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Only one look, only one look is enough
February 4, 2011 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Someone once rejected Gertrude Stein. In a fabulously absurd way.
posted by litnerd (37 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Someone once rejected her?
posted by lesli212 at 7:08 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Only once.
posted by jet_manifesto at 7:09 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


One they told him once Napoleon.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:09 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


You can't reject Gertrude Stein enough.
posted by Faze at 7:10 AM on February 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


Brilliant. This is about to make the rounds in my world. Will probably use it in class too. I'll also be keeping an eye on this thread for how many people write a comment that mimics the style. Cheap, people. Cheap.
posted by madred at 7:11 AM on February 4, 2011


When I read that letter the turntable in my head put on the Ramones.
posted by three blind mice at 7:15 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's a good thing that this was the only rejection letter ever written. No need to know about those...
posted by inturnaround at 7:16 AM on February 4, 2011


The one from Norman MacLean to Charles Elliot at Knopf (a reverse rejection) is wonderful too.
posted by chavenet at 7:17 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


i love it. i'm resisting the temptation, madred. thanks for the link.
posted by anya32 at 7:25 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's hilarious. I'm sure it was intended to be harsh, but from this distance it reads more like a brilliant, fond parody.
posted by ardgedee at 7:33 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]



I'll also be keeping an eye but only one, only one, only one eye, on this thread for how many people write a comment that mimics the style. Cheap, people. Cheap
posted by Debaser626 at 7:34 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


The huge gulf between the letter's sense of Stein's style and Stein's style itself is interesting.
posted by Casuistry at 7:44 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


In the Venn diagram of cultures, the intersection between my circle and Gertrude Stein's is the breadth of an eyelash. Just the same, I thought this was a hilarious way to start my Friday. Good post!
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:52 AM on February 4, 2011


Casuistry : The huge gulf between the letter's sense of Stein's style and Stein's style itself is interesting.

You mean, amusingly mocking vs painfully, unintelligibly self-referential with a stream-of-consciousness twist?

We have enough "good" writers in the world. We don't need to glorify those who took great pleasure in causing pain to their audience by writing as obtusely as possible.


/ And no, I don't care for Joyce, either
posted by pla at 7:58 AM on February 4, 2011


Truman Capote on Gertrude Stein:

"I am a pot of shit, I am a pot of shit, I am a pot of shit."
posted by IndigoJones at 8:09 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wrote a paper about Gertrude Stein in the style of Gertrude Stein once. It got an A. It was literal gibberish.
posted by little cow make small moo at 8:12 AM on February 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


The best lyricist of the first half of the 20th century masquerading as a publishing house.
posted by Corduroy at 8:24 AM on February 4, 2011


It really is an awful parody. "Only one look" indeed.
posted by naju at 8:49 AM on February 4, 2011


You mean, amusingly mocking vs painfully, unintelligibly self-referential with a stream-of-consciousness twist?

I'm covering Dadaist and Surrealist poetry in class today. I don't really enjoy reading Stein's work "for pleasure," but in terms of what she and other poets of her generation were doing for poetry, I appreciate it. Every new generation of artists has to redefine the proverbial frame that sets Art apart from the Everyday. Sometimes the new frame is ugly and shouldn't be around for very long, but it's necessary in order for art to remain relevant to its audience. She has her place, but to say that she is "glorified" is maybe a bit of a stretch. How about "recognized"?
posted by madred at 8:50 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, though I admire Gertrude (if for nothing else, just for being canny enough to write stuff that's still being referred to on the internets almost 100 years later), this is as wickedly spot-on as it gets. Perfect and priceless.
posted by blucevalo at 8:53 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love her most, not for her writing, but for her support of artists. Without people like her who are/were willing to BUY art, especially from artists who are not funded by trust funds, corporations, or vapid New York galleries, art would not survive. We would be surrounded only by Thomas Kinkade and "Hang in There" kitty posters. Charmed Circle is an excellent book about the impact she's had on what we consider art and literature after WWII. Not because she was a publisher or a critic, but because she was a badass who knew how to throw a party and she offered moral and financial support to those she believed in.
posted by madred at 9:04 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I used to hate gertrude stein and then i listened to her read and she was really fun and funny somehow and now i love her.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:21 AM on February 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I used to hate gertrude stein and then i listened to her read and she was really fun and funny somehow and now i love her.

