gertrude stein and the sound inside it

15.6.09

silence which has everything



Silence which makes silence give that sense to all there is, silence which has light and water and unison and appetite and result and a motion and more exaggeration and no recklessness, silence which is there is not disturbed by expression.

- Gertrude Stein, from England

9.5.09
























Play with text...

Just completed a short essay
grappled steps in the method-making of writing focusing on Stein...
"Gertrude Stein wrote writing about writing … ‘Sentences make one sigh,’ she said. ‘A sentence says you know what I mean’. ‘I would use a sentence if I could’. ‘A sentence says you know what I mean. A sentence that is simple is a cross with a meaning’. A sentence says you know what I mean, Stein pushes. ‘Sentences can be made wonderful, one at a time’. Still … they make her sigh. To Alice ... ‘I would use a sentence if I could’. (Because) … ‘a sentence says you know what I mean’.
This method making of written meaning is the sighing signing root making my own writing, my mary-festo...This is a manifesto of sorts, a manifesto that’s aim is to hold out against the blankness of language through a subverting meaning through the structuring and writing of language."

2.5.09

Baby precious always shining...love notes to Tolkas and sound

'When she was born for me,
Singing the song of everything
That is what she sings,
She sings to me and she
Hears me singing to her' p122

‘unutterably tender…' p131

Tolkas in love letter to Stein about Stein's writing... 'its more crowded now….’ ‘you can almost say anything you please can’t you…?’ p161

Two: Gertrdude Stein and her Brother (1910-12)

(Extracts speaking speaking sound in language)

