The Secrets of the-Zoo Exposed" (86); Personification, Simi l e , Metaphor (87); Synaesthesia (88); Links with Rilke's "Primal Sound" (89); Ctammings' Language (90) 5»  THE UNIFIED VISION IN "THE ENORMOUS ROOM" I* The A r t i s t ' s Vision i n Terms of Form and Content The Mystery of Art (93); I n t e r r e l ation of Details (96); "The Enormous Room" as a Novel (97) II.,  93  The A r t i s t " s Unified Vision i n Terms of Character and Situation 100 Mystery of the Characters (101); Interr e l a t i o n of Characters (102); Of S i t uations (103); Concluding Remarks (104)  CONCLUSION SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY^  ..  106 11 1  " A r t - d e f i n e d by an unknown p l a y w r i g h t of the century as "a q u e s t i o n o f being a l i v e " ( n o t "a matter o f being born ) - i s the one q u e s t i o n which only matters."  20th  1  E.E. Cummings, "A E a i r y T a l e , " A M i s c e l l a n y Revised ed. George J . Firmage (New York: October House Inc.*  1967),, p. 250. o  I INTRODUCTION: Background M a t e r i a l and  Approach  "A r e a l n o v e l , " a c c o r d i n g to the c r i t i c A l b e r t Thibaudet, " i s l i k e an autobiography of what might have been p o s s i b l e , "  2  A r e a l n o v e l , E,E,  Cummings  could w e l l r e p l y , i s the i l l u m i n a t i o n , through a  nar-  r a t i v e , of the v i s i o n of l i f e whose f o r m a t i o n i s the w r i t e r ' s autobiography, Room i s such a n o v e l ,  E,E,  Cummings  1  The  Enormous  W r i t t e n a t the request  of h i s  f a t h e r , Dr.- Edward Cummings, the n o v e l recounts experiences  of the w r i t e r and h i s f r i e n d ,  the  William  S l a t e r Brown, d u r i n g the f i n a l f o u r months of  1917*  S h o r t l y a f t e r being assigned' to S e c t i o n S a n i t a i r e r Vingt-et-Uh, Americaine,  Ambulance Nbrton-Harjes,. Croix Rouge? the two  men  were a r r e s t e d and removed to  Camp de Triage de l a E e r t e Mace, because; Brown had w r i t t e n supposedly subversive l e t t e r s to f r i e n d s i n America,  This a c t i o n gave r i s e to voluminous c o r -  respondence between the w r i t e r ' s f a t h e r and,  among  others,, Richard Norton, head of the; Norton-Harjes  A l b e r t Thibaudet, R e f l e x i o n s s u r l e Roman, I G a l l i m a r d , 1938), p, 12*  (Paris:  2  Ambulance: corps, an unnamed major on the s t a f f o f the; Judge Advocate; General, A..E,F», i n P a r i s , and P r e s i d e n t Woodrow Wilson,  This correspondence secured Gummings  r e l e a s e from L a F e r t e andi he r e t u r n e d to Hew board the Espagne i n December,. was  ,  York on  Two months l a t e r Brown  r e l e a s e d from the p r i s o n a t P r e c i g n e and  joined  Cummings i n America,. The o f f i c i a l and personal, correspondences a s sembled  i n Charles Norman's biography o f Cummings,^  some of which are: i n c l u d e d i n the Ebreward' to The Enormous Room, p r e s e n t an o u t s i d e r ' s view o f the imprisonment,  E.E, Cummings with Brown''s a s s i s t a n c e ;  ?  p r o v i d e s us w i t h the:view from w i t h i n the; Enormous Room i n the form o f the n o v e l i t s e l f . In to  a l e t t e r dated October 6,  1920 and addressed  Stewart M i t c h e l l , the: managing e d i t o r o f The  Dial.  Cummings d e s c r i b e s the procedure i n v o l v e d i n w r i t i n g The Enormous Room::  Here I've been working (as worked the sons o f Egypt to b u i l d the: pyramids., you understand - i n o t h e r words l i k e E.) upon a l i t t l e h i s t o r i c a l t r e a t i s e of v a s t import to my Family and Nobody i n General - comp r i s i n g my experiences i n France* or more a c c u r a t e l y en p r i s o n . Hone s t l y to say, I haven t done nawthing else. Strenuous i s no name l!  reefed . »  •^Charles Norman, E.E,, Cummings: A Biography piew York:; E,P, Dutton & Company, Inc., 1967), P P . 6 2 - 8 9 ,  y  therefor - 3 pages a day, since; . my family l e f t , on an average 2 hours to the page* ID EST, a six hour day, splendid f o r the good of humanity, and i f so, and so forth,: 4 Two  interesting  points are: made i n t h i s l e t t e r .  The  f i r s t i s that Oummings seems not to expect a spectacular reception f o r his f i r s t novel, and according to the late; c r i t i c and scholar Ben Ray Redman,, the book was a "Pot-Boiler with Ideas" and a commercial f a i l ure*5  But more s i g n i f i c a n t i s Oummings' emphasis on  the-agony of the a r t i s t , a theme which he i s to develop f i v e years l a t e r i n an a r t i c l e f o r Vanity F a i r , In a l e t t e r which he wrote to Malcolm Cowley dated A p r i l 3 0 ,  1951,, Oummings comments i n retrospect  on the writing of The Enormous Room:  TheER; wrote i t s e l f as a(n however microscopic gesture of thankfulness toward my father; who, despite^every e f f o r t of Norton Harjes &. l^armee francaise, boosted not only me but B o u t of h e l l , BJ _ I were together at the writing, which sans h i s memory of events would have proved impossible* And he can probably t e l l you when this happened ... perhaps, & here's hoping, I [as an a r t i s t ] Just Growed <  ^Quoted i n Charles Norman, p, 92*. ;  ;  NYTBR. June 15,  5  1958,  p,  V  .4.  ^Cf, "Most people merely accept t h i s agony of the A r t i s t , as they accept evolution," i n "The Agony of the A r t i s t (with a c a p i t a l A)," A Miscellany Revised,, pp. 189-193*  Prom this comment, couched i n an organic metaphor, we learn l i t t l e about Cummings as a creative a r t i s t or about the creative process i n the novel*  I t could be  argued that the writer i s here being modest or perhaps just secretive.  And yet, even i f we granted that Cum-  mings i s the most illuminating commentator on his a r t , his desire f o r secret!veness  own  or aversion to anal-  y s i s Inevitably blur his comments on creative a r t . This p a r t i c u l a r view i s supported i n the  Introduction  to The Enormous Room, whose organizing p r i n c i p l e i s a dialogue between Cummings as a r t i s t and a c r i t i c - i n terviewer;  When this book wrote i t s e l f , I was observing a n e g l i g i b l e portion of something i n c r e d i b l y more distant than any sun; something more unimaginably huge than the most prodigious of a l l universes Namely? The individual.. ° Q  The organic metaphor recurs, revealing no more than i t did i n the Cowley l e t t e r .  I t i s not that Cummings f a i l s  to grasp the difference between c r i t i c i s m and tion;  apprecia-  rather i t i s that he chooses to disregard the  •Norman, pp.  96-7•  E » E . Cummings, Introduction to The Enormous Room (New York: Random House, Inc.,, 1934)* p. viii© A l l future references to this novel w i l l be taken from the above e d i t i o n ; page numbers w i l l appear with the cited passages. 8  one and overemphasize ted  the other.  Perhaps, as he sta-  i n the l e t t e r to Cowley, the "gesture of thankful-  ness" played a s i g n i f i c a n t role?, yet we are urged beyond the  writer's statements to an examination of the a r t i s -  t i c process and f i n a l l y to a judgment of the creative artist.  In short, we w i l l be examining Oummings' con-  t r o l and manipulation of language as a medium and analyzing h i s other organizational p r i n c i p l e s i n order to explain how he f u l f i l s the d i f f i c u l t task of fusing content with form to produce and sustain a r t i s t i c v i t a l i t y i n The Enormous Room.  This analysis should also allow  f o r an assessment of the novel i n r e l a t i o n to Oummings  ,;  l a t e r works The method employed i n Chapter I of the thesis i s that of comparison and contrast:  the chapter begins  with an evaluation of the c r i t i c a l comments l i n k i n g The Enormous Room with The Pilgrim's Progress.  I t then pro-  ceeds to a discussion and explanation of t h e i r s i m i l a r i t i e s i n terms of characterization and setting..  I t also  examines the excremental v i s i o n of the novel i n some det a i l , presenting that v i s i o n from the perspective of Norman 0.. Brown's psychoanalytical study, L i f e Against Death.  Chapter II returns to the matter of character-  i z a t i o n , this time examining i t i n r e l a t i o n to both the  ^This topic has been pursued i n depth from the point of view of "theme and symbol, only secondarily of style by James P. Dougherty, DA, XXIII (1962), p. 1 .363.  humour i n the novel and the role of games as exemplif i e d i n the work of anthropologist, Johan H u i z i n g a *  10  Chapter I I I , dealing with the concept of balance, builds on the previous two chapters, expands their subject matter, and anticipates the f i n a l two chapters. Chapter IV; treats i n d e t a i l the fusion of subject and object;  here Cta-mings' l a t e r works, p a r t i c u l a r l y the  poetry, are used to demonstrate this p r i n c i p l e .  The  f i n a l chapter i s an examination of Cummings *' v i s i o n i n the novel;  the t i t l e "The Unified V i s i o n i n The Enor-  mous Room" has been chosen to emphasize the culminat i o n of the thesis, l i n k i n g form and content as well as character and s i t u a t i o n * The s p e c i f i c development of each chapter depends, of course, upon i t s subject and the kind of presentation best suited to i t .  For each of the f i v e chapters an i n -  troductory remark or series of them have been selected to present i n a meaningful way the issues expressed i n the p a r t i c u l a r chapters. remarks i s twofold:  The aim of presenting these  to show precedents and antecedents  f o r the ideas and their expression and to l i n k the concerns of the n o v e l i s t with those of other creative a r t ists.  Such a presentation i s i n keeping with a central  concept i n Cummings  1  a r t i s t i c v i s i o n , that of unity. :  S p e c i f i c a l l y Homo Ludens: A Study of the PlayElement i n Culture. Boston: Beacon Press, 1 9 6 * 6 . 1  7 The claim f o r a u n i f i e d v i s i o n i n The Enormous Room i s made with an awareness of the observations of some early c r i t i c s , who  stated that "the form of the  novel [was] not brought to completion"  11  and that the  book's "exquisite finesse i n portraiture"  1 2  stands  i n marked contrast with i t s "brutal inchoate raving [spiralling^into a maze of meaningless  sounds," 5 1  These c r i t i c s ' observations would be indisputably correct i f we accepted The Enormous Room as a war novel i n the t r a d i t i o n of John Dos Passos  1  Three Soldiers or  Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms,  I f , on the other  hand, we i n s i s t on considering Oummings' novel as a new form - an experiment, and a s i g n i f i c a n t one i n the writer's development as an a r t i s t , then we cannot overlook the c r i t e r i a f o r such l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m ,  Henry James'  reminder i n The Art of F i c t i o n seems most appropriate i n t h i s connection:  Art l i v e s upon discussion, upon experiment, upon c u r i o s i t y , upon vari e t y of attempt, upon the exchange  John Peale Bishop, "Incorrect English^" Vanity F a i r . July 1922, p, 20, 1 1  Quoted i n David E. Smith, "The Enormous Room and The Pilgrim's Progress^" TOL. II TJuly 1965), 67. 12  1 5  Ibid.  8  of views and the comparison of standpoints; and there i s a presumption that those times when no one has anything part i c u l a r to say about i t , and has no reason to give f o r pract i c e or preference, though they may be times of honour, are not times of development - are times, possibly even, a l i t t l e of dulness. ^ 1  Henry James  1  statement i s well worth keeping i n mind  for the f i n a l section of this thesis when we consider E.E. Cummings as a novelist, p a r t i c u l a r l y as author of one of the three most noted American novels based on ¥orld War One.  '^"Henry James, "The A r t of F i c t i o n , " The Major C r i t i c s . Holmes, F u s s e l l , Frazer eds. t^ew York: A l fred A. Knopf, 1965), p. 2 6 7 o  1 "THE I*  ENORMOUS ROOM" AND "THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS"  C r i t i c a l Remarks L i n k i n g the Two Works: u a t i o n o f That C r i t i c i s m  An E v a l -  "When a t the f i r s t I took my pen i n hand Thus f o r to w r i t e , I . d i d not understand That I a t a l l should make a l i t t l e book In such a mode ..." 15 "Here I have seen t h i n g s r a r e and p r o f i t a b l e ; Things p l e a s a n t , d r e a d f u l , t h i n g s to make me stable In what I have begun to take i n hand; Then l e t me- t h i n k on them, and understand Wherefore they showed me was, and l e t meTje Thankful, 0 good I n t e r p r e t e r , to thee," '6 "Never has any great work been accomplished by human c r e a t u r e s , i n which i n s t i n c t was not the p r i n c i p a l mental agent, or i n which the methods o f d e s i g n could be d e f i n e d by r u l e , o r apprehended by reason. It is t h e r e f o r e t h a t agency through mechanism destroys the powers o f a r t , and sentiments of r e l i g i o n , together." 17  J o h n Bunyan, "The Author's Apology F o r H i s Book," The P i l g r i m ' s Progress. I n t r o d u c t i o n L o u i s L. Martz (New York: H o l t , Rinehart and Winston, 1962), p. 2. 1 5  I b i d . , p. 38. 17 R e f l e c t i o n s from Ruskln. s e l . & a r r a n g . R. Dimsdale Stocker (London:. Gay &, Hancock, L t d . , 1908), p 18. l 6  e  10 Of the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of The Enormous Room i n r e c e n t years David E. Smith  1  ^ and K i n g s l e y Widmer  (iand i n former years John Peale Bishop tified  2 0  )  1 9  have i d e n -  The P i l g r i m ' s Progress as a source and key to  an understanding of Cummings' n o v e l .  The  seventeenth-  century a l l e g o r y i s the p o i n t of departure f o r Crummings, and when p r o p e r l y c o l l a t e d w i t h The Enormous Room can l e a d to some v a l u a b l e i n s i g h t s i n t o the method of chara c t e r i z a t i o n and the nature of the journey i n t h a t  no-  vel. By way  of i n t r o d u c i n g t h i s p a r t i c u l a r source  study  we might mention t h a t Cummings' biographer, Charles Norman,  and Sheridan Baker  2 1  have both commented on the  value of Cummings use of source m a t e r i a l as a way ,!  understanding the e a r l y p o e t r y .  to  Norman remarks,, f o r  example, that a r e a d i n g of Keats' l e t t e r to Benjamin  op B a i l e y dated J u l y myth as i t appears  18,  1818,,  concerning the P r o s e r p i n e  i n P a r a d i s e L o s t , s t r i k e s to the  h e a r t of what Cummings i s s t a t i n g i n "Chansons l o  l 9  2 0  Cf.  Innocentes  TCL. I I (1962), 67-75.  " T l m e l e s s Prose," TCL. I T (1958),  3-8,  V a n l t y Pair., ( J u l y 1922), 20,  21 (March 22  Sheridan Baker, 1959), 231-4.  "Cummings and C a t u l l u s . " MLN, V „ Quoted i n Norman, p. 38,  74  I l l " of the Tulips and .Chimneys c o l l e c t i o n .  The pas-  sage from Paradise Lost.reads as follows:  Not that f a i r f i e l d Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers, Herself a f a i r e r flower, by gloomy Dis Was gathered which cost Ceres a l l that pain To seek her through the world ... 3 2  Milton's account of the myth bears a marked resemblance to Oummings''"Chanson Innocente" as the f o l lowing l i n e s reveal:  Tumbling-hair  picker of buttercups  dandelions And the big bullying daisies With eyes a l i t t l e sorry Another comes  violets  through the f i e l d wonderful  also picking flowers  4  Because Norman has undertaken to write a comprehensive biography he frequently cannot elaborate upon h i s statements, this comparison being one such example.  It  would seem though, that the differences between the two accounts are quite as marked as the s i m i l a r i t i e s . L e f t unexplained are the arrangement of l i n e s , the choice of the p a r t i c u l a r flowers and the: use, of "bull y i n g " to q u a l i f y "daisies."  Perhaps Norman may be ex-  cused on the basis that h i s intention as stated i n the P a r a d l s e Lost. Book IV, 11, 268-72 i n M e r r i t t Y; Hughes, ed, John Milton:: Complete Poems and Major Prose (New York: The Odyssey Press, 1957), p. 284. 23  Preface to E..E, Gummings: A Biography was not to write a c r i t i c a l biography,: In contrast, David E. Smith, who does f o r The Enormous Room what Norman and Baker do f o r the poetry,, takes care to point out both the s i m i l a r i t i e s and the differences between the novel and i t s source, The P i l grim's Progress, Professor Smith i s generally correct i n claiming that  E..E* Cummings probably used Bunyan' s Pilgrim's Progress as an organizing p r i n c i p l e of The Enormous Room because he suspected that f o r most people i n h i s generation i t s s p i r i t u a l power and moral l e s sons were either forgotten or misunderstood, 5 2  But we must go even further than this statement i f we wish to understand (Jummlngs'' intention i n the novel. Looking ahead f o r a moment to Anthropos t  or the Future  of Art, a parable published eight years a f t e r The Enormous Room, we f i n d Cummings attacking didacticism i n art.  And yet we cannot deny, even i n the l i g h t of this  l a t e r work, that Cummings' intention i n The Enormous Room - as Professor Smith has suggested - i s i n part*  ^"Ghansons Innocentes I l i " E.E. Cummings: Poems 1923-1954 (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 2  5  T954), 25  p.  23.  S m i t h , p.  67.  i f not exclusively, to i n s t r u c t . of the two ways of writing:  That work i s a fusion  writing to i n s t r u c t and  writing to delight. In his a r t i c l e Professor Smith goes on to demonstrate that the influence of The Pilgrim's Progress on The Enormous Room extends beyond the obvious s t r u c t u r a l and thematic s i m i l a r i t i e s to touch on s i m i l a r i t i e s  be-  tween the methods of characterization and s e t t i n g . Professor Smith's findings, valuables although not exhaustive, w i l l act as a springboard f o r my own  closer anal-  y s i s of themes, characterization, and setting i n the works of Bunyan and Cummings,  II.  A Comparison and Contrast: General Remarks and Methods of Characterization  "They [poetsi untie writing and then t i e i t up again d i f f e r e n t l y , " 2 b  "Now l e t us t r y to understand the zoo as a concatenation of d i f f e r e n t l y functioning': and variously l a b e l l e d mirrors, a l l of which are a l i v e . These l i v i n g mirrors, mistakenly called "animals," are f o r the most part grouped i n systems or "houses," l i k e the "birdhouse" or the "monkey house," and each house or system furnishes us with some p a r t i c u l a r verdict upon purselves. In passing from house to house, from one system of mirrors to another system of mirrors, we discover t o t a l l y unsuspetedfsiclaspects of our own existence." ' To begin with, l e t us make a -few general statements about The Enormous Room and The Pilgrim's Progress.  John Bunyan began composing The Pilgrim's !  Progress i n 1675 during a six-month imprisonment i n the bridge-house at Bedford, England.  E.E, Gnmmings  began composing The Enormous Room i n New  Hampshire  J b h n Cocteau, quoted i n "Jean Cocteau as a Graphic A r t i s t ^ " . A Miscellany Revised., p. 102. 2&  ?E.E. Cummings, "The Secrets of the Zoo Exposed ". A Miscellany Revised, p. 175. 