Him [1927]

Him is a play in three acts that combines elements of vaudeville, the circus, and expressionism. The play was first produced at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York in 1928. (Cummings himself wrote the "*WARNING*" that appears at the top of the playbill.) With 71 parts, actors often doubled or tripled or quadrupled roles. (The actor who plaed the Doctor also palyed eight roles in Act II, including Mussolini and the Barker. Here is a cast list, as drawn up by Allison Carruth.) The idea of a dream play may have been suggested to Cummings by the Provincetown Playhouse's production of Strindberg's The Dream Play, which EEC characterized as having a "luminous existence" (Miscellany 144). Strindberg's play is more dream-like than Cummings' Him and contains no circus or vaudeville scenes, but it does feature two minor characters named "He" and "She," a character named "The Poet," and a central female character (Indra's daughter) who observes all the scenes and participates in many of them. The Dream Play premiered January 20th, 1926 and was directed by the same James Light who directed Him (see Deutsch and Hanau 141-42, 158-62, and 285-287). Him may also have benefited from the examples of John Dos Passos' play The Garbage Man (1926) and John Howard Lawson's Processional (1925). The drawing at the left appeared on the cover of the first edition and illustrates the passage in Act I, scene two when Him explains that being an artist is like performing a high-wire act in the clouds. (For EEC's discussion of this scene, see nonlecture five.) For an interpretation of some autobiographical aspects of Him, see Linda Wagner-Martin's "Cummings' Him—and Me" [Spring New Series 1 (1992): 28-36].  Large portions of Him appeared in The Dial of August 1927, pp. 101-127. [Act I, scene ii, Act II, scene vi, and Act III, scenes i, v, vi (in part), and vii.]
    Him opened on April 18, 1928, playing to a packed 200-seat house for 27 performances. Reviews were decidedly mixed: the uptown Broadway reviewers were mostly baffled and even bored by the play, while the downtown Greenwich Village literati were intrigued and enthusiastic. During the play's run, Gilbert Seldes edited and the Provincetown Players and S. A. Jacobs printed 16-page pamphlet called him AND the CRITICS: a collection of opinions on e. e. cummings’ play at the provincetown playhouse. As Richard S. Kennedy writes in Dreams in the Mirror, the pamphlet "set the harsh opinions of the Broadway reviewers against the views of several New York intellectuals (including some of Cummings' friends)," and was printed by the Provincetown board in hopes "that a literary controversy about the play would entice subscribers for their next series" (296).
    [In the notes below, act and scene numbers appear first, followed by page numbers in parentheses before the note. The first page number refers to pagination in the 1927 Liveright edition (reprinted 1955), while the second number refers to the pagination of the text in The Theatre of E. E. Cummings (Liveright, 2013).] Him Links

In his notes to the play, Cummings writes that Him "is a combination of

nonsense(the 3 Weirds—before the curtain-picture, with their backs to audience)
sense(Him & Me—the revolving room
symbol(Act II entire)

Act I

I,i (3 / 3) [and I, iii (17 / 16)] The prophetic nonsense spoken by the three Figures (known as "Weirds") is in some ways modeled on the speeches of the three witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth. It's Toasted = Slogan on packets of Lucky Strike brand cigarettes. The word hippopotamus means “river horse” in Greek—in contrast to the hippocampus (seahorse) at the end of Act I.  

I.i. (4 / 4) Mr. Anybody --Him's first nom de plume name may remind the reader of Odysseus' famous pseudonym, "Nobody" or "No Man"  (Homer, Odyssey 9.366). See also the medieval morality play, Everyman. Marquis de la Poussière = "Marquis of Dust" [French].
Miss Stop, Miss Look and Miss Listen = "Stop, Look, and Listen" was a warning sign on railway platforms. (See note to page 9.) In Act II, scene iii, people stop, look, and listen to hear a soap box orator's spiel selling patent medicine (39-45 / 33-38). The Three Weirds are again called Miss Stop, Miss Look, and Miss Listen on page 132/114. Irving Berlin's song "Stop! Look! Listen!" (1915) may also be relevant. Here's the first refrain: 

Stop! Look! Listen to a friend's advice
Better look before you leap
Or you'll be in water deep
For God's sake don't get married, don't give up your name
Then he'll stop, look, listen to his friend's advice
But he'll go out and marry just the same

I.ii. (9 / 8) married a Holeproof. "Holeproof" = brand name of ladies' hosiery.
I.ii. (9 / 9) I don’t see the engine = "I don’t see the train coming."