Sound is coming out of her. Sound has been coming out of her. Sound can come out of her.
Sound coming out of her is coming out of her and she has not been hearing not been hearing the sound that has been coming out of her. Sound has come out of her and she is listening and sound can come out of her.
Sound comes out of her. Sound coming out of her is expressing that thing, is saying something, (page 8) Sound coming out of her is expressing something, is saying anything. Sound coming out of her is expressing everything, is saying everything. Sound is coming out of her. Sound has been coming out of her, Some sound comes out of her. Sound comes out of her.
If sound comes out of her it is a sound that expresses that thing expresses sound coming out of her. Sound does come out of her. Sound coming out of her does express this thing does express sound coming out of her.
Sound coming out of her comes out of her and is expressing sound coming out of her. Expressing sound coming out of her is something sound coming out of her is doing. Sound coming out of her is something. Sound is coming out of her.
Sound is coming out of her and that sound has been the sound that has been expressing that that sound is coming out of her. Sound coming out of her is something that has that meaning that has the meaning that that sound is coming out of her. Sound coming out of her is something that the sound coming out of her is not explaining. Sound coming out of her is something that the sound coming out of her is not suggesting. Sound coming out of her is something that is not relating to her having been one having had sound coming out of her. Sound coming out of her is some¬thing expressing that thing expressing that sound is coming out of her.
Sound coming out of her is something that is being emphasized in passing out of her. Sound is emphasized in coming out of her. Sound is coming out of her and she is hearing that thing hearing the emphasis it is having. She is quite hearing that thing.
Sound is coming out of her. It would be a gentle thing if she had not been hearing it then. Sound is coming out of her, it would be a harsh thing if she had not been emphasizing it then. Sound is coming out of her, it would be a dull thing if she had not been one having heard something, it would be a dull thing if it were not emphasizing that any one is interested in being one knowing that sound is coming out of her and that sound coming out of her is expressing that thing expressing sound coming out of her. Sound coming out of her is expressing something is expressing that sound is coming out of her. (page 9)
In being one being that one she is one having that thing she is one having that expression the expression of that sound being coming. She is one having that expression the expressing that thing, the sound coming out of her which is the sound that has been, the sound that is coming.
She is that one, she is one hearing that thing, she is one hearing something. She is one hearing something, when she is listening she is completely hearing and sound is completing that thing completing listening. Sound coming out of her is completing her being one listening. Sound coming out of her is very completing, is entirely completing. Sound coming out of her is completing her being one entirely listening. Sound is coming out of her, sound coming out of her is completing anything, it is completing her listening being existing.
Sound always had been. Sound always had been coming. Sound always had been coming out from her. She had always been hearing something. She always had been hearing something and she always had been hearing the sound coming out of her.
Sound had come out of her. That was exciting some to be telling in listening and she then was one being one helping and sound was then coming, sound could come out of her, sound did conic out of her, she had heard something, she had heard everything.
Sound coming out of her had been something that was pleasing, sound coming out of her had been something that was mingling, that was flattering, that was attacking, that was discouraging, that was escaping, that was quoting, that was changing, that was encouraging, that was believing, that was hurting, that had been hearing something. Sound was coming out of her and some were listening, and some were listening and talking, and some were talking and listening and some were talking.
Sound was coming out of her and some were talking and they were talking and she was talking and some were talking and she was listening and talking and some were talking and she was going on talking and some were talking and she had been listening and some were listening and she had been talking. Sound was coming out of her. (page 10)
Sound coming out of her was troubling in being stirring to having sound coming out of any one. Sound coming out of her was soothing in being stimulating to sound coming out of any one.
Sound coming out of her was convincing as to feeling being existing. Sound coming out of her was affecting as to attention being flattering. Sound coming out of her was assisting to being certain that conviction is existing. Sound coming out of her was comforting as to certainty having expression. Sound coming out of her was deciding to any one hesitating. Sound coming out of her was convincing as to quick decision being certain. Sound coming out of her was troubling as to emphasising being existing. Sound coming out of her was distressing as to resisting not being existing. Sound coming out of her was appealing as to needing having protection. Sound coming out of her was terrifying as something that would be coming. Sound coming out of her was dulling as something that was changing. Sound coming out of her was stimulating as being something she was resonating. Sound coming out of her was meaning that she had been one completely feeling hearing.