2  3  15 two years a f t e r his release from a French detention camp i n 1920. Both works contain autobiographical and didactic elements. Another general point:  both Bunyan and Oummings  use the pilgrimage from h e l l to heaven as an image f o r the l i f e of the s p i r i t .  The t r a v e l l e r i n Part I of  The P i l g r i m s Progress i s Christian; 1  Room i t i s Cummings-as-narrator.  i n The Enormous  The t r a v e l l e r s i n  Part II of The Pilgrim 's. Progress are Christian's famf  i l y , Christiana and her children;  t h e i r pilgrimage i s  p a r a l l e l e d i n Chapter VIII of The Enormous Room by the Wanderer's wife and three children* i s i m p l i c i t i n both works:  A related point  neither Oummings' way nor  Christian's i s the way of the world. The l a s t general point, stated on the t i t l e page of Bunyan's allegory i s perhaps the most important: the Pilgrim journeys "From This World To That Which / Is To Come." ® Oummings makes i r o n i c use of Bunyan's 2  movement toward the extramundane:: the American writer's new world i s not outside time and space as i s Bunyan"s, but on this earth, projected forward i n time:  In the course of the next ten thousand years i t may be possible to  Bunyan, p.  xvli.  f i n d Delectable Mountains without going to prison - c a p t i v i t y I mean, Monsieur Le: Surveillant - i t may be possible, I dare say, to encounter Delectable Mountains who are not i n prison , . » o (The Enormous Room., p, 307. )*. Cummings carries more than one of his themes by both accommodating and at the same time I r o n i c a l l y reversing Bunyan's Puritan values,  Cummings, f o r example,  dwells on the outward appearance of both the  protagon-  i s t - prisoners and the antagonist - o f f i c i a l s .  What  he i s doing, i n effect, i s presenting the a u t h o r i t a r i a n man  to the inferiorly-dressed prisoners.  And this d i s -  t i n c t i o n i n dress i s at the heart of the dissension ar i s i n g between Ctammings and the prison o f f i c i a l s . . Cummings does not stop there.  But  Once he equates an unkempt  outward appearance with positive values, he reverses Bunyan"s scheme by negating personal cleanliness* fessor Smith remarks t e l l i n g l y on Cummings  1  inversion of  values:  Cleanliness i s next to ungodliness i n Cummings ludicrously inverted scheme of things. The only physicall y clean beings are the non-prisoners. The "very d e f i n i t e f i e n d , " Apollyon, who i s the director of the prison, i s an impeccable dresser, a t e r r i f y i n g l i t t l e monster whose most disgusting feature i s his inhuman f e t i s h f o r personal cleanliness ... It i s a perfectly obvious irony 1  Pro-  •  17 t h a t , behind h i s p u p p e t - l i k e f a cade of c l e a n l i n e s s , A p o l l y o n i s r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the f i l t h i e s t of p r i s ons. 9 2  Oummings  1  the thematic  a d a p t i o n of Bunyan takes us f u r t h e r to  centre of The  Enormous Room.  Bunyan, A p o l l y o n i s a monster and a f i e n d ;  According  to  Oummings  1  A p o l l y o n , the D i r e c t e u r a t La Perte Mace, i s l i k e w i s e monstrous and f i e n d i s h . Oummings and  The  c o n f l i c t a r i s i n g between  the D i r e c t e u r , c e n t r a l to the themer.of  The  Enormous Room, f i n d s e x p r e s s i o n i n the n o v e l i s t ' s r e a p p l i c a t i o n of Bunyan"s animal  Imagery:  So he [ChrlstianJ went on, and A p o l l y o n met him. Now the monster was hideous to behold; he was c l o t h e d with s c a l e s l i k e a f i s h (and they are h i s p r i d e ) , he had wings l i k e a dragon, f e e t l i k e a. bear, and out of h i s b e l l y came f i r e and smoke, and h i s mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When he was come up to C h r i s t i a n , he beheld him w i t h a d i s d a i n f u l countenance, and thus began to q u e s t i o n with him.. 30 On the s u r f a c e these d e t a i l s of d e s c r i p t i o n are not p a r t i c u l a r l y s i g n i f i c a n t , but i n the l i g h t of The mous Room's s p e c i a l use of animal  Enor-  imagery, Bunyan's  a p p a r e n t l y straight-^?orward d e s c r i p t i o n of A p o l l y o n comes h i g h l y s i g n i f i c a n t .  Smith,, p.  69»  3  °Bunyan, p.  58  be-  18  The most s t r i k i n g images i n Bunyan's d e s c r i p t i o n of A p o l l y o n c e n t e r on animals, n e a r l y a l l of which a r e unpleasant and even f i e r c e , such as the monster, the dragon, the bear, and the l i o n . the  sense of f e a r and h o r r o r  Through these Images  i s reinforced.  Where Bun-  yan has centered t h i s animal imagery on A p o l l y o n though, Cummings has d i f f u s e d i t :  the Zulu i s d e s c r i b e d  f l o a t i n g f i s h of h i s slimness h a l f a b i r d " (p. the Wanderer walks " k i n d l y l i k e a bear" (p,  as "the 252);  225)j;  Jo-  Jo becomes the Lion-Paced Boy, Not  only has Cummings d i f f u s e d Bunyan's concen-  t r a t e d imagery, but he has a l s o tempered the sense of f e a r and h o r r o r  aroused by Bunyan's animals:  yan''s l i o n had been f e r o c i o u s , turesque;  where Bun-  Cummings * i s merely p i c -  where stood the preponderant bear o f The P i l -  grim ''s Progress, now stands the k i n d and awkward o f  The Enormous Room;  only  animal  and the f i s h , once proud, i s now  streamlined, A p a r t i c u l a r use o f animal imagery i s made i n the  case of M,. l e D i r e c t e u r officials.  and the h i g h - r a n k i n g among h i s  Their pride i s established  by a s s o c i a t i n g  them w i t h the most r e c u r r e n t  o f a l l symbols o f p r i d e  and  The c l e a r e s t i n s t a n c e  defiance  - the r o o s t e r .  of  t h i s a s s o c i a t i o n occurs i n the d e s c r i p t i o n o f the Sur-  19  veillant:  ••• teetering a l i t t l e slowly back and f o r t h , and his lean hands joined ^ e h i n d him and twitching regularly, a kepi t i l t e d forward on his cadaverous head so that i t s v i s o r almost hid the weak eyes sunkenly peering from under droopy eyebrows, his pompous r o o s t e r - l i k e body immaculately a t t i r e d i n a shiny uniform ... (p. 92)• Once again though, Oummings* method i s not to concentrate 1  the imagery of pride on one character.  The rooster im-  age, only s l i g h t l y varied but greatly amplified, had been used to describe the Interrogator at  Vingt-et-Un:  His neck was exactly l i k e a hen's: I f e l t sure that when he drank he must t i l t his head back as hens do i n order that the l i q u i d may run down t h e i r throats. But his method of keeping himself upright, together with certain spasmodic contractions of his fingers and the nervous 'uh-ah, uh-ah,' which punctuated his insecure phrases l i k e uncertain commas, combined to offer the suggestion of a roosterj a rather moth-eaten rooster, which took i t s e l f tremendously seriously and was showing-off to an imaginary group of admiring hens situated somewhere i n the background of h i s consciousness (pp.  56-7).  Shortly, this o f f i c i a l comes to be known as the rooster (p.  5 7 ) ; i n much the same way as the l i b e r t y - l o v i n g ,  hairy-chested farmer; becomes simply The Bear;  and'the  bulbous-lipped, weak-eyed Gestionnaire, 'the Hippopotamus.  20 The rooster image recurs i n the description of Monsieur Petairs, although i n this instance i t i s confined to the external appearance of the man and does not  intimate pride as i t had i n the case? of the govern-  ment o f f i c i a l s : .  His Adam's-apple, at such moments, jumped about i n a longish, slack, wrinkled, skinny neck which was l i k e the neck of a turkey, Eb this turkey the approach of Thanksgiving inspired dread. Prom time to time M, Petairs looked about him sidewise as i f he expected to see a hatchet. His hands were claws, kind, awkward and nervous (p. 100), The image of the cock, used d e s c r i p t i v e l y and  sym-  bolicc^Ly, i s naturally incorporated into the c o l l o q u i a l expressions i n the novel: Muskowitz, i n terms reminiscent of the Surveillant, i s a Cock-eyed M i l l i o n a i r e and the Young Pole a f t e r the Sunday morning f i g h t i s "as cocky as ever the next morning'  ,  (p,  233),  Cummings extends his use of barnyard imagery to include the pig and the cow.  Using the technique pre-  viously applied to the Interrogator at Yingt-et-Un, Cummings names one of the S u r v e i l l a n t s permanent plantons 1  "the  beefy one" (p,  82) and then refers to him various-  l y as "the beefy b u l l " (p, (p.  86).  85) and "the beefy-necked"  21  While s t i l l i n Vingt-et-Un the narrator describes the  very f a t gendarme (v-f-g) as having " p i g - l i k e orbs"  (p.  28), Later, he refers to M. l e Gestionnaire*s "neat  p i g - l i k e face" (p.  104); l a t e r s t i l l , . o u r attention i s  drawn to the Butcher's "buried pig's eyes" (p.  261)»  Each time the narrator focuses on a d i f f e r e n t feature of these*pig-like men:  i n the manner of a movie camera  he f i r s t presents a general appearance of the eyes; then he moves back f o r a shot of the face as a whole* F i n a l l y he returns f o r a close-up of the eyes embedded i n the mounds of f l e s h . From the innocuous barnyard animals the imagery expands to include predatory animals of ferocious natures, though seen only from the aspect of t h e i r physical appearance*  Such an animal i s M, l e Gestionnaire:  A contented animal, a bulbous animal; the only l i v i n g hippopotamus i n capt i v i t y , fresh from the Nile ••.My hay-coloured head perhaps pleased him,, as a hippopotamus. He would perhaps eat me. He grunted, exposing tobacco-yellow tusks, and h i s tiny eyes twittered (p. 105K Characterized by the same tiny eyes but possessing much keener v i s i o n i s the vulture, the f i r s t i n a series of bird images which descend i n size and f e r o c i t y . his  Upon  a r r i v a l i n the Enormous Room, Oummings i s approached  22 by a "vulture-like silhouette" (p.  62)  r  l a t e r described  as having  ••• a demoralized broom clenched i n one claw or f i s t : i t had lean legs cased i n shabby trousers, muscular shoulders covered with a rough s h i r t open at the neck, knotted arms, and a coarse, insane face crammed beneath the v i s o r of a cap. The face consisted of a rapid nose, drooping moustache, ferocious watery small eyes, a pugnacious chin, and sunken cheeks hideously smiling (p. 67)* • The professeur de dance, a vain effeminate lad of eighteen who makes a b r i e f appearance i n the Enormous Room, i s an "absurd peacock" (p  0  124)  e  Upon his removal,  the Room i s described as a "dung-heap minus a b u t t e r f l y " (p.  125). The third main pattern of animal imagery i n the  novel centers on the spider.  Singled out f o r p a r t i c u l a r  treatment are i t s movement, shape, and g u i l e .  The D i r -  ecteur, f o r instance, i s described i n Cummings' l a s t interview at La P.erte Mace as  ...Apollyon Himself merely cuddled together, depressing his hairy body between i t s limbs as a"spider sometimes does i n the presence of danger (p. 2 9 9 ) . This image i s foreshadowed e a r l i e r i n the novel when the narrator i s being escorted to the o f f i c e of M. l e Gestion-  23 naire:  I obligingly ascendedO&nother f l i g h t of stairsj; thinking of the Survelllant as a spider, e l egantly poised i n the centre of his nefarious web, waiting f o r a f l y to make too many struggles .... (p. 103). The image here r e f l e c t s the predatory nature of the Surv e l l l a n t as Oummings thinks of him - the human spider and his f l y . I f Bunyan seems to have impressed on Oummings the effectiveness of using animal imagery i n developing  char  acter, he also appears to have provided Oummings with a method of establishing i d e n t i t y .  As regards the two  chief characters, Christian and Oummings, i d e n t i t y i s established f i r s t i n general terms and proceeds from there to the p a r t i c u l a r . Following his escape from the Slough of Despond, Christian i s no longer just "a man" or "he",, but "Christ ian,"  no longer an Indefinite quantity lacking depth,  but a man with a name.. So, by means of struggle and sorrow, the man frees himself from anonymity.  CummingS''  search f o r an i d e n t i t y i s more complex than Christian's, and proceeds beyond mere naming. Oummings i s defined f i r s t by " I . "  Like C h r i s t i a n though, The d e f i n i t i o n i s  enlarged to include an "ambulance d r i v e r , " an "American,  24 and f i n a l l y he arrives at a name, "Cummings [[the f i r s t and l a s t time that my name was correctly pronounced by a Frenchman]" (p, 6 J , ? The name i s then presented i n 1  f u l l along with i t s s p e l l i n g and genealogy i n a humorous scene with M» l e M i n i s t r e .  Cummings proceeds to define  himself i n terms of past pursuits, mentioning that he had been both a student and a painter (p.  15), the l a t -  ter being a reputation which he s t i l l enjoys*  During  his confinement i n the Enormous Room the inmates refer to him as "l'americain" or "Johnny;" to the o f f i c i a l s he i s "KEW-MANGS" or "KEW-MANGZ", " l e nouveau" or " l * autre americain."  I t i s only when he i s about to leave  the Enormous Room that Cummings, the man with so many names, f i n a l l y becomes an i n d i v i d u a l :  • • • I turned into Edward E* Cummings,. I turned into what was dead and i s now a l i v e , I turned into a c i t y , I turned into a dream I am standing i n The Enormous Room for the l a s t time, I am saying goodbye. Wo, i t i s not I who am saying good-bye. I t i s i n fact somebody else, possibly myself (p, 325 )o :  In contrast to the development of the narrator i n The Enormous Room, the development of the minor characters proceeds from i n d i v i d u a l to general,  "B5", f o r  example, acts as a supplier of information when Cum-  Cummings  ,  brackets*.  25  mings f i r s t arrives at La E e r t e .  "B" t e l l s him  3 2  he i s at Mace , not Marseilles, and f u r t h e r :  that  "Oummings,  I t e l l you this i s the f i n e s t place on earth" (p. As a supplier of information  64)..  "S-" i s associated with the  Interpreter i n The Pilgrim's Progress.  In his role of  welcoming Oummings to the Enormous Room and  introducing  him to the inhabitants, "Bi" i s also associated with Bunyan's F a i t h f u l * 33  S i m i l a r l y , Count Bragard i s a l l i e d  with Bunyan"s Formalism, Hypocrisy, and p a r t i c u l a r l y Mr.  Worldly Wiseman, who  grim "s Progress, p.,  21),  "look (s) l i k e a gentleman" but acts  (Pil-  contrariwise.,  Bunyan's technique of characterization i n The Pilgrim"s Progress depends on the writer''s need to personify the many dimensions of human l i f e i n several characters:  F a i t h f u l i s Christian, as are Greed and Hopeful.  Oummings' technique i s here s i m i l a r  to Bunyan"s..  q u a l i t i e s personified i n Bunyan"s secondary i  The  characters .  ',  are combined i n Oummings' portrayal of both the French government o f f i c i a l s and the Inhabitants  of the Enormous  Room. It seems then - to sum up t h i s discussion - that for at l e a s t two methods of characterization Oummings i s indebted to Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress - the use animal imagery and the search f o r i d e n t i t y . Yet while >  Of.  Smith, p.  70*.  "^Bunyan, p.  77.  of  26  Cummings has used Bunyan's methods, he has both modif i e d and amplified them, thus achieving markedly ent r e s u l t s *  differ-  Ill*  A Comparison and Contrast: Concept of the Journey  The Setting and  The  ' One might be rash enough to conclude that a man has to be at home i n some kind of j a i l i n order to become a poet." 34 "Every a r t i s t ' s s t r i c t l y i l l i m i t a b l e country i s himself*" 35  The world i n which Cummings makes his journey i n The Enormous Room, unlike Christian's world i n The  Pil-  grim 's Progress, i s s t r i c t l y circumscribed geographically.  Cummings' entire novel takes place i n a v i l l a g e  outside Noyon called Ham,  i n Gre,. i n Paris, i n a p r i -  son at Orne - one hundred miles west of Paris, and concludes i n New  York.  But within these geographical lim-  i t s Cummings creates a changing setting, and describes i t - as Bunyan does i n The Pilgrim's Progress - with minute precision.  For instance, l e t us take a d e t a i l  from The Enormous Room which at f i r s t seems i n s i g n i f i cant.  Upon a r r i v i n g at Noyon, the narrator notices a  building which resembles "a feudal dungeon" (p,  9)».  Thomas Mann, Tonio Kroger, trans.. H»T. Lowe-Porter. Middlesex: Penguin Books, 196b), p. 155. J  .^E..E.  Revised, p.  Cummings, "Re Ezra Pound: 313.  I I , " A Miscellany ""  28 Later that same day, Cummings i s confined to a "prison" (p,  22) i n the nearby town of Gre, where he studies the  wall drawings of former French and German prisoners. Later s t i l l , i n the c i t y of Pretend, which he l a t e r learns i s Mace, Cummings remarks that the building i n the distance i s "either ,,. a church or a tomb" (p» 5 5 ) * ' Approaching the building he r e a l i z e s that i t i s neither,, 5  but a gendarmerie.  Each time the narrator draws our  attention to another aspect of h i s place of confinement, c a r e f u l l y introducing f i r s t the dungeon, then the p r i s on, then the church or tomb,  Cummings comments on each  of these buildings and each becomes part of h i s world. If we group these descriptions together we see that they give us a picture? of change. Despite the narrator's confinement to the Enormous "Room early i n the novel, the landscape continues to change - not as a r e s u l t of the movement from mountain to v a l l e y as i n The Pilgrim's Progress,  but as a r e s u l t  of his focus on the d i f f e r e n t individuals within the Room,. These inhabitants, l i k e Chaucer's pilgrims,, are revealed through s t a t i c p o r t r a i t s as well as through the kinds of stories which they t e l l about themselves.  Un-  l i k e Chaucer though, Cummings dwells on the inner quali t i e s of h i s characters rather than concentrating on their external appearance.  29  Entering the unfamiliar world of the Enormous Room,, Cummings discovers his f r i e n d Brown among the inhabitants. Prom the f a m i l i a r Cummings moves outward to make the acquaintance  of the two Hollanders - Harree and John o' the  Bathhouse, the two Belgians - Emile and Pompom,, M» Auguste a Russian, and E r i t z - a Norwegian., .Minutely and with i n f i n i t e patience, Cummings describes each of the characters and allows them to present accounts of t h e i r lives.. Gradually the Enormous Room comes to resemble an i n t e r national p o r t r a i t gallery of "authentic i n d i v i d u a l s . The same holds true f o r the Delectable Mountains portrayed i n the l a t t e r h a l f of the hovel*. During his three-and-one-half-month residence i n the Enormous Room, Cummings notices s i g n i f i c a n t changes i n the human landscape:  four nouveaux a r r i v e ;  Brown, Pete~  the Hollander, the Sheeneys, and Rockyfeller are transferred to the prison at Precigne;  and perhaps most not-  able i s the change which overcomes the narrator himself. He comes to focus solely upon the present and to take stock of what exists within himself..  