Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein by Gertrude Stein

Thursday, August 23, 2012 § 1

Fictive(philo)sophical Cubist Abstraction: Gertrude Stein's Inn(o)vative Narrative Logic

A Book Review by 
David Detrich

Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein with Two Shorter Stories (1912) by Gertrude Stein is a collection of three innovative works which include A Long Gay Book (1909-12), Many Many Women (1910), and G.M.P. (1911-12). These early avant garde texts are written in philosophical propositions which describe the people and objects around Gertrude Stein with a narrative logic that is similar to the Language writing of contemporary poetry. Written at a time when Cubism was just beginning as an art movement, these stories are inspired by the painting of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, and for Gertrude Stein the simple logic that begins each story is similar to the awakening of the human mind as it comprehends the subjective reality of the self. I perceive an angelic perspective in these writings which is like a form of artificial intelligence awakening to the process of becoming human. Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein with Two Shorter Stories by Gertrude Stein can be enjoyed by readers who are daring enough to explore the minimalist patterns of logic which make this one of the more avant garde classics of 20th Century innovative fiction.

As I was saying every man and every woman was a little baby once and knowing nothing. I am saying there are many ways of feeling it inside them in the many kinds of men and women that they were little things once then and that was then all there was of them and they were dandled and fixed and kissed then, little things then and knowing nothing.
                                                              A Long Gay Book
                                                              Gertrude Stein

The idea of giving birth fascinates the narrator of A Long Gay Book, a woman who develops the concept  in a philosophical way: in minimalist repetitive patterns that are expansive in style, running through the permutations of what is possible, and in progressing from simple propositions towards greater complexity.


Loving is being existing. Loving has been being existing. Loving being existing and some being ones being loving and some having been ones being loving loving is being existing. Loving is being existing and some are ones being loving. Loving is being existing and some are ones some are loving. Loving is being existing and some are believing that loving is being existing.
                                                             A Long Gay Book
                                                             Gertrude Stein


This profound realization that life is love is similar to the poetic exhilaration of my own first novel Big Sur Marvels & Wondrous Delights (2001) by David Detrich where the poetic passages express a metaphysical understanding of the basic concept of life, which is also a reference to the song The Fool by Quicksilver Messenger Service. And for the narrator of A Long Gay Book a baby may experience the emotion of love: Loving is being existing. The writing is like a chant or mantra that a devout woman might recite to herself, and one might realize that Gertrude Stein wore a gray courdoroy robe and sandals that revealed a spiritual side to her personality.


A remarkable exhibition was the one that showed that an aptitude for delineation is the same as adjustment. It was admitted that having explained that there would be undertaken a readjustment. The end was outlined. The completion was distinguished. The relative actuality was not detailed. There was precedence. There was not lingering. There was the article that was not destroying. There was that meaning. There was the description. These did have what there was no need to occupy. There came to be that.
                                                            A Long Gay Book
                                                            Gertrude Stein


An exhibition of paintings at the Salon des Indépendants begins The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933) by Gertrude Stein with the evolution of modern painting from the Fauvist colors of Henri Matisse, to the Cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso. The painters and writers of early modernism visit with Alice B. Toklas and Gertude Stein at 27 Rue de Fleurus in Paris during the first and second decades of the 20th Century, while the ladies write their own memoirs and avant garde texts. Many Many Women (1910) by Gertrude Stein is the next of the shorter stories, and begins with simple propositions like a robotic mind coming to life, and then increases in complexity to create the portrait of a young woman who is referred to as "she."


There are some being living. There are some who are living. There are some. 

One was living. She was moving some. She was not going when she was moving she was moving so as to be where she could see the place where she had been. 
                                                             Many Many Women
                                                             Gertrude Stein

The perspective of the narrator is from beyond life where the mind seems to be functioning without entire self-awareness, and the idea of "some being living" is a clue to the metaphysical dilemma of the characterizations. The idea of Many Many Women (1910) is also a positive thought for those who have remained single throughout their lifetime, and this story reveals the beauty of the characters who experience a multiplicity of relationships, rather than just one.

