Cummings at Silver Lake

Where did E.E. Cummings write “The Enormous Room”?

In the fall of 1920 Edward Estlin (E.E.) Cummings completed the manuscript of his autobiographical novel, The Enormous Room, in a tree house built among three pine trees on Hurricane Point along the shore of Silver Lake in Madison, New Hampshire.

Cummings served as an ambulance driver during World War I. In late 1917 he and his friend and colleague, William Slater Brown (known in the book only as B.), were arrested by French authorities as a result of anti-war sentiments B. expressed in some letters. When questioned, Cummings stood by his friend and was also arrested. After four months in prison, Cummings was released due to U.S. diplomatic intervention instigated by his father.

The book is written as a mix of Cummings’ well-known “unconventional grammar and diction and the witty voice of a young Harvard-educated intellectual in an absurd situation”.

At Hurricane Point, a short easy walk along a trail cleared in 1996 by Muriel Hughes and Lynn Jones , Master Gardeners and members of the Madison Garden Club, leads to the top of the ridge. Three pine stumps and a rotting trunk inclining down-slope toward the lake mark the site of the tree house. The water laps the shore below the ridge, and Cummings’ beloved Chocorua mountain stands sentinel to the west.

Hurricane Point Natural Area is one of the 8 sites around Silver Lake that will be featured during the Cummings at Silver Lake Celebration Weekend offered by the Friends of Madison Library July 10th and 11th , 2015.

Tickets for the weekend at $15 per person if purchased before July 1st and $20 per person after July 1.

Thanks to Carol L. Batchelder and Wikipedia.