Experimental texts empower the reader by encouraging self-governing approaches to reading and by placing the reader on equal footing with the author. Everybody's Autonomy is about reading and identity.
Contemporary avant garde writing has often been overlooked by those who study literature and identity. Such writing has been perceived as unrelated, as disrespectful of subjectivity. But Everybody's Autonomy instead locates within avant garde literature models of identity that are communal, connective, and racially concerned. Everybody's Autonomy, as it tackles literary criticism's central question of what sort of selves do works create, looks at works that encourage connection, works that present and engage with large, public worlds that are in turn shared with readers. With this intent, it aligns the iconoclastic work of Gertrude Stein with foreign, immigrant Englishes and their accompanying subjectivities. It examines the critique of white individualism and privilege in the work of language writers Lyn Hejinian and Bruce Andrews. It looks at how Harryette Mullen mixes language writing's open text with the distinctivesness of African-American culture to propose a communal, yet still racially conscious identity. And it examines Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's use of broken English and French to unsettle readers' fluencies and assimilating comprehensions, to decolonize reading. Such works, the book argues, well represent and expand changing notions of the public, of everybody.
Geography and Plays
Gertrude Stein; Introduction by Cyrena N. Pondrom University of Wisconsin Press, 1993 Library of Congress PS3537.T323G4 1993 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
Geography and Plays is a collection of Gertrude Stein’s writing from about 1908 to 1920. Originally published in 1922 with an introduction by Sherwood Anderson, it was almost inaccessible for many years. This edition makes it possible for students and other devotees of Stein to see the developing strategies of one of the acknowledged giants of literary modernism, whose pathbreaking departures in literary style have recently been assigned still greater importance in light of new theories about women’s writing. An introduction by Cyrena N. Pondrom provides contemporary readers with a fine orientation to the importance of Stein’s achievement in this early work.
Lucy Daniel Reaktion Books, 2009 Library of Congress PS3537.T323Z5857 2009 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
“You are, of course, never yourself,” wrote Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) in Everybody’s Autobiography. Modernist icon Stein wrote many pseudo-autobiographies, including the well-known story of her lover, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas;but in Lucy Daniel’s Gertrude Stein the pen is turned directly on Stein, revealing the many selves that composed her inspiring and captivating life.
Though American-born, Stein has been celebrated in many incarnations as the embodiment of French bohemia; she was a patron of modern art and writing, a gay icon, the coiner of the term “Lost Generation,” and the hostess of one of the most famous artistic salons. Welcomed into Stein’s art-covered living room were the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway, and Pound. But—perhaps because of the celebrated names who made up her social circle—Stein has remained one of the most recognizable and yet least-known of the twentieth-century’s major literary figures, despite her immense and varied body of work. With detailed reference to her writings, Stein’s own collected anecdotes, and even the many portraits painted of her, Lucy Daniel discusses how the legend of Gertrude Stein was created, both by herself and her admirers, and gives much-needed attention to the continuing significance and influence of Stein’s literary works.
A fresh and readable biography of one of the major Modernist writers, Gertrude Stein will appeal to a wide audience interested in Stein’s contributions to avant-garde writing, and twentieth century art and literature in general.
Gertrude Stein is recognized as an iconic and canonical literary modernist. In Gertrude Stein and the Reinvention of Rhetoric, Sharon J. Kirsch broadens our understanding of Stein’s influence to include her impact on the field of rhetoric.
For humanities scholars as well as popular audiences, the relationship between rhetoric and literature remains vexed, in part due to rhetoric’s contemporary affiliation with composition, which makes it separate from, if not subordinate to, the study of literature. Gertrude Stein recognized no such separation, and this disciplinary policing of the study of English has diminished our understanding of her work, Kirsch argues. Stein’s career unfolded at the crossroads of literary composition and rhetorical theory, a site where she alternately challenged, satirized, and reinvented the five classical canons of rhetoric—invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery—even as she invented new trajectories of literary experimentation.
