EPC Stein Author Page
Ulla E. Dydo
Two Notes on Stein Textual Scholarship
In November 2001 I posted on the Poetics List a summary of "Stein Textual Scholarship." It is still on the Poetics Llist [and reprinted below.] The situation with Stein texts remains pretty much as it was then though far more texts are now available in reprints of all kinds, hardcover, paperback, etc., which allows teachers to assign and discuss the pieces in classes. The problems of textual inaccuracies have not been solved, because they cost too much and, as some say, "What difference does it make?" You know the answer to that. Now, however, I add a new section, PLENTY MORE STEIN WORK. I includes numerous topics that I consider worth investigating, with some explanatory notes added. Readers may wish to add to this list more ideas of their own, which I'd welcome. I hope the list proves useful and generates controveersy.
15 April 2006. Ulla Dydo.
PLENTY MORE STEIN WORK
These questions have accumulated in my mind since 1976, when I started to work on Stein, reading far beyond her texts and their dates. Some require explanatory detail which I attach. Some mss may since have been reclassified, some topics already chosen for work. All of them refer to Stein’s WORK as an artist, not to speculation about her LIFE or personality. I group them in loose “categories.”
I. STEIN TEXTS
“Mrs. Th----y” (1913; RAB 43)
“Le contrepoint poétique de Gertrude Stein,” by Marcel Brion (1895-1985), in Echanges, No. 3, Juin 1930, 122-28, is one of the best essays on Stein, by a well known critic, novelist and art historian. It never appeared in English translation. However, in YCAL a translation by Stein and Toklas is preserved, in an undated, handwritten manuscript notebook, with no typescript and not, as far as we know, submitted to a publisher. What happened here?
“An Epilogue in Arden”
I corresponded about this play with Jane Knowles, Radcliffe College Archvist (1985) and Nancy McCall, Asst. Archivist at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution (1985-86); none of the cast members’or director’s names come up at either institution.
Bill Rice and I checked the 1897/98 directories for Baltimore and NYC (NYPL does not have Cambridge). We tracked down every possible name, variant, detail in cast and text, all to no avail.
I sent a copy of the play to Leon Katz. He felt it did not sound like GS’s own writing as it has none of her known idiosyncracies though it has the wit and parody she shared with friends in Cambridge. He thought of it as a New York rather than a Cambridge or Baltimore production. Stein might have come to NYC for New Year’s and had fun with friends like Esther Rumboldt, etc.
The play is surely worth tracking down, esp. given the detailed list of cast members and its inclusion in a Henry McBride folder.
Gibb, Harry Phelan (1870-1948)
An undated letter in YCAL from ?Foster Bailey, 84 Ave. d’Assaz, Paris (to Stein? or?) speaks of sending Gibb’s new pictures for safekeeping and that he will bring “the Persian book and 2 pots.”
He is said to have written an outstanding book on Cubism, admired by friends, perhaps published in sections in journals. I have looked for it everywhere without success.
Hugnet, Georges (Samuel Putnam’s plans for translation of Enfances)
Hugnet for years vented his rage in letters and collages to Thomson and others. In 1933, he published (some of?) his poems under the imprint of Editions Cahiers d’Art, with Three Etchings by Joan Miro.
He negotiated with Samuel Putnam (1892-1950) about a translation of Enfances, to be published in Putnam’s The New Review. Experienced writer and translator, Putnam planned, advertised and promised this work in a limited, illustrated volume of his New Review Editions. But the book never appeared. This is the briefest summary of a story well worth researching in detail, not only for the connection with Hugnet but for many prominent writers and books of interest to Putnam, documented in insufficient detail in Hugh Ford’s Published In Paris (1975).
King, Georgiana Goddard (1870-1939) & Edith H. Lowber
What is known about King’s purchases for Bryn Mawr? What is photographed? What happened to her and Lowber’s estates? What is known of King’s property, her notes, her work on Sardinian art, on Portugal?
Münsterberg, Hugo (1863-1916)
His papers are at the Boston Public Library; Harvard Archive HUG 15835. They have not to my knowledge been studied in detail though Michaela Giesenkirchen told me in 2005 that for her dissertation on Stein (which I have not read) she had done substantial work on Münsterberg.
Satie, Erik (1866-1925)
Stein, Amelia (Keyser) Diaries – see Bancroft Library, below
Stein, Leo (1872-1947)
In recent years Patricia R. Everett has extended the work she had done for A History Of Having A Great Many Times Not Continued To Be Friends, her 1996 study of the correspondence of Mabel Dodge and Gertrude Stein, which focused on the two women. Upon further study and training, she has now started to consider Leo. Here is a rich field to investigate in detail.