What he finds there  i s a timeless world whose s p a t i a l dimensions increase according to the influence of his fellow inmates.. Cummings creates the world of the Enormous Room  eneum,  E..E. Cummings, i : i six nonlectures 1 9 6 6 ) , p. 31  (New Xork: Ath-  30  with the utmost precision so that i t might f u l f i l a spec i f i c function not only i n this novel but also i n h i s second novel, Eimi. 37  _  s  w  _ t h i n the changing frame-  work of the Enormous Room that the pattern of Oummings  1  experiences i s set up and i t i s the very nature of this world that gives h i s experiences s i g n i f i c a n c e .  The nar-  rator's l i f e i s bound up i n every way with this change; i t furnishes the very substance of his experiences and guarantees their authenticity..  Consisting of uninter-  rupted contact with; people who are continually changing, Oummings' l i f e from September 1917 u n t i l January 1918 i s correctly conceived of as a journey toward s p i r i t u a l knowledge of the world. The starting-point of Oummings' journey i s h i s conception of things as he sees them at Noyon.  The h i e r -  archies and values of l i f e : i n Noyon foreshadow the v a l ues of Orne and divide Oummings*' universe i n two: ly,  social-  i t i s divided into those who "know" and those who  "do not know," that i s , the group to which the o f f i c i a l s and gendarmes belong and the group to which Oummings and most of the volunteers and prisoners belong;  moral-  l y , i t i s divided into feelings that are noble and those which are blameworthy;  a e s t h e t i c a l l y , into the beautiful  -"Of. Introduction to The Enormous Room, p. v i i and Kenneth Burke, "A Decade of American Fiction*/' The Bookman. LXIX (August 1929)* 565-6. 5 8  O f . Smith, p.  68.  3:1  and the ugly. S i m i l a r l y , C h r i s t i a n ^ world i s divided i n two: i n r e l i g i o u s terms, i t i s divided into those who  follow  the tenets-of C h r i s t i a n i t y and those who do not, that i s , Christian, Christiana, and t h e i r children on the one hand, and P l i a b l e , Ignorance, Atheist, and Mr. Worldly Wiseman on the other;  morally, i t i s divided into  noble and blameworthy f e e l i n g s ; tues and vices;  e t h i c a l l y , into v i r -  i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , into falsehood and truth.  The concept of the divided world i s buttressed i n both The Pilgrim 's Progress and The Enormous Room f  by confronting Christian and Gummings with at l e a s t two d i f f e r e n t paths of action at each s i g n i f i c a n t point i n t h e i r 3>.ourneys.  At the beginning of The Pilgrim' s Pro- ,  gress. f o r example, one path leads through the Slough of Despond and forward, the other leads back to the City of Destruction. Christian chooses the former path; P l i a b l e , the l a t t e r .  Later i n the same work, two paths  lead around the H i l l D i f f i c u l t y ;  one leads over i t .  Christian chooses the d i r e c t and more d i f f i c u l t route; Formalism and Hypocrisy, the circumambulatory route. Which i s not to say that Christian's journey i s undevi a t i n g l y traced along the one true path.  On the con-  trary, he i s often led astray, once by Mr.. Worldly Wiseman and again by Vain-confidence.  32  Like Christian, Cummings i s confronted paths.  by two  He may either denounce Brown as a t r a i t o r and  free himself from suspicion or else remain true to Brown and r i s k detention f o r complicity,.  At La Ferte' he must  choose whether to oppose the o f f i c i a l s or to y i e l d i n subservience to them and f a c i l i t a t e h i s stay,  Cummings  1  decisions, l i k e Christian's, are made i n favour of truth,, virtue, and noble f e e l i n g s . From the time of Cummings' entrance into the Enormous Room we notice several i n t e r e s t i n g p a r a l l e l s between the setting of this novel and i t s source,. The Interpreter i n Bunyan's allegory, f o r example, leads Christian into a "private room" (The Pilgrim"s Progress, p.  2 9 ) i n h i s house where hangs the p o r t r a i t  of a grave person.  Later i n Book II. Christiana i s  led into the same S i g n i f i c a n t 3 9 Rooms, which  ...Christian, Christiana's husband, had seen sometime before. Here therefore — they saw the man i n the cage, the man and h i s dream, the man that cut h i s way through h i s enemies, and the picture of the biggest of them a l l , together with the rest of those things that were then so p r o f i t a b l e to C h r i s t i a n (p„ 2 0 8 ) , Bunyan's S i g n i f i c a n t Rooms and the pictures therein are r e f l e c t e d with modifications i n Cummings' Enormous Room and h i s l i v i n g p o r t r a i t s .  One of the f i r s t rooms viewed  >  ^ "Conveying p a r t i c u l a r meaning" according y  Martz's notes.  to Louis  33  by Christiana and her company houses a man holding a muck-rake, whose glance i s perpetually cast downward, Oummings* Surplice i s strongly reminiscent of this f i g u r e . And yet Oummings has i r o n i c a l l y portrayed Surplice as a Chilist figure, even the "muck" takes on positive connotations.  From this point they are conducted  to "the  very best room i n the house (a very brave room i t was)" (p.  209),-  No p o r t r a i t i s to be found here but on the  wall i s poised a huge spider.  Christiana learns from  this room that even the most venomous of creatures, i f they have f a i t h , may dwell i n the f i n e s t rooms of the ' *'  '  Heavenly Palace,  Oummings' treatment of this p a r t i c u l a r  scene i s i r o n i c a l l y inverted.  The spider i s personified  by the Survelllant, who although f a i t h l e s s , remains "elegantly poised i n the center of h i s nefarious web, waiting f o r a f l y ..." (The Enormous Room, p,:  103)©  Furthermore, "the very best room" i n La Ferte i s the o f f i c e of M. l e Gestionnaire,  Before entering the room*  the planton knocks twice, as had both Christian and Christiana before they had entered the House of the Interpreter, In M. l e Gestionnaire*s o f f i c e Clummings does not f i n d enlightenment  as had Christian and h i s wife i n the  "very best room" of the Interpreter's house.  Instead  ?  he finds a witless, insensate administrator, whose neg-  34 ative q u a l i t i e s are exaggerated f o r comic e f f e c t .  En-  lightenment i s not to be found i n this o f f i c e but i n what i s undoubtedly  the very worst room i n the house,  what Oummings fondly labels the Enormous Room. What Cummings learns i n the Enormous Room i s carr i e d with him when he leaves f o r New York.  What Christ-  ian learns on the journey from the City of Destruction he carries with him into the C e l e s t i a l City. ends h i s quest i n affirmation.  Christian  Behind him stretches a  road on which no step has been f u t i l e , which no longer seems to have meandered aimlessly f o r i t has led him to a d e f i n i t e and desirable destination.  For Bunyan the  pilgrimage of the f i r s t section has ended. Cummings' pilgrimage, on the other hand, ends i n a q u a l i f i e d affirmation. regained i n t h i s novel. approximates  Paradise i s neither gained nor The narrator's mood"most nearly  optimism when he writes:  "In the course of  the next ten thousand years i t may be possible to f i n d Delectable Mountains without going to prison ..." (p.- 307 .For Cummings the journey has not ended;  the experience  i n this novel i s to be repeatedly related i n his subsequent works.  35  The main narrative of The Enormous Room, l i k e that of The Pilgrim's Progress and even of Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund. i s formed by the journey.  Hesse's work of-  fers a further p a r a l l e l with Cummings' i n that the journeys of the main characters i n both novels begin and end at the same place.  For Goldmund that place i s Mariabronn  where he had formerly been a student.  For Cummings the  place i s America, where he too had been a student. The conclusion of the narrator's journey i n The Enormous Room r e f l e c t s Cummings' s t r i k i n g accord with the works of another of h i s contemporaries,  D.H. Lawrence,  many of whose novels have the elements of a quest*  For  instance, Cummings' a t t r a c t i o n to the l i g h t of the c i t y a f t e r the darkness of the Enormous Room r e c a l l s Paul Morel's similar a t t r a c t i o n a f t e r h i s mother's death i n Sons and Lovers;  Turning sharply, he walked towards the c i t y ' s gold phosphorescence. His f i s t s were shut, his mouth set fast.. He would not take that d i r ection, to the darkness, to follow her. He walked towards the f a i n t l y humming, glowing town, quiekly. 4-0 Another passage, noteworthy because of the protagonist's fascination with both l i g h t and the c i t y a f t e r having  D.,H* Lawrence, Sons and Lovers (New York: Viking Press, 1966} p7~^2DT 4U  The  36 recently undergone a grueling experience, appears i n LVH.. Lawrence's The Rainbow, published seven years i n advance of The Enormous Ro  Steadily the colour gathered,, mysteriousl y , from nowhere, i t took presence upon i t s e l f , there was a f a i n t vast rainbow. The arc bended and strengthened i t s e l f t i l l i t arched indomitable, making great architecture of l i g h t and colour>and the space of heaven, i t s pedestals luminous i n the corruption of new houses on the low i h i l l , i t s arch the top of, heaven • «.. She {Ursula] *" " rainbow the earth's new architecture, the old, ^ r i t t l e corruption of houses and f a c t o r i e s swept' away,, the world b u i l t up i n a l i v i n g f a b r i c of . Truth, f i t t i n g to the over-arching heaven. s a w  n  tlie  4 1  "Whereas Lawrence's v i s i o n i s more optimistic^,and f a r reaching than Cummings', both t h e i r quests emphasize the journey more than the a r r i v a l .  They o f f e r a contrast  with Bunyan's quest i n which both the journey and the arr i v a l are of equal importance.  Cummings'.journey without  end finds a precedent i n Montaigne's Essais. where he states that i t ,is the journey and not the a r r i v a l , t h a t (  matters:  I do not portray being, I portray, passing. Not the passing from one " age to another, or, as the people say, from seven years to seven years, but from day to day, from minute to minute ... I f my mind could gain a  D.H, Lawrence, The Rainbow (Middlesex: Books, 1961), pp. 4 9 5 ^ [ 6 J 7  Penguin  37 firm footing, I would not make essays, I would make decisions; but i t i s always in.apprenticeship and on t r i a l . . 4  2  Montaigne's statement here echoes Chanmings narrative ,!  technique i n The Enormous Rooms  ^ " Q f Kepentance.3" Book I I I , The Complete: Works of Montaigne, trans. Donald M. Frame? (London:: Hamish Hamilton,, n.d,), pp. 1585-88. a  r  IV/*  The Excremental V i s i o n i n The Enormous Room: A Review of C r i t i c i s m and Concluding Statements "Did you ever share an otherwise; p a l a t i a l dungheap with much too many . other v i v i d l y stinking human beings?" 3 4  "As f o r my feeble mind, that I w i l l leave behind me, f o r that I: s h a l l have?no need of that i n the place whither I go. Nor i s i t worth bestowing upon the poorest p i l grim; wherefore when I am gone, I desire that you, Mr* V a l i a n t would bury i t i n a dunghill," 4  ;<h 4  To bring the comparison betweien The Pilgrim"s Progress and The Enormous Room to an end we_ may perhaps ask i f there are any general considerations which have been overlooked or i n s u f f i c i e n t l y treated.  There  i s c e r t a i n l y one and that i s Oummings f a s c i n a t i o n with 1  excrement i n the novel.  This f a s c i n a t i o n was the focus  of much c r i t i c i s m following the publication of the novel i n 1922*  Yst, despite the attention directed toward i t ,  c r i t i c a l treatment of this p a r t i c u l a r feature has s e l dom been s a t i s f a c t o r y , Numerous early c r i t i c s , among them D.K. Lamb and an anonymous reviewer i n the Boston  ^E.E, vised, p. 44  Gummings, "Exit the Boob " A Miscellany Re287. "  Bunyan, p. 325.  3  39 Transcript. 5 have voiced t h e i r disapproval of Oum4  mings  1  excessive concern with excrement* ^ _ 4  n  another  early but favourable review of The Enormous Room John Peale Bishop alludes to Havelock E l l i s ' essay on Zola where a defense can be found f o r Oummings' use of words and themes unpopular i n print at the time.  Some of  E l l i s * defenses i n that essay can be as r e a d i l y applied to Rabelais or Swift as they can to E.E. Gumming s.  One  such statement concerns the content of a work of a r t :  The chief service which Zola has rendered to h i s f e l l o w - a r t i s t s and successors, the reason of the immense stimulus he supplies, seems to l i e i n the proofs he has brought of the l a tent a r t i s t i c use of the rough, neglected details of l i f e . The RougonMacquart series has been to h i s weaker bretheren l i k e that great sheet knit at the four corners, l e t down from Heaven f u l l of foul-fopted beasts and creeping things and fowls of the a i r , and bearing i n i t the demonstrat i o n that to the a r t i s t as to the mora l i s t nothing can be c a l l e d common or unclean. I t has henceforth become possible f o r other novelists to f i n d i n s p i r a t i o n where before they could never have turned, to touch l i f e with a vigour and audacity of phrase which, without Zola's example, they would have trembled to use, while they s t i l l remain free to bring to t h e i r work the simp l i c i t y , precision, and inner experience which he never possessed* ' 4  4  ^17 May, 1922*  Rudolph von Abele draws attention to Oummings' s a t i r i c use of excrement i n the poetry i n "Only to Grow Change i n the Poetry of E.E. Oummings." PMLA. 70 (December 1955), 913-933.  40  In a correlative statement E l l i s defends Zola's use of coarse language.  Again the defense i s applicable to  The Enormous Room:  Zola has used slang - the argot of the populace - copiously ..• A considerable part of the power of L'Assomoir ••• l i e s i n the s k i l l i n which he uses the language of the people he i s dealing with; the reader i s bathed throughout i n an atmosphere of picturesque, vigorous, often coarse argot.. There i s , no doubt, a lack of c r i t i c a l sobriety i n the profusion and r e i t e r a t i o n of vulgarisms, of coarse oaths, of the .varied' common synonyms f o r common things. But they achieve the end . that Zola sought, and so j u s t i f y themselves. ° 4  Like Zola, Cummings uses the language, of the people with whom he i s dealing - the prisoners and the o f f i c i a l s and i n the case of the prisoners the language i s a l ways picturesque and often vulgar.  The comment that  Cfummings' style i n v i t e s i s not that the novelist i s given to babbling and crudity but rather that he tries,, gropingly at times* to f i n d vigorous expressions to 47  Havelock E l l i s , "Zola.'" Affirmations (London: stable & Company Ltd.* 1926J* p. 143. 48  I b i d . , . p. 145.  Con-  41 match the characters and the experiences of the Enormous Room. ^ 4  E l l i s concludes that "we look at hisjzola's]work,  :  not as great a r t but as an important moment i n the evol u t i o n of the novel ..." ^° Such would seem to be the position of The: Enormous Room i n the development .of the American novel*! Havelock E l l i s * essay insofar as i t concerns the use of rough d e t a i l s and coarse language i s more potent i a l than d e f i n i t i v e and i t i s with an awareness of i t s limitations that Bishop>cites i t . Likewise, David: E, Smith's 1962 a r t i c l e has great potential, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the footnote where he points out the: s i m i l a r i t i e s between the anal character of Oummings' Apollyon < : . . : • •  r  and Luther's d e v i l as the- character of the l a t t e r i s developed  i n Norman 0,: Brown's L i f e . Against Death: The.  Psychoanalytical Meaning of History, 51 _  n  that work  Norman 0> Brown makes an^ interesting even i r r e s i s t i b l e connection between excrement and death,  A re*-examination  of the excremental v i s i o n i n The Enormous Room i n terms  exception i s to be found i n The Enormous Room, p, 279, The use: of asterisks there indicates not tim- , i d i t y but an aversion on the part of the reading audience to the use of certain words i n p r i n t , 5  °Ellis, p.i 144.  51  S m i t h , p.: 75*  -  of the r e l a t i o n s h i p established by Brown tends to support, amplify, and deepen Cummings v i s i o n . 1,  Explicating  Freud's p o s i t i o n i n C i v i l i z a t i o n and Its Discontents. Norman 0 ,  Brown writes:  In his Q?reud's] view, sublimation i s a defense of a higher form of l i f e against r e s i d u a l animality. But the irony i s that sublimation activates the-morbid animality (anality), and the higher form of l i f e , c i v i l i z a t i o n , reveals the lower form of l i f e , the Yahoo, To r i s e above the body i s to equate the body with excrement,,' 52 And further Brown maintains that  ••• as long as humanity prefers a dead l i f e to a l i v i n g , so long i s humanity committed to treating as excrement not only i t s own body but the surrounding world of objects, reducing a l l to dead matter and inorganic magnitudes,. Our much prized " o b j e c t i v i t y toward our own bodies, other persons, and the universe, a l l our calculating " r a t i o n a l ity,," i s , from the psychoanalytical point of view, an ambivalent mixture of love and hate, an attitude appropriate only toward excrement, and appropriate to excrement only i n an animal that has l o s t his own body and life,? 53  ^Brown, p,  ;  53  Ibid.'  295  43  *  n  Tne Enormous Room Surplice i s the character  most c l o s e l y associated* with the d>ea<$ l i f e of the body.. It i s he who f a i t h f u l l y and l o v i n g l y r i d s the Room of excrement::  ..Wevery morning he takes the p a i l of s o l i d excrement down, without anyone's suggesting that he take i t ; takes i t as i f i t were h i s , empties i t i n the sewer just beyond the cour des femmes. or pours a l i t t l e (just a l i t t l e ) very d e l i c a t e l y on the garden where Monsieur l e Llrecteur i s growing a flower" f o r h i s daughter — he has, i n f a c t , an unobstreperous a f f i n i t y for excrement; he l i v e s i n i t ; he i s shaggy and spotted and blotched with i t ; he sleeps i n i t ; he puts i t i n his pipe and says i t i s delicious • ••• (p. 257). Appropriately, Surplice i s portrayed as a C h r i s t - l i k e figure:: h i s intense devotion and h i s fascination with excrement combine to make him a natural scapegoat. Furthermore, his departure; from the Enormous Room i s described i n imagery reminiscent of the Last Supper.  As a  Christ figure Surplice removes the dead waste from the midst of l i f e and maintains the delicate balance between l i f e and death i n the Enormous Room. As well as elucidating the character of Surplice i n Cummings novel, Norman 0 . Brown's theory also serves 1!  as a valuable means of penetrating to the core of Mr. Feeble-mind's b u r i a l In The Pilgrim's Progress.  Summoned  4 4  to  the C e l e s t i a l City, Mr, Feeble-mind requests that Mr,  Valiant bury the useless mind i n a dunghill:  As f o r my feeble mind, that I w i l l leave behind me, f o r that I s h a l l have no need of that i n the place whither I go,; Ubr i s i t worth bestowing upon the poorest p i l grim; wherefore when I am gone, I desire that you, Mr, Valiant, would bury i t i n a dunghill (p., 325 )• This statement echoes Old Mi*. Honest's remark i n The Second Part of The Pilgrim*'s Progress that Christian carried a Slough of Despond i n h i s mindr  Well, a f t e r he (Christian)had l a i n at the Slough of Despond a great while, as I have told you, one sunshine morning, I do not know how, he ventured, and so got over; but when he was over, he would scarce believe i t . He had, I think, a Slough of Despond i n his mind; a slough that he carried everywhere with him, or else he could never have been as he was (p^ 262),Hot  only has the body been equated with excrement,  i n Brown's terms, but so has the mind.  