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Male:Sam Watters is a Los Angeles based writer and thinker. He's a student of American culture, American landscapes, architecture and other things and he's a writer of unusual grace. Please join me in welcoming Sam Watters whos going to speak about Gertrude Stein, Los Angeles and the pre-war era. Sam. [Applause] Sam Watters:Good morning. Thank you for all coming here. Let me set myself up. I have sort of been thinking of a title for this talk and I was sort of landed on truthiness. Gertrude Stein is a very slippery character, much written about. She has been thethere's not a discipline that she does not cross or that people havent been engaged with in thinking about Gertrude Stein. So it's a formidable task to weigh into the subject of Gertrude Stein. But here I go and I'm going to have lots of qualifications right off the bat, I'm going to make enormous generalizations. But I'm going to try and anchor California in the thinking of Gertrude Stein and Gertrude Stein into the thinking of California. This idea of that David has of a sensibility of California is essential to understanding what in the world, why I'm up here talking about Gertrude Stein. Gertrude Stein came to California. She did not write about California and she left California twice. When she was here as a child, she went back to the 1east and then when she came here in 19341935, which is what I'm going to talk about. But were kind of get to it because she's a very complicated character. What she was thinking and why she's here in the 1930s. SoI think we'll start withif I can get this going. First, I wasenjoyed enormously Susan Straights recent novel, which I read between Ulysses and the Making of Americans, which was a great relief. Thank you Susan. Those two novels, though they were finished in an earlier period where in fact published the year that Gertrude Stein arrived here which is 1934arrives in America. So that gives you some sense of the lag between what we all know is going on in modernism and what is in Paris in the teens and how long it takes in fact to reallyto realize itself and as for pound, a distance of right on his clock, which was it takes 30 years for something new to really take hold. An induction of Susans book, she says, what's up there, which is, To my city, my hometown, everyone who left and everyone who stayed. Now, peel back to Gertrude Stein, America is my country and Paris my home town. In a sense this encapsulates of what is the vast difference betweenI think some present-day thinking and what Gertrude Stein thought about. Shethis was not an eraalthough it had it in it. Gertrude Stein was not interested particularly in regionalism. Though sheshe thought about America and in a very late 19th century way, she thought of Paris as one place and then there was this other place called America. And this goes back to Walter Benjamins famous comment that Paris was the capital of the 19th century. So Gertrude Stein is born in 1870. She spends years in her early childhood in San Francisco famously in Oakland, and she leaves America and arrives in Paris in 1903. So she's born in 1870, very close to the Civil War and she goes to Paris. And she writes various points that she wished she had come from California. Of all the places in America, she wished she had come from there and I think thats very important. Were going to get to why I think that was true by the time she's writing it. And what she says is, But of course, I ended in Paris because it wasnt cultured enough. London, where she was living in England wasnt cultured enough and I had to go to Paris. So thats something toan idea that we are very distant from but they were not distant from the 1830. And one of the reasons that this is going to push back, which is consistent against California certainly in her period, which is, why would you ever go there, was that America at the turn of the century did not have the kind of culture that the water carriers of a cultural ideal for America believed was possible here and it was always reflexively back to Europe. So just briefly, which I covered a little bit, Gertrude Stein is born, which she always said, I wish I had been born elsewhere. In Pennsylvania and move to Baltimore and then eventually spend some of her child, spend some time in Europe of course. She was a woman not of enormous wealth but enough money to live independently without having to make a living, which was a really good thing considering that she took her 30 years Making of Americans published along with most of her writings. And she, importantly, studies with William James at Harvard and does a study on automatic writing and there's a wonderful story that, William James, she gets to an exam and sayswrites in the exam book, I just dont feel like writing a philosophy today and William James is apparently supposed to given her an A and said, I know exactly how you feel. So here's Gertrude Stein. I always think that it doesnt really matter where the Lonesome Pine was. The Lonesome Pine, we can think of it as in the tory pines or in Virginia where in fact this story takes place. But this was her favorite song and you see her reading it on the balcony of the little outdoor garden of her house in the savoy, in France, where there's going to be some bad things are going to happen later in life. And this is where she's going to write the