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Jeff Westover

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 10:57 am / February 21, 2017

Photo of Jeff Westover

Jeff Westover

Associate Professor
Department of English
College of Arts and Sciences

Jeff Westover recently published a teaching article titled “Cummings, Abbott and Costello: How ‘Who’s On First?’ Can Help Students Understand ‘anyone lived in a pretty how town’” in Teaching American Literature: A Journal of Theory and Practice 8.3 (Fall 2016): 54-70. The journal is open access and the article is available at


Listening to Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First?” can provide a helpful introduction to E.E. Cummings’s special use of pronouns in “anyone lived in a pretty how town.” Like Cummings, Abbott and Costello convert pronouns, other parts of speech, or short phrases into proper nouns. After students wrestle with this context in relation to the poem, they will be ready to think about other contexts, such as the legacy of Emersonian individualism or the Romantic idea of the child’s closeness to God. Finally, the role of gender in the love story also is worth exploring, and the romance between anyone and no one can be considered in the context of the ballad tradition.