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The Beauty of Living

Nonfiction: Biography
Unabridged   12.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 08/18/2020

The Beauty of Living

E. E. Cummings in the Great War

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Digital Download ISBN:9781684579839


An incisive biography of E. E. Cummings's early life, including his World War I ambulance service and subsequent imprisonment, inspirations for his inventive poetry.

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Product Description

Intimate and richly detailed, The Beauty of Living begins with E. E. Cummings's Cambridge upbringing and his relationship with his socially progressive but domestically domineering father. It follows Cummings through his undergraduate experience at Harvard, where he fell into a circle of aspiring writers including John Dos Passos, who became a lifelong friend. Steeped in classical paganism and literary Decadence, Cummings and his friends rode the explosion of Cubism, Futurism, Imagism, and other "modern" movements in the arts. As the United States prepared to enter World War I, Cummings volunteered as an ambulance driver, shipped out to Paris, and met his first love, Marie Louise Lallemand, who was working in Paris as a prostitute. Soon after reaching the front, however, he was unjustly imprisoned in a brutal French detention center at La Ferté-Macé. Through this confrontation with arbitrary and sadistic authority, he found the courage to listen to his own voice.

Probing an underexamined yet formative time in the poet's life, this deeply researched account illuminates his ideas about love, justice, humanity, and brutality. J. Alison Rosenblitt weaves together letters and journal entries with astute analyses of poems that span Cummings's career, revealing the origins of one of the twentieth century's most famous poets.


“With grace and intelligence, Rosenblitt brings the worlds of Harvard, Cambridge, and 'the Front' to vivid life...Reading Cummings through the lens of her insight is revelatory, and the brilliance of this work may reestablish his place as a poet of towering importance.” - Library Journal Starred Review

“A perceptive, captivating portrait...Besides insightful analyses of Cummings's poetry, Rosenblitt presents him as an accomplished artist...A graceful, sympathetic biography of an innovative American poet.” - Kirkus

Author Bio

J. Alison Rosenblitt is the director of studies in classics at Regent's Park College, University of Oxford. The author of The Beauty of Living: E. E. Cummings in the Great War and E. E. Cummings' Modernism and the Classics: Each Imperishable Stanza, she lives in England.