Talk:Gertrude Stein

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Is it just me or is the punctuation of many of these quotes very suspicious? If someone has access to the cited books, (I don't), could some verification be done? I just don't believe Stein could have written, e.g., "After all human beings have to live dogs too so as not to know that time is passing, that is the whole business of living to go on so they will not know that time is passing, that is why they get drunk that is why they like to go to war, during a war there is the most complete absence of the sense that time is passing a year of war lasts so much longer than any other year." Eaefremov 19:13, 22 August 2006 (UTC)Reply

Yes, this is indeed how Stein wrote, with her highly individual notions of syntax and punctuation. A friend of mine who had read her book, How to Write, said that she should have called it How I Write because few writers have ever taken up her ideas of style and composition. The quote you cite is from Everybody's Autobiography, a book which I have read; in fact, most of the quotes from it were provided by me. I can vouch for the accuracy of it as well as for all the other quotes I have added or sourced. This particular quote is on page 289 of a 1993 edition of the book [Exact Change Books, ISBN 1-878972-08-1]. If this is why you posted the cleanup tag, then it may as well be removed. Stein got a lot of flak in her day because of her so-called "cubist" style of writing; but she stuck to her guns and wrote in this way to the last. I think she's a pleasure to read and I very much like her in all her oddity; but she takes a bit of getting used to at first. For an online example of her writing, see an early work on Wikisource, Tender Buttons. You can see in it the beginnings of the style she developed and later elaborated. Most of her work cannot be found online, however, because the copyrights have not yet expired. - InvisibleSun 20:18, 22 August 2006 (UTC)Reply


just a random question, not an editorial matter: does anyone know what "there is no there there" means?? i read it in print all the time and have no clue about what it means. -- 23:03, 7 September 2007 (UTC)Reply

"What was the use of my having come from Oakland it was not natural to have come from there yes write about if I like or anything if I like but not there, there is no there there." -Gertrude Stein, Everybody's Autobiography (1937), ch. 4

The original context was this: Stein, having lived in France for many years, was on a lecture tour of the United States. While in California she visited Oakland, where she had spent some of her childhood. She found, however, that her childhood home no longer existed:

"The house the big house and the big garden and the eucalyptus trees and the rose hedge naturally were no longer existing, what was the use, if I had been then my little dog would know me but if I had not been I then that place would not be the place that I could see. I did not like the feeling, who has to be themselves inside them, not any one and what is the use of having been if you are to go on being and if not why is it different and if it is different why not." (ch. 4).

Over the years the phrase "there is no there there" has come to mean someone or something lacking interest or individuality; a mere existence, empty at the core. - InvisibleSun 00:08, 8 September 2007 (UTC) .Reply

"There there is no there" has come to express the anonymity and blandness of suburban development... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:44, 4 July 2013
To be clear, this quote has taken on a life of its own that has no connection with its original meaning. Stein was confronting the reality that her childhood was gone, not condemning the city as bland, her meaning being the same as Thomas Wolfe in writing "You Can't Go Home Again." And the phrase is now used to express blandness of any kind, not suburbanism. Her neighborhood in Oakland was urban. 15:54, 29 May 2014 (UTC)Reply