(9-10 / 9) a definite hunch . . . hunchback = Me "starts" at the word "hunch" because she is worried that she might be pregnant (see note to pages 21-24 / 19-22). She covers up her fears by talking about a "hunchback" as "good luck" (10 / 9). But when she says she'd like to read the play that Him is writing, she makes the Freudian slip of asking, Have you got it in your hump? (when she means to say "pocket"). The stage directions at the beginning of Act III, scene vi describe the Doctor as disguised as a hunchback Barker (132 / 114). Then the third Weird, Miss Listen, says his name is Nascitur, which would mean: "his name is being born, arises, originates, begins, is produced, springs forth, proceeds, grows, is found." [Latin].

(10 / 10) My God, have I a hump?--Him's  response to Me's "hump" remark and his subsequent suggestion to "let the mirror decide the question" may indicate that he understands the implication that Me might be pregnant.
(11 / 10) A little embonpoint = a small swelling or plumpness. In French, the phrase en bon point means "in good point" or "in good form." Cummings probably borrowed the word from the "Wandering Rocks" chapter of James Joyce's Ulysses, in which Leopold Bloom stops by a book stall and reads a few lines from a mildly pornographic novel called Sweets of Sin about a woman's "heaving embonpoint," or curvy bosom. In Him, embonpoint refers to the pregnancy imagery of "hump" and "hunch." Him says that he is working on his own little hump or hunch, but he fears that may be producing only a kind of mental masturbation. (The master at his imaginary prep school is named "Bates.")

(11 / 11) zygote =  "a diploid cell resulting from the fusion of two haploid gametes; a fertilized ovum." 

(12 / 11) fourdimensional ideas: see Cummings' painting Fourth Dimensional Abstraction. See also note  (140 / 122).
(12-13 / 11-12) In his i: six nonlectures (81), Cummings comments on this "artist-as-acrobat" scene. EEC reads this scene on in his first Caedmon recording, now out of print. This LP was re-released in 2007 in CD format under the name The Essential E. E. Cummings, but it, too, is no longer in print.

(15 / 14) sabe usted quién soy = “do you know what it is?” [Spanish].

I.iii (19 / 17) omphalos = "navel" [Greek]. A large stone at the oracle at Delphi was considered the omphalos, the navel or center of the ancient Greek world. See also pages 20 / 19 and 121 / 105.

(19 / 17) casazza = according to Cummings' notes, "a madeup word(burlesk)."

I.iv. (20 / 18) Keyring Comedies and Keyhole Farces = a play on the popular silent movies called Keystone Comedies. (Also a play on the phrase "three-ring circus"?)
(20 / 19) gimme a chord professor = instruction given by a vaudeville or burlesque performer to the piano player or conductor, who was often called "professor." See the end of Act II, scene xiii (74 / 65).
longlost nombril = navel [French]. (See omphalos above and on page 121 / 105.)

(22 / 20) I've got the machine who's got the god?—a play on the theatrical expression deus ex machina, the "god from the machine" [Latin]. A god or godlike character appears at the end of the play to assign rewards and punishments and to tie up all loose ends.

(22 / 20) Ars longa vita brevis. The Est--? = "Ars longa vita brevis est" = "Art is long, life is short" [Latin]. The Est = The Is [Latin].

(23 / 21) armies of unalterable law = a quote from the last line of T. S. Eliot's "Cousin Nancy": "Upon the glazen shelves kept watch / Matthew and Waldo, guardians of the faith, / The army of unalterable law." [The phrase Matthew and Waldo refers to Matthew Arnold (1822-88) and Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82).]
(23 / 21) Morgen. = [Good] morning [German].

(23 / 21) Professor Roland Thaxter Neighbor of the youthful E. E. Cummings in Cambridge, Massachusetts (see Kennedy, Dreams 22).

