A Miscellany (Revised)
A Miscellany, confined to a private edition for decades, sheds further light on the prodigious vision and imagination of the most inventive poet of the twentieth century: E.E. Cummings.
Formally fractured and yet gleefully alive and whole, E. E. Cummings’s groundbreaking modernist poetry expanded the boundaries of language. In A Miscellany, originally released in a limited run in 1958, Cummings lent his delightfully original voice to “a cluster of epigrams,” a poem, three speeches from an unfinished play, and forty-nine essays—most of them previously written for or published in magazines, anthologies, or art gallery catalogues. Seven years later, George J. Firmage—editor of much of Cummings’s work, including Complete Poems—broadened the scope of this delightfully eclectic collection, adding seven more poems and essays, and many of Cummings’s unpublished line drawings.
Together, these pieces paint a distinctive portrait of Cummings’s eccentric, yet precise, genius. Like his poetry, Cummings’s prose is lively; often witty, biting, and offbeat, he is an intelligent observer and critic of the modern. His essays explore everything from Cubism to the circus, equally quick to analyze his poetic contemporaries and satirize New York society. As Cummings wrote in his original foreword, A Miscellany contains “a great deal of liveliness and nothing dead.” This remains true today, more than fifty years after its original publication.
- 1965 George J. Firmage
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