books were going to talk a little bit about. But I think this is a wonderful [PH][viniet] because you see hershe's very conscious by the way at this timehas done a great exhibition about this. Weve all come to realize that Gertrude Stein was very carefully constructing through this period herself in a photographic way. So it's not by accident I'm showing you all these photographs because at this point, they're inseparable. One of the books she does just before coming to America is something called 10 Portraits and this is where she has the text and now illustrates it. This would've been inconceivable in some ways in an earlier time. Of course she doesnt think that photography is art by the way. Painting is art and photography is what everybody had. Lots of people had feelings about photography but well come back to that. Okay. Sonow, here's the qualifier as to where I come from. There areI think the last time I looked in Google, 1100 articles in Gertrude Stein and there are many great historians and theorists and cultural historians on the subject of Gertrude Stein. So I'm going to exempt myself and I'm going to do it that I come from this in a very particular way. I have been workingthis is only Bill Deverell who knew this and only Bill Deverell would get me to stand up here and talk about something like this because I swore after graduate school that there were two things I was never going to do, which is to write criticism and talk about a project that wasnt finished, having been assassinated on several occasions. But I'm going to do this. I have had a great interest in what happened to the lost generation after the 1930s. And the reason I come to this, you see here a writer, an American writer who left in 1927 and he becomes a model of exactly the generation that Stein is going to write about a great deal in the 20s and it's really going to come here and address. And he leaves America and he goesbut never comes back. He goes to Paris, never comes back to America. And here he is in 1927 where he meetshe writes, Gertrude Stein, who is a great friend of his, writes there and says, I've met a Russian conches. who hadnt, at that point. And Gertrude Stein writes and says, You cannot bring her back to Paris without marrying her. And that he in fact does and theythe photograph isthis again, this photography thing because he sends this photograph to Gertrude Stein and says, I want you to see this photograph because this is exactly the moment where I looked in her eyes and I knew I love her. Anyway, they are my grandparents and that generation is going to have enormous difficulties by the 1940s. That world that they live in is fading and is about to be really annihilated. And thats the world that were going to talk about with Gertrude Stein because when you come here in the 1930s, this party and this joyous quality that these people had about Paris is fading. Okay. And when I was growing up, I knew lots of the people that I'm going to mention here. Okay. So it's a personal thing. Alright, so here we have a photograph by Man Ray in 133 and it's enormously famous. I've always had these conjectures to what in the world Alice B. Toklas is saying. And my version of it is, she comes in the door and she says, Dinners ready. Gertrude Stein says, Well, what are we having? And Alice says, Chicken. And Gertrude Stein says, Again? and Alice B. Toklas says, You're one to talk about repeating what you do. So this is a very profound photograph and it is very thoughtful by Gertrude Stein. This is the cover of the autobiography by Alice B. Toklas. This book is I think could not have been written without Southern California because the sensibility that comes from the movies is going to or is in the process of dismantling a kind of traditional narrative or understanding of the world. This is not new for me but this is very profound and Gertrude Stein has a sensibility for this. This book, notice that the photograph, you got Alice B. Toklas is coming in to the room but Gertrude Stein is looking out to you, presume the buyer of the book, she was very hopeful of that. Andso it's the autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and please note in the original version, which is thisthere is no mention of Gertrude Stein at all. So we dont have an author and we dont have a biography by the person whos actually standing there. This is very complicated. You can all go home and think about this a little bit but you weighed your way. It's always very complicated to get out of this quite the construction and they were very aware of this in this in the period and there was a lot of the publishers in America where very concerned that the book was by Gertrude Stein. But thats not her choice. Okay, this book lands her on the cover of Time Magazine. I mean, if anybody had said to Gertrude Stein in 1903 went she went to Paris, you're going to end up on the cover of Time Magazine. After what youve written, what was considered incomprehensible to many people. I dont think she would've believe because she was thrilled. She had never made any money. She was very happy to have the income and she did come to like the celebrity though, less and certainly with some reservations. The other important event in this period is that shethe 4 Saints in 3 Acts is launched in Hartford and comes to New York and here we are in January of 193334. And so by the time Gertrude Stein