"A prose work of literary art. There had never been anything quite like it before and there has never been anything like it since." —Richard S. Kennedy
In print continuously since 1922, The Enormous Room
is one of the classic American literary works to emerge from World War I, in a grouping that includes John Dos Passo's Three Soldiers
and Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms
. Drawing on his experiences in France as a volunteer ambulance driver, Cummings takes us through a series of mistakes that led to his being arrested for treason and sent to prison. Out of this episode Cummings produced a unique work—a story of oppression, injustice, and imprisonment presented in a high-spirited manner as if it were a lark, a work of new linguistic energy that celebrates the individual and opposes all structures that stifle him.
This edition restores to the work much material that was deleted from the manuscript for the book's 1922 publication and is illustrated with drawings Cummings made while imprisoned in France.