|Cummings' one-act play Santa Claus was first
published in the Cummings Number of the Harvard
Wake, Spring 1946. It was reprinted in Three Plays and A
Ballet, ed. George J.
Firmage, (New York: October House, 1967). The play is not in print at
moment, but Cummings discusses it and quotes from it at length in nonlecture six. There is also a
French translation in print, with facing-page English text.
The play is an allegory in which Death and Santa Claus exchange masks, but a child sees through the masks to the true identity of each. Death is equated with Science, which "can sell people anything--except understanding." In the end, Santa Claus, who is a young man beneath his mask, reveals himself to the child and her mother. In the illustration at the right, Cummings portrayed himself as Santa Claus removing the mask of Death.
Santa Claus removing the mask of Death (EEC drawing)
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