(21-24 / 19-22) The dialogue on these pages may be clarified by the following interpretation from Cummings' notes:

1)a man & woman(H & M)are living together   H is an artist--

i.e. a person incapable of compromise,fighting an un-world [x-ed out: in the name of Beauty.]  She loves him.  He idealizes her.  b has shut me from the truth p 130
a)her fear of pregnancy (p 21)—he removes it by pretending to be on the point of
  committing suicide(p 23)whereupon,in terror,she menstruates(24)

[Houghton Library, Harvard University: MS Am 1892.6 (52)]

(24 / 22) King C. Y. Didn’t Gillette Meknow— A guy named King C. Gillette founded the Gillette Safety Razor Company and appeared in its newspaper advertisements. Him's line is a pun: "King see, why didn’t you let me know?"

(29 / 27) The planes overlap sometimes —Cummings says in his notes that this is a quote from the painter Paul Cézanne. In one of Cummings' favorite books, Willard Huntington Wright’s Modern Painting (1915), Wright quotes Cézanne as saying: "I see the planes criss-crossing and overlapping, and sometimes the lines seem to fall" (146).

I. v. (30 / 28) In Vino Veritas = in wine (is) truth [Latin].  
(31 / 28) hippocampus = seahorse. The last three lines also describe the seahorse. Since the male gives birth, the seahorse may be a symbol of the male artist.

Act II

II.ii-iii. (39-45 / 33-38) RA-DI-OLE-UM . . . Radium. In 1918 a skin cream called "Radior" was marketed as containing "a definite amount of Actual Radium--nature's greatest aid to Beauty." A French beauty product called "Tho-Radia" was marketed as late as the 1930s. Much in the news in 1925-28, radium was used to paint glow-in-the-dark numbers on watchdials. Most of the dial-painters were young women who, in order to achieve a fine point on their brushes, would lick them before dipping them in the radium solution. As a result, many were poisoned. In March and June of 1925, the New York Times reported on several wrongful death suits filed on behalf of workers employed at U.S. Radium (see Clark 112-115, 237). Claudia Clark's very thorough Radium Girls tells the story in detail. A contemporary newspaper sketch shows skeletons handing dishes of radium solution to the dial-painters:

radium girls  

"POISONED! -- as They Chatted Merrily at Their Work

Painting the Luminous Numbers on Watches, the Radium Accumulated in Their Bodies, and
Without Warning Began to Bombard and Destroy Teeth, Jaws and Finger Bones. Marking
Fifty Young Factory Girls for Painful, Lingering,
But Inevitable Death"

The drawing appeared on p. 11 of the Hearst Sunday supplement American Weekly, February 28, 1926 (Clark xiv). See also Kate Moore's recent book concentrating on the lives of the women themselves: The Radium Girls

II.iv. (45-49 / 38-42) Will and Bill, two partners in business. This scene parodies Eugene O'Neill's play The Great God Brown (1925) in which some characters wear masks symbolic of their public faces or selves. One character (Bill Brown) assumes the identity of another (his deceased rival, Dion Anthony) by donning his mask. EEC's character Him may be indebted to that of Anthony, a failed artist who does not proceed. When Brown asks Cybel, an Earth-mother / prostitute figure, why Anthony is so attractive to women, she responds, "He's alive!" (340). 

II.iv. (48-49 / 41) Masks and ghosts . . . Larva, pupa and . . . imago —According to C. G. Jung's Psychological Types (1923), a book which Cummings owned and heavily annotated,  

With the primitive [human] . . . the imago, the psychic reverberation of the sense-impression, is so strong and so avowedly sensuous in hue and texture that, when it appears reproduced, i.e., as a spontaneous memory-image it sometimes even has the quality of an hallucination. Thus when the memory-image of his dead mother suddenly reappears to a primitive, it is as if it were her ghost he sees and hears.  (Jung, Types 42). 

II.iv. (49 / 41) Life is a cribhouse = "Life is a cabin or hovel." See also in the next scene Cummings' version of the “Ballad of Frankie and Johnny” (51-56/47-52), in which the cribhouse, or the cheap, run-down brothel where Frankie lives, is contrasted with the parlourhouse, the much more upscale establishment where Johnny visits Frankie's rival. Cummings may also be referring to Arthur Hugh Clough's Amours de Voyage, Canto I: "Come, let us go; though withal a voice whisper, 'The world that we live in, / Whithersoever we turn, still is the same narrow crib'." (lines 5-6).

