Chapter 11 Jean Le Nègre
An interesting chapter. I found myself reacting poorly to the infantilization of Le Nègre
. In much the same way as I responded to the chapter about the women. It made the whole book suspect. It's not so much the standard racism of the time, which of course, is true, but it is so obvious that Jean fills a role and is not really a person to Cummings, that even though I know Jean was a real person, I have no faith that the one pictured in the book has any real resemblance to the real man.
Of course there is still what the character represents as far as the allegory goes but I find that so much less interesting than who the real Jean was.
There is an interesting piece at http://www.progressivehistorians.com/2007/12/profiles-in-literature-e-e-cummings.html
that says Jean is a 4th Delectable Mountain. The author of the webpage is enamoured of the Enormous Room and (as you can tell if you've read some of my other bits) I am not so we don't agree but that is OK. I can see why the book is well thought of. Cummings use of language is really beautiful and his control of style is pretty amazing (funny given how unimportant that is in the text – in fact this whole language thing gets in the way on the trek to the celestial city as far as the allegory goes.). I can recognize the skill and beauty and still dislike it based on what it presents as reality.