She was not at all marrying. If she had been one continuing to be one staying when she was an uneasy one she might have been one coming to be marrying. She was an uneasy one and that was a strange thing, she was an uneasy one in being an ordinary enough one. She was not interesting in being one not loving. She would not have been loving if she had followed when she almost followed one. She was not loving when she was being one being living. She was not loving.
                                                             Many Many Women
                                                             Gertrude Stein


The theme of marriage is based on the idea of "staying," and this motif persists into the more complex portrait G.M.P. (1911-12), which begins with a similar poetic tone as Many Many Women (1910). The narrator of G.M.P. adds intellectual complexity to the innovative text with the complimentary thought of "gaining recognition," as the introduction of a character referred to by the pronoun "he" may be a literary portrait of Pablo Picasso, who was taking the lead in the early days of Cubism.


Conversation was not the reproduction of listening and talking and this was said and when there was more there was some understanding of that.
                                                              G.M.P.
                                                              Gertrude Stein


In G.M.P. (1911-12), which stands for Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein, if the narrator does not use any dialogue it is because the portrait of Pablo Picasso is that of a young man in his twenties, and the reader should understand that "when there was more" there might be more dialogue. The portrait of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and "he" is a composite portrait based on the pronoun "he," so that it is not easy to identify the characters in this innovative story which is based on the pronouns: he, she, one, they, and we. Gertrude Stein has invented her own style of pronomial abstraction which evolves in a minimalist pattern of repetitive pronouns to become a Cubist sketch of characters who are not clearly defined images: they are multifaceted abstract painterly forms.

He did the plentiful flowers all the colors that were not lost in the rain, He said that he had that feeling.

He was producing that which if there was that adaptation would be large. It was large. He showed it. He said that he had not seen the end and he said that that which was the same was apparent. He said he had been pleased.
                                                               G.M.P.
                                                               Gertrude Stein

The painting of Herni Matisse was based on the use of bright colors that began the trend in France of Fauvist painting with André Derain, and progressed to the abstractions of Robert and Sonia Delaunay. In Germany the use of intense colors became the Expressionism of August Macke, Franz Marc, and others. The narrator of G.M.P. (1911-12) realized this idea from the beginning, and all of Modern painting evolved from this use of color that did not necessarily match natural colors.


Place a table and three chairs, place a pocket and two matches, place a diagonal and three rulers, place a sign and every color, place an autumn and three summers, place a winter and three countries, place a city and the rest, place away, all the time is wrong when there is no more to put anywhere.
                                                              G.M.P.
                                                              Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein had the courage to be a minimalist in her writing, and Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein with Two Shorter Stories (1912) shows the philosophical language of ontological propositions: innovative fiction describes the existence of the reality around us, and the repetitive phrasing may represent the multifaceted intersecting planes of Cubist painting. Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein with Two Shorter Stories (1912) begins the evolution of Gertrude Stein's literary style towards the innovative artistry of Tender Buttons (1914), the literary portraits of Portraits and Prayers (1934). This early collection of stories by Gertrude Stein is the creation of a new style of fictional writing based on the abstraction of philosophical propositions which would become literary Cubsim.

David Detrich lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he has just completed The Convergence of Two Narrative Lines Ascending, an ultramodern Surrealist novel written in minimal squares. This year he is working on Dream the Presence of the Circular Breast Starfish Topography, a monumental Surrealist novel written with innovative typographical design. His first novel Big Sur Marvels & Wondrous Delights (2001) is available from Amazon. He is the editor of Innovative Fiction Magazine and Surrealist Star Clustered Illuminations.












What's this?

You are currently reading Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein by Gertrude Stein at Innovative Fiction Magazine .

meta

§ 1 Response to “ Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein by Gertrude Stein ”

§ Leave a Reply