The connection  between the mind and the dead l i f e of the body would be r e a d i l y acceptable to Oummings,  In f a c t , he has used i t  often i n the 1926 c o l l e c t i o n of poems, i s . _ ,  particularly  the. piece e n t i t l e d "POEM, OR BEAUTY HURTS MR. VINAL."  45  The Freudian reading of these p a r t i c u l a r passages i n The Pilgrim's Progress may appear conjectural and exaggerated, but they establish an important l i n k between the dead mind-body and excrement i n the works of Bunyan and Cummings.  Moreover, the Freudian interpretation i s  j u s t i f i e d i n terms set f o r t h by Lionel T r i l l i n g i n "Freud and Literature:"  The Freudian psychology i s the only systematic account of the human mind which, i n point of subtlety and complexity, of interest and tragic power, deserves to stand beside the chaotic mass of psychological insights which l i t e r a t u r e has accumulated through the centuries., 54 In summary then, I find myself i n agreement with David E* Smith, Kingsley Widmer, and John Peale Bishop that there i s no one-to-one correspondence between Cummings' The Enormous Room and Bunyan's The Pilgrim"s Progress.  And whereas I do not i n s i s t on a Freudian read- .  ing of the excremental v i s i o n i n the novel, although such a reading does reveal certain insights into both the novel and the a l l e g o r y , , ! do i n s i s t on those l i n k s already developed i n some d e t a i l :  the use of the p i l -  grimage, the development of character i n terms of animal imagery, the search f o r i d e n t i t y , and the duplication of landscapes.  L i o n e l T r i l l i n g , "Freud and Literature^". The L i b eral Imagination (Hew York:- Doubleday & Company, Inc.-, 1953J5P. 3 2 . 5 4  2  CHARACTERIZATION IN THE ENORMOUS ROOM. I*  Characterization and Comedy i n the Novel; The Source of the Comedy and Revelation of Character Through Hands and Eyes "Antique perspective presented us with geometrical concepts of objects - as they could be seen only by an i d e a l eye. Our perspective- shows us objects as we see them with both eyes - gropingly*. We no longer construct the v i s u a l world with an acute angle converging on the horizon.. We: open up this angle:, p u l l i n g representation against us, upon us, towards: us «... We take part i n this world. That i s why we are not a f r a i d to use close-ups i n films:: to portray a man as he sometimes seems to us, out of natural proportions, suddenly f i f t y centimetres away from us; -. we. are: not afraid'to use metaphors, that leap from the l i n e s of a poem, or to a l - low the piercing sound of a trombone to swoop out of the orchestra, a g g r e s s i v e l y " 6  The characters i n the 'Enormous Room act out plays with one another which are sometimes gentle, and sometimes brutal, but most often humorous.  This humour per-  vades the novel,, illuminating a l l the characters and the narrator as well; yet i t does not emanate d i r e c t l y from a l l of them.  Only the narrator i n the novel i s suf-  f i c i e n t l y detached from the spectacle of his own l i f e i n prison to look at himself and the world around him with the perspective necessary f o r humour.  And i t i s through  55Rene G u i l l e r e , quoted i n Serge Eisenstein, "Synchronization of Senses," The Film Sense (London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1968), p. 81.  4  7  what Cummings sees, hears, and reports, apparently without reservation, that the events and impressions are r e lated to the reader.  I t i s never easy f o r the reader  to overlook the i r o n i c atmosphere i n which so many of the scenes of the novel are bathed because Cummings ' 1  humour q u a l i f i e s and humanizes the relationships between the characters i n the Enormous Room, It i s perhaps because his attitude i s one of a f f e c t i o n that the narrator sees so c l e a r l y , i n actions ....  that are s l i g h t l y absurd and therefore i n f i n i t e l y moving, the childishness of Jean l e Negre: There was another game; - a'pure child's game- which Jean played. I t was the name game. He amused himself f o r hours together by l y i n g on his p a i l l a s s e , t i l t i n g his head back, r o l l i n g up his eyes, and crying i n a high quavering voice: - 'JAWneeeeeee. After a r e p e t i t i o n or two of his own name i n English, he would demand sharply 'Qui m'appelle? Mexique? Est-ce que""tu m appelle". Mexique?' and i f Mexique~happened to be asleep, Jean would rush over and cry i n his ear shaking him thoroughly - 'Est-ce tu m'appellle, t o l ? ' Or i t might be BarbuT or Pete the Hollander, or B, or myself, of which he sternly asked the question which was always followed by quant i t i e s of laughter on Jean's part. He was never perfectly happy unless exercising his inexhaustible imagination (pp. 279-80). ;' 1  1  ;  The same affectionate humour envelops  Cummings when  he notices The Wanderer's wife bathing t h e i r c h i l d i n  48 the yard:  One f i n e day, perhaps the f i n e s t day, I looked from a window of The. Enormous Room and saw ( i n the same spot that Lena had enjoyed her h a l f hour promenade during confinement i n the cabinot. as related) the wife of the Wanderer, 'nee Peliska,.' giving his baby a bath i n a p a i l , while the. Wanderer sat i n the sun smoking. About the p a i l an absorh«d group of •pu tains stood. Several plan tons (abandoning f o r one instant t h e i r plantonic demeanour) leaned upon t h e i r guns and watched. Some even smiled a l i t t l e . And the mother, holding the brownish, naked, crowing c h i l d tenderly, was swimming i t quietly to etnd f r o , to the delight of Celina i n p a r t i c u l a r . To Cellna i t waved i t s arms greetingly. She stooped and spoke to i t . The mother smiled. The Wanderer, looking from time to time at his wife, smoked and pondered by himself i n the sunlight (p.. 226). The scene i n which Oummings i s introduced to M. l e Gestionnaire i s likewise purely comic.  The  planton"s  behaviour preceding Oummings' interview with M... l e Gestionnaire prepares us f o r a dreadful character.  Instead,  are confronted by  •  ... a very f a t personage with a black skull-cap perched upon i t s head. Its face was possessed of an enormous nose, on which pincenez precariously roosted; otherwise said face was large, whiskered, very German and had three chins. Extraordinary creature. Its b e l l y , as i t sat, was s l i g h t l y dented by the table-top, on which table-top  we  49 rested several enormous tomes simi l a r to those employed by the recording angel on the Day of Judgment, and ink-stand or two, i n numerable pens and pencils, and some p o s i t i v e l y f a t a l - l o o k i n g papers (p. 104). The r e l i g i o u s imagery, which i s woven throughout the scene leading up to the introduction, i s applied i r o n ically:  St. Peter becomes a bulbous  o f f i c i a l i n a l i b r a r i a n ' s smock, who  hippopotamus-like i s puzzled to  learn of Cummings place of o r i g i n and has great d i f 1  f i c u l t y i n s p e l l i n g the prisoner's name.  Cummings'  humour here as i n the previous two examples centers on the incongruity between two aspects of a given s i t u a t i o n , i t s aspect as f e l t subjectively, and as i t appears objectively.  The narrator himself associates his actions and  words with his f e e l i n g s .  Seen from the outside, these  actions appear to an observer s l i g h t l y absurd and unreal. And i t i s the body which Cummings inhabits and through which he must approach others which imposes absurd ations upon emotions:  limit-  Jean's inexhaustible imagination  operating i n a prison room, the sentimental bathing scene with the pu tains and the plantons, the scene with M.. l e Gestionnaire and the planton - such i s the essence of Cummings' humour.  50 Comedy of the same kind i s manifested planton i n the l a s t scene.  by the  I t i s he who has prepared the  prisoner f o r a merciless authoritarian. During the i n terview, however, M. l e Gestionnaire reveals a frank admiration f o r the American prisoner and treats him genially.  The planton i s angered by t h i s response and  expresses h i s annoyance by rasping his boot on the threshold of the door while Oummings i s being  questioned.  The translator, who had been standing inconspicuously i n the corner during the f i r s t moments of the interview, i s also impressed by Oummings' command of the language.. In f a c t , the a n g l i c i z e d s p e l l i n g of My l e Gestionnaire's speech combined with the s i c k l y look of the t r a n s l a t o r probably indicate that Oummings spoke French as well as, i f not better than, either of them. The l i v e s of both the plantons and M«< l e Gestionnaire are acted out on several l e v e l s .  In r e a l i t y , l i f e  acts through these characters and betrays them a l l too easily i n the body which i s v i s i b l e to a l l except themselves.  The face of M. l e Gestionnaire, the would-be:  saint, draws the narrator's attention:  Such a round, f a t , red, pleasant, beer-drinking face as reminded me only and immediateLy of huge  51 >  meerschaum pipes, Deutsche Verein mottos, sudsy seidels of Wurtzburger, and Jacob f i r t h s (once upon a time) brachwurst. Such p i n - l i k e pink merry eyes as made me think of Kris Kringle himself (p. 105). 1  This discordance between the body and the avowed personality betrays the comic role which M. l e Gestionnaire i s playing:  the r e a l person i s revealed beneath  the d o l l - l i k e surface. Count de Bragard.  The unmasking i s done again with  That character i s described at the  outset as  ... a perfect type: the apotheosis of injured n o b i l i t y , the humiliated victim of p e r f e c t l y unfortunate c i r cumstances, the u t t e r l y respectable gentleman who has seen better days. There was about him,, moreover, something i r r e t r i e v a b l y English, nay even p a t h e t i c a l l y V i c t o r i a n - i t was as i f a page of Dickens was shaking my friend's hand (pp.. 7 1 - 2 ) . As the novel progresses, however, we learn that the Count i s a hypocrite and a t h i e f .  I t i s the face, the  eyes p a r t i c u l a r l y , that betray the actor i n the i n dividual:  Bragard's "grey t i r e d eyes" (p.  Gestionnaire's "frank and stupid eyes" (p. the "razor-keen  eyes" (p.  204), M. l e 105), and  127) of the S u r v e i l l a n t ,  Almost a l l Oummings  1  characters are betrayed  either by their eyes or t h e i r hands:  Bragard has " t i r e d  looking hands" (p. 205), Zulu "sensitive fingers" (p. 243), the  Mme* Demestre "slender golden hands" (p. 219), Spy "treacherous hands" (p.  199), and the School-  master a "weak bony hand" (p. 118). Oummings' focus on hands i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c not only of The Enormous Room but also of the poetry from the  early Tulips and Chimneys (1923) to the l a t e r Xaipe  (1950).  Oummings' keen eye f o r d e t a i l , manifest i n h i s  descriptions of hands, which not only possess a l i f e of their own but also participate i n the l i f e of the body, i s reminiscent of Rilke's descriptions of hands i n h i s Sonnets to Orpheus, New Poems, and especially i n "The Rodin-Hook" where he comments on that sculptor's work:  The a r t i s t has the r i g h t to make one thing out of many and a world out of the smallest part of a thing. Rodin has made hands, independent, small hands which, without forming part of a body, are yet a l i v e . Hands r i s i n g upright, angry and i r r i t a t e d , hands whose five, b r i s t l i n g fingers seem to bark l i k e the f i v e throats of a Cerberus. Hands i n motion, sleeping hands and hands i n the act of awaking; criminal hands wlthfed by heredity, hands that are t i r e d and have l o s t a l l desire, l y i n g l i k e some sick beast crouched i n a corner, Knowing none  53 can help them. But,hands are a compl i c a t e d organism, a delta i n which much l i f e from distant sources flows together and i s poured into the great stream of action. Hands have a history of their own., they have, indeed, their own c i v i l i z a t i o n , t h e i r special beauty; we concede to them the right to have t h e i r own development, t h e i r own wishes, f e e l i n g s , moods and favourite occupations. Both Cummings and Rilke focus t h e i r attention on the Shape of hands, t h e i r gestures, and above a l l , on t h e i r contact.  For both a r t i s t s the contact resembles a s p i r -  i t u a l penetration, the illumination of one person by another.  But where Rilke's p a r t i c u l a r concern i s the shap  warmth, and tenderness of hands, Cummings i s more exten 1  siye;  i t Includes the movement of i n d i v i d u a l fingers  and further attributes the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y human f e a tures to the suh, the moon, the wind, and the r a i n . ^7 While Cummings may be i n Rilke's debt either consciously or unconsciously, he may also owe something to another of M s contemporaries and f o r a time his comp a t r i o t , Gaston Lachaise. acquainted:  The two a r t i s t s were well  CJummings wrote a review f o r The D i a l i n  1920 praising Lachaise;  Lachaise sculptured a bust-  p o r t r a i t of Cummings four years l a t e r .  Rainer Maria Rilke, "The Rodin-Book: Part One," Selected Works, trans. G. Craig Houston (Norfold: New Directions, 1960), I, 110-11*  One  of the most s t r i k i n g features of  Lachaise's  sculpture i s the a r t i s t i c completeness and wholeness of the actual fragments:: notably the torso poses - i n part i c u l a r the "Torso With Arms Raised" and the "Torso of E l evation," i n addition to the work consisting s o l e l y of a pair of bent knees (entitled "Knees"), and the "Hand of Richard Buhlig."  I t i s t h i s completeness, of the  fragment that l i n k s Oummings and Lachaise.  The former  i s s k i l f u l i n depicting character by means of a few gestures,  the features of the hands, or the movements  of the eyes;  the l a t t e r , a dramatist i n sculpture,  evokes a sense of l i f e i n the whole through the parts. Praising the sculpture of Lachaise i n a well-known a r t i c l e f o r The D i a l . Oummings writes:  There i s one thing which Lachaise would rather do than anything else, and that i s to experience the bignesses and whitenesses and silences, of the polar regions. His l i v e l y interest i n Esquimaux drawings and customs stems from this absolutely inherent desire - to negate the myriad with the single, to annihilate the complicatedness and prettinesses and t r i v i a l i t i e s of Southern c i v i l izations with the enormous, the soir i t a r y , the fundamental. ->o  Of. Tulips (1923), J_ad  (1925), i s  58 Quoted i n A Miscellany Revised, pp.  (1926), 15-16.  :,  and  This statement applies rather well to Cummings' own method i n The Enormous Room f o r he too i s concerned with the "bignesses" and the "silences" of a barren region.  In such an environment Cummings too concen-  trates on the "single," the "enormous, the s o l i t a r y , the fundamental."  II*  Game Playing and Its Function i n The Enormous Room: Count Bragard, Jean, Surplice and Their Roles " A l l the world's a stage, And a l l the men and women merely players; They have t h e i r exits and t h e i r entrances; And one man i n his time plays many parts." 59 If there i s anything p a r t i c u l a r l y terr i f y i n g about prisons, or at least imi t a t i o n s of prisons such as La Ferte', i t i s possibly the u t t e r obviousness with which (quite unknown to themselves) the prisoners demonstrate w i l l y - n i l l y cert a i n fundamental psychological laws. °° Having established the importance of roles i n The  Enormous Room, we now proceed to a closer examination of the roles assumed by some of the main characters.. The Count de Bragard, more than any other person i n the Enormous Room,, i s an a r t i f i c i a l character.  He i s the antag-  onist of a drama of disguises, misunderstandings, and exposures.  Bragard stands apart from the other occupants  of the Room because of his personality, his occupation, and his background. The Count's dress i s more elaborate than that of the  other characters because he i s trying to build-up  As You Like It,," I I , v i i i . The P i c t o r i a l E d i t i o n of the Works of Shakespeare, ed. Charles Knight (New York: F.P. C o l l i e r , n.d.); I I , 220. 5 9 , 1  ^°The Enormous Room, p. 264.  i  57 a f i c t i t i o u s character and at the same time to communicate something more than this character conveys.  He  makes a muoh more concentrated e f f o r t toward establishing friendships than do any of the others.  His attempts  both to conceal and to reveal what he i s constantly cont r a d i c t each other. Despite Bragard"s uniqueness, he does embody a l l the prejudices of one i n his position.  Supposedly an  a r i s t o c r a t , he has pride i n his b i r t h r i t e as well as an insolent scorn f o r the coarse low l i f e characters with whom he i s confined.  He i s set apart from other  a r i s t o c r a t s because of h i s claim to be a r t i s t i c a l l y gifted.  His chief weapon of defense i s h i s a r t i c u l a t e -  ness, which may take on a savage, insolent, or pathetic tone.  His a r i s t o c r a t i c t i t l e , h i s a r t i s t i c i n c l i n a t i o n s ,  and his cosmopolitan background make him a s o l i t a r y character i n the Enormous Room, both contemptible and contemptuous, Cummings sees this character at the outset as a caricature:  "a perfect type," 'the victim of "perfectly  unfortunate circumstances," " u t t e r l y respectable," " i r r e t r i e v a b l y English," and possessing the "accents of indisputable culture" (pp. 71-2), A l i t t l e l a t e r Cummings makes an i n t e r e s t i n g com-  58 merit on Count Bragard:  I have already noted the fact that Count Bragard s fondness f o r this roly-poly i n d i v i d u a l , whose belly - as he l a y upon h i s back of a morning i n bed - rose up with the sheets, blankets and q u i l t s as much as two feet above the l e v e l of his small stupid head studded with chins, I have said that t h i s admiration on the part of the admirable Count and R,A, f o r a personage of the Spanish Whoremaster's profession somewhat interested me (P. 203). 1  And so the narrator's f i r s t impression of the Count i s considerably a l t e r e d :  the Dickensian gentleman how  seems to r e a l i z e the advantages of c u l t i v a t i n g a r e lationship with a whoremaster. Acting as a contrast to the Cummings-Bragard r e l a t i o n s h i p i s the friendship of Cummings and Jean l e Negre,  The f i r s t contact i s made through Jean's spon-  taneous outburst:  Entered a beautiful p i l l a r of black s t r u t t i n g muscle topped with a tremendous display of the whitest teeth on earth. The muscle bowed p o l i t e l y i n our d i r e c t i o n , the g r i n remarked musically; 'Bjo'jour. tou' 1' monde': then came a cascade of laughter. I t s effect on the spectators was instantaneous: they roared and danced with joy (p, 270).  