By Susan Dick, Declan Kiberd
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Extra info for Essays for Richard Ellmann: Omnium Gatherum
Dick opened the door. His brow was knotted with anxiety and he murmured something about perhaps calling in a child psychologist. Mary was the picture of distraction and worry. As the experienced father now of three, all good howlers on occasion, I picked Stevie up, laid him over my shoulder, and firmly patted his diaper. An enormous burp erupted. He gave one last yip and dropped into sound, sweet sleep. Mary of course absorbed the whole lesson instantly. As for Dick, I watched his face reassembling itself stage by stage as he took in, considered, comprehended, and assimilated all the levels of meaning and guidance in this demonstration.
He understood its power, was fascinated by its techniques, and was not hindered by its limitations. He saw it as the modern way to communicate with a mass audience.
Both were rather slight, a bit bald, and mobile in their body language. They were lively, amusing talkers, both witty, though Cummings could be rather sarcastic while Michaux's tone was essentially ironic. And both were ardent painters. Cummings was never recognized as an important artist but Michaux was. He had frequent shows, even several in New York, and his work sold. I couldn't attempt to describe it. Like Klee, he was concerned with mental imagery, which was at once anguished and humorous; this was true also of characters in his writing.