She was feeling being one having meaning in being one having sound coming out of her. She was feeling that she was creating meaning in being one having sound coming. She was feeling that sound coming out of her is existing. She was feeling in being one creating meaning that sound was coming was coming out from her was creating meaning.
Creating meaning in sound coming, she was feeling was being in sound coming out of her, in listening being in her, in sound coming out of her. She was feeling that creating meaning was being existing in sound having been coming, in sound coming out of her. Sound was coming out of her. She was feeling that sound had been coming, that sound was coming. She was feeling in sound coming out of her. She was feeling. She was hearing. She was feeling in hearing. She was feeling in sound coming out of her. Sound was coming out of her. She was hearing. She was emphasis¬ing. She was feeling in sound coming out of her and emphasising. She was feeling in hearing and sound coming out of her and emphasising. She was feeling in hearing and in sound coming out of her. (page 11) …She had been hearing. Sound was coming. She was hearing. Sound was coming out of her. She was hearing and sound would be coming out of her, sound was coming out of her. (page 12)...Sound coming out of her had been that thing, had been sound coming out of her. Sound had been coming out of her, that had been something. Sound was coming out of her. (page 14)
Sound had been coming out of her, that had been something. Some sound was coming out of her, that was something.
Sound having been coming out of her had been coming and had been a sound that had been coming and sounding and going on and rising and had been a sound that was sounding and going on being that thing being a sound coming and rising and going on and continuing and waiting and going on and rising and waiting and rising and going on and waiting and rising and going on and rising and rising and waiting and going on and rising and going on and going on. Sound coming out of her had been a sound coming out of her and going on and coming out of her and coming out of her and going on and coming out of her and coming out of her and rising. Sound coming out of her was a sound coming out of her.
Sound had been coming out of her. That sound had been a sound that was sounding the meaning of something that was existing. That sound was sounding the meaning of something. The sound sounding the meaning of something that was coming out of her, that sound was coming out of her, that sound had been coming out of her.
The sound that had been coming out of her, the sound sounding the meaning of something that was existing, that sound was coming out of her, that sound had been coming out of her. That sound the sound coming out of her, the sound that was sounding the meaning of something that was existing, that sound coming out of her was coming out of her. It was coming out of her. It had been coming out of her.
The sound coming out of her was the sound that was that she was one. The sound coming out of her, the sound that was a sound and she was one, the sound was a sound coming out of her, the sound coming out of her was the sound that was a sound that was coming out of her. The sound coming out of her was a sound that was a sound coming out of her. The sound coming out of her was a sound that, in coming out of her, was a sound that was a sound coming out of one. She was that one. Sound coming out of her was coming out of her and it was a sound sounding the thing that she being one was being one and being one sound was (page 15) coming, and being that one and sound coming out of her she was that one.
The sound coming out of her was not listening, it had been hearing what some one being existing was saying. The sound coming out of her was not listening, it was saying what some one being existing Was coming to be saying. The sound coming out of her was not listening, it was going on saying what some one being existing was saying.
The sound coming out of her was listening, it was completely expressing being listening.
The sound coming out of her was meaning that she being one and something being existing sound was coming out of her. Sound coming out of her was sounding that something being existing and she being one this sound was coming out of her. Sound com¬ing out of her was coming out of her, had been coming out of her, sound coming out of her had been a sound and that sound was a sound that was coming and was sounding, and that sound that was coming out of her and was sounding and was coming was a sound that was coming and sounding and that sound was a sound that was sounding that something being existing that sound was sounding and coming out of her.
The sound coming out of her was coming. The sound coming out of her was coming out of her and it was sounding the thing that was being existing and something being existing was sound¬ing, and something being existing being sounding, sound was coming out of her. Sound coming out of her was sounding and sound coming out of her was the sound that was sounding.
Sound coming out of her, sound was coming out of her, sound coming out of her was a sound that was a sound that was ex¬pressing a feeling about anything being existing. Sound coming out of her and sound was coming out of her, sound coming out of her was expressing opinion being existing about something's being existing. Sound coming out of her and sound was coming out of her, sound coming out of her was expressing an opinion being existing about something being existing.
The sound coming out of her was expressing opinion being existing about some thing being existing. The sound coming out (page 16) of her was telling that an opinion was existing about something being existing. The sound coming out of her was telling this thing.