59  Afterwards, Jean amuses himself with a game, one of many which Oummings reports.  Standing by himself i n  the cour, Jean i s i n t e n t l y studying a copy of the London Daily Mail upside-down:  'Est-ce vrail V ' l a . l e r o i d' Angleterre est maiade. Quelque chose! - « Comment? La relne aussi? Bon Pieut Qu est-ce que c'est? - Mon pWre est mort!"" Merde 1 - Eh, b'en 1 La guerre est finiTsic). Bon (p, 271)• 1  Jean further occupies himself with p r a c t i c a l jokes, songs, imaginary telephone conversations, rhyming games, and the name game- previously mentioned i n conjunction with the humour of the novel. . The name games and the rhyme games bring to mind some of Johan Huizinga's remarks on the nature of play i n Homo Ludens: A  Study of the Play-Element i n Culture.  A few b r i e f  and general comments concerning Mr. Huizinga's theories would help establish a framework f o r discussing Jean's p a r t i c u l a r fascination with games. In his book Mr„ Huizinga offers three characteristics of play: a leisure-time a c t i v i t y ; make-believe;  i t is  i t i s marked by an element of  and i t i s conducted within s p a t i a l and  temporal l i m i t a t i o n s .  A l l three characteristics apply  from Oummings' point of view to Jean's play situations  60 as well as to the other games carried on within the confines of the novel:  the procuring of water, the attempts  to communicate with the women, the many l i n g u i s t i c games, and the war game i n the background.  An important d i f -  ference does exist, however, between Jean!s games and those of the others.  That difference may be explained  i n terms of one of Huizinga's statements:  When a certain form of r e l i g i o n accepts a sacred i d e n t i t y between two things of a d i f f e r e n t order, say a human being and an animal, t h i s relationship i s not adequately expressed by c a l l i n g i t a "symbolic correspondence" as we conceive t h i s . The i d e n t i t y , the essential oneness of the two goes f a r deeper than the correspondence between a substance and i t s symbolic image. I t i s a mystic unity. The one has become the other. In his magic dance, the savage i s a kangaroo. 0 1  This passage, s l i g h t l y altered, strikes to the core of Jean's performance i n the games.  Jean's games are not  r i t u a l i s t i c nor i s his correspondence with an animal anything but a l l u s i v e .  Jean, however, does resemble  the savage, the primitive mind with i t s t o t a l immersion i n the present, i t s r e l a t i v e freedom from future desires and past memories.  And whereas he does not i d e n t i f y with  animals, he does assume the identity of other people to  Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: Element i n Culture (Boston:  A Study of the Play-  Beacon Press,, 1966), p  9  25,  61 f  the point of actually becoming them - the Lord of the Admiralty, son of the Lord Mayor of London by the Queen, the conveyor of news, the game supervisor during dominoes, the f i g h t e r , and the martyr.  Jean's b r i e f but i n t e r e s t -  ing performances on the stage of the Enormous Room are f o r the most part comic and yet we can never be quite sure what part Jean i s playing i n what drama or even what i s the nature and extent of h i s disguise. Count de Bragard's game i s i n keeping with t h i s ambiguity.  Prom the beginning this man lays claims to  n o b i l i t y and a r t i s t i c talent. mings' and "Bi's confinement wanes.  During the course of Cum-  Count Bragard's  cordiality  Cummings recognizes that the Count, who claims  an acquaintance with clzanne, i s unable to provide a des c r i p t i o n of the a r t i s t .  Furthermore,  every conversation  dealing with a r t culminates i n the avowed i m p o s s i b i l i t y of producing a r t i n the intolerable environment of La Ferte. Cummings i s aware rather early i n the game that Bragard i s a fraud, consequently , when Bragard leaves La Ferte, Cummings and "B" refuse him the money which he requests.  By refusing to play Cummings and "B" commit  the unpardonable act i n the world of games.  62 Surplice's section of the novel discloses another game i n which a l l occupants of the Enormous Room p a r t i c ipate, the game of scapegoating, which begins as soon as personalities become involved.  Surplice i s introduced  as a t o t a l l y ignorant yet exceedingly r e l i g i o u s man:  .,, every Friday he w i l l be found s i t t i n g on a l i t t l e kind of stool by h i s p a i l l a s s e , reading h i s prayer-book upside down; turning with enormous delicacy the thin d i f f i c u l t leaves, smiling to himself as he , sees and does not read (p, 257), Such a blatant demonstration of both h i s ignorance and religiousness makes Surplice an i d e a l scapegoat. the miserable environment  Given  of the Enormous Room and sub-  jected to the often degrading treatment by the o f f i c i a l s , the prisoners select one of their weaker members f o r cruel treatment and r i d i c u l e .  In the Enormous Room Sur-  p l i c e i s the victim:  In the case of Surplice, to be the butt of everyone's r i d i c u l e could not be called precisely suffering; inasmuch as Surplice, being unspeakably lonely, enjoyed any and a l l i n s u l t s f o r the simple reason that they constituted or at least implied a recognition of his existence. To be made a f o o l of was, to this otherwise completely neglected i n d i v i d u a l , a mark of d i s t i n c t i o n ; something to take pleasure  63 i n ; to be proud of. The inhabitants of The Enormous Room had given to Surp l i c e a small but e s s e n t i a l part i n the drama of La Mlse^e: he would play that part to the utmost of his a b i l i t y ; the cap-and-bells should not grace a head unworthy of their high significance (p». 262). We then see Surplice, submissive taunted by his fellow inmates. "Syph'lis" as the men  and ignorant, being Here Surplice, or  c a l l him, i s experiencing gen-  uine cruelty and yet the jeering and taunting i s transmuted into positive f e e l i n g s .  Following the  name-calling  scene Surplice can be found "smiling and even chuckling ... very happy ... as only an actor Is happy whose eff o r t s have been greeted with universal applause....  (p.  264). Surplice maintains h i s role through the Last Supper preceding his transfer to the concentration camp at Precigne - s t i l l subservient and s l i g h t l y r i d i c u l o u s . But i t i s the rule i n Cummings' Enormous Room that the r i d i c u l o u s and the absurd character towers above the people among whom he moves.  Surplice earns his place  as a Delectable Mountain. Each of the Delectable Mountains i s the central character i n a series of plays f o r which his l i f e i n the Enormous Room provides the stage and on which other characters appear only i n supporting r o l e s .  3 THE ACHIEVEMENT, OF BALANCE IN. "THE ENORMOUS ROOM" I.  The Dramatic Balance i n the Novel "...I do not purpose to i n f l i c t upon the reader a diary of my alternative a l i v e ness and non-existence at La Perte I s h a l l (on the contrary) l i f t from t h e i r grey box at random certain (to me) more or less astonishing toys; which may or may not please the reader, but whose colours and shapes and textures are a part of that actual Presentwithout future or past-whereof they alone are cognizant who, so to speak, have submitted to an amputation of the world." 62 One of the most impressive s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e s  i n The Enormous Room i s Oummings' use of dramatic s i t uations to produce and sustain a balanced atmosphere. At  the opening of Chapter I we have several incidents  which i l l u s t r a t e this balancer. hat  The episode of the l o s t  i s a tense scene i n which Oummings underestimates  the gravity of his s i t u a t i o n .  There the "tin-derby" r e -  sponds to Oummings overenthusiastic attempt to retrieve 1  the driver's hat by drawing a revolver and aiming i t at the unwary prisoner.  Using mechanical imagery to explain  62 The Enormous Room, p* 114.  65  the e f f e c t of this action, Cummings states:  My mind f e l t as i f i t had been thrown suddenly from fourth i n to reverse. I pondered and said nothing (p. 8). On f i r s t reading the scene appears melodramatic but when reviewed i n l i g h t of what we learn about the narrator i t i s most e f f e c t i v e . incident i s immediateLy  This tense and  f o l l o w e d by the  threatening  conversation  i n English between Cummings and the American F.I.A.X. driver.  The humour of this s i t u a t i o n inheres i n the  "tin-derby's" i n a b i l i t y to understand English.  The r e -  laxed, at times jocular, tone underlies Cummings' meal at Noyon, his introduction to the marraine, and his i n terview with M. l e M i n i s t r e .  The atmosphere i n a l l  three of these scenes i s more relaxed than i t i s i n the e a r l i e r revolver scene.  We are well aware though that  the atmosphere of the interview with M. l e Ministre would not be so relaxed were the Frenchman not so off i c i o u s and sober and were Cummings himself not so nonchalant.  Here as throughout the novel the disinterested  pose of the narrator creates humour through i t s cont r a s t with the serious attitudes of the o f f i c i a l s the gravity of the s i t u a t i o n s .  and  The interview with M»  l e Ministre i n Chapter I prepares us f o r the i n t e r views with "the rooster" i n Chapter I I I , M. l e Gestionnaire i n Chapter 17/,  a n d  M  »  l e  Directeur i n Chapter XIII.  66 The humour inherent i n the second interview with the "rooster" consists of describing the o f f i c i a l i n animall i k e terms and having him mispronounce Oummings's name© In the third interview the humour inheres i n the i n congruity between the o f f i c i a l whom Oummings anticipates on the basis of the planton s 1  behaviour and the actual  o f f i c i a l revealed i n the course of the interview.  The  most s t r i k i n g feature of the f i n a l interview and the one responsible f o r the humour i s the Directeur s i n a b i l i t y 1  to cope with Oummings' evasiveness  by hurling i n s u l t s  and accusations and by shouting. I t i s noteworthy that each of the interviews i s preceded and followed by scenes markedly d i f f e r e n t i n tone from the interviews themselves.  The interview with  "the rooster" i n Chapter I I I , f o r example, i s preceded by the mystical passages dealing with the wooden man and the City of Pretend;  i t i s followed by his confine-  ment to the Enormous Room.  In Chapter IV, descriptions  of the occupants of the Enormous Room precede, the i n t e r view and Oummings' closer acquaintance: with them follows it.  The f i n a l interview i s immediately preceded and fol-  lowed by two scenes of calm:: Oummings' union with the landscape and his farewell to the remaining prisoners. The arrangement of these interviews i l l u s t r a t e s Oummings use of contrast to balance the tone of The Enormous Room  67  Another such arrangement occurs i n Chapter I I I when Cummings views two children playing near his p r i son window at Gre:  As I l a y on my back luxuriously I saw through the bars of my twice padlocked door a boy and a g i r l about then years o l d . I saw them climb on the wall and play together, o b l i v i o u s l y and exquisitely, i n the darkening a i r . I watched them f o r many minutes; t i l l the l a s t moment of l i g h t f a i l e d ; t i l l they and the wall i t s e l f dissolved i n a common mystery, leaving only the bored s i l houette of the s o l d i e r moving imperceptibly and wearily against a s t i l l more gloomy piece of autumn sky (pp. 37-38).. 1  Contrast i s used i n this passage to emphasize Cummings' confinement and i s o l a t i o n .  While the children romp  f r e e l y on the wall outside Cummings watches them from behind a doubly-padlocked doox. As the l i g h t fades so r  do both the children and the wall, revealing a d i r e c t v i s u a l Connection between s o l d i e r and prisoner.  Ac-  companying the disappearance of the children are the changes i n landscape and mood.  Exuberance i s replaced  by boredom;  youth by age.  ing  c h i l d by s o l d i e r ;  Shatter-  the silence and lethargy of the l a t t e r part of this  scene i s Cummings' clamour f o r water: "Quelque chose )i boire, s ' i l vous p l a i t i " (p.  38).  The silence i n  Cum-  mings' c e l l at Gre contrasts v i v i d l y with the l a t e r uproars i n the Enormous Room:: the pandemonium r e s u l t i n g  66  from The Fighting Sheeney's would-be boxing match, B i l l the Hollander's attack on The Young Pole, and Jean's f i g h t with Sheeney. A t h i r d example from The Enormous Room w i l l conclude my i l l u s t r a t i o n s of this aspect of s t y l e .  The b a l -  ance of the entire novel i s displayed i n the continual movement from confinement  to freedom.  U n t i l the a r r i v a l  -s  of Oummings and the gendarmes i n Paris, the action focuses on the prison c e l l s .  The f i r s t c e l l at Noyon i s  "a room, about sixteen feet short and four feet narrow* with a heap of straw i n the further end" (p©  22),  From there he journeys with a l l his trappings to the p r i son at Gre:  " A l l around, two-story  wooden barracks.  L i t t l e crude staircases led up to doors heavily chained and immensely padlocked"  (p.  35)<•  During a b r i e f r e s t  at Gre Oummings i s rudely awakened by six men who over him i n c i r c u l a r formation.  hover  On the t r a i n to Paris  he i s accompanied by two gendarmes, one guarding either side of the compartment door.  Even when both the gen-  darmes have f a l l e n asleep at their posts, one of them maintains his hold on the door, l e s t t h e i r prisoner escape. Dirty and weary, the three f i n a l l y arrive i n P a r i s : A great shout came up from every insane drowsy brain that had t r a v e l led with us - a f i e r c e and beautiful  69 cry, which went the length of the t r a i n • ••• Paris where one forgets, Paris which i s Pleasure, Paris i n whom our souls l i v e , Paris the b e a u t i f u l , Paris enfin" (p. 42), After the b r i e f respite i n Paris, Cummings i s taken to Mace,  Again he i s confined to prison and again he  finds reason to comment on the size of the padlocks. Entering the prison c e l l i n the dark, the narrator i s unable to determine either the size or the content of the room.  Shortly, however,  hitherto empty and minute room became suddenly enormous: weird c r i e s , oaths, laughter, p u l l i n g i t sideways and backward, extending i t to inconceivable depth and width, telescoping i t to f r i g h t f u l nearness. Prom a l l directions, by at least t h i r t y voices i n eleven languages (I counted as I lay Dutch, Belgian, Spanish, Turkish, Arabian, Polish, Russian, Swedish, German, French - and English) at d i s tances varying from seventy feet to a few inches, f o r twenty minutes I was ferociously bombarded (p, 60). Although Cummings comes to appreciate the dimensions of inner space i n this Enormous Room, he also becomes aware of a further confinement and i s o l a t i o n associated with disobeying the laws of the Room i n p a r t i c u l a r and La Ferte i n general,  Cabinot. the l a b e l given to the  punishment f o r disobedience, consists of confinement i n a dar*<, damp stone closet-sized building. three-and-one-half-month  During h i s  residence i n the Enormous  70 Room Oummings hears rumours of those who have suffered confinement and he actually witnesses Lena's sixteen-day cabinot. Oummings' technique of expression during the period of his confinement i n the Enormous Room i s p a r t i c u l a r l y well suited to h i s exploration of inner space and h i s acceptance of external l i m i t a t i o n s of the Room.  He sums  up his technique i n a statement made i n Chapter ¥:  ... I do not purpose to i n f l i c t upon the reader a diary of my alternative , aliveness and non-existence at La Ferte - not because such a diary would unutterably bore him, but because the diary or time method i s a technique which cannot possibly do justice to timelessness. I s h a l l (on the contrary) l i f t from t h e i r grey box at random certain (to me) more or less astonishing toys; which may or may not. please the reader, but whose colours and shapes and textures, are a part of that actual Present-without future and past - whereof they alone are cognizant who, so to speak, have submitted to an amputation of the world (p.- 114). Such i s Oummings' technique:- he allows the eye to wander u n t i l an object of interest demands i t s attention. He then c i r c l e s the object, describes i t and redescribes it;  some few times he penetrates i t .  And so on to the  next object, producing the effect of a collage whose framework i s supplied by the Enormous Room i t s e l f  71  Cummings  1  single viewpoint  technique.is akin to Jean-Luc Godard's scenes i n which the camera makes the  movie as i n his l a t e s t f i l m , Sympathy f o r the Devil. The technique i n The Enormous Room also hears comparison with James Reaney's technique i n his 1967 drama, Colours i n the Dark.  In the o r i g i n a l production notes to that  drama Reaney states:  Colours i n the Dark might best be called a play box. Why? I happen to have a play box and i t ' s f i l l e d with not only toys and school I r e l i c s , but also deedboxes, ancestral c o f f i n plates, i n short a whole l i f e . When you sort through the play box you eventually see your whole l i f e - as well as a l l of l i f e - things l i k e Sunday School albums which show E l i j a h being fed by ravens, St. Stephen being stoned. The t h e a t r i c a l experience i n front of you now i s designed to give you that mosaic -all-things-happening-at the-same-time-galaxy-higgledy-piggledy feeling that rummaging through a play box can give you ... For example, you can just s i t back and watch the sequence of - colours i n the play: from a white section, to red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple sections, f i n a l l y to black and then out to white again. Watch the colours and images the way you'd watch the peacock's feather. Myriads of characters and situations bubble up. A play box should contain l o t s of plays - and this one has a new play before you every two minutes,  63james Reaney, Colours i n the Dark (Vancouver: Talonplays, 1969), p. V5\ • C t f e - Heinrich B o l l , Absent Without Leave, trans. L e i l a Vennewitz (Hew York:; McGrawH i l l Book Company, 1 9 6 5 ) , p. 11 * "I wish to present this work, not only as f a r as I am concerned but- also i n regard to a l l other persons appearing i n i t , less as a completed record than as one of those coloring books with which we are f a m i l i a r from our happy-childhood days ..."  72 Although Reaney's statements Oummings  1  are strongly reminiscent of  i n Chapter V of The Enormous Room, they d i f f e r  i n at l e a s t one important respect,  Oummings' characters  are chosen from the play box of the "actual Present"(The Enormous Room, p.  114),. Reaney, on the other hand,  chooses to reach back into the past and examine the toys which he finds there.  In so doing, the playwright comes  to understand not only the past but the patterns of l i f e revealed i n the present.  Furthermore, where Reaney s 1  "characters and situations bubble up," Oummings' not only "bubble up" but also seek a delicate balance on the stage of the Enormous Room. When Oummings f i n a l l y bids farewell to h i s f e l low prisoners, he displays signs of disorientation and emotional i n s t a b i l i t y .  