II.v. (49-54 / 42-46)  Frankie = Frances. "Ashcan school" painter John Sloan (1871-1951) made an etching of the performance of this Frankie and Johnny number. Sloan's etching depicts actors Hemsley Winfield and Goldye Steiner singing "Frankie and Johnny." Steiner, as The Ground, holds a doll representing the dead Johnny. [For more on Winfield, see Nelson D. Neal's "History of Hemsley Winfield," as well as his Hemsley Winfield: Pioneer of Modern Dance – A Biography.

Sloan wrote to James Light, the director of the play: "Him is about as thrilling an evening's entertainment as I have ever experienced. I liked it thoroughly—I don't claim to understand it—I do not believe that a work of art can be, nor need be, understood, even by its maker. It seemed to me to be a glimpse inside the cranium of an artist-poet" ("Stagestruck"). 

John Sloan, The Frankie and Johnny scene from HIM
John Sloan, The Frankie and Johnny scene from Him, 1928 

Sloan's comments on understanding the play echo Cummings' "WARNING," printed in the program: "Relax and give the play a chance to strut its stuff—relax, stop wondering what it is all 'about'—like many strange and familiar things, Life included, this Play isn't 'about,' it simply is. . . . Don't try to enjoy it, let it try to enjoy you. DON'T TRY TO UNDERSTAND IT, LET IT TRY TO UNDERSTAND YOU" (quoted in Kennedy 295).

II.v. (54 / 47) John Rutter = John S. Sumner (1876-1971), "executive secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice" (Daniels 81). See note to "the season 'tis,my lovely lambs" (CP 265). 

II.vi (63 / 54-55) eels . . . mice—see Act I, scene ii (7) and Act II, scene v (57 / 49).

II.vii. (64 / 56) Chaos = "gap, chasm"--according to Hesiod, the first element in creation [Greek]. Cosmos = order [Greek]. Kolynos = a brand of toothpaste.

(65 / 57) I was quoting. See Act II, scene vi (59 / 52).
John Dewey (1859-1952) "was an American psychologist, philosopher, educator, social critic and political activist."
C. Petronius = Gaius Petronius Arbiter (died 61 AD), courtier of the Emperor Nero and author of the Satyricon.

II.viii. (65-74 / 57-65) The Old Howard's conception of a luxurious Roman villa . . . The Old Howard Theatre was a burlesque house in Scollay Square, Boston. Long since demolished by "illustrious punks of Progress" (CP 438), Scollay Square and the Old Howard were for years "famous for supplementing the curricula of Harvard students" (Park). See also the web page "History of Scollay Square."

EEC wrote to Charles Norman about this scene: 

(I) the great comedian killed by lightning was Bert Savoy;of the Savoy & Brennan team,which appeared in B'way musicals at e.g. The Winter Garden uptown(not the National Winter Garden,2nd Ave & Houston St).

(2) a favorite fascist slogan in the "onorevole BENITO'S" early days was sempre avanti Savoia i.e. forever onward(& upward with)the house of Savoy.

(3) Him Act II Scene 8 is thus built on a pun--SAVOY equals (a)Italian royalty,temporarily rescued from soidisant socialism by Mussolini;& (z)the unbelievably hideous incomparably obscene & excruciatingly funny Female(pour ainsi dire)Impersonator Bert S.

(4) that's why the fairies have lightningrods. It's also why Him talking with Me on page 73 [64],describes these "Ecce Homos" as "the only lineal descendants of the ancient and honourable house of Savoy."

(5) But,in my experience,enthusiastic advocates of any form of totalitarianism are inclined to be nothing-if-not-queer,mentally if not otherwise(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana,the Virgil of EIMI,is a good illustration of the otherwise). (quoted in Norman 220-21)

EEC quotes Bert Savoy in his article on the Folies Bergère: "as the immortal Bert Savoy would have said, 'you don't know the half of it, dearie.' "(Miscellany 161). In The Seven Lively Arts, Gilbert Seldes wrote of Bert Savoy: "The occurrence of a character out of Petronius on our stage is exceptional in itself, that it should at the same time be slightly vicious and altogether charming, funny and immoral and delicate, is the wonder" (206).

