Gertrude Stein and the Essence of What Happens by Dana Cairns Watson PDF

By Dana Cairns Watson

During this provocative research, Dana Cairns Watson strains Gertrude Stein's starting to be fascination with the cognitive and political ramifications of dialog and the way that curiosity motivated her writing over the process her occupation. No booklet in fresh many years has illuminated such a lot of of Stein's works so extensively--from the early fiction of The Making of american citizens to the poetry of delicate Buttons to her opera libretto the mum folks All.Seeking to maintain Stein's vigorous, friendly, populist spirit, Watson indicates how the writer's playful entanglement of sight and sound--of silent examining and social speaking--reveals the the most important ambiguity wherein interpreting and dialog construct groups of which means, and hence shape not just own relationships but in addition our very selves and the bigger political buildings we inhabit. Stein reminds us that the residual houses of phrases and the results in the back of the give-and-take of standard dialog provide possible choices to linear buildings of social order, possible choices particularly worthy in instances of political oppression. for instance, her novels Mrs. Reynolds and Brewsie and Willie, either written in embattled Vichy France, examine the speech styles of totalitarian leaders and the ways that daily discourse could capitulate to--or resist--such verbal tyranny. Like contemporary theorists, Stein well-known the repressiveness of traditional order--carried in language and therefore in concept and social organization--but as Cairns Watson persuasively indicates, she additionally insisted that the loose will of people can persist in language and allow switch. within the play of literary aesthetics, Stein observed a releasing strength.

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S. 17 William Osler, a prominent gynecologist from whom Stein took a course her fourth year (Wagner-Martin, 50), admitted to giving “a talk” once a week, but he was more satisfied with holding “a regular weekly amphitheater clinic. Of these he explains, ‘I like the clinical clerk and the patient to do the teaching, adding comments here and there, or asking the former questions’ ” (Rothstein, 109). Already Stein was learning from conversation, and she was learning from the people who feel the symptoms instead of the experts who diagnose them.

As he 24 Gertrude Stein and the Essence of What Happens gets older, they become “more and more important to him as padding, not to fill him but to keep him from knowing” about himself (146–47). As he feels his multiple failures—aided by his children’s telling “him what they thought of him” (149)—the men around him help him sustain his idea of himself. All of these people have a way “of always repeating the whole of them as a serious obligation,” or helping others do so (269). In these several ways, Stein uses what comes out of the mouths of Americans to evaluate their success as individuals.

And he asserts (this time in regular type): “No other kind of writing save the phonetic has ever translated man out of the possessive world of total interdependence and interrelation that is the auditory network” (18, 24 22). Stein seems to have thought about these same 30 Gertrude Stein and the Essence of What Happens issues less pseudoscientifically, but no less boldly and intricately. Her interest in sound may arise from her personal dispositions, but she may also recover the aural nature of language in order to improve our interactive networks and goad our minds into working differently.

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