Sutherland, Donald (1915-1978)
Sutherland’s copy of Tender Buttons, a gift from Stein, includes her corrections of printing errors, entered in her hand with a statement of accuracy in Sutherland’s hand, is in the archive of the University of Colorado Library, Boulder.
Sutton, William (cf. Haas, “A Transatlantic Interview”)
At the end of the war, when Haas could not travel to Europe, he asked Sutton, who was to be in Paris on army duty, to conduct the interview for him, following questions prepared by Haas and Stein’s agreement to have it tape-recorded and typed. Sutton, a poet, had apparently already met Stein, shown her his poetry and become a friend. According to Sutton, he arrived at Stein’s house and conducted the interview following his own questions since Haas’ had not arrived; they were delivered after he had concluded the interview. Sutton said he turned the Haas questions over to Stein; they may be among her papers.
I encouraged Sutton to write out the events and publish his story. His papers are deposited in the William A. Sutton Collection, University of Illinois, where I assume he got his Ph. D. By late 2003, when I wrote him again, he told me that he was indeed working on his story but things had taken a new turn. He had got in touch with the Chief Historian of the U. S. Army, told him what he remembered and what he had. Married before he joined the army, he had written to his wife every day, and all 600 letters with many valuable details had been kept. The Army Historian encouraged him to write it all out for deposit in the Army Historical Archive.
Assuming this work is completed (Sutton is 89), the material may become accessible either in the Army Archive or in the Sutton Collection at Illinois. I last heard from Sutton in late 2003. In January 2004, I sent Nancy Kuhn a report about Sutton, along with some of his letters. This is an unfinished story worth following and perhaps bringing to an unexpected, revelatory ending.
Töpffer, Rodolphe (1799-1846)
Ullman, Alice Woods (1870-1959) (Mrs. Eugene Paul Ullman)
Born in Goshen, Indiana, daughter of Federal Judge William Woods, Alice moved to New York about 1900, then to Paris, where she married the painter Eugene Ullman (1877-1953) and they lived with two sons. Under her maiden name, Alice wrote stories and novels, published with her own illustrations, for The Smart Set, McClure’s and other magazines. Among her novels is Edges, New York: Hurst & Co, 1902 (it includes the painter Alfred Maurer); The Thicket, New York, Mitchell Kennerly, 1913, an autobiographical novel on inherited insanity; Fame-Seekers, The Hair Pin, and Duchess, one of the first that became a movie.
The Ullmans apparently divorced. After the divorce, Eugene’s brother, a dentist in New Haven, came to Paris to take care of the boys, Allen, Paul (1906-1944) and Pierre (?); the brother supposedly took with him incriminating documents about the Ullmans, but no details are known, and no one has investigated. Eugene Ullman remarried; when the Germans entered France in 1940, he went to America.
Pavel Tchelitcheff / Boris Kochno correspondence 1923 – 1953
In the nineteen nineties I had hoped to engage a translator to prepare a good English translation of his correspondence in Russian that struck me as interesting and worth annotating for publication. The BRBL letters may need to be supplemented by documents in other archives and will require a careful introduction.
III. LARGER QUESTIONS
Christian Science Churches in Paris
Sarah Stein introduced Harriet Levy to Christian Science soon after her arrival in 1907. As a member of that church, Sarah also became close friends with Gabrielle Colaço-Osorio, the wealthy, divorced ex-wife of Anatole de Monzie, the French politician and later premier. Apparently one of the most distinguished Christian Science churches of the time, this institution also became a social center for many American expatriates. Yet there is no study of its history, its relation to the churches of the time, its social and religious function, its membership, and its connection with American Christian Science institutions—surely a worthwhile undertaking. In Paris plans, three are listed in hierarchical order, as 1e, 2e, and 3e.
3 Xian Sc. Churches Paris:
A. Amelia (Keyser) Stein Diaries
After Amelia’s death, the diary went to Bertha (Raffel) Stein, the oldest daughter. Upon her death (1924), it went to her daughter, Gertrude Stein Raffel, who offered to sell the volumes to Gertrude Stein who, offended, declined. It is unclear whether Gertrude Stein Raffel or her brother, Arthur, sold them to the Bancroft. In Gertrude Raffel Stein’s biographical essay, “There was once a family called Stein,” published by Robert Haas in his Stein Primer (1971), she claims to have sold them, with no details about sale, date, or her essay.
At Yale in the eighties I learned from a reader who had examined the diaries and discovered that the 1882 volume was missing that Arthur Raffel had this volume. The Bancroft Library did not seem to know that it was missing, or why.