I used to respect her without following too closely, and then I clicked your link and made it twenty seconds before I tried to strangle my speakers.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:31 AM on February 4, 2011


I think you have to listen to her to understand the sonic aspects. Or even, to be sure, phonic aspects (vocal sounds seemingly divorced from meaning).

I think it was an appreciation as much as a rejection. Something like "I think I understand what you're trying to do, but we couldn't possibly handle this."
posted by dhartung at 9:37 AM on February 4, 2011


I just found this neat doc on youtube about GS and Alice Toklas: If Paris Was A Woman. Goodbye friday afternoon!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:39 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


phranc - Gertrude Stein

Some people try to pick up girls, and they get called Assholes
This never happened to Gertrude Stein
She could walk down the street
and girls they could not resist her stare
and so
Gertrude Stein, she was never called an Asshole...except perhaps, by Ernest Hemmingway

posted by nomisxid at 9:52 AM on February 4, 2011 [6 favorites]


She lost all sense of taste when she had the menopause. Was really an extraordinary business. Suddenly she couldn't tell a good picture from a bad one, a good writer from a bad one, it all went phtt. - Ernie.
posted by pracowity at 10:01 AM on February 4, 2011


"my mom hit me once...once"
-michael keaton
posted by hal_c_on at 10:48 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I reject Gertrude Stein because I disapprove strongly of her attitude towards punctuation. She was so wrong about that - and her writing is so painful to read because of it - that rejection is too good for her. She should be publicly reviled on a daily basis. It should be compulsory in schools. It should replace morning assembly.
posted by Decani at 11:17 AM on February 4, 2011


"my mom hit me once...once"
-michael keaton


Actually it as Joe Piscopo who said that, you farging icehole!. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Gertrude Stein thread. Apologies for the Johnny Dangerously derail.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:17 AM on February 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Actually, though I admire Gertrude (if for nothing else, just for being canny enough to write stuff that's still being referred to on the internets almost 100 years later)
posted by blucevalo at 4:53 PM on February 4


You know who else wrote stuff that's still being referred to on the internets almost 100 years later?
posted by Decani at 11:19 AM on February 4, 2011


I can now only weakly say this: if the situation ever arose when Alfred A. Knopf was the only publishing house remaining in the world and I was the sole remaining author, that would mark the end of the world of books.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:54 AM on February 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, a lot of Stein hate here. Personally, I love her. Sweet sweet sweet sweet sweet tea. Sugar is not a vegetable.
posted by juv3nal at 12:10 PM on February 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know who else wrote stuff that's still being referred to on the internets almost 100 years later?

That's a pretty shameful direction to take things.
posted by aught at 1:56 PM on February 4, 2011


gertrude stein, as a sort of medusa that produces watercolors,
gertrude stein, as a sort of katyusha that reduces warringpowers,
gertrude stein, as a sort of raytracer that retouches isitnowers?
gertrude stein, as a sort of radracer that peepunches mrdours.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:22 PM on February 4, 2011


I remember reading an anecdote, years ago, about a writer (I think it was Eudora Welty) getting her first rejection letter for some of her short stories. Or maybe it was just a harsh critique. Anyway.

"When Ms. Welty has learned her craft," the letter stated, "she will know that short stories are to begin with dialogue."

This of course had the great effect of teaching Welty that the critics were idiots and that she had no need for their approval.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:41 PM on February 4, 2011


When I was in school I worked on a one-acts festival that included Stein’s “What Happened” and “Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters”. I was amazed that the actors were able to remember all of their lines — there’s nothing to hold on to.

Length what is length when silence is so windowful. What is the use of a sore if there is no joint and no toady and no tag and not even an eraser. What is the commonest exchange between more laughing and most. Carelessness is carelessness and a cake well a cake is a powder, it is very likely to be powder, it is very likely to be much worse.

She really doesn’t make much sense on paper, but when she’s filtered through a director and cast she’s a bit more interesting, if not accessible.
posted by spitefulcrow at 8:31 PM on February 5, 2011


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