He has been born again and i s  suffering the accompanying agony.  En route to Paris  that agony i s manifest i n the reconstruction of the world fragment by fragment:  A wee, tiny, absurd whistle coming from nowhere, from outside of me. Two men opposite. J o l t . A few houses, a fence, a wall, a b i t of neige f l o a t f o o l i s h l y by and through § window (p. 237), The reconstruction continues even a f t e r Oummings' arr i v a l i n Paris,  Thoughts are s t i l l fragmentary;  ex-  pression i s limited to simple d i c t i o n , often monosyl-  :  73  l a b i c words, and the sentence structure remains; simple. I t i s only a f t e r Oummings arrives i n America that h i s thoughts become more cohesive, h i s expression more complex.  The f i n a l paragraph of The Enormous Room i s a  celebration of l i f e , a yeah-saying of the most ultimate kind:  The t a l l , impossibly t a l l , incomparably t a l l , c i t y shouldering upward into hard sunlight leaned a l i t t l e through the octaves of i t s p a r a l l e l edges, leaningl y strode upward into firm, hard, snowy sunlight; the noises of America neari n g l y throbbed with smokes and hurrying dots which are men and which are women and which are things new and curious and hard and strange and vibrant and immense, l i f t i n g with a great ondulous stride firmly into immortal sunl i g h t .... (pp. 3 3 1 - 3 2 ) . And this f i n a l v i s i o n not only offsets the absurdities and horrors of the Enormous Room, but i t also dramatizes the narrator's return to emotional s t a b i l i t y .  II*  The Emotional Balance i n the Narrator: and Delight  Anguish  "After a l l , men i n La Mlsere as well as anywhere else r i g h t l y demand a certain amount of amusement; amusement i s , i n deed, p e c u l i a r l y essential to suffering; i n proportion as we are able to be^amused we are able to suffer ... " Within the c i r c l e of l i f e r i n the Enormous Room there i s an I n f i n i t e l y varied world of emotions which are continually being created, destroyed, or modified by the narrator's r e l a t i o n with what he notices around him.  The "tin-derby's" unexpected threat i n the "re-  volver scene,," f o r example, i s s u f f i c i e n t to temporarily a l t e r Cummings high s p i r i t s . 1  Count Bragard's glowing  image i s modified by the opinions held by the various occupants of the Enormous Ro©m, p a r t i c u l a r l y "B5" who mistrusts him..  And the favourable image of Pete the  Hollander i s also modified by his taunting of Demestre's wife.  The narrator's mind constantly grapples with the  c o l l i s i o n s and contradictions which he observes around him.  These c o l l i s i o n s and contradictions delight him  because their r e l a t i o n subtly undermines the well-or dered hierarchy at La Perte.  The Enormous Room, p. 262.  75 Although Oummings l i v e s through his imagination, his  l i f e i s s o l i d l y anchored i n the routine of the camp  Imagination and routine are intermingled by the narrator  i n an extraordinary set of p o r t r a i t s , which he des-  cribes i n chapters f i v e through eleven.  And these por-  t r a i t s become r i c h e r and more extraordinary as a r e s u l t of the reminiscent mode of the novel. The narrator r e c a l l s the world of La Ferte Mace much as the prisoner must have experienced i t , through the medium of two emotional states, which are i n t e r posed between the world and himself, i s o l a t i n g certain events and moments of h i s l i f e .  When these emotions  become s u f f i c i e n t l y intense, Oummings establishes new relationships with the world around him. The f i r s t of these emotions i s anguish.  This an-  guish i s born of the inhumane treatment i n the prisons the smell and the food - and at the end the loneliness following " B " " 1  transfer to Precigne.  In an attempt to  cope with i t , Oummings adopts the pose of the tough guy S.I. Hayakawa i n an early a r t i c l e and Roy Harvey Pearce i n The Continuity of American Poetry have both commented on Oummings  1  tough-guy stance i n the poetry.  Although Professor Hayakawa's statement that Oummings explores "with unfeeling but l i v e l y c u r i o s i t y a nether  76  world peopled by hideous automatons"  i s directed to-  ward Cummings' poetry, the statement might well be r e directed toward The Enormous Room I t s e l f . Later i n the same a r t i c l e Hayakawa points out that Cummings does r e turn to h i s former c h i l d l i k e  v i s i o n but proceeds "with  elaborate precautions l e s t he be caught acting l i k e a softie."  6  6  Balancing the anguish underlying the "tough guy" pose i n the novel i s the narrator's delight i n the Delectable Mountains, which sometimes culminates i n moments of ecstasy.  This delight i s always accompanied by a  p a r t i c u l a r intense sensation which occurs i n the presence of either the spontaneous actions of one of these Mountains or else a quite natural phenomena:  the sight of  Paris, the snow seen through the bars at La Ferte, New York on the r e a r r i v a l  i n America, and on the other hand,  Demestre and the Imp l i v i n g together i n the Room and Jean's name games.  The delight which Cummings experiences  causes him to make some exclamation or gesture himself. In the Zulu, Cummings finds an outlet f o r his own delight.  The figure makes such an Impression upon h i s  mind that i t seems to c a l l out to him a message of delight,  6  p.  5 s . I . Hayakawa, "Is Indeed 5,"  286. 6 6  I b i d . , p. 289.  Poetry. L K L I I  (1938),  77 words surge up within him i n response and he writes down a description of the Zulu so that their image i s translated into a conscious l i t e r a r y  expression:  There are c e r t a i n things i n which one i s unable to believe f o r the simple reason that he never ceases to f e e l them. Things of this sort - things which are always inside of us and i n fact are us and which consequently w i l l not be pushed o f f or away where we can begin thinking about them - are no longer things; they, and the us which they are, equals A Verb; an IS (P. 2 3 1 ) . By this act the narrator creates a new r e l a t i o n s h i p with his own emotions and their cause; ates a new combination of words.  he also cre-  The creation of  these word combinations springs d i r e c t l y from his own s e n s i b i l i t i e s ;  i t i s an inner submission to an  outer stimulation.  Furthermore, i t i s accomplished  by both anguish and delight and i t l i e s on the road to accomplishment,  Oummings has not only  experienced  an emotion but he has also expressed i t . This process had previously occurred when the narrator had returned to Paris as a prisoner on his way to La Ferte Mace:  ....Paris where one forgets, Paris which i s Pleasure, Paris i n whom our souls l i v e , Paris the b e a u t i f u l , Paris enfin (p. 42).  78 The description continues:  I am i n a new world - a world of chic femininity. My eyes devour the i n i m i t able d e t a i l s of costume, the inexpress i b l e nuances of pose, the indescribable demarche of the midinette. They hold themselves d i f f e r e n t l y . They have even a l i t t l e bold colour here and there on s k i r t or blouse or hat. They are not talking about l a guerre. Incredible. They appear very beautiful, these Parisiennes (p. 44). Cummings recognizes the very substance of Paris r e a l i z e s what makes Paris what i t i s , his own joy i n being a l i v e .  and  sheer  Beyond the disillusionment of  Noyon, the narrator has returned to his European starting-point and t h i s return i s defined as a joyous contact with r e a l i t y .  But Cummings has to conscious-  l y recreate the magic i n the l i g h t of r e a l i t y .  The v i s i o n  of Paris proves that beyond the fluctuations of emotion and the maltreatment of both body and mind, there i s a l e v e l on which human existence  i s delight, a harmony  established between the i n d i v i d u a l and his world. Beauty i s born of t h i s harmony; i n d i v i d u a l , who  i t i s neither i n the  i s variable, nor In the objects them-  selves, but i t comes when they are mutually present. In this harmony the world of Paris and certainly the  79 world of the Enormous Room l a t e r on f l o u r i s h e s . Without this harmony the world cannot be set within the closed sphere of a r t . The process of allowing expression to shape experience occurs again i n a notable passage at the conclusion of the novel:  The t a l l , impossibly t a l l , incomparably t a l l , .city .shouldering upward into hard sunlight leaned a . l i t t l e through the octaves of i t s p a r a l l e l edges, leaningly strode upward into firm, hard,snowy sunlight; the noises of America nearingly throbbed with smokes and hurrying dots which are men and which are women and which are things new and curious and hard and strange and vibrant and immense, l i f t i n g with a great ondulous stride f i r m l y into immortal sunlight.... 331-32).  (PP.  Here New  York r i s e s before Oummings  1  eyes i n an aura  of poetry, moving i n a miraculously clear l i g h t , a l i v e with noises.  The c i t y comes to l i f e again i n this  way because, r e c a l l e d by sensation, i t i s restored as a whole, with a l l the emotions which were once attached to i t .  And the emotion that dominates a l l the others  i s that of awe  before the world as i t i s apprehended  d i r e c t l y by a l l the senses.  This wonder creates the  inner ijioy that i s inseparable from a sense of newness and mystery.  New  York thus recalled - i t s sights,  80 i t s sounds and i t s movement i s an embodiment of Cummings ' state of mind. The narrator i n The Enormous Room, not unlike a c h i l d , i s deeply impressed by the mystery i m p l i c i t i n the  existence of people and things.  His world, creat-  ed largely by the powers of the imagination, i s merely his  way of expressing that mystery.  His "imaginary"  world i s an expression of the strong t i e that binds him to l i f e i t s e l f , of the consciousness of a mystery so close to him that i t springs from the l i g h t and noise around him. In his ecstatic moments he feels himself not  only a part of this movement and unity but also a  part of the timeless world.  ^  On the one hand^the narrator's delight extends time and space i n d e f i n i t e l y , and comprises i n a l l i t s d i v e r s i t y the myriad varied mural of d a i l y l i f e i n the Enormous Room;  on the other hand,  thq4.nguish  i n the novel condenses, u n i f i e s , and defines i t s own period of time;  i t merges a series of days into  one, organizing the events remembered as they might be organized i n a play.  ®Tk comprehensive treatment of time may be found i n Kingsley Widmer's "Timeless Prose " TGL, IV (1958), pp. 3-8. r  THE FUSION OF SUBJECT. AND OBJECT IN THE ENORMOUS ROOM nothing s t a r t l e s me beyond the Moment. The setting Sun w i l l always set me to rights - or i f a Sparrow come before my Window I take part i n i t s existence and pick about the Gravel." 6 8 "You are so young, so before a l l beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear s i r , to be patient toward a l l that i s unsolved i n your heart and t r y to love the questions themselves l i k e locked rooms and l i k e books that are written i n a foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to l i v e them. And the point i s , to l i v g e v e r y t h i n g . Live the questions now." " g  "Mystery i s within us and around us. Of r e a l i t y we can only get now and then the merest glimpse. Our senses are too gross. Between the i n v i s i b l e world and our own there i s doubtless an intimate concordance; but i t escapes us." 1o Central to Oummings  1  a r t i n both this novel and  the poetry i s the complex "mysterious" relationship between the s e l f and the external world.  This r e l a t i o n -  ship gives r i s e to two fundamental questions:  how can  John Keats i n a l e t t e r of November 2 2 , 1817 reprint ed i n English Romantic Poetry and Prose, ed. Russell Noye (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1 9 5 6 ) , p. 1 2 1 1 . 9 R a i n e r Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet, trans. M.D. Herter Norton ((New YorZl W.-W* Norton & TJompany Inc. 6  1962),  pp.  3^-35.  82 an external and material object be transmuted into the i n t e r i o r and immaterial s e l f and how can this  transmu-  t a t i o n be expressed i n words. To begin with, l e t us c i t e several examples of these transmutations as they occur i n the novel. i s Cummings  1  at Noyon: me.  F i r s t , there  light-hearted treatment of the prison diet  "I contemplate the bowl, which contemplates  A glaze of greenish grease seals the mystery of i t s  contents" (P.  26).  S t i l l i n the same prison Cummings  again makes the connection between his i n t e r i o r and ext e r i o r environment:  "I pass a l o t of time cursing  my-  s e l f about the pencil, looking at my walls, my unique i n t e r i o r " (p.  27).  F i n a l l y , on the road to Mace, Cummings  i s confronted by the wooden man hanging i n a grove of trees by the roadside:  For perhaps a minute the almost o b l i t e r ated face and mine eyed one another i n the silence of intolerable autumn. Who was this wooden man? Like a sharp, black, mechanical cry i n the spongy organism of gloom stood the coarse and sudden sculpture of his torment; the big mouth of night c a r e f u l l y spurted the angular actual language of his martyred body. I had seen him before i n the dream of some mediaeval saint with a thief sagging at either side, surrounded with crisp angels.  70  . Maurice Maeterlinck, Introduction to Maeterlinck's Essays (New York: R.F. Fenno & Company,, n.d.;,. pp. viiiix.  To-night he was alone; save f o r myself, and the moon's minute flower pushing between slabs of fractured cloud (pp. 5 3 - 4 ) . These three examples i l l u s t r a t e two points: concordance between external world and i n t e r i o r  the  self  and the d i f f i c u l t y of expressing this concordance.  The  bowl of soup, the prison walls at Noyon, the wooden man y en route to Mace - a l l three objects are outside, a l l exist as things.  And yet as the a r t i s t looks at these  objects he seems to f e e l himself joined to them by a sensation transmitted through an "aether", not  alto-  gether unlike the universal aether whose existence was posited to explain the transmission of l i g h t previous to the quantum theory.  Despite this concordance,  however, the sensation t e s t i f i e s more to the separateness of the object i n i t s existence as object than i t does to the object as r e a l i t y . this d i f f i c u l t y may oeuverings  Oummings awareness of 1  help to explain his l i n g u i s t i c  man-  to express a process which i s essentially  in-  expressible. But because Oummings does attempt to express the process, he i s confronted with the problem of how etrate the object or how  to pen-  to draw i t into the s e l f when the  only a f f i n i t y which the s e l f seems to have with the object i s a sensation.  And yet that sensation i s s u f f i c i e n t  to prompt the s e l f to either project into the object or to incorporate the object into the s e l f . June E. Downey i n her empirical study of the creative imagination i s also concerned with the "empathy" between subject and  object:  Prom one point of view we s u b j e c t i f y the object; from another point of view we o b j e c t i f y the s e l f . We assume attitudes and emotions i n obedience to demands of the outer world, then r e f i t the world with these patterns which have become i n t e n s i f i e d through intimate r e a l i z a t i o n of their meaning. '' Miss Downey here touches upon some of Cummings  1  prim-  ary concerns:- the projection of a mood into the external environment and the rereading of that mood back into the self.  She has also made e x p l i c i t what Cummings has con-  t i n u a l l y implied i n his art, the fact that every perception i s an interpretation and furthermore,, a r e - i n t e r pretation. Miss Downey goes on to discuss the relationship between s e l f and art i n terms of Muller-Preienfel' s three types of responses:  those of the Esctatic, the  Participator, and the Spectator.  The Ecstatic, she  ex-  plains as the fusion of subject and object i n a perfect  ''June Downey, "A Pew Words on Empathy." The  Creative  Imagination (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. Ltd., 1929), PP.  176-77.  85  unity.  In this connection she cites the e c s t a t i c ex-  periences of George E l i o t :  There are hours when I go out from mys e l f and l i v e i n a plant, when I f e e l myself as the grass, as bird, as treetop, cloud - hours when I run, f l y , swim, when I unfold myself i n the sun, when I sleep under leaves, when I f l o a t with the larks or creep with the l i z ards, when I shine i n the stars and f i r e - f l i e s , when, i n short, I l i v e i n every object which affords an extension of my existence. ' 2  While Oummings does at times aspire to this state, more often than not he extends himself to human subjects 73 rather than animate objects.  Oummings" response to the  external world more closely approximates that of the Participator.  This response involves the complete im-  mersion i n a role or a series of r o l e s ,  f o r Oummings  these roles vary from the tough guy to the advocate of i d e a l love.  I t i s also worth r e c a l l i n g the roles played  by Count Bragard, the Wanderer, and p a r t i c u l a r l y Jean l e Negre, who serves as an excellent example of the Participator's response. ^Quoted  i n Downey, p. 1 8 0 .  ^ F o r this l a t t e r response see Keats' l e t t e r of November 2 2 , 1 8 1 7 as quoted i n Russell Noyes, p. 1211.  y  86  Some few times Cummings or his narrator f i n d themii  selves i n Muller-Freienfel's t h i r d category, that of the Spectator.  The foremost example here would be the nar-  r a t o r i n "anyone l i v e d i n a pretty how town," who retains his personality while remaining detached from the action 74 of the poem. But l e t us return to Muller-Preienfel's f i r s t category and Cummings' unity with the outside world.  The  novelist's penetration of the object (and here object i s defined as something or somebody other than the s e l f ) and  the r e s u l t i n g transformation  two ways.  i s effected i n one of  Either a conscious e f f o r t i s made within the  s e l f to imitate the appearance or movement of the object as i s the case i n the poetry: my blossoming)" lady;  "my own, my b e a u t i f u l /  i s the narrator's invocation to h i s  the poet's father i s described as "singing each 76  morning out of each night." of the object i s discovered  Or else an equivalent or created within the s e l f  as i s the case when the planting, growing, and withering away of a tree i s likened to human b i r t h , growth, and death.  Discovering  the likeness between an object and- the  s e l f i s an important idea i n "The Secrets of the Zoo ExC f . "Voice" i n Norman Friedman's The Art of E.E.. Cummings.. pp. 7 - 3 5 . 75"now a l l the fingers of this tree (darling) have" i n Xaipe. 7 4  76"my father moved through dooms of love" i n 5J3 Poems.  87 posed."  