Original Research

e.e. cummings as an Expressionist poet

S. Coetzee-Van Rooy, A. L. Combrink
Literator | Vol 15, No 3 | a678 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v15i3.678 | © 1994 S. Coetzee-Van Rooy, A. L. Combrink | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 May 1994 | Published: 02 May 1994

About the author(s)

S. Coetzee-Van Rooy, Department of English, Potchefstroom University for CHE, South Africa
A. L. Combrink, Department of English, Potchefstroom University for CHE, South Africa

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Abstract

This study investigates the poetry of e.e. cummings from what is considered a novel hut productive point of view: it holds that in order to categorize cummings as an Expressionist poet (an enterprise which, it is maintained, will provide the reader with a useful frame for grappling with certain troubling aspects of cummings poetry) it is necessary to develop a reading strategy based on a method derived from the social sciences and the study of linguistics to make the categorization both feasible and responsible. Using techniques of choice suggested by critics, and developing further techniques of randomizing developed in accordance with the social sciences and linguistics, it was possible to arrive at a representative corpus of poetry, which could then be tested against criteria of Expressionism developed from a comprehensive literature study involving both poetry and the fine arts. This modus operandi has enabled the authors to assert that cummings could most fruitfully be read as an Expressionist poet. It is also suggested that this method could be most fruitfully extrapolated to similar studies involving other 'schools' and styles and other poets.

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