(68 / 59) If Winter Comes = best-selling novel by A. S. M. Hutchinson (Little, Brown, 1921). The book "describes the unhappy marriage and divorce of Mark Sabre and the suicide of Effie Bright, a single mother" (Fahy, Staging 78).

(70 / 61) "hands locked behind . ." — Napoleon as described by Robert Browning in his poem "Incident of the French Camp." 

(71 / 62) To S. M. Il Re! = "To His Majesty the King!" [Vittorio Emanuele II, King of Italy. The Italian royal family was known as the house of Savoy.]

(73 / 64) Ecce Homos— "Ecce Homo" is an inscription often found on crucifixes and crucifixion scenes. It means "Behold the man" [Latin].

(74 / 65) Congressman Mann who freed the slaves --"U. S. Rep. J. R. Mann gave his name to the White Slavery Act of 1910, popularly known as the Mann Act. It decreed fines and imprisonment for persons transporting 'any woman or girl' across state lines for the purpose of prostitution or 'any other immoral purpose'" (Gerber 177-178).


III. i. (90 / 77) The stage directions should read: "ME stands—tense erect panting—" (rather than "terse erect panting").   

(90 / 78) Mademoiselle d’Autrefois = formerly, once [French].  

(91 / 78) Ahsh E. M. spells "H – I – M" as the letters are pronounced in French. 

(96 / 83) Eheu fugaces—refers to Horace, Odes, II.14: "Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume, / labuntur anni nec pietas moram / rugis et instanti senectae / adferet indomitaeque morti": "Ah, Postumus, Postumus, how fleeting / the swift years—prayer cannot delay / the furrows of imminent old-age / nor hold off unconquerable death.” (Also quoted or parodied in CP 234, CP 492, and CP 986.)

III.ii (99 / 85) Happiness in every box = advertising slogan for United Retail Candy Stores. Before opening their first New York store in May 1920, United Candy posted mysterious advertisements around town featuring this slogan (Fahy, Staging 62 and "Ambiguous" 75). See also Orline Foster, "There's 'Happiness in Every Box'."

III.iii. (99 / 85) According to Cummings, we are to understand that the "Blond Gonzesse" is a prostitute. His note reads: "gonzesse = tart." The French word gonzesse may be translated roughly as "broad" or "babe." 

(100 / 86) Belasco = David Belasco (1854-1931) Broadway producer known for the realism of his sets.
Au Pere Tranquille, circa 1931
Au Père Tranquille, circa 1931
III.iii. (100 / 86) Donny mwah un omb = "Give me a shadow [ombre] or man [homme]." 

(104 / 89) Poiret = Paul Poiret (1879-1944), French fashion designer. See also "Poiret: King of Fashion" (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

(109 / 94) The headwaiter's speeches may be translated as follows: "A dozen for each of you?" "And to follow, a good rumsteak--a chateau--a veal sauté?" "And then--a little bit of cheese--a dessert?" "We only have champagne, msieur."

(110 / 95) carrying . . . a cabbage —since the restaurant, Au Père Tranquille, was located next to Les Halles, formerly a very large outdoor produce market, it makes perfect sense for Him to be carrying a cabbage he has just purchased.

Him (To Waiter): Trois whis-ky et une assiette. = "Three whiskies and a plate."
Waiter: Une assiette msieur—comment—?  Une assiette anglaise? = "A plate, monsieur—what—? A cold buffet?"
Him: Une assiette nature, pour le choux. = "A clean empty plate for the cabbage."

(111 / 95-96) John Brown is a generic name, but it is also the name of the famous abolitionist (1800-1859). "John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave / His soul is marching on" are lines from the popular song "John Brown's Body" (1861). Julia Ward Howe later adapted the tune of this song for her "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (1862).

(113 / 97) Il fait chaud, n'est-ce pas, mademoiselle? = "It's hot, isn’t it, mademoiselle?" Très chaud, monsieur = "Very hot, monsieur."

(114 / 98) Ca fait--quatre cent francs juste, msieur = "That adds up to--four hundred francs exactly, msieur."

