"Cummings's assurance of superiority, like his failure to genuinely disturb his readers, makes even his most adventurous work seem like the antics of a beloved child, certain that his transgressions will be forgiven. "As for me," he said in his Norton lectures, "I was welcomed as no son of any king and queen was ever welcomed. Here was my joyous fate and my supreme blessing." And he recognized that Harvard, too, welcomed him, even in his rebellion: "As regards my own self-finding, I have to thank first of all that institution whose initial I flaunted unknowingly during my very earliest days." No wonder Harvard invited him back, almost 40 years after he graduated, as a Norton Lecturer. He may have been a prodigal, but he was always its son.

~ The Rebellion of E.E. Cummings, by Adam Kirsch.