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Gertrude Stein

1874-1945

 

Excerpts from the Daily Californian:

8 April 1935

Behind Before Between

Next Monday, April 15, Gertrude “Toasted Susie Is My Ice Cream” Stein, notorious scrambler of words, words, words, will grace the stage of International House in an effort to tell students what she knows, or think[s] they should know about literature.

At first we were disappointed because somebody announced that Miss Stein might deliver an incoherent discourse on “modern art”, and we wanted to hear about her peculiar mode of writing. Maybe she refers to it as “modern art”.

Whatever it is, students are curious to learn the rudiments of the Steinesque. Perhaps Secretary Alice Toklas will interpret the Stein Language to the audience, because we would be disappointed, indeed, if Miss Stein double-crossed us and discussed literature in plain everyday English.

After all, she attained fame because nobody could understand her and the illusion should not be spoiled. She has become the problem child of the country’s literary clubs, which have assumed a protective attitude toward her, catering to her every whim — up to $250. And our English club, sponsor of Miss Stein’s campus lecture, is no exception.

And the rest of us, who are not members of the club, are a bit thankful that we are accorded the opportunity to hear what happens “accidentally in the morning and after that every evening and accidentally every evening and after that every morning...”

Lee Naphan ‘36

   

10 April 1935

International House Will Draw Many For Stein Lecture

Tickets to the lecture on English literature to be given by Gertrude Stein are going fast. They are, they are, they are.

The lecture will take place at 8:15 p.m. Monday in the International House auditorium. The tickets, priced at 50 cents each, may be secured at Miss Ball’s office, or from members of the English club, which is sponsoring Miss Stein’s appearance.

Students are limited to two tickets apiece, and must present registration cards at the time they are purchased. Members of the faculty may buy as many as they want and English club members are entitled to four apiece, according to Theodore Bowie, assistant in the French department and president of the club.

   

12 April 1935

Stein To Speak On Literature At ‘Int’ House

Professor Whipple Discusses Writer’s Influence on Sherwood Anderson

All seats completely sold out yesterday four days before her appearance. Gertrude Stein is assured of an eager audience at 8:15 p.m. Monday in the auditorium of International House.

Miss Stein’s topic will be “Modern English Literature”. Those who are unable to secure tickets at this lecture may hear her Tuesday at the Ebell club in Oakland.

Sometimes called the “high priestess of repetition and incoherence”, Miss Stein limits her audiences to 500 people. She also refuses to be embarrassed by flustered platform chairmen and won’t allow any introductions to precede her lectures.

Bowie Tells of Charm

According to Theodore Bowie, president of the English club under whose auspices she will appear Monday, Miss Stein is a woman of magnetic personality and extreme charm.

“Her repetition seems quite natural when you listen to it. There’s nothing at all freakish about her,” he says.

Speaking as the University’s authority on modern English literature, Prof. T. K. Whipple of the English department yesterday expressed his opinion about Miss Stein’s appearance here.

Regarded Important

“She is one of the foremost literary figures in the world today and whatever one may think of her experiments, a great many people, including other writers, regard her as extremely important. It is therefore an unusual opportunity to be able to hear her.”

She has exerted a great deal of influence on Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway, Professor Whipple believes.

The writer will be the guest of honor at a luncheon to be given by Phi Beta Kappa Monday in Stephens Union.

   

15 April 1935

Gertrude Stein Will Be Guest

Members of Phi Beta Kappa To Honor Noted Writer At Luncheon Today

Smart people like to ask questions, they say. Phi Betes and honor students here is your chance.

Gertrude Stein will answer all questions asked by faculty members and students at the Phi Beta Kappa luncheon to be held at 12 noon today in the women’s clubrooms, Stephens Union.

The well-known writer will not give a speech at the luncheon but will reserve it for her lecture at 8:15 p.m. today in International House. The luncheon will cost 50 cents and reservations may be made with Margaret Clark ‘36 in the honor students’ clubrooms. Tickets for Miss Stein’s lecture tonight were sold out long ago, according to Theodore Bowie ‘27, president of the English club, which is sponsoring the lecture.

After the Phi Beta Kappa luncheon, Bowie expects to escort Miss Stein around the campus and possibly take her for a trip up the Campanile.

   

16 April 1935

Gertrude Stein Song Sung

High-Priestess Orates on English Usage

‘Live Daily Life Daily’

For years the English on their little island home “led a daily life every morning from day to day and this persistent thing about the English getting up and going to bed in daily life daily every day, influenced their writing” — Gertrude Stein last night on “English Literature and American Language”.

Yep, the English by living a daily life from day to day on their island saw the same kind of imaginary and wrote poetry about the daily things they saw everybody, Miss Stein explained several different times several different ways.

Not so with the Americans, she maintains, because they do not live a daily life, if they are not dead, although they are alive. Americans do not need narrative. “The American language little by little does not change. We use the same words everyday for written things but it does not say what its makers (the English) meant it to say,” Miss Stein explained.

Omits Punctuation

Miss Stein said she disliked literature that was static. She wants something that “moves on”. “So when I started to write I got rid of everything that stops anything — for instance punctuation. A comma stops action. Next I got rid of as many nouns as I could because they also break, that is, stop movement. And you have to get rid of adjectives because they stop the whole business.”

After she had “gotten rid” of all the stop signs she gathered verbs — lots of them — and adverbs and pronouns and prepositions and gave them all prominent place “to get movement”. “All my writing has been experiment, but I’m getting movement,” she boasted.

Realizes Her Genius

Space does not permit much more, so just a word a word three of four words about the Phi Beta Kappa luncheon for Miss Stein yesterday. Someone asked Miss Stein how she realized she was a genius. “Why through genuine persistence”, she flashed back. Incidentally the entire luncheon was one verbal fencing match between Miss Stein and the Phi Betes and professors present, such remarks as “A very small percentage of the people have any common sense. They have common knowledge but they don’t know it” and “People come to college to be bored because they’re bored with civilization and they have to come to college to get through civilization” [were] used as snappy comebacks by the well-known writer.

 
 

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