Alice B. Toklas (): Gertrude Stein’s lover | Svetlana Kitto
If there was great love story among the Lost Generation writers, we believe it was the long relationship between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Use the discussion questions on the following pages to facilitate your book club's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is not an autobiography in the true Why do you think Stein was not more open about their relationship in the book? She also refers to her brother as “Gertrude Stein's brother,” and never by Leo, his. illustrations selected by Gertrude Stein for her Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.1 . for by those who have never seen the portrait, symbolizes the relation- These differences, as well as the related bibligraphical questions, deserve consid -.
The Writer stated, "I'm not a big talker; I'm a writer. The Poet immediately found the well-written essay populated with so many vivid details that she felt like she was walking in with the Writer to the 5, rue Christine apartment where Toklas continued to live after Stein died. Before the Poet could say much more than yes, I really enjoyed, the Writer interrupted and said, "I don't know exactly what you would like to know because that article was pretty full.
Hurry up and ask the question.Steve Benson on Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein moving in together
Toklas mentioned you [as potential replacement] in relation to a failed agreement with someone else she had picked to work on her memoir… The Writer interrupted to say Joe Barry introduced the Writer to Toklas, followed by, "In the beginning, she [Toklas] did not accept me because she really didn't like women.
As noted by letters published in Staying on Alone: Letters of Alice B. Allan Stein was Gertrude's nephew by her oldest brother Michael. Gertrude named Allan her heir with provisions for Alice, but Allan died January and by Gertrude Stein's will, Allan's children were next in line. Roubina wanted to make sure her two children by Allan would benefit from Aunt Gertrude's estate. By late summerToklas suffered a fall during which she broke her kneecap and subsequently landed in the Ville d'Avray nursing home.
Backing up a little further, the Poet recently got a copy of Stein's death certificate, which indicated that after Stein died 27 July at the American Hospital located in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, her body had been embalmed and then transferred to the Mortuary Chapel of American Cathedral, Church of the Hotel Trinity in Paris. Jewish burial practice is to bury the deceased as quickly as possible. The only obstacle is if death occurs hours before the Sabbath, because no burials are permitted during these sacred 24 hours.
Observant Jews Stein was an assimilated non-observant Jew believe that embalming desecrates the body and impedes the return of the soul to God. One exception to the ban on embalming is if the body was going to be buried in Israel and required additional time to get there.
The Steiny Poet asked the Writer if she knew what happened after Gertrude died—was there a funeral? What about Alice's death?
The Writer interrupted to say she had no idea because as a rule she never went to funerals. The Steiny Poet called Stein's Baltimore cousin Julian Stein and asked him if he knew that Gertrude's body had been embalmed and stored in a church.
No, he didn't know but he was interested in knowing more. That's when the Poet delved into Staying on Alone and quickly found answers to those questions. I hope you think that that is right—she never said anything about any such thing it couldnt [sic] and didnt [sic] interest her at all— dead is dead—you remember in The Makings [Stein's novel, The Making of Americans]…The French law will make things drag on but it all will be beautiful.
They also agreed that a life worth living should include plenty of food, the company of artists and writers, and a general refusal to do the things that did not please them -- like learning to drive in reverse, or continuing to entertain writers and artists who had become quarrelsome or boring. For the 39 years that followed their first meeting, that is the life they lived. Gertrude proposed to Alice on a trip to Tuscany; afterwards they moved back to 27 rue de Fleurus, ousted Gertrude's brother, Leo he left, writing, "I hope we will all live happily ever after and suck our respective oranges"and set about making their home.
Gertrude was ample, and had, by all accounts, a large, well-shaped head which she eventually displayed with a fetching Caesar cut. Alice was small and thin with large dark eyes and a small bit of fur on her upper lip.
She had a propensity for flowing dresses and gypsy earrings. When they went to visit Gertrude's brother, Julien Stein, his 3-year-old son said that he liked the man, but why did the lady have a mustache?
Steiny Road To Operadom - Questions and Answers and Questions | Karren Alenier | Scene4
They lived as husband and wife, "she with a sheet of linen and he with a sheet of paper," as Gertrude is quoted in Diana Souhami's biography, "Gertrude and Alice. The terms of their endearment reflect their respective roles. According to Souhami, "Alice was gay, kitten, pussy, baby, queen, cherubim, cake, lobster, wifie, Daisy, and her little jew [sic].
Gertrude was king, husband, hubbie, Mount fattie and fattuski. I am fondest of all of lifting belly Lifting belly is in bed And the bed has been made comfortable Lifting belly And aiming. Exactly and making a cow come out.
Gertrude and Alice
While Gertrude proffered sex in prose; Alice prepared suggestive dishes. In the "Alice B. Toklas Cookbook," she writes, "In the menu, there should be a climax and a culmination. Come to it gently. Alice's role was to play the midwife to Gertrude's genius, but she also stands as an argument for the idea that midwives, like housewives, are anything but incidental. To her, housekeeping for geniuses was an art in itself: I must say that you can not tell what a picture really is or what an object really is until you dust it every day and you can not tell what a book is until you type or proof read it.
It then does something to you that only reading can never do. Besides dusting the art, Alice spent quite a bit of time transposing art onto ordinary household objects.
Dishes for artists were a frequent necessity at 27 rue de Fleurus, and a key element of the "Alice B. Toklas Cookbook," Alice's collection of recipes and the stories behind them, published after Gertrude's death.
Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas
A culinary work called bass for Picasso was poached in wine and butter, following the advice of Alice's aunt, who contended that a "fish, having lived its life in water, once caught, should have no further contact with the element in which it had been born and raised. Picasso, though impressed by the beauty of the fish, said that it should have been made for Matisse, not for him.
Nevertheless, he rewarded Alice's artistry with a needlepoint pattern, which she used to make tapestries for two Louis XVI chairs. And of course Alice, in the classic role of an artist's lover, served as Gertrude's muse.
But given that Gertrude's art was not of the classic genre, this could take the form of not-so-classic endeavors. One guest remembers watching Gertrude instruct Alice to bat a -- what else? At some point, Gertrude suggested that Alice write an autobiography.
Her suggested titles illustrate her ideas about Alice's status in their relationship: Here she is, writing as "Alice": I am a pretty good housekeeper and a pretty good gardener and a pretty good needlewoman and a pretty good secretary and a pretty good vet for dogs and I have to do them all at once and I found it difficult to add being a pretty good author.
About six weeks ago Gertrude Stein said, it does not look to me as if you were ever going to write that autobiography. You know what I am going to do. I am going to write it for you. I'm going to write it as simply as Dafoe did the autobiography of Robinson Crusoe. And she has and this is it. For Gertrude to write the autobiography of Alice in Alice's "voice" could be construed as sheer hubris.
And the novel, which begins with their first meeting and ends with Gertrude's decision to write the autobiography, certainly implies that Alice's life begins and ends with Gertrude. But it is also a love poem of the deepest kind -- an attempt to literally become her lover. For what it's worth, friends who knew them both say that Gertrude faithfully reproduced Alice's verbal tics and quirks.
Besides, there is evidence that Alice had quite a bit of power herself, albeit power of the sneakier, passive-aggressive variety.