This website is an interactive academic
tool for CEA-UNH course:
Gay Paris:
Culture, Society, & Urban Sexual Identity

CEA GlobalCampus | Spring 2009
UNH Course Code: GEN230
Credits: 3 | Location: Paris, France

Friday, February 20, 2009

Gertrude Stein | The Writer and Her Muse

Chapter 2: The Writer and Her Muse
_Andrea Weiss

"She was large and heavy with delicate small hands and a beautifully modeled and unique head...She had a certain physical beauty and enormous power...I was impressed with her presence and her wonderful eyes and beautiful voice - an incredibly beautiful voice...Her voice had the beauty of a singer's voice when she spoke." (p. 61, Alice B. Toklas describing her lover Gertrude Stein)

Like the rest of the world, Gertrude Stein believed genius to be male...In her relationship with Alice, she assumed the more conventionally male role, or, as Catherine R. Stimpson describes it, "As they violated the rules of sex, they obeyed those of gender." (p. 64)

"Of herself, Gertrude wrote: 'Slowly and in a way it was not astonishing but slowly I was knowing that I was a genius...It is funny this thing of being a genius, there is no reason for it, there is no reason that it should be you...' " (p. 64)

Alice and Gertrude: Gertrude's writing and Alice's 'wifely' role as nurturer and caretaker were inseparable, interdependent entities, much as Gertrude and Alice were. In one of Gertrude's notebooks, she intermingled their names, coming up with 'Gertrice/Altrude.' (p. 65)

Her writing: Gertrude created new relations between words, even between the same words. She did not call this repetition, but rather insistence, since through the repeating, meanings change...She used words, not to describe the world around her, but to reproduce that world in language and sound. Consequently, her writing seemed more and more abstract, to the point where many could not follow her. (p. 68)

She is my rose.

"If you realized that she worked insistently, every day, to be published the first time by a real publisher, publishing house, after she was sixty. But I wonder who will do that, who will have the insistence, you understand, the obsession, the surety, the purity of insistence to do that. No concessions. She used to tell me, 'Don't you ever dare to make concessions. Then one walks down, down, down, down." (p. 74, Russian painter Pavel Tchelitchew on Stein)

Stein and Picasso had a great friendship. "She was the one who had believed in him. She was the one whom he painted. She was really his great friend and protector...Their important and volatile friendship contined for over four decades, from 1905 to Gertrude's death. Fame cost Picasso most of his other early friendships but it never came between the two. Although neither spoke nor read the other's mother tongue, they seemed to understand each other implicitly. Gertrude always felt that there was a 'particularly strong sympathy between Picasso and myself as to modern direction.' During one of the eighty or ninety sittings for Picasso's portrait of her, she mentioned that she heard with her eyes and saw with her ears. Picasso immediately agreed to this method." (p. 77)

Janet Flanner: "Her studio was the most fascinating of any place in Paris, because everyone did go there, about once a week she'd have a tea party...And she always led the conversation, well Gertrude led everything...When she laughed everyone in the room laughed. It was more than a signal, it was a contagion of good sprits...While Gertrude orated and made the pattern of the conversation, Miss Alice B. Toklas was sitting behind a tea tray. It was as if Gertrude was giving the address and Alice was supplying all the corrective footnotes." (p. 78)

Are there addresses in the reading that are relevant to our map creation? Where did Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas live? Where are the buried? Please note.

No comments:

Post a Comment