In Baltimore in November 1991 I pursued the matter. By that time Gertrude Stein Raffel was already in an old age home in New York, where I was unable to see her (Village Nursing Home, 607 Hudson St., NY, NY 10014). I knew from Isabel Wilder that she was a woman of limited gifts who had lived a difficult life, had been married, perhaps had two sons. For some years, she had ended up in New Haven, with Isabel Wilder helping her find jobs as a cook.
In Baltimore I reached Arthur Raffel, a “retired electrical engineer.” I spoke to him by phone, but we never met personally. He confirmed that he had the diary, which he had not read. Eventually we made an agreement: I deposited the cost of copying plus postage to the account of his copyshop, and he agreed to have a copy made and sent to me. I received it in good order. I assume that Arthur Raffel is no longer living. He had no children. Whether upon his death this volume was sold, auctioned, passed to a relative or friend, or lost is not known. In my hands may be the only copy of it.
Only recently, in May 2005, did I hear from Linda Norton, Senior Editor, Regional Oral History Office, about the Bancroft Library’s interest in publishing their Stein material, including the Amelia Stein diaries and the 1952 Roland Duncan Interview with Toklas (see below). This long story is of biographical interest and requires extensive work. The original Gertrude Stein Raffel essay published by Haas should also be found, studied and dated.
B. Roland Duncan Interview with Alice Toklas, Paris, 1952
Duncan was a Berkeley student working in London at the end of the war and one of the first to conduct an interview for the Bancroft’s new Oral History Project. The Bancroft sent him equipment in poor quality with poor instructions. Also, Duncan did not know California well, hence misheard or misinterpreted many of the places and details to which Toklas referred; nor did he know much about life in Paris.
Full retranscription of this interview could probably be accomplished by someone familiar with the lives and locations of Stein and Toklas.
In this context, it might also make sense to consult the memoir of Annette Rosenshine, Toklas’ cousin, at the Bancroft.
Upon the Stein Symposium of 6 October 2001 at New York Universitysome of us felt uneasy about discussions that addressed Stein’s life and personality rather than her work. They relied on opinion without factual information about what I call the context of her texts. As a result, we tried to raise questions of her art, to offer information and to provoke controversies to enlighten us.
It was with this in mind that I spoke about Stein textual scholarship, not as a report of an academic specialist buried in an archive but as a matter of importance for any work on Stein texts. Much of what I discussed is included in my book, The Language That Rises: The Voice Of Gertrude Stein 1923-1934, forthcoming in 2002 from Northwestern University Press. In my talk at the symposium, however, I concentrated exclusively on textual problems of which younger Stein students, who take it for granted that reliable Stein texts are widely available, may not be aware. What I said follows below.
When I prepared A Stein Reader, between 1986 and 1992, I was not only thinking about what should be in it, and how. I had a long-term ulterior motive. I had learned, while working for years on Stein manuscript texts at the Beinecke Library, that there were innumerable discrepancies between manuscript, typescript and printed texts of many works. Obviously these affect how we read the texts, how they sound, how they look and come to mean. That was why I insisted that all pieces included in A Stein Reader be checked against original manuscripts, typescripts, and printed versions. The Reader was a first in showing the importance of word-for-word reliability in Stein texts.
My long-term hope was that the Reader might demonstrate the need for a complete, reliable edition of Stein’s work, with accurate texts and full notes on dates, variants, revisions, etc. In the seventies and eighties, there was money for the slow, painstaking detail work required for a complete edition of an author’s work. There was also an interest on the part of the National Endowment for the Humanities in supporting such efforts. An edition of Stein’s Works did not exist. In the following years, funding became more precarious and even work on some complete editions of major writers was abandoned. There is still no Stein Works today, although we know that small mistakes in transcription, typesetting, and even punctuation, can affect a text. Without complete, reliable texts, it is difficult to read right, to trust ones judgment, to interpret an author who does not follow the rules. Criticism becomes guesswork. Can funding be the only reason for the delay of a Stein edition?
Just a few examples of how texts, notes, and critical study are related: Only after 1970, when the complete, reliable text of Ezra Pound’s Cantos was issued, could serious study begin. It took another ten years before, in 1980, the Companion to the Cantos appeared, with full notes on sources and on Pound’s knowledge of languages and cultures. As a result of Pound’s war-time activities, his trial and imprisonment, it was not easy to do this, but writers knew how important his work was and fought for its publication to preserve its integrity.