(115 / 99) god is the candlestick—Compare to the Virgo's candle in Act II, scene ii (36-37 / 30-31) and the definition of God in Act II, scene ix (84/74). Compare the collapsed Gentleman in this scene to the "Just. Been. Born." Gentleman of Act II, scene ix (85/75). See also Him's earlier statement that he was "born the day before yesterday" (113/97). See also what Listen, the third Weird, says at the end of Act I, scene iii: "Life is a matter of being born" (19/17).

(115 / 99) shall we dance the I Touch? = "shall we make love?" 

III.v. (129 / 112) Gay may change = "Ge (Earth) may change" [Greek]. Hypnos and Thanatos = Sleep and Death [Greek]. 

III.vi. The Barker in this scene speaks with a demotic New York accent. Here are some equivalents for Cummings' phonetic rendering of his speech: tuh = to; duh = the; dis = this; nut = not; uv = of; uh = a; ur = or; un = and / on; us = as; ut = at; dut = that; were = where; toity = thirty. (133 / 115) clawt = cloth; poisun's = person's; oit's = earth’s. (135 / 118) swollud = swallowed; indigenes = indigenous. (136 / 118) refois = refers; unpunkshooruble = unpuncturable. (139 / 120) duh fort uv Chooleye = the fourth of July. (140 / 121) inkois = incurs; (140 / 122) skoit = skirt [woman]; lonjuhray = lingerie; eminun = eminent. (142 / 123) det = death; ak Y.essed = acquiesced; Awt = Art. (143 / 124) bade = bathe; (143 / 125) presinks = precincts; predetoimine = predetermined; nutn = nothing 

(132 / 114) his name is Nascitur = his name is "being born, arises, originates, begins, is produced, springs forth, proceeds, grows, is found." [Latin]. Cf. "yonder deadfromtheneckup graduate of a" (CP 232). The person whose name is Nascitur is the Barker, a.k.a., the Doctor, who touts the Freaks. His "birth" name Nascitur, along with the description of him in the stage directions as a hunchback (132 / 114), indicates that he will in some way give birth to the Freaks. (See the notes to pages 9-11.) The Barker's role as midwife is quite contradictory to his role in the Frankie and Johnny scene, where the Doctor plays the censor John Rutter. But see Act II, scene ix, where the Gentleman (also played by the Doctor) has "Just. Been. Born." (85/75) and Act III, scene iii, where Him tells the same Gentleman, "I was born day before yesterday" (113/97). Note also the birth / Adam and Eve theme in the names of the nine Freaks:  

Table of Freaks in Him:

9 Foot Giant

Queen of Serpents

Human Needle

Missing Link

Princess Anankay

Tattooed Man

600 Lb. Woman

King of Borneo

18-inch Lady



Adamus Jones

Ge Ge


A. I. Dolon
E. I. Dolon

Eva Smith

Kakos Kalos

Mme. S. Petite

penis (large)

creep, crawl (serpent)


earth, ground


treachery, image (eidolon)


bad / good

small (clothes)

1 (132 / 115)

3 (135 / 117)

5 (138 / 120)

7 (140 / 122)

9 (143 / 124)

8 (141 / 123)

6 (139 / 121)

4 (136 / 118)

2 (133 / 116)

Corresponding scenes in Act II:

Act II, i II, ii II, iii II, iv II, v II, vi II, vii II, viii II, ix

III.vi. (134 / 116) Checkur = the Cheka, Soviet state security organization, 1917-1922.
moocheek  = a mujik or muzhik, a Russian peasant.
crorduhgair = croix de guerre ["war cross"], French and Belgian military decoration.
(134 / 117) Tom Tumb = General Tom Thumb, the stage name of Charles Sherwood Stratton (1838–1883), a dwarf "who achieved great fame under circus pioneer P.T. Barnum."
Many Abelards = a reference to the love affair between the medieval philosopher Pierre Abelard (1079–1142) and his star pupil Héloïse (1101-1164).

(135 / 117) Herpo = "to creep, to crawl, move slowly" [Greek].

(135-136 / 118) Frank Mac Dermot —Cummings' first wife Elaine Orr married Frank Mac Dermot after divorcing EEC in 1924. (See Kennedy 254-55.) He is presented here as a great white hunter who captures a sleeping serpent—perhaps Elaine or Me.
D.S.C. = "Distinguished Service Cross," the second-highest U. S. Army decoration, first awarded in WWI. Since Mac Dermot was Irish, he could not have been awarded this medal.  S.O.L. = "shit out of luck."