Kirsch follows Stein from her days studying composition and philosophy at Harvard through her expatriate years in France, fame in the 1930s, and experience of the Second World War. She frames Stein’s explorations of language as an inventive poetics that reconceived practices and theories of rhetorical invention during a period that saw the rise of literary studies and the decline of rhetorical studies. Through careful readings of canonical and lesser-known works, Kirsch offers a convincing critical portrait of Stein as a Sophistic provocateur who reinvented the canons by making a productive mess of canonical rhetoric and modernist categories of thought.
Readers will find much of interest in Gertrude Stein and the Reinvention of Rhetoric. Kirsch offers myriad insights to scholars of Stein, to those interested in the interdisciplinary intersections of literature, rhetoric, and philosophy, as well as to scholars and students in the field of rhetoric and communication studies. Positioning Stein as a major twentieth-century rhetorical theorist is particularly timely given increasing interest in historical and theoretical resonances between rhetoric and poetics and given the continued lack of recognition for women theorists in rhetorical studies.
The first extensive examination of Stein's notebooks, manuscripts and letters, prepared over a period of twenty years, Gertrude Stein: The Language That Rises asks new questions and explores new ways of reading Stein. This definitive study give us a finely detailed, deeply felt understanding of Stein, the great modernist, throughout one of her most productive periods. From "An Elucidation" in 1923 to Lectures In America in 1934, Ulla E. Dydo examines the process of the making and remaking of Stein's texts as they move from notepad to notebook to manuscript, from an idea to the ultimate refinement of the author's intentions. The result is an unprecedented view of the development of Stein's work, word by word, text by text, and over time.
Examineshow surrealism enriches our understanding of Stein’s writing through its poetics of oppositions
Gertrude Stein’s Surrealist Years brings to life Stein’s surrealist sensibilities and personal values borne from her WWII anxieties, not least of which originated in a dread of anti-Semitism. Stein’s earlier works such as Tender Buttons and Lucy Church Amiably tend to prioritize formal innovations over narrative-building and overt political motifs. However, Ery Shin argues that Stein’s later works engage more with storytelling and life-writing in startling ways—most emphatically and poignantly through the surrealist lens.
Beginning with The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and continuing in later works, Stein renders legible her war-torn era’s jarring dystopian energies through narratives filled with hallucinatory visions, teleportation, extreme coincidences, action reversals, doppelgangers, dream sequences spanning both sleeping and waking states, and great whiffs of the occult. Such surrealist gestures are predicated on Stein’s return to the independent clause and, by extension, to plot, characterization, and anecdotes. By summoning the marvelous in a historically situated world, Stein joins her surrealist contemporaries in their own ambivalent crusade on behalf of historiography.
Besides illuminating Stein’s art and life, the surrealist framework developed here brings readers deeper into those philosophical ideas invoked by war. Topics of discussion emphasize how varied Jewish experiences were in Hitler’s Europe, how outliers like Stein can be included in the surrealist project, surrealism’s theoretical bind in the face of WWII, and the age-old question of artistic legacy.
Interventions into Modernist Cultures is a comparative analysis of the cultural politics of modernist writing in the United States and Taiwan. Amie Elizabeth Parry argues that the two sites of modernism are linked by their representation or suppression of histories of U.S. imperialist expansion, Cold War neocolonial military presence, and economic influence in Asia. Focusing on poetry, a genre often overlooked in postcolonial theory, she contends that the radically fragmented form of modernist poetic texts is particularly well suited to representing U.S. imperialism and neocolonial modernities.
Reading various works by U.S. expatriates Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein, Parry compares the cultural politics of U.S. canonical modernism with alternative representations of temporality, hybridity, erasure, and sexuality in the work of the Taiwanese writers Yü Kwang-chung and Hsia Yü and the Asian American immigrant author Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Juxtaposing poems by Pound and Yü Kwang-chung, Parry shows how Yü’s fragmented, ambivalent modernist form reveals the effects of neocolonialism while Pound denies and obscures U.S. imperialism in Asia, asserting a form of nondevelopmental universalism through both form and theme. Stein appropriates discourses of American modernity and identity to represent nonnormative desire and sexuality, and Parry contrasts this tendency with representations of sexuality in the contemporary experimental poetry of Hsia Yü. Finally, Parry highlights the different uses of modernist forms by Pound in his Cantos—which incorporate a multiplicity of decontextualized and ahistorical voices—and by Cha in her 1982 novel Dictee, a historicized, multilingual work. Parry’s sophisticated readings provide a useful critical framework for apprehending how “minor modernisms” illuminate the histories erased by certain canonical modernist texts.
