Monday, September 27, 2010

ee cummings in 1931

One of the best depictions of Soviet Russian in the 1930s comes from ee cummings. The poet went to Russia to see how humanity's greatest social experiment was fairing. The result is a Beat novel, Emie, avante la lettre and a ruthless but comical attack on everything related to the new communist society. The Soviet Union, as a whole, was depicted as hell on earth, a place where humanism and individuality were on the verge of excinction. In the hands of ee cummings' diurnal writings, homo sovieticus was depicted as the ultimate "nonman," living in fear of the state's security apparatus and the whole culture of conformity that official ideology celebrated. The books is a frantic and riotous assault against the Soviet state, even without any direct discussion of that state's already bloody crimes. It's also a great read. Sadly, I've left my copy of the book behind at a children's birthday party. It's probably covered with birthday cake frosting at the bottom of a gigantic garbage dump. I'll have to find another copy.

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