(136-137 / 118-119) Kakos = "Bad, shitty, evil" [Greek]. Kalos "beautiful, fair, serving a good purpose, good, morally beautiful, right, good, noble" [Greek].

(137 / 119) Barun Munchchowsun = Karl Friedrich von Münchhausen (1720–1797), a German baron who served in the Russian military. After returning to Germany, he is said to have told some tall tales about his time in Russia. These tales were further embellished and published in 1781. Many authors later retold and translated the tales, expanding and transforming them.

(138 / 120) Sempre abasso Savoia putana Madonna viva Lenine! = "Always down with [the house of] Savoy [king of Italy] whore Madonna long live Lenin!" [Italian]. cindurulluh –see Act II, scene iii (40-43/34-36). 

(139 / 120) An-tie-hippo-fagic = "anti-hippophagic" = a society against the eating of horseflesh. See Act I, scene i (3) and Act I, scene v (31/28).
(139 / 121) knee plus ultry = ne plus ultra = the highest point [Latin, “no more beyond”].

(140 / 121) Eat Un Grow Tin = "Eat and Grow Thin," Cummings’ spoof on a popular self-help book by Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich?

(140 / 122) pulcrytood dut makes uh billiard ball look like uh cookie—a reference to the leveling metaphors of science. See "kind)" (CP 464) in which the scientist-lecturer compares the universe to a "Cookie" and a "Biscuit." See also "pity this busy monster,manunkind," (CP 554).

dis way tuh duh fort diemension
The fourth dimension was much discussed in scientific and avant-garde circles before WWI. One of Cummings’ books on modern art, Arthur Jerome Eddy’s Cubists and Post-Impressionism (1914) quotes from Guillaume Apollinaire’s Cubist Painters: "Today philosophers do not confine their speculations to the three dimensions of Euclid. Painters, by intention, so to speak, have come naturally to preoccupy themselves with these new lines of extension which, in the language of modern studios, are classed under the term, fourth dimension" (quoted in Eddy 81). In the 1920s, Cummings created a painting titled Fourth Dimensional Abstraction. For more on the topic, consult Linda Henderson's The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art and Marjorie Perloff's The Futurist Moment (121, 127-129). See also Him's earlier speech in Act I, scene ii: "Damn everything but the circus! . . . And here am I, patiently squeezing fourdimensional ideas into a twodimensional stage, when all of me that's anyone is in the top of a circustent . . . . " (12 / 11).

(140 / 122) Ge Ge . . . duh missin link = Ge = "earth, ground, soil: one's country" [Greek]. See page 129/112--Gay may change. 

(141 / 122) decalcomaniuh = decalcomania, "the art or process of transferring pictures or designs from specially prepared paper to wood, metal, glass, etc." A decal.

(141 / 123) I am. See Act II, scene iv (45-46/38-39).

A. I. Dolon = "dolos" = "bait, cunning contrivance, craft, cunning, treachery, wiliness" [Greek]. Cummings notes that the name could also be construed as an "eidolon=shape,image" [Greek]. The most recent edition reads "E. I. Dolon" (123). Cummings may also refer to Walt Whitman's poem, "Eidólons," in which the images represent "the universes, / Purport and end, ever the permanent life of life" (8). The Tattooed Man, too, presents "permanent" images--he's a tricky artist. 

Muddur Mucree = "Mother Machree" (1910), Irish-American song with lyrics by Rida Johnson Young and music by Chauncey Olcott and Ernest R. Ball. Here's the chorus:

Sure, I love the dear silver
That shines in your hair,
And the brow that's all furrowed,
And wrinkled with care.
I kiss the dear fingers,
So toil-worn for me,
Oh, God bless you and keep you,
Mother Machree.

A silent film named Mother Machree was begun in 1926, released in 1927, then re-released with a synchronized sound reel in 1928.

(131 / 113; 143 / 124) Princess Anankay = Anagke = "necessity, constraint, force, natural want or desire" [Greek].

(143 / 124) Cakewalk = "a traditional African-American form of music and dance."

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