Modernism and Postmodernism Foregrounded: A Stylistic Analysis of E. E. Cummings Poems
E. E. Cummings’ poetry has fascinated readers and critics since the first edition of his poems, primarily because of its unique and unusual style. Although he belongs to the modernist school of poets, with a literary consciousness and sensibility peculiar to the school, some critics still consider his poetry repetitive in themes and technique, and fail to see modernism and postmodernism as prominent features of his picture poems. This article stylistically analyses two of Cummings’ poems, ‘1(a’ and ‘fl’ in order to unravel the modern and postmodern themes and techniques instantiated in the poems through foregrounded deviations. The paper employs five types of foregrounded deviations: typographical, grammatical, lexical, semantic, and morphological as a theoretical framework―deviations proposed by Geoffrey Leech in A Linguistic Guide to English Poetry. The study finds the poems deviant to various degrees, in all five respects, and concludes that modernism and postmodernism are prominent features of the poems both in terms of themes and techniques; hence, style and meaning are embedded and complementary to each other in his poetry.