By Barbara Will
Gertrude Stein often referred to as herself a genius, yet what did this time period rather suggest for her? Stein's claims to genius are mythical, showing usually all through her texts and public lectures. have been they the indicators of over the top egotism, of determined self-advertisement, or of whatever else solely? This publication examines the centrality and the specificity of the assumption of 'genius' to Stein's paintings and to the cultured beliefs and contradictory highbrow affiliations of excessive modernism in most cases. via a chronological examining, it maps Stein's circulate from an early funding in a vital and essentializing suggestion of 'genius' to her later use of the time period to explain an anti-essentialist, democratic textual approach. It considers how this revisionary inspiration of 'genius' got here to correspond with Stein's id of herself as Jewish, queer and American. And it ends with Stein's likely paradoxical choice to name a textual content approximately being a genius in the US, Everybody's Autobiography. Drawing upon
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Additional info for Gertrude Stein, Modernism, and the Problem of 'Genius'
When you know anything, memory doesn’t come in. At any moment that you are conscious of knowing anything, memory plays no part. ” Stein would ultimately reformulate this process in terms of “genius”: One may really indeed say that that is the essence of genius, of being most intensely alive, that is being one who is at the same time talking and listening. It is really that that makes one a genius. And it is necessary if you are to be really and truly alive it is necessary to be at once talking and listening, doing both things, not as if there were one thing, not as if they were two things, but doing them, well if you like, like the motor going inside and the car moving, they are part of the same thing.
While she has a share of “real white blood” that denotes her superiority to Rose, she still bears the mark of miscegenation and thus of degeneration, and despite her “intelligent, attractive” traits, she seems doomed to downward racial and class mobility. ”51 Yet one could also argue that the racist clichés in Melanctha are the effect of a category crisis for Stein during these early years of authorial self-fashioning, and that what might be called her performance of “blackface” in this text is an attempt both to displace and to resolve this crisis.
For an analysis of Skinner’s attack within the context of his own “preoccupation with repetition and originality,” see Armstrong, Modernism, 197–211. Stein–Hubbell correspondence quoted in Meyer, “Writing Psychology Over,” 141. James, Psychology, 753. , 754. , 119 (in italics in original); 125. , 753. , 754. , 754. Kant, “On Genius,” 235. Schopenhauer, Works, 293. Shklovsky, “Art as Technique,” 22. , 12. Stein quoted in Wilder, “Introduction,” FIA, vi. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald writes “what a grotesque thing a rose is” (169); while William Carlos Williams declares that “the rose is obsolete” (quoted in Quartermain, Disjunctive Poetics, 42).
Gertrude Stein, Modernism, and the Problem of 'Genius' by Barbara Will