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EIMI: A Journey Through Soviet Russia by [Cummings, E. E.]
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EIMI: A Journey Through Soviet Russia Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 496 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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About the Author

E. E. Cummings (1894-1962) was among the most influential, widely read, and revered modernist poets. He was also a playwright, a painter, and a writer of prose. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he studied at Harvard University and, during World War I, served with an ambulance corps in France. He spent three months in a French detention camp and subsequently wrote The Enormous Room, a highly acclaimed criticism of World War I. After the war, Cummings returned to the States and published his first collection of poetry, Tulips & Chimneys, which was characterized by his innovative style: pushing the boundaries of language and form while discussing love, nature, and war with sensuousness and glee. He spent the rest of his life painting, writing poetry, and enjoying widespread popularity and success. Norman Friedman is an emeritus professor of English at Queens College. Madison Smartt Bell is the author of twelve novels, his most recent being The Stone That the Builder Refused. He teaches at Goucher College and lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1337 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Liveright (17 Dec. 2007)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #931,274 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
So is this a great, challenging, multi-lingual, inter-cultural and inter-textual, amusing, incisive and poetic romp through soviet Russia in contemporary real-time? Well, oui (un peu) et non, mais quelle surprise..

There are many ways to interpret e.e. cummings' intention here, but I can't quite believe that he got away with his reputation in tact. It says something too about the time of writing. There is a good reason why EIMI went out of print, and why he had to write an explanatory note to the 1958 edition (which is reproduced in this 3rd edition). It is not indecipherable (well, not quite..) but it is almost unremitting drivel. To use his own language, it is a complete nonbook of unsense.

To defend the weary dreariness of each page with an interpretation that it successfully evokes his feelings about what it was like to be in soviet Russia (well, Moscow, for 10 whole days!) seems like moot-point-scoring, as does whether this gloom was entirely the essence of the place or partly the purility (the EIMI or the wah wah wah) of the author's reaction to it. The reader is left with the same feeling.

I wonder why e.e. did not travel around the USA at around the same time, being as it was in the midst of the Great Depression, and conjure up something similar. But then, this would have required more than a simple rejection of the system of government and of the people he would have seen. e.e. seems to be proud of himself simply for not falling in with the leftist-intellectuals of the time who were seduced by collectivism. Perhaps that really was a feat in itself at the time and independent thinking really was a tiny glimmer in the gathering storm clouds of ideology.
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Format: Paperback
If you are a lover of Cummings's beautiful and human poetry, EIMI is unmissable. His enthusiasm for the flexibility of language is evident throughout, and the novel/travelogue/extended prose poem is a marvellous cubistic exposé of what Cummings saw as the absurdity of Soviet Communism, despite having been willing to observe with an open mind.

There's a glossary of the Russian words used, and an outline plot summary by Cummings himself, but don't worry - EIMI is nowhere near as opaque as Joyce's Finnegans Wake, with which I've seen it compared. It is dense, admittedly, but it's riotously good fun, and once you adjust to Cummings's use of changing nicknames for central characters it's perfectly clear what's going on. If you don't speak French you might want a French dictionary handy too.

It's one of the few books I would recommend without any reservations. Please read it.
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