Or think of Joyce’s Ulysses. Printed in book form in Paris in1922,but banned as indecent in America until 1934, an accurate edition could not be prepared until the Joyce papers, manuscripts, typescripts, revisions, page proofs, scattered in many archives and in private handsin America and Europe, were identified and permission to copy and study them was secured. When in the mid-eighties the Hans Gabler text of Ulysses was finally published, it provoked immense and stimulating controversy about how Joyce wrote, how the book was typed and revised, about Joyce’s learning, his sense of language, mythology, history. Such discoveries and disagreements continue to keep writers and scholars engaged.
Again, consider what had to be done to restore the poems of Emily Dickinson, handwritten and sewn together by her in the small book bundles we call fascicles from what pious family members and editors interested in selling books had published in sentimentalized, “corrected” but corrupt and erroneous volumes. In the late fifties appeared the Johnson edition of her Poems and Letters, beautifullyproduced but, as it turned out, still including misreadings and editor’s mistaken guesses; only in 1981 did R. W. Franklin publish The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson; and consider that Susan Howe spent years in the eighties and nineties teaching students how to read not what earlier books had printed but what Dickinson had actually written, when, why and how.
Let me here insert a note about annotation. I use Joyce as an example. An enormous academic industry has grown upon the study of Joyce’s work, the language which Joyce, with his wide knowledge of history, mythology, popular culture, music, songs, and so on, endlessly manipulates. Joyce texts offer a huge field--we might call it a market, an enterprise worth investing in--for learned exploration, competent annotation and the use that sanctions the scholar’s learning and tools. Academic departments thrive on competition and promotion of theory and specialized scholarly research talent.
Today, we can find reliable editions of many major authors. They give us accurate texts and include in notes information about how and when works were created, how events, letters, biography, language and so on are important and help explain the writing. And yet there is no complete, reliable Stein Works. Here is a celebrated modernist, a collector, a famous figure in America and abroad, an expatriate, lesbian, Jew. A public personality, she is better known as the subject of the many portraits of her by painters, photographers, memoirists, than as the writer of her own portraits ofthem. Yet, with some notable exceptions, Stein’s texts have received less attention than her personality. And the scholars’ investment in training, knowledge and tools rarely help them gain access to Stein’s language. Her vocabulary is simple, her references are rarely learned, her organization seems irrational, and her ideas often sound more ordinary than they are.
If anything, hers are the words of a school primer, of nursery school or children’s games. To follow her involves reading, rereading, listening, playing, flashing repetitions before eye and ear--things that do not demand the scholar’s tools and training of the scholar. She asks the imagination to take a different path, one that children know but as adults often forget. The deceptive simplicity of her work, often thought plain silly, has resisted the usual editorial procedures. She has not received the scholars’ attention that Joyce, Pound, Eliot, or Dickinson have. As a result, how she wrote, how she gained access to words, how those words function--details usually included in annotated textual editions--have not been studied with care, and her manuscripts have onlybegun to be looked at in detail. We gain access not through content and ideas but only through words, followed not as signifiers but as things in themselves.
What are the problems of Stein texts?
First, accuracy. For texts that constantly play with words and pun, misprints are a great danger--part of the game. Stein wrote with meticulous care, and Toklas had orders to type her writing conscientiously. Still, discrepancies do show up that can be revealing. Printing was not always accurate, and proofreading, including Stein’s and Toklas’ own, was often deficient. If you have ever transcribed or copied a Stein text, you may know how difficult it is--her words do not follow the expected syntactical paths but spin about eye and ear, weaving patterns in the mind that may be enjoyable but are not hers.
Stein revised very little, for she did not believe in revision. Yet some changes are visible in the manuscripts and must be identified. Most of these are misspelled or miswritten words that she probably corrected immediately; but others, especially in later works, appear to be revisions. Moreover, she in part wrote with a strong visual sense, in blank, lined, or graph manuscript books, and she relied on features of the notebooks’ format as well as her own design against those of the notebooks, to shape her texts. When she started in one notebook and moved on to a second, third, or more, the move to a new book might enter her text. Also, notions from illustrations or text on the covers of the French school cahiers that she used sometimes worked their way into her writing. In other words, it is sometimes possible to discover how Stein wrote by looking with care at her manuscripts, lines, margins, lineation, pen or pencil.
A small number of tiny private pocket carnets have survived amongStein’s papers (over the years there must have been many more that arenot preserved); in these she sometimes wrote sections of texts on whichshe was working, usually marked, as well as lists of things to buy or do, places to go, and small love notes to Toklas which Toklas sometimes answered; later, the texts sections were copied into the manuscript cahiers by Stein or Toklas. The small notes and lists sometimes add context to the writing--where she was, what was happening, guests expected, letters written, the weather.