The sound coming out of her was telling this thing, sound coming out of her Was coming out of her in telling this thing in telling that some opinions were being existing. Sound coming out of her was telling that opinions were existing. The sound coming out of her was telling something, was telling that opinions were existing, was telling that an opinion was existing about something. The sound coming out of her and sound was coming out of her, the sound coming out of her was expressing that an opinion was existing about something being existing.
She, and sound was coming out of her, she Was sounding and the sound coming out of her was coming out of her as sound would come out of her if she were one being one expressing an opinion of something being existing. Sound was coming out of her and the sound coming out of her was sounding and the sound was expressing an opinion about something being existing. Sound coming out of her was coming out of her and it was coming out of her as a sound comes that is a sound that is expressing an opinion being existing about something that is existing.
Sound coming out of her was coming out of her and it was coming out of her and she was one being one who was one having the being in her of the sound coming out of her that was a sound expressing that opinion is existing of something being existing. She had sound coming out of her and it was sounding and it was coming and she was one and sound coming out of her was ex¬pressing that thing, she was one being one having been one having sound come out of her and being one out of whom sound is coming that is sounding and sounding that thing sounding that an opinion is existing about something being existing.
She being one and sound being sounding and coming out of her, she being that one she was one and she was feeling sound coming out of her, she was feeling that sound sounding and coming out of her, she was being one and being one feeling sound sounding coming out of her she was one being one feeling and being one feeling she was one feeling sound coming out of her (page 17) and sounding and she was feeling that an opinion being existing about something being existing, she was feeling that sound sounding coming out of her was sound coming out of her.
Feeling that sound sounding was coming out of her she was feeling that there was complete connection between sound sounding and sound coming out of her. She was feeling that there was complete connection between sound sounding and coming out of her and something being existing. Feeling that there was complete connection between sound sounding and coming out of her she was feeling that there was complete connection between sound sounding coming out of her and an opinion being existing about something being existing.
Sound coming out of her was a sound feeling that there was a complete connection between sound coming out of her and there being something existing. Sound coming out of her was something that was feeling the complete connection with an opinion being existing about something being existing.
Sound was coming out of her. Sound was sounding and coming out of her. Sound coming out of her was feeling being coming out of her. The sound sounding was feeling being sound sounding. She was feeling being the connection between sound sounding and sound sounding coming out of her.
Sound was coming out of her. She was feeling in sound coming out of her. She was feeling in feeling a complete connection between sound coming out of her and something being existing. She was feeling in feeling the being a complete connection between sound sounding and coming out of her and there being existing an opinion about something being existing. She was feeling. She was feeling in feeling there being existing complete connection. She was completely feeling complete connection. (page 18)
She was one. She was one and being one being that one she was one. She was one. She was one and sound was coming out of her and sound coming out of her had been coming, had been coming as if it were rushing, had been coming as if it were appealing, had been coming and had been using in coming, had been using strength as if it were existing.
Sound coming and she was one and being one sound was coming, sound coming was coming and using strength as if strength were existing. If the sound was coming and the sound was coming, if the sound was coming and was using the strength it was using, then being one she was one being a strong one, being one having strength for sound to be coming. Sound was coming, for sound to be coming strength was existing. She was existing and sound was coming and she was one and she was not a strong one. She was one and sound was coming and she was one and she was living and she was one and she was using, using being one, she was using being that one and having sound coming out of her. She was one and not using anything, not using anything of being one for in being one she was not one having any way of using being one. She was then not a strong one. She was one. She was one and sounding was coming out of her and in the sound coming out of her she was one using the strength of one being one. She was not one. Strength in her was not existing. (page 19)…She did say what she did say in saying what she said in sound coming out of her and sounding and she did hear that she would say what she did say she being the one out of whom sound sounding was needing to be coming. She was needing to be expressing that sound sounding was needing to be coming to be something being existing and sound sounding coming out of her was being existing and she did say what she would say in hearing that sound sounding is existing.