In a semi-humorous vein, Oummings writes i n  that piece:  These two aspects, "human" and "animal," interact; with the r e s u l t that the zoo, i n comprising a mechanism f o r the exhibi t i o n of beasts, birds and r e p t i l e s , becomes a compound instrument f o r the investigation of mysterious humanity. But what, precisely, do we mean by " i n teract"? We mean that the z o o ' s permanent inhabitants, the so-called animals, are kinds of "aliveness" which we ourselves, the temporary inhabitants of the zoo, experience. To speak of "seeing the animals" i s to treat this phenomenon with a shamef u l flippancy, with a clumsiness p e r f e c t l y disgusting. Actually, such "creatures" as we see" create i n us a variety of emotions, ranging a l l the way from t e r r o r and p i t y to happiness and despair. Why? Not because the g i r a f f e i s e f f e t e , or because the elephant i s enormous, but because we ourselves appear r i d i c u l o u s and t e r r i b l e i n these amazing mirrors. 77 I t i s important to point out that the twofold r e l a t i o n s h i p between subject and object i n Oummings' work i s not s t a t i c but changing and interchanging, that i s , either the external object i s imitated within the s e l f or else p e c u l i a r l y human q u a l i t i e s may lie, projected into the external world.  This l a t t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p i s the bas-  i s of p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n , simile, and metaphor, and these f i g ures of speech abound i n The Enormous Room.  A notable  combination of simile and p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n occurs the narrator's confinement at Noyon:  during  "...the moon was  l i k e a mademoiselle, and I did not want to offend the  77  A Miscellany Revised, p-.  175.  88 moon. My friends:  the silhouette and l a lune, not  counting jCa Pue. whom I regarded almost as a part of (p.  me"  28). When human q u a l i t i e s are projected into the ex-  ternal object we witness p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n : t l i n g with clouds " (p.  the moon "bat-  53) as seen en route to Mace,  the "drooling greenish walls" (p  e  157) of La Perte Mace,  the "great ponderous murdering clouds" (p.  170) of smoke  emerging from the blazing cablnot. and the quivering creases of the Washing-Machine Man's trousers (p.  214)  And what i s more, once human q u a l i t i e s are projected into the external object, that object i s i n turn made to react upon the s e l f :  again en route to Mace the sunlight  "smacks" the prisoner's eye and cuffs his "sleepy mind with colour" (p.  49)•  Shortly afterward i n the same  chapter the pinard reacts causing the prisoner to f e e l his "mind cuddled by a pleasant warmth" (p.  49)•  Related to these figures of speech i s the device of synaesthesia, which inheres i n the transfer of sensations.  This device, often used by Cummings i n both  the poetry and prose may  well have been suggested  Rilke, although, as June Downey points out i n her work, the device was i n common l i t e r a r y use.  by 1929  Among i t s  noted users were Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Blake, Keats , at-.;.  89 and S h e l l e y . '  0  Rilke, however, seems the most l i k e l y to have opened up t h i s area f o r Oummings exploration. 1  We know, f o r  example, that Oummings had been reading Rilke as early as 1918 and that Rilke's essay on "Primal Sound" appeared i n 1919, at least one year a f t e r Oummings had been i n troduced to the works of the German poet.  In that essay  Rilke states that the a r t i s t should endeavour to apprehend every object not only through the sense of sight but through a l l f i v e of the senses..  Expressing an interest  i n Arabic poems, which, he maintains depend on an equal contribution from a l l the senses,. Rilke states:  . . . i t struck me f o r the f i r s t time, that the modern European poet (and the utors singly and i n very varying degree, only one of them - sight overladen with the seen world - seeming to dominate him constantly; how s l i g h t , by contrast, i s the contribution he receives from inattentive hearing, not to speak of the indifference of the other senses, which are active only on the periphery of consciousness and with many interruptions within the limited spheres of their p r a c t i c a l activity.. 00  'Acquainted with the work of Miss Downey, Glenn 0' Malley published a book i n 1964 examining i n d e t a i l Shelley's use of synaesthesia e n t i t l e d Shelley and Synaes-  Selected Works. I, 54.  90 In The Enormous Room alone examples of Oummings  11  use of synaesthesia abound.  Awaiting  the t r a i n for Par-  i s i n Chapter III.. Oummings s i t s near some Algerians:. "Their enormous faces, wads of v i t a l darkness, swooped with fatigue.  Their vast gentle hands, lay n o i s i l y about  t h e i r knees" (p. 41). Upon entering Paris l a t e r i n the same chapter, h i s "eyes devour" (p. 44) the colourful world and he acknowledges the "crisp persons" (p. 44) around him. As l e Nouveau on his way to the bath at La Perte, he notices one of the women's " c r i s p , v i t a l (p.  headQsj'  76) watching him. Again i n Chapter VIII we find  Mme. Demestre dressed i n "crashing hues" (p. 2.19). Oummings' frequent use of synaesthesia i s a demons t r a t i o n of his attempts to rework language to express luminating and often mystical experiences..  il-  Oummings him-  s e l f though, i s among the f i r s t to admit the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of succeeding  at such an endeavour... In an attempt to de-  scribe Zulu Oummings voices h i s f r u s t r a t i o n :  He i s , of a l l the inde'scribables whom I have known, d e f i n i t e l y the most completely or e n t i r e l y Indescribable. Then (quoth my reader) you w i l l not attempt to describe him, I t r u s t . - Alas, i n the medium which I am now using a certain amount or at least quality of description i s disgustingly necessary. Were I free with a canvas and some colours ... but I am not f r e e . And so I w i l l buck the impossible to the best of my a b i l i t y . Which, a f t e r a l l . i s one way of wasting your time (p. 2317..  91 The essence of the "description," well-known and often quoted by Cummings  1  c r i t i c s , follows:  There are certain things i n which one i s unable to believe f o r the simple reason that he never ceases to f e e l them. Things of this sort - things which are always inside of us and i n fact are us and which consequently w i l l not be pushed off or away where we can begin thinking about them - are no longer things; they, and the us which they are, equals A Verbf; an IS (p. 231) . 9  In the case of Zulu i t i s Cummings intention and 1  desire to dissolve the boundaries between s e l f and other /  as foreshadowed i n the trek to Mace when the bird f a i r l y swooped into the p r i s o n e r s face (p. !  53)©  The a t -  tempt to dissolve these boundaries i s repeated i n Chapter XI when Cummings, i n language resembling incantation, yearns f o r a self-transcendence and a union with Jean le Negre: -Boy, Kid, Nigger with the s t r u t t i n g muscles - take me up into your mind once or twice before I die (you know why: just because the eyes of me and you w i l l be f u l l of d i r t some day). Quickly take me up into the bright c h i l d of your mind, before we both go suddenly a l l loose and s i l l y (you know how i t w i l l feel).. Take me up (carefully; as i f I were a toy) and play c a r e f u l l y with me, once or twice, before I and you go suddenly a l l limp and f o o l i s h . Once or twice before you o into great Jack roses and ivory once er-twice Boy, before we together  ?  go wonderfully down into the Big Dirt laughing, bumped with the l a s t darkness) (p. 293). In his relationships with Jean and Zulu, Cummings comes closest to r e a l i z i n g the unity about which he writes. Not only i s he able to project himself into these people, he i s also able to simultaneously incorporate them into his s e l f .  And i t i s during this two-way process that  the a r t i s t i s most aware of himself and paradoxically nearest to self-transcendence.  5 THE UNIFIED VISION IN THE ENORMOUS ROOM I,  The A r t i s t ' s Vision i n Terms of Form and Content "As f o r the Story Of The Great War Seen From The Windows Of Nowhere, please don't expect a speedy conclusion or rather completion^ of this narrative (The Enormous Room]; f o r this reason: that i n consenting ( i t almost amounted to that) to "do the thing up" I did not forego my prerogative as a r t i s t , to wit - the making of every paragraph a thing which seemed good to me, i n the same way that a " c r a z y - q u i l t " i s made so that every inch of i t seems good to me. And so that i f you put your hand over one inch, the other inches lose i n force. And so that i n every inch there i s a binding rhythm which i n t e grates the whole thing and makes i t a single moving T h i n g l n l t s e l f - N o t that I am held up i n my story, but simply that progress i s slow. I am sure the r e s u l t w i l l say (eventually that i s ) that no other method was possible or to be considered. It i s not a question of cold facts per se that i s merely a f a b r i c : to put this f a b r i c at the mercy of An Everlasting Rhythm i s somethingelse." E.E. Oummings maintains as the one essential con-  d i t i o n of any work of art that the a r t i s t must keep a l i v e within himself a sense of the mystery i m p l i c i t i n a l l  E . E . Oummings i n a l e t t e r to his mother of November 25, 1919 reprinted i n Selected Letters of E.E. Oummings. ed. F.W. Dupee and George Stade (New York:"" Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.,. 1969), PP. 63-64. 01  94 life.  The creative a r t i s t i s by d e f i n i t i o n the man who  has not allowed anything to intrude between himself and life.  The a r t i s t simply observes and translates.  And  the authenticity of this translation i s guaranteed only by the s i n c e r i t y with which the a r t i s t has entered into contact with l i f e and has f e l t i t s mystery.  An a r t i s t  grasps not only the p a r t i c u l a r aspects of a landscape, an emotion, or a human being, but also perceives i n them something more universal than most others see.  The cre-  ative process, as f a r as this a r t i s t i s concerned, explains nothing. A work of a r t derives i t s value from the fact that i t persistently suggests the existence of a mysterious presence behind everything we perceive.  This i s especial-  l y true of The Enormous Room, where a mysterious l i e s behind each person.  presence  Cummings does not explain the  nature of the mysterious presence behind them, f o r the very explanation, i f such an explanation were possible, would destroy i t . The form as well as the content of a work of a r t points to the mysterious presence.  For Cummings as f o r  Walt Whitman before him the form of a work of a r t suggests that there exists a harmony between the l i f e of the i n d i v i d u a l man and that of a l l men.  Unlike Whitman  though, Cummings does, not go beyond this suggestion.  96 Like Whitman, however, a l y r i c v i s i o n pervades his work, orientates i t , and u n i f i e s i t .  This l y r i c a l aura, closely  related to the mysterious presence, distinguishes The Enormous Room from the r e a l i s t i c novels as well as from the works of psychological analysis being written at the time. Pew details i n Cummings novel do not derive s i g 1  nificance from t h e i r relationship to another aspect of the whole work.  However precious Cummings' descriptions  may appear to the reader, they are never gratuitous, never included merely f o r decorative e f f e c t .  Nor are they  composed to create an appearance of r e a l i t y .  The view  from the c e l l window at the beginning of Chapter I I I bears i n i t s wake the cycles of days and seasons, the Parisienne women's cojrfstumes and t h e i r posture, the various languages and i n d i v i d u a l idioms which the narrator notes on his way to Mace and p a r t i c u l a r l y those found i n the Enormous Room i t s e l f . .  The languages, the views from  prison windows, the women - take as long a journey through the novel as does the prisoner himself.  What do the lang-  uages foreshadow i f not the f i n a l r e a l i z a t i o n of the i n adequacy of words to express deep and complex r e l a t i o n ships?  And who i s Cummings i f not a prisoner of words?  F i n a l l y , what surrounds him but objects to prompt h i s ex pression:  the view from the prison window, the women of  97 Paris, and l a t e r t h e women of La Ferte? v  A multitude of these examples can "be c i t e d .  But  no?, study of Cummings' style can r i s e above the l e v e l of mere examination of details unless i t i s related to the v i s i o n which organizes the whole novel.  For Cummings  the writer as well as f o r Cummings the painter, style i s a question both of technique and of v i s i o n .  His own  vis-  ion i s characterized by an a b i l i t y to unite the external and the internal world.  It i s no wonder, then, that i n  Cummings' novel i t i s often impossible to i s o l a t e the setting and characters;  they are a l l i n t e r r e l a t e d , a l l mer-  ged. However, a style of this sort does not necessarily make a novel, and there are moments when the i n t e r r e l a t ions between characters and environment makes the reader lose the general outline of the work from which the connections originate. But when the relationships are limi t e d , f o r example, the equation between Section Sanitaire Vingt-et-tlh and the Slough of Despond, between the Delectable Mountains of The Pilgrim's Progress and  the  group of characters i n the Enormous Room - then the novel, as Cummings had planned, tends toward allegory.. But the work i s primarily a novel, despite those c r i t i c s who  maintain that the term "novel" i n the  - Introduction was  1932  simply a convenient generic term and not  98 y  necessarily an expression of the author's o r i g i n a l intention.  The narrator's work becomes possible only when  he grasps the irony and the comedy of his experience. He recognizes that both are essential to the expression of his imprisonments; to work.  from this point of view he starts  His own l i f e , and that of those around him,  appear to him i n the form of a story which unfolds i n the timeless world of the Enormous Room.  The essential  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the novel i s that i t t e l l s the story of one or several l i v e s unfolding i n time, but the narrator i s not only a novelist but also a poet, a painter, and a cameraman,  dimmings' work meets the  for a novel because i t unfolds i n time;  requirements  the narrator him-  s e l f becomes a novelist because he wishes to reveal the mystery which l i e s behind human experience. The narrator's d i f f i c u l t i e s are twofold:  arising  not only from his desire to f i n d the meaning i n his experiences but also i n the desire to translate these experiences into a work of a r t .  The two desires are f i n -  a l l y i n t e g r a l l y related f o r the experiences w i l l impose t h e i r own form upon the work and determine i t s content. Oummings t e l l s the story df his search through a r t and not through l i f e .  The search ends only with the r e a l i z a t i o n  of the enigmatic quality of experience and of an apprec i a t i o n of the value of the search i t s e l f .  The discov-  eries themselves are not remarkable any more than are the •  99 author's observations on human beings or prison psychology, the l a t t e r being common knowledge.  Much  more interesting i s Oummings' construction of h i s novel i n r e l a t i o n to these observations and the l i n k with the larger a l l e g o r i c a l framework. not Oummings  1  In this respect i t i s  thought that i s extraordinary, but the i n -  sights that i t allows into h i s novel.  II..  The A r t i s t " s Unified Vision i n Terms of Character and Situation " i t i s a l l I can do to gouch my i n this a i r y medium.'  thoughts  "With nothing can one approach a work of art so l i t t l e as with c r i t i c a l words: they always come down to more or less happy misunderstandings. Things are not a l l so comprehensible and express i b l e as one would mostly have us bel i e v e : most events are inexpressible, taking place i n a realm which no word has entered, and more inexpressible than a l l else are. works of a r t , mysterious existences, the l i f e of which, while ours passes away, endures." 3 8  "Our present dilemma i s as old as the human race; i t has presided over every step of man's progress. Society i s constantly evolving, and men have always had to struggle to understand current r e a l i t i e s by means of a language that i s outdated. We are prisoners of language and of the frozen metaphors i t sweeps along i n i t s wake. I t i s inadequate language that gradually becomes contradig^ory; the r e a l i t i e s never become  82«' f practice," Book I I , The Complete Works of Montaigne, p. 274. 0  3Letters  8  To A Young Poet, p.  17.  A n t o i n e de Saint-Exupery, "Peace or War," A Sense of L i f e (New York: Punk & Wagnalls Company, Inc., 1965), p. 130. 84  101  The stature and the mystery of Oummings ' charact1  ers  derive largely from the manner i n which he presents  them and f i l l s them out i n the course of the novel.  Re-  called from the narrator's memory of the Room at La Ferte Mace', most of the characters appear f i r s t of a l l as f r a g ments.  Then they advance into f u l l view, l i k e Count de  Bragard as his disguise i s gradually revealed.  Sometimes  the characters are only sketched, sometimes minutely described, l i k e Jean l e Hegre and the Wanderer.. And each sketch or description has a certain meaning within the •framework of the novel.  So great i s the force with which  Oummings emphasizes his descriptions that he sometimes seems over^insistent to the reader.  Zulu personifies the  mystery of a l l individuals seen from the outside.  Oount  de Bragard i s frankly the pretender, the master actor. The whole group of characters termed Delectable Mountains elude us just as they elude the narrator who t r i e s to describe them.  A l l characters appealing to Oum-  mings himself, even i f they are secondary, are introduced to us i n this way:  ephemeral from the very moment of  t h e i r appearance, they remain elusive, as does t h e i r future.  Like the bluebird of Maeterlinck, they "change  colour" every time they are on the point of being captured.  They appear i n their own sections of the novel  102  and the narrator attempts to describe them, casting upon them the spotlight of his personal view.  He sees them  c l e a r l y from the inside so that their actions, their gestures, and t h e i r words are a l l f i l t e r e d through him. But while Cummings does see c l e a r l y he does not see a l l ; i n addition to the spotlighted segments stretch vast areas of shadow.  Each character has this dimension of the un-  known into which he can escape. When we consider the unknown areas i n each character's l i f e i n this novel, we r e a l i z e that Cummings' work here f u l f i l s one of the essential functions of l i t e r a t u r e . For i n these characters he reconstitutes one aspect of human l i f e , the anguish caused by the impenetrability of others and renders i t acceptable, a natural part of the human condition. No character i n the Enormous Room i s isolated; each i s bound to other characters who surround him, and who allow him to r e f l e c t certain aspects of his personality. for  But these groupings of characters are as numerous each i n d i v i d u a l as the aspects of his own character,  so that no one character i s ever a type.  