Tuesday, November 28, 2023

the last book I ever read (The Beauty of Living: e. e. cummings in the Great War, excerpt two)

from The Beauty of Living: e. e. cummings in the Great War by J. Alison Rosenblitt:

Cummings’s mother adored him.

We have, thanks to her, every physical scrap of his childhood enshrined in the Harvard Library archives. She adored him to the point of absurdity; she saved every piece of paper he touched. There is page after page of baby’s first scribbles. Any mother might save her child’s first effort at pencil to paper, but Rebecca Cummings saved dozens and dozens: sheets with no more than a pencil scratch across the page, or a gashed zigzag. Some have got as far as a wobbly sort of spiral. There is something endearing but faintly ridiculous in the preservation of these aged and fragile sheets in Harvard’s plush archival space, for the benefit of the researcher, who turns them ever so carefully, fingertips on the corners of the page.

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