Frank Galati's dramatic adaptation of Gertrude Stein's texts begins with Stein at age 60 as she is lecturing at the University of Chicago in 1934. She starts to speak about her writing, specifically her use of repetition, and to connect this idea with her own life experiences. A young Gertrude then appears to guide the audience through her memories of her life as a student, falling in love with Alice B. Toklas, their time together in France and Alice's account of Stein's final day. These vignettes, each culminating in a song (music by Stephen Flaherty), adeptly encapsulate the joy and passion of Stein's life and work, and the depth and complexity of a lesbian romance. Galati sheds new light on Stein's views on language, communication, and ideas by emphasizing how her art evolved from her fascination with the repetition of human behavior-as Stein sings to the audience "Loving repeating is one way of being."
Making Girls into Women offers an account of the historical emergence of "the lesbian" by looking at late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century women's writing. Kathryn R. Kent proposes that modern lesbian identity in the United States has its roots not just, or even primarily, in sexology and medical literature, but in white, middle-class women’s culture. Kent demonstrates how, as white women's culture shifted more and more from the home to the school, workplace, and boarding house, the boundaries between the public and private spheres began to dissolve. She shows how, within such spaces, women's culture, in attempting to mold girls into proper female citizens, ended up inciting in them other, less normative, desires and identifications, including ones Kent calls "protolesbian" or queer.
Kent not only analyzes how texts represent queer erotics, but also theorizes how texts might produce them in readers. She describes the ways postbellum sentimental literature such as that written by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, and Emma D. Kelley eroticizes, reacts against, and even, in its own efforts to shape girls’ selves, contributes to the production of queer female identifications and identities. Tracing how these identifications are engaged and critiqued in the early twentieth century, she considers works by Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, Marianne Moore, and Elizabeth Bishop, as well as in the queer subject-forming effects of another modern invention, the Girl Scouts. Making Girls into Women ultimately reveals that modern lesbian identity marks an extension of, rather than a break from, nineteenth-century women’s culture.
Narration: Four Lectures
Gertrude Stein University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress PN187.S73 2010 | Dewey Decimal 808.3
Newly famous in the wake of the publication of her groundbreaking Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein delivered her Narration lectures to packed audiences at the University of Chicago in 1935. Stein had not been back to her home country since departing for France in 1903, and her remarks reflect on the changes in American culture after thirty years abroad.
In Stein’s trademark experimental prose, Narration reveals the legendary writer’s thoughts about the energy and mobility of the American people, the effect of modernism on literary form, the nature of history and its recording, and the inventiveness of the English language—in particular, its American variant. Stein also discusses her ambivalence toward her own literary fame as well as the destabilizing effect that notoriety had on her daily life. Restored to print for a new generation of readers to discover, these vital lectures will delight students and scholars of modernism and twentieth-century literature.
“Narration is a treasure waiting to be rediscovered and to be pirated by jolly marauders of sparkling texts.”—Catharine Stimpson, NYU
This book explores the relationships between four modernist poets and the museums that helped shape their writing. During the early twentieth century, museums were trying to reach a wider audience and used displayed objects to teach that audience about art, culture, and ecology. Writers such as Yeats, Pound, Moore, and Stein borrowed strategies and techniques from museums in order to create literary modernism. Poetry in the Museums of Modernism places these writers' poetry and prose within the context of specific gallery spaces, curatorial practices, displayed objects, and exhibition objectives of the museums that inspired them, exposing the ways in which literary modernism is linked to museums.