Annotating Stein texts requires detailed familiarity with all her work. And while she wrote one huge book, the great immigrant novel of The Making of Americans, most of her other work consists of relatively short, separate pieces with varied titles that do not describe content and fail to fit traditional genre designations--poem, essay, story, play. She rarely follows standard diction, grammar or paragraphing.(When she first submitted Three Lives for publication--to a vanity press--an agent appeared at her house to suggest that her language was full of errors and needed an editor to correct it. She declined.) There are reasons for how she wrote, and we cannot dismiss her ways as errors though they go against authority.
She rarely includes personal detail in writing that steers away from the temptation to read literary texts biographically; yet Stein has been admired and displayed as a personality--in her many friendships with avant-garde painters, writers, composers, editors, and social personalities throughout the twentieth century in Paris and America. The “ Charmed Circle” of James Mellow’s book is the public circle, not the writer’s study. She herself helped to create the charmed circle by writing, late in life, The Autobiography Of Alice B. Toklas, by going on the American lecture tour of 1934-35, and by the huge publicity it generated--yet none of this late “public material” explains much about her composition.
Stein’s work creates a sequence, and dating her pieces in sequence is important. Preliminary dates were assigned to the works in the so-called Yale Catalogue, done in the forties by Robert Haas, a Stein student and admirer, with help from curators at the Beinecke Library. But many of these dates turned out to be wrong, or follow an erroneous order. Only detailed study of manuscripts and typescripts can establish dates and discover sequences of writing.
In Stein’s case dates of publication are useless since the history of her publications is a dismal tale of endless rejections, delays, and disappointments--not of a series of successful books and reviews. The Making Of Americans, completed in late 1911, was not published until1925, and then in a small printing of 500 copies that few could afford.(Of these, 100 copies were used the next year, 1926, to make the first American edition.) In 1934, to Stein’s great chagrin, an abridged edition was published in New York. Libraries did not have the original edition and readers could not find it. Not until the sixties did it become possible to buy a complete text in America and England. Much of her work, especially the early texts, remained unpublished until afterher death. Even when the eight posthumous volumes of Stein work were issued by Yale University Press, from 1951 to 1958, manuscripts were not consulted in detail; and pieces were haphazardly chosen, printed, and arranged. Those volumes did not sell well and the Press saw no quick profit. As a result, the early volumes were remaindered before the series was complete; at no point was it possible to buy the whole series in a bookstore. Remaindering relieved the Press of the obligation to pay royalties, and Alice Toklas was cut out of sorely needed income.
Only in recent years have her texts gradually begun to be looked at, indeed discovered, in manuscript. We can now buy many Stein texts, recently reprinted, that for years were out of print and unavailable. But even of these many still do not offer accurate texts and give wrong dates. When I began to work of Stein, in the seventies, it was impossible to find her texts. I remember making a deal with someone upstate who had a copy of Operas And Plays (published by Stein herself in 1932, never reprinted). In return for a favor, a friend agreed to photocopy this volume. Nowadays that does not sound like much, but in those days photocopying was still new and far from perfect. I received the text, in light grey print, and I worked with and annotated those pages for years; once xeroxing improved, I made a better copy of the copy. Only in 1987, when Station Hill Press reprinted the book, did it become possible to buy it. However, this text, reprinted from the original plates, included all the original errors. A correct edition of Operas and Plays has not yet been produced.
Stein has a cult following. One result is that her work has been reprinted in its original forms, without careful editorial attention. Take Portraits And Prayers, her 1934 volume, issued by Bennett Cerf of the Modern Library to coincide with her American lecture tour. On the cover is a Carl Van Vechten photograph of Stein, which, displayed in bookstores, was sure to help sales. In New York people who had seen the book in shop windows recognized Stein on the street and spoke to her. There have been several unsuccessful attempts to reissue this volume, beautifully produced and designed. Yet the pages include serious errors, which readers still overlook as did the original designer.
In recent years many Stein texts that for decades were utterly unavailable have been reprinted. Stein appears to have come into her own, be accepted by readers, studied by students and admired as a modernist. In 1933, she published in her own Plain Edition 500 copies of her early Matisse Picasso And Gertrude Stein with two shorter stories (including “A Long Gay Book,” “Many Many Women” and “G. M. P.”); it did not sell well. For years thereafter, you could not find these texts. Only in 1972 was it reissued and is now available in paperback. Today, several different publishers have made various reprints of Stein texts available at reasonable prices. Yet none so far has engaged in a complete Stein and none have corrected errors.
For my own work, it was by the accidental discovery of textual discrepancies--I now sometimes call it pure luck--that I began to immerse myself in the handwritten work in the cahiers and carnets. And that is where I began to hear what I call the voice of Gertrude Stein and to write about it.
page edited by Ch. B. 5/06