She did say that she had not heard what she had not heard. She did say that not hearing what she was not hearing she was coming to being one having been hearing everything and sound sounding was coming out of her and she listening was hearing what she had been hearing. She remembering that she was listening was hearing what she was hearing and hearing what she was hearing she was directing what she would be saying in expressing that she was listening in having been hearing everything.
Beginning she was expressing that she did express what she did express in expressing what she was expressing and beginning she was expressing that in replying she was commencing and in commencing, she was determining and in determining she was saying what she did say in being one being the one having heard everything. In listening and she was listening, in listening she was replying and in replying she was commencing and in commencing she had been beginning and beginning was determining that in expressing she was expressing what in deciding she was deciding. In beginning and in hearing she was listening or commencing (page 64) and in listening or commencing she was hearing what she had been hearing and in expressing she was expressing that she did express, sound sounding being existing, she did express that she did begin when she did begin and beginning was determining and determining was deciding.
If in beginning, if in listening, if in expressing she was hearing what she was hearing then she was expressing what she was expressing. If in expressing what she was expressing she was be¬ing the one she was being and she was being the one she was being, then she was commencing in expressing that deciding is determining and that determining is expressing what she expressing is expressing. She expressing what she is expressing and listening being existing, and hearing being existing and sound sounding being expressing, she being existing and she being expressing she was saying that in expressing what she was expressing she did express what in commencing to express she had begun to completely express. She did complete again that listening being existing, hearing being existing, sound sounding being existing, she was being existing. (page 65)
If she said that she had said what she had said she would have said that she was hearing what she was hearing. She was not saying that she was hearing what she was hearing. She was not saying that thing.
In not saying that she was hearing what she was hearing she was not saying what she would be saying, she was not saying what she would be doing.
If she was saying that she had said what she had said she was saying that doing what she was doing was doing what she would have been doing if she had been meaning to hear what she heard. She was not saying that doing what she was doing was doing what she would have been doing if she had been meaning to hear what she heard.
In this way there was every way of her being not hearing what she heard. In this way there was any way of her being not hearing what she heard.
In every way she heard everything she heard. In any way she heard anything she heard. Sound sounding was coming out of her and she was expressing discovering saying what she was saying.
If she said what she said she said that she had said what she said and having said what she said she was renewing that that which she had said was what it was and it was what it was in the way that she said what she said.
She said that she said what she would say when she did say that what was was what it was. She said that she had said what she had said and that was what she would say now that what was was what it was. She did say that what is is what is and she did say that she had said that it would be what it would be that (page 74) which is what it is. She said that she had said what would be was what it was.
If she heard what she heard she said what she said. If she said what she said she had heard what she had heard. In hearing what she was hearing she was not knowing anything of hearing being existing. Sound coming out of her and sounding and she being that one she did say what she did say.
She did not know that hearing is being existing. She did not know that talking is being existing. She did not know that remembering is being existing. She did not know that feeling is being existing. Feeling, hearing, talking, sound coming out of her and sounding she is expressing that she is saying what she is saying and saying that that what is is what it is and saying that she had said what she had said in having said that what would be was what it was.
Doing, saying, believing, feeling, thinking, receiving, attack¬ing, rising, fearing if all of that is remembering, then remembering is not sounding in expressing being existing. This not being a decision changing is not existing.
She did not come in staying where she was staying and this was naturally a thing she was explaining. In explaining she was not remembering and not remembering is the meaning of explaining being convincing. She was expressing all she was not expressing, she was expressing that sound sounding had not been coming out of her.
She was tendering that she being feeling had not been completing suffering. She was receiving that going to be explaining she had been one not completing all remembering having been existing. She was receiving what she was giving. She was not denying in being existing. She was
not rehearsing anything. She was not continuing. She was and sound
sounding was coming out of her the sound that sounding was coming in coming
out of her. (page 75)
She knew that she had marvelous articulation. She conquered the speaking that was not asking the every one should come sometime. All that she had she fed and feeling she was an estimable person. The undertaking was enough to induce some walking. She had an expression. (page 108)