Although critics have attested to the importance of the visual arts to literary modernists and have begun to explore the relationships between literary production and social institutions, before now no one has examined the particular institutions in which modernist poets found the artworks, specimens, and other artifacts that inspired their literary innovations. Catherine Paul's book offers the reader a fresh encounter with modernism that will interest literary and art historians, literary theorists, critics, and scholars in cultural studies and museum studies.
Catherine Paul is Associate Professor of English, Clemson University.
The Senses of Nonsense
Alison Rieke University of Iowa Press, 1992 Library of Congress PS228.M63R54 1992 | Dewey Decimal 810.91
A Stein Reader
Gertrude Stein Northwestern University Press, 1993 Library of Congress PS3537.T323A6 1993 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
This important collection presents Gertrude Stein for the first time in her brilliant modernity. Ulla E. Dydo's textual scholarship demonstrates Stein's constant questioning of convention, and A Stein Reader changes the balance of work in print, concentrating on Stein's experimental work and including many key works that are virtually unknown or unavailable.
A Stein Reader includes unpublished work, such as the portrait "Article"; shows the astonishing stylistic change in the neglected "A Long Gay Book"; draws attention to the many unknown plays such as "Reread Another;" and offers fascinating portraits of Matisse, Picasso, and Sitwell. Illuminating headnotes bring out connections between pieces and provide invaluable keys to Stein's motifs and thought patterns.
In this original and intriguing study, Anna Linzie examines three mid-twentieth-century texts never before treated as interrelated in a book-length work of literary criticism: Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933) and Alice B. Toklas's The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book (1954) and What Is Remembered (1963). Taking these three texts as intertexts or as an assemblage of the true story of Alice B. Toklas, Linzie challenges assumptions about primary authorship and singular identity that have continued to limit lesbian and feminist rereadings of autobiography as a genre and of Stein and Toklas as writers and historical figures.The True Story of Alice B. Toklas explores how the concept of autobiography as a primarily referential genre is challenged and transformed in relation to autobiographical texts written about the same person, the same life, but differently, by different writers, at different points in time. The concept of one true story is deconstructed in the process as Linzie modifies Homi K. Bhabha's “almost the same but not quite/not white” for the purposes of this particular study as “almost the same but not quite/not straight.” The investigation moves simultaneously on the planes of textuality and sexuality in order to provisionally articulate a “lesbian autobiographical subject” in Linzie's reading of these three texts.Linzie's study fills a gap in literary criticism where Stein's companion and her work have been more or less neglected, conceptualizing the Stein-Toklas sexual/textual relationship as fundamentally reciprocal. The True Story of Alice B. Toklas provides a new critical perspective on Toklas as indispensable to Stein's literary production, a cultural laborer in her own right, and a writer of her own books. Making a significant contribution to recent lesbian/feminist reconceptualizations of the genre of autobiography, this study will fascinate Stein and Toklas scholars as well as those interested in queer and autobiography studies.
Using experimental style as a framework for close readings of writings produced by late twentieth-century North American women, Deborah Mix places Gertrude Stein at the center of a feminist and multicultural account of twentieth-century innovative writing. Her meticulously argued work maps literary affiliations that connect Stein to the work of Harryette Mullen, Daphne Marlatt, Betsy Warland, Lyn Hejinian, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. By distinguishing a vocabulary-which is flexible, evolving, and simultaneously individual and communal--from a lexicon-which is recorded, fixed, and carries the burden of masculine authority--Mix argues that Stein's experimentalism both enables and demands the complex responses of these authors.
Arguing that these authors have received relatively little attention because of the difficulty in categorizing them, Mix brings the writing of women of color, lesbians, and collaborative writers into the discussion of experimental writing. Thus, rather than exploring conventional lines of influence, she departs from earlier scholarship by using Stein and her work as a lens through which to read the ways these authors have renegotiated tradition, authority, and innovation.
Building on the tradition of experimental or avant-garde writing in the United States, Mix questions the politics of the canon and literary influence, offers close readings of previously neglected contemporary writers whose work doesn't fit within conventional categories, and by linking genres not typically associated with experimentalism-lyric, epic, and autobiography-challenges ongoing reevaluations of innovative writing.