As an author, she wrote reams of gibberish, either in a singsong style that one critic aptly described as “literary baby talk” or in a hermetically sealed private language that she absurdly considered an analog of cubism. As an art collector, she often showed remarkably bad taste, especially after the early years of her alliance with Picasso. Her theater work, either unintelligible or profoundly cliched, survives because other people set it to music or choreographed it. Even her moral reputation — courageously living with her female partner, Alice B. Toklas, championing a woman’s right to be eccentric — has been sullied by recent scholarship showing that she while she rode out World War II in a French country house, she was protected by a particularly unsavory and anti-Semitic official of the collaborationist Vichy government
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Dishing Gertrude Stein
Below is an excerpt from a long article in this morning’s Washington Post, reviewing the exhibition “Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five stories” at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery until January 22. We discussed “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas” at our 4/30/2002 meeting. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have occasionally perused some of her other writings collected in The Library of America edition of her selected works, some of which are enjoyable to read but often baffling.
Posted by Tom Wischer at 9:55 AM