A secondary  character l i k e the man i n the Orange Cap, f o r example, takes his place with the Zulu i n c h i l d i s h games; one with Cummings i n his s i n c e r i t y ; ation he joins Surplice;  he i s  through his i s o l -  through his tendency toward i n -  103 sanity he i s one with Bathhouse John.. Most characters are thus doubled, t r i p l e d , by a series of secondary i n Orange Caps.  men  Oummings himself reminds us of Count de;  Bragard i n his a r t i s t i c interest;  i n temperment, person-  a l habits, l i k e s and d i s l i k e s he resembles Brown. character has i n f i n i t e p o s s i b i l i t i e s ;  Each  he remains enig-  matic and complex by a l l the t i e s which l i n k him with other characters.  Oummings' v i s i o n i s determined here by  his conviction that i n every i n d i v i d u a l there exists a genuine "aliveness" which i s greater than he, but of which he i s a unique specimen. The situations i n which the characters f i n d themselves are also r e f l e c t e d and reverberated  through the  novel, without ever being exactly duplicated: and Brown together  at Ham,  Oummings  Oummings i n j a i l at Noyon, at  La f e r t e , Oummings and Brown together i n the Enormous Room;  Oummings interrogation by M. l e Ministre at Noyon, 1  by M. l e Gestionnaire at Mace, and by M> l e Directeur on leaving La Ferte.  In the d e t a i l of situations as well  as the whole, there are configurations which r e c a l l each other, but which are i n no case superimposed. The situations i n the novel and the individuals i n the Enormous Room project rays from a l l sides s i m i l a r to the beams of a searchlight;  the beams begin as mere  104  s l i t s but broaden to enormous width.  Cummings illuminates  simultaneously the unique complexity of each human l i f e and s i t u a t i o n and the numerous l i n k s between i n d i v i d u a l l i v e s and situations.  So that while each of the main  characters has h i s own section i n the novel, his i n f l u ence and his presence are f e l t throughout the other sections.  Each Delectable Mountain and the situations i n  which he finds himself involved contribute toward the making of a more enormous room. In writing The Enormous Room Cummings used almost a l l the themes that had occupied contemporary writers of war novels: an aversion f o r the m i l i t a r y hierarchy, a contempt f o r p a t r i o t i c fervor, the decay of personality d i r e c t l y attributable to the inhumanity of war, and the inadequacy of language to deal with the experiences of war.  But more important than his a f f i l i a t i o n with con-  temporaries i s the fact that he developed a new form f o r the "war" novel.  The form of The Enormous Room breaks  the l i n e a r story development.  Cummings no longer assumes,  as r e a l i s t i c writers t h e o r e t i c a l l y did, that h i s a r t i s t i c creation i s an imitation of r e a l i t y .  His theory claims  f o r the novel the r i g h t to be instead l i k e poetry or painting, and whether he knew i t or not, l i k e photography*. The world of accepted r e a l i t y i n which time and place.  105 are defined, disintegrates and Cummings seems content to present the destruction of commonplace r e a l i t y without f e e l i n g the need to erect i n the ruins h i s own r e a l istic  edifice.  CONCLUSION  We may conclude now by summarizing  the findings of  our inquiry f o r some of the question to which this thesis i s directed: The Enormous Room i s an autobiographical novel organized around the -Journey i n The Pilgrim"s Progress,. The l i n k s between the two works, however, do not end with the organization:: both the novel and the allegory are based on prison experiences; didactic elements.  both contain autobiographical and  Furthermore, both novelist and a l l e g o r -  i s t use the -journey as an image f o r the l i f e of the s p i r i t . Neither the path of Christian's journey nor that of Oummings' i s the way of the world, Oummings' world i s divided i n two: s o c i a l l y , i t i s divided into those who "know" and those who "do not know"; morally, i t i s divided into noble and blameworthy feelings; a e s t h e t i c a l l y , into the beautiful and the ugly. Christian's world i s divided i n two::  Similarly,  i n r e l i g i o u s terms,  i t i s divided into those who follow the tenets of Christi a n i t y and those who do not;  morally, i t i s divided into  107  feelings that are noble and those that are blameworthy; e t h i c a l l y , into virtues and vices; falsehood and truth.  i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , into  The concept of the divided world i s  buttressed i n both works by confronting the main characters with at least two d i f f e r e n t paths of action at each s i g n i f i c a n t point i n t h e i r journeys.  Cummings' decisions at  the crossroads though, l i k e Christian's, are made i n favour of truth, v i r t u e , and noble f e e l i n g s . While Cummings does carry more than one of his themes by accommodating The Pilgrim's Progress, he i r o n i c a l l y i n verts Bunyan's ideas f o r the same purpose.  Cummings' new  world, f o r example, i s not outside time and space as i s Bunyan's, but rather on this earth, projected forward i n time.  Again, the Puritan cleanliness ethic i s inverted,  placing cleanliness next to ungodliness i n The Enormous Room. Whereas this inversion has given r i s e to great d i s pute, the individual character studies i n the novel remain indisputably one of the greatest achievements,!:: To a certain extent characterization i n The Enormous Room depends upon animal Imagery i n The Pilgrim's Progress; but where Bunyan's imagery i s concentrated, Cummings' i s diffused;  where Bunyan?s animals evoke fear and horror,  Cummings' are humorous or merely picturesque.  108  I t i s i n the area of setting that Oummings and Bunyan are perhaps farthest apart.  Bunyan's pilgrimage  begins i n the City of Destruction, the s p i r i t u a l equivalent of hell-on-earth:  i t extends across the earth, f i n -  a l l y terminating i n the C e l e s t i a l C i t y .  Oummings  1  journey  i n The Enormous Room, on the other hand, i s s t r i c t l y circumscribed geographically, the f o c a l point being a c i t y one hundred miles west of Paris called Mace.  But  within the geographical l i m i t s Oummings creates a changing setting through minutely precise descriptions of the characters i n the Room at La Ferte.  These characters are  sometimes reminiscent of the p o r t r a i t s i n the S i g n i f i c a n t Rooms, i n The Pilgrim's Progress. The comparison and contrast between The Pilgrim"s Progress and The Enormous Room concludes  with an exam-  i n a t i o n of the excremental v i s i o n i n the l a t t e r work. Norman 0 . Brown's l i n k between excrement and death i n L i f e Against Death:  A Psychoanalytical Meaning of History  i s r e a p p l i e d to i l l u s t r a t e the f i n a l connection between , Bunyan s allegory and Oummings' novel. 1  The topic of characterization examined i n the f i r s t chapter appears f o r re-examination  i n Chapter I I .  There  characterization i s related to the humour i n the novel and the role of games;  both are then linked to the roles  109  assumed by three of the main characters:  Count Bragard,  Jean l e Negre, and Surplice. In the third chapter the humorous situations of the novel, examined i n Chapter I I , are shown to be b a l anced by tense episodes:  the "revolver scene" i n Chapter  I, f o r example, i s followed by the humorous conversation between Cummings and the American E.I.A.I,  driver i n the  presence of the "tin-derby." As the dramatic situations i n the novel are balanced so too are the emotions of the narrator, fluctuating between anguish at the inhumane treatment i n the prison and delight i n the Delectable Mountains and the sight of New York upon h i s return to America.  The f i n a l paragraph  of the novel where the reader sees New York through Cummings' eyes, i s one of the best examples of an ecstatic moment i n which the narrator feels himself not only an i n t e g r a l part of the movement of human l i f e but also a part of the timeless world. The sense of mystery and unity discussed i n conjunction with the f i n a l paragraph of the novel i s expanded i n Chapter IV, "The Fusion of Subject and Object i n The Enormous Room." There the "mysterious" r e l a t i o n ship between the i n d i v i d u a l perceiver and the external perceived world i s examined and an attempt i s made to  110  answer two fundamental questions deriving from this r e lationship:  how can an external and material object be  transmuted into the i n t e r i o r and immaterial s e l f and  how  can this transmutation be expressed i n words. F i n a l l y i n Chapter V/ the p a r t i a l visions of the f i r s t four chapters are related to the whole novel:  the  a r t i s t ' s v i s i o n i s studied i n terms of form and content, character and s i t u a t i o n .  We return to a genre study,  claiming the term "novel" f o r Oummings work and 1  themat-  i c a l l y l i n k i n g i t with the contemporary war novels.  In  form another claim i s made f o r this novel - the claim to be l i k e poetry, painting and photography.  Henry James  has f i t t i n g l y commented on the changing a r t and his comment redirected to The Enormous Room reads:  Art l i v e s upon discussion, upon experiment, upon c u r i o s i t y , upon variety of attempt, upon the exchange of views and the comparison of standpoints; and there i s a presumption that those times when no one has anything p a r t i c u l a r to say about i t , and has no reason to give for practice or preference, though they may be times of honour, are not times of development « are times, possibly even, of dulness.  85  "The Art of F i c t i o n , " p.  267.  i  SELECTIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY!  Primary Sources: Editions of Cummings' Works Cummings, E.E. A Selection of Poems. Introd. Horace Gregory. Harvest Books. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1965. o  Eimi... New York:  Grove Press Inc.* 1933.  • $0 Poems. The Universal Library. Grosset & Dunlop, 1940. .  196T.  i : Six Nonlectures. New York:: Atheneum,  100 Selected Poems. Inc., 1959.  New York:  . Poems: 1923-1954. New York: Brace & World, Inc., 1954* a  York:  New York:  Grove Press, Harcourt,  The Enormous Room. The Modern Library. Random House, Inc.,, 1922..  New  . Three Plays and a B a l l e t e d . & Introd. George J.. Pirmage. New York: "October House Inc., 1967. Pirmage, George J.,. ed. E..E. Cummings: A Miscellany Revised. New York: October House Inc.* 1967. Selected Letters of E.E. Cummings. ed. F.W. Dupee and George Stade. Ne*w"York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1969. Secondary Sources: Longer Works of Biography and C r i t i c i s m Friedman, Norman.. E.E. Cummings: The Art of His Poetry. Baltimore:- The"John Hopkins Press, i 9 6 0 .  112  Marks, Barry A., E.E. Cummings. Dunlop, 1964.  New York:-. Grosset &  Norman, Charles.. E.E. Cummings: A Biography. * New York: E.P. Dutton &Co7,. 1967. " Tucker, Robert Gi and David R., Clark eds. Freedom. Joy & Indignation:- Letters from E.E. Cummings. "The Massachusetts Review"s Tribute to E.E.. Cummings." The Massachusetts Review (Spring 1963)* pp. 497 Wegner, Robert E.. The Poetry and Prose of E.E. Cummings. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc7,~"l9o*5.  Shorter Works of Criticism Aldridge, John W. "America"s Young Novelists: Uneasy Inheritors of a Revolution." The Saturday Review of Literature (February 12, 194~9T, 6 - 8, 36-37, 42. ;  Baker, Sheridan. "Cummings and Catullus." MLN:. 74 (March 1959), 2 3 1 - 3 4 . Bishop, John Peale.. "Incorrect English." Vanity F a i r . July 1922, p. 20. Blackmur, R.P* "Notes on E.E. Cummings' Language." Form & Value i n Modern Poetry. New York:; Doubleday &. Company, Inc., 1952. Burke, Kenneth. "A Decade of American F i c t i o n . " The Bookman. LXIX (August 1929), 565-66. Dos Passos, John. "Off The Shoals: The Enormous Room." The Shock of Recognition, ed. Edmund Wilson. New York: Farrar, Straus &. Cudahy, 1955» Dougherty, James Patrick. "E.E. Cummings' The Enormous Room and I t s Relation to His Poetry." DA (XXIII), T363. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "How To Waste Material: A Note on My Generation." The Bookman. LXIII (May 1926),, 264. Fraser, G.S. "The Asthete and the Sensationalist." Partisan Review. XXII (Spring 1955), 265-72.  113  Gaull, Marilyn. "Language and Identity: A Study of E.E. Oummings' The Enormous Room." A£, XIX (Winter 1967), 645-62. Hayakawa, S.I. " i s Indeed 5." Poetry. LI-LII (1938), 284-92. Honig, Edwin. "Proud of His S c i e n t i f i c Attitude." KenYon Review. XVII (Summer 1955), 484-91. L l t t e l l , Robert. "Garbage and Gold." New Republic. XXX (May 10, 1922), 320-21. Muggeridge, Malcolm. "Pilgrim's Progress: Radio, Home Service, 14 A p r i l 1954." Muggeridge through the Microphone . ed, Christoper R a i l i n g . Fontana Books, 1969. "Recent Books i n Brief Review." The Bookman. LV (July  1922), 536.  Redman, Ben Ray. "Man the Animal." The Nation, XIV (June 7, 1922),. 691-92. ;. "Pot-Boiler with Ideas." p.. 4.  NYTBR. June 15„ 1958,  Rosenfeld, Paul. "The Enormous Oummings." Twice A Year. (3-4) (Pall-Winter, 1939/ Spring-Summer, 1940)7 271280; reprinted i n S.V.. Baum, pp. 72-80. Smith, David E. "The Enormous Room and The Pilgrim"s Progress." TOL. i r T l 9 6 2 ) , 67-75. "[Strainings and Obscurities]." NTT, May 29, 1922, p. 1 0 ; reprinted i n ESPI: e e c E.E. Oummings and the O r i t i c s . ed. with an Introd.~by S.V... Baum. East Lansing: Michigan State Univ. Press, 1962. Von Abele, Rudolph. "Only To Grow: Change i n the Poetry of E.E. Oummings." PMLA,. 70 (December 1955), 913-33. Widmer, Kingsley.  1958), 3-8.  "Timeless Prose." TOL. IV (April-July  Wilson, Edmund* "Wallace Stevens and E.E. Oummings." The New Republic. XXXVIII (March 19, 1924) 102-103. r  114  Background Books:  Primary  A p o l l i n a i r e ; Selected Poems, trans, with an Introd. Oliver Bernard. Middlesex:- Penguin Books Ltd,..  1965.  Bonhoeffer, D i e t r i c h , Letters & Papers Prom Prison. Eontana Books, 1965. "~ Brown, Norman 0, L i f e Against Death: The Psychoanaly t i c a l Meaning of History.. Modern Library. New York: Random House, 1959, Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim"s Progress.. Introd. Louis L. Martz.. New York:. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962. Dos Passos, *John. The Best Times: An Informal Memoir. Toronto: The New American Library of Canada Ltd., 1968. Hesse, Hermann. Narcissus and Goldmund. trans. Ursule Molinaro.. New York: Parrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968. Jeffares, A. Norman, ed. W.B. London: MacMillan, 19o"77  Yeats:  Selected Poetry.  Lawrence, D.H., Sons and Lovers, Compass Books. York: The Viking Press, 1966, ,  The Rainbow.  New  Middlesex:: Penguin Books,  Maeterlinck, Maurice. Maeterlinck's Essays. R.F.. Fenno & Company, n.d,  1961.  New York:.  Mann, Thomas, Tonio Kroger, trans. H.T. Lowe-Porter. Middlesex: Penguin Books i n association with Seeker & Warburg, 1928. "Of Repentance." Book I I I . The Complete Works of Montaigne, trans. Donald M. Frame. London: Hamish Hamilton, n.d. Noyes, Russell, ed. English Romantic Poetry and Prose. New York: Oxford Uhiv. Press, 1956V Picasso Drawings, text by Jean Leymarie, trans. Stuart GTTberT. Cleveland: The World Publishing Company,  1967.  115 Reaney, James. Oolours i n the Dark. Vancouver: plays with MacMillan of Canada, 1969.  Talon-  Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters To A Young Poet, trans. M.D. Herter.Norton. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 1954. : Selected Works, trans. G. Craig Houston. New York: New Directions, I960..  Vol.1  Shapiro, Karl, ed. "E.E. Oummings: introduction to Poems 1925-1954." Prose Keys to Modern Poetry. New York: Harper & Row" 1962. The Collected Essays of John Peale Bishop, ed. Edmund Wilson, ppl S">95; o r i g i n a l l y published i n SoR. IV (Summer 1938), 173-186; reprinted i n S.V. Baum, PP. 99-109. The Selected Letters of John Keats, ed. with an Introd. by Lionel T r i l l i n g . New York: Farrar, Straus and Young, Inc•, 1951• The Sculpture of Gaston Lachaise with an essay by Hilda Kramer and appreciations by Hart Crane, E.E. Oummings, Marsden Hartley, Lincoln K i r s t e i n , A. Hyatt Mayor & Henry McBiride. New York: The Eakins Press, 1967. Weber, Brom, ed. The Letters of Hart Crane: 1916-1932. Berkeley and Los Angeles:- UMv.. of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1965. Zola, Emile. L'Assommolr. trans. Atwood H. Townsend. Signet Classic. New York: The New American Library, 1962. ;  War  Novels  B b l l , Heinrich. Absent Without Leave and Enter and Exit, trans. L e i l a Vennewitz. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965. Dos Passos, John... Three Soldiers. M i f f l i n Company, 1949. Ford, Ford Maddox. Books Limited,  Boston:  Houghton  A Man Could Stand UJp. London: 1^69.  Sphere  I  116 .  No More Parades.  1925.  r  New York:  Grosset & Dunlop,  » Some Do Not ... & No More Parades. The New American Library, 1964T Heller, Joseph. Oatch-22. Co., Inc., 196T7  New York:  New York:  D e l l Publishing  Hemingway, Ernest. A Parewell to Arms. les Scribner's Sons, 1957.  New York:  Char-  Mailer, Norman. The Naked and the Dead. Signet Books. New York: The New American Library, 1948. fi  Remarque, Erich Maria. A l l Quiet on the Western Front, trans. A.W. Wheen. .Boston: L i t t l e , Brown and Co., 1958. Background Books:  Secondary  Chase, Richard. The American Novel and Its Tradition. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1957* Olive, Geoffrey. The Romantic Enlightenment: Ambiguity and Paradox i n the Western Mind ((1750-1920). New York: Meridian Books, Inc., 1960. Downey, June. The Creative Imagination. London: Paul, Trench, Trubner &- Co., Ltd., 1929*  Kegan  Eisenstein, Serge. The Film Sense, trans. &. ed. Jay Leyda. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1968. Frankenberg, Lloyd. "Cummings Times One." Pleasure Dome: On Reading Modern Poetry. Dolphin Books. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1949* Hoffman, Frederick J . The Twenties: American Writing i n the Postwar Decade. New York: C o l l i e r Books, 1962. Huizinga, Johan, Homo Ludens: ement i n Culture. Boston:  A Study of the Play-ElBeacon Press, 1966.  James, Henry. "The Art of F i c t i o n . " The Major C r i t i c s , eds. Holmes, Fussell, Frazer. -New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965. Kazin, A l f r e d . On Native Grounds: An Interpretation of Modern American Prose Literature . New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1942.  117 O'Malley, Glenn, Shelley and Synaesthesia, [Evans tori] : Northwestern Univ. Press, 1964, Padrta, J i r i . . Picasso: The Early Years, with a Preface by Jean Cocteau. London: Spring House, n,d, Pearce, Roy Harvey. Princeton Univ.  The Continuity of American Poetry, PresFJ 1965.  Thibaudet, Albert. Reflexions sur l e Roman. Vol. I . Paris: Gallimard, 1938, T r i l l i n g , L i o n e l . The L i b e r a l Imagination: Literature and Society. Anchor Books • Doubleday &: Company, Inc., 1950.  Essays on New York:  

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