Friday, October 12, 2012

Gertrude Stein - Three Lives

Sunday: THE BOX MAN 7 PM.  Let's do this.

I just finished reading Ida by Gertrude Stein in one sitting yesterday, while procrastinating on Ulysses.  I was delighted and appalled in equal measure; her style is ridiculously repetitive, simplistic, and contradictory to the point of absurdity (you may have heard this about her).  Strong outsider vibes emanate--I was reminded of Richard Brautigan, only without the hippie connexion, especially in regards to her treatment of death/interpersonal relationships.  Things just happen, constantly, and for entirely no reason.  That's life.  So you'd better accept it, otherwise you're going to be completely miserable.  Just check out this chapter from Ida for some seriously mental ART--when I read this I laugh/cried for a few minutes flat, though I imagine the effect is less if you haven't just trawled yourself through 5 hours straight of "unreadable, self-indulgent, and excruciatingly boring" prose.  I also happen to be in the position to recommend reading reviews and parodies of Ida, or Stein's writing in general--easily some of the best worst reactions from critics I've had the pleasure of playing witness to.  This writing really drives people freakin nuts, but fortunately that's what we wanted all along.

I understand Miss Stein's Three Lives is a bit less esoteric, so we'll see how that goes for November.  Good luck.  See you on the 11th at 7 PM.

Three short stories comprise Gertrude Stein’s first significant work, each a psychological portrait of a different woman. “The Good Anna” is a kindly but domineering German servant. “The Gentle Lena” apathetically endures her miserable life until she dies in childbirth. “Melanctha” is a young Black woman learning about sexuality and love. Different as they may be, all three women are bound by poverty—and all three face the restrictions of class, race, and sex with resignation.