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An Exercise in Reading Gertrude Stein

Hoffman (1986), 34-37.
Walker, Jayne L., (Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 1984).
(New York, Toronto et al., 1989).
Weininger, Otto, (London: Heinemann, 1906).
Williams, William Carlos, "The Work of Gertrude Stein" (1954),

Hoffman (1986), 31-33.
Ruddick, Lisa, (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990).
Ruddick, Lisa, "A Rosy Charm: Gertrude Stein and the Repressed Feminine" (1986),

Bridgman, Richard. Gertrude Stein in Pieces. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971.

Гертруда Стайн (англ. Gertrude Stein)

Hoffman, Frederick J. Gertrude Stein. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1961.

Like , I've spent a good portion of the week trying to build a Wittgensteinian poetics as a scaffold for reading Gertrude Stein, but I've found Perloff less helpful than he has in doing so. The comments in chapter two on the are useful, but the reading of Stein, I think, is less successful. While the close readings of the poems are helpful, I think that she's forcing her argument in certain places. More specifically, I think that she fails to draw the full implications of some of her theorizing on Wittgenstein, and that she waffles back and forth in places on method.

William James, in “Philosophical Conceptions,” explains, “Philosophers are after all like poets. They are pathfinders. What every one can feel, what every one can know in the bone and marrow of him, they sometimes can find words for and express” (346). Through his philosophies, James attempts to provide new context for abstract words such as belief, truth, and faith. Although his essays labor to create a more flexible background for these terms, the linguistic baggage is unavoidable. On a smaller scale, Gertrude Stein’s writing takes everyday words, sets them in new situations, and ascribes shifting meanings. Stein does not tackle large, grandiose terms, but prefers to force the reader to question everyday language.

Hoffman, Michael J. Gertrude Stein. Boston: Twayne, 1976.

Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein in a plaza, with pigeons, ca. 1908. Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Гертруда Стайн (англ. Gertrude Stein)

An entry in Eva Figes and Adele King’s Women Writers series, this 174-page overview introduces principal Stein techniques: repetition, digression, linguistic play, and genre revision. Useful explications for beginners; hampered only by its size, which causes the focus to fall on Three Lives, The Making of Americans, and Tender Buttons.

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Гертруда Стайн (англ. Gertrude Stein)


Гертруда Стайн (англ. Gertrude Stein)

Originally published by Little, Brown in 1959. Before (under ), Brinnin’s was the standard biography. Since then it has functioned primarily as a reminder of how Stein was read before feminism and poststructuralism. Brinnin defines Stein’s method largely by analogy: Three Lives is her attempt at expanding Flaubertian realism, Tender Buttons her version of Cubism, and so on.

Гертруда Стайн (англ. Gertrude Stein)

"Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) differed from most of her contemporaries by being female, Jewish, lesbian, and well-educated Even in 1910 this was a lot to swallow all at once for a cultural establishment of critics and literati which had been founded not by mothers but by so-called "Pilgrim Fathers" in order to till in essentially masculine fashion the "Virgin Land," as it was called in this cultivation myth It was then that the Indian first mother had been expelled from her wilderness paradise by the harbinger of puritan Anglo-Saxon culture, who saw himself as the "American Adam and so usually covered his sex with a fig leaf until well into the 20th century.
Stein's career and also her fame began with the publication of (1909), three seemingly inconspicuous and mundane biographical portraits of three women: "The Good Anna," "Melanctha," and "The Gentle Lena Three stories, 280 pages of quite explosive potential, but of course this is not apparent at first sight.

Гертруда Стайн (англ. Gertrude Stein)

As close to a concise introduction as is available today—although, as befits its era, still evasive on the issue of sexual orientation. The book begins as a chronological overview, but after a discussion of Tender Buttons switches gears to assess Stein by genre (operas and plays, novels, and literary criticism and autobiography).

Гертруда Стайн (англ. Gertrude Stein)

On the other hand, the concentration on "Melanctha" served, linguistically, "to show how big a step Gertrude Stein takes into abstractionism and "experimental writing psychologically, how consistent her step is "from a Jamesian notion of selective attention to a psychoanalytic one Putting aside, critics became preoccupied with the "anarchic" Gertrude Stein: the unintelligible and unreadable, the Gertrude Stein of the "automatic writing," (1914) and the later "portraits" being the paradigms
This tries to give a re-reading of the three stories of within their genuine context and to build up the structural unity of the work by a change of perspective that seems to be logically enforced by the questions which are systematically opened to an unbiassed reader.

Гертруда Стайн (англ. Gertrude Stein)

I am going to skip over the obvious response to in this metaphor, and muse about the implicit meaning of this short sentence. I hope that Gertrude Stein had more in mind than a vagina when she penned this particular sentence, and I think that the bigger picture develops by acknowledging the relation to the rest of the prose. How does this section relate to the larger grouping of “Objects”?

Гертруда Стайн (англ. Gertrude Stein)

Stein's disruption of generic norms - above all, the convention of the author that the speech act of autobiography has as yet been based on - serves as a mask and at the same time breaks the conventional taboo of lesbian sexuality with an open confession by means of form
Paris, where Alice joins Gertrude from San Francisco, where the two women live together in the Rue de Fleurus and where the begins, closes Stein's literary journey of mental evolution.

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