A belief that has translation is not all there is of exultation (page 142)

sounding the impossible


I am trying to write/sound the impossible space I hear in Stein's work. Not one work or one line but her whole project... though I hear it in every passage and grouping of terms. I hear it strident. Lyotard talks of the strident as a "shrill sound. Intense often brief, it pierces our ears...a font of sound so offensive that the frail membrane fails to enter into resonance with it". This is the impossible. At the edge of possibles...

John Ashbery once wrote about Gertrude Stein’s Stanzas In Meditation,
"Stanzas in Meditation is no doubt the most successful of her [Stein's] attempts to do what can’t be done, to create a counterfeit of reality more real than reality. And if, on laying the book aside, we feel that it is still impossible to accomplish the impossible, we are also left with the conviction that it is the only thing worth trying to do."

The extreme pressure is all ventriloquised as a sort of joke, slapstick, a deadly serious odd. The resonance is within itself. Its own parameters, which are... none.

22.4.09

Joan Retallack talking on Stein's influence on Cage



for source click here

The Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein




open the Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, ed by Charl Van Vechten here

readings



1) My Arrival In Paris [from Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas] [pt. 1, 33 minutes]
2) My Arrival In Paris [from Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas] [pt. 2, 22 minutes]
3) Descriptions of Literature [from Literary Music] [9 minutes, 40 seconds]
4) Francis Rose [from Reflection on the Atomic Bomb] [3 minutes]
5) Matisse and the origins of Cubism [from Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas] [19 minutes, 36 seconds]
6) Paris, 1907-14 [from Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas] [22 minutes, 58 seconds]
7) Patriarchal Poetry [Excerpts] [from 'Bee Time Vine' 1927] [1 hr, 4 minutes]
8) Portrait of Mabel Dodge at Villa Curonia [from 'A Primer for the Gradual Understanding of Gertrude Stein'] [16 minutes]
9) Preciosilla [from 'Composition as Explanation' 1926] [3 minutes, 54 seconds]
10) Study Nature [from 'Bee Time Vine' 1914] [1 minute 34 seconds]
11) Susie Asado [from 'Geography and Plays' 1922] [2 minutes 17 seconds]
12) First Example [from 'Syntax and Elucidation' 1923] [5 minutes 45 seconds] a Rose is a Rose is a Rose
13) Are There Arithmetics. [from 'Reflection on the Atomic Bomb'] [6 minutes 40 seconds]

On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine - Stein's Favorite Song...


13.9.08

The Voice

The Making Of Americans
Written 1903 - 1911. Only very early notes were written in 1903 in New York; basically the novel was rewritten and rewritten in Europe.

The Making of Americans: Parts 1 & 2 (5:38), recorded in New York, Winter 1934-35

Matisse
Written in Paris, early 1911
Matisse (2:47), New York, Recorded in New York, Winter 1934-35

A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson
Written in Paris, 1922
A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson (3:46), Recorded in New York, Winter 1934-35

If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso: Text
Written late Aug. 1923 in Nice / Antibes, where S & T went to see Picasso. Picasso returned to Paris early September, but Stein, working steadily, stayed on for 3 full months, far longer than her usual, short visits.
If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso (3:42), recorded in New York, Winter 1934-35

The Fifteenth Of November . . . T. S. Eliot
Written Paris, fall 1924, perhaps upon Eliot's visit to rue de Fleurus.
MP3 (3:16)

Portrait of Christian Bérard
Written December 1928 in Paris, in appreciation of Bérard's portrait of Stein that was to become the frontispiece of the first 100 signed copies of DIX PORTRAITS.
Portrait of Christian Bérard (0:49)

Madame Recamier. An Opera.
Written in Biligmin, September 1930. Only a very short excerpt of this long text is included in the record. perhaps for lack of (recording) space. It's unfortunate, for this short excerpt in no way represents the libretto.
Madame Recamier: An Opera (3:25), Recorded in New York, Winter 1934-35

How She Bowed To Her Brother
Written in Paris, late 1931. Title used here (with "How") is in ms and in opening sentence; other publications leave out the "how."
How She Bowed To Her Brother (2:18)

Interview 1934 (1:19).
Probably the Interview at the Algonquin Hotel, November 1934, upon Stein's arrival.


Marian Seldes Reads Gertrude Stein

  1. from The Making of Americans
  2. from Lectures in America

    Liner notes for Marian Seldes Reading Gertrude Stein [PDF]


NOTES

If I Told Him A Completed Portrait of Picasso

From 1906 on, Picasso was the great artist and the great friend in Stein's life. His portrait of her and hers of him joined his art to hers and hers to his as both were also joined in friendship. "Portraits and prayers," the phrase first used in An Elucidation, speaks of the juncture of the visual and verbal, painting and writing, Picasso and Stein.

