Richard F. Dietrich: On "Space being (don't forget to remember) Curved"

Cummings' "Space being...Curved" embodies a sarcastic and satirical protest against the way certain scientific theories appear to confine the spirit of humanity within a predictable and mechanical universe.  The poem is structured around a contrast between two spherical images--the first that of Einstein's "curved universe," the second that of a billiard ball.  The contrast points up the discrepancy between what Cummings understands the science of his day presumes--to explain the universe in a way that seems arrogantly to assign the role of creator to home sapiens--and what technology actually does with science--murder elephants to make billiard balls out of ivory (the "compassionate digit" ironically referred to is the "trigger finger").  Contrasted to what science presumes--to encompass the universe--technological achievement is ironically small, trivial, and destructive.

from Richard F. Dietrich, "Form and Content in Cummings' 'Space being...Curved.'" Notes on Contemporary Literature 12 (Nov. 1982): 5.


Criticism Overview
Title Richard F. Dietrich: On "Space being (don't forget to remember) Curved" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Richard F. Dietrich Criticism Target E. E. Cummings
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 21 Dec 2013
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication No Data
Printer Friendly PDF Version
Contexts No Data Tags Irony, Satire, Sarcasm, Science, Images

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