In the powerful rhythmic construction of this portrait, the repeated questions and incomplete sentences question completion and refuse to name what history teaches. In the Autobiography Stein says that she delighted that summer in the waves on the shore at Antibes, where the portrait was written, as was Geography. The waves are more than background. Inside the portrait they become Picasso's creative energy; the conquering armies of the leader, whether Napoleon or Picasso; his power over the empire of art, which might yet, like Napoleon's, crumble; and the fickle sexuality, misogyny, and flattery characteristic of Picasso. Would he like it if she told him all this? Would he like it if she told on him? Would he like what she knows about him? Such questions, with their tone of gossip and threat, flattery and secrecy, are also never answered but persistently and rhythmically repeated.

The manuscript shows an interesting textual discrepancy in the text, which is here restored to the handwritten original. In the section on "exact resemblance," a period before "To exact" in the manuscript makes the difference between an adjective and a verb: "Exact resemblance. To exact resemblance the exact resemblance as exact as resemblance, exactly as resembling, exactly and resembling. . . ." The verb "to exact" adds energy to the creative struggle. Stein explores all possible forms in which "exact" can be joined with "resemblance."

The geography of this portrait is internal, sexual, procreative, in its sucking, pushing, and heaving. It also becomes the actual geography of the coast of the Midi–the waves, the tides, and the land that compose Geography.


A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson

The valentine was written in St.-Rémy, not for Valentine's Day, which is hardly the only occasion for a love poem. For Stein, the occasion was the publication of Geography and Plays in December 1922. She was indebted to Sherwood Anderson for the foreword, which added to her book a prominent name likely to make for sales and critical attention, as the publisher acknowledged. The "valentine" is an appreciation, an offering of thanks to Anderson. At the same time, most of the sections of the valentine are a love poem to Toklas, though she is not named. Without her inspiration and practical help neither Geography and Plays nor any other book could have been produced. She was the moving force behind Stein.

The text and title of this piece went through changes. It is not known whether the sections were composed in the order in which they are printed, nor is the order or time of revisions of the title clear. Given the hints of Christmas and the late 1922 date of composition, the piece cannot have been written for Valentine's Day. The title "A Valentine," without a name, inscribes it to an unnamed recipient, plainly Toklas. Another title is Idem the Some. The piece later became "A Portrait of Sherwood Anderson," revised to A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson. Idem the Same appears in the form in which students memorize it, the Latin word followed immediately by its English translation, which makes the phrase redundant since it twice says what it means. But what is "the same" as what else is not stated. It may be one valentine written for or about two people, or two people who are both valentines of the writer. However, the valentine is a text inscribed to Anderson, with a subtext for or about Toklas, not named.

On the back of the notebook for this piece are tiny private love verses to Toklas. Some become sections of the text. In the notes, details of "A Very Valentine" appear in more personal form than in typescript and in print. The original line "Very Stein is my valentine very Stein and very fine" becomes in print "Very mine is my valentine very mine and very fine." Stein and Toklas are each other's valentines, two lovers who are one, idem the same.

The valentine has a pastoral, religious tone and a formal, processional feeling, with counting and lists of diverse detail in order of size, such as pervade much of Stein's writing in St.-Rémy. "A very little snail. / A medium sized turkey. / ... / A fair orange tree. /. . . / Listen to them from here." Alice Toklas said that as Stein wrote "A History Of Giving Bundles" she inserted into it, presumably at the hotel in St.- Rémy, the figures and gifts from a procession to the Christmas criche on the mantle. Never heavy and systematic, the poem plays lyrically and lightly, as if ringing changes or offering blessings to creatures, to nautre, and in words.


--Ulla Dydo

From A Gertrude Stein Reader, Northwestern University Press, 1993

These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the Estate of Gertrude Stein. © 2005 Estate of Gertrude Stein. Used with permission of Estate of Gertrude Stein, through its Literary Executor, Mr. Stanford Gann, Jr. of Levin & Gann, P.A Distributed by Penn Sound and UbuWeb.

Stein-Matisse and her brother






“Matisse” — Gertrude Stein (mp3)

“How She Bowed to Her Brother” — Gertrude Stein (mp3)

ms Stein