gets on the boat in October of 1934, she has had an enormous best-seller. She is frequently in the newspapers and in the press. She has a big hit on Broadway, not big in the sense of Tobacco Road, which is the really big hit, long surviving on this at the right exact of this moment. But she is something significant and that she comes to Los Angeles is important because she's going to bring the face of modernism of sort to America. She becomes this grandmotherly figure and she goes around the country and she talks to schools and auditoriums. And she does this forshe's here from October until the following May. Please note that she's not exactly traveling in steeragethis all going to be funded and supported by theseby the lectures. And it's really the beginning of sort of taste of And here they arrive in New York. Here's exactly the shot as they step outside. She's interviewed several times and as a very feisty character as you know. She had very grand ideas for America and certainly for herself. She considered herself a genius. There's a famous story that Bernard Fay, was a writer, and said, well, there were three great geniuses in Europe at this time and they were Picasso, Gertrude Stein and ??? and Gertrude Steins response to this iswell, why did you include ??? So this is sort of the scope of how she sees herself and she holds on to it and she defends herself for this and writes a great deal about genius continues to talk about this in the pressnow, when she arriveslet's think about a little bit where America is. This is the year that Malcolm Cowley publishes his Exiles Return, which is going to frame much about how certainly my generation, up to my generation thought about this losspresumably loss generation, which by the way is Gertrude Stein comment comes through to us through Hemmingway. She's going to learn and figure out how she's going to insert herself into American contemporary culture. And this is the Nuremberg Laws are going to be put in place in the period that she's here. We have the first orange bow. Youve got Roosevelt in the White House. You have Joe DiMaggio. Youve got Babe Ruth. And when she arrives on the newspaper, the front page of the newspaper, youve got Stalin trying to negotiate some deal with Hitler. This isand were deep in the depression. Now, all of this does not go get mentioned and Stein is not going to wonder off into politics and she actually then pressedtricked her in to disclosing that she really is not as quite as contemporary. There's a moment where somebody saidyou realize Calvin Coolidge is deadof course he's been dead for 2 years by the time she arrives. And she says right on he boat right here, Well, I guess he mustve died while I was on the sea. She's very slippery in how she's going to deal with the public, but she's strong minded and determined and quite brilliant at this. One of the other nice things that gets finished is the Hoover Dam while she's here. Okay. So what does she say when she gets off the boat? She says, she's standing there and she says, they said, Well, are you happy to be back in America after 30 years? And she said, We had a lovely crossing and it seems good to be back. And thats Gertrude Stein, which is it's always a moving target and she's always conscious of you hearing it. She's never going to give a direct answer and all the answers are never quite consistent. The other comment that she makes, which absolutely fantastic and I think that she says it, I think she meant it. It always a little hard for any of us to know whether in fact Gertrude Stein was being humorous about something. She sayssomebody asked her, well, how did you learn to door why did you adapt this repetitive writing and she says because I learned it by listening to my dog basket lap up the water in his bowl. Now, there's basket and there's Gertrude Stein within a photographed by horse. She's very conscious always how she looks and you see this suit that she wears on the boat, which she has made for the trip. She's always very careful about this because she's also always very careful to get photographed an all of this. So she's stays in New York. She is going to make a lot of traveling around through New England. And remember, she's interested in America. She's not interested in California or particularly in New England or this kind ofwhat state I think is significant. She talks about all of many of the places that she goes. But she's very careful always to wrap it up under the general umbrella about what is America today. Were going to talk a little bit because she does say some of that when she comes to Los Angeles. And she does radio shows andsorry. Here she's doing a radio show and on the left is Miriam Hopkins and what is this scene about. There's a story. She gets to Chicago and an interview returns to her and says we heard the story about your meeting with Bennett Cerf. Bennett Cerf was the founder of Random House, and Random House is going to become the publisher for her in America. And the story goes that Bennett Cerf, after this party that they give for Gertrude Stein, they get in the elevator and that Bennett Cerf says to the elevator man, So, what do you think about all these celebrities that were here in the party? And he says to her, Well, I only noticedI'm sorry, Mr. Cerf but I only recognize two of them. Miriam Hopkins and Gertrude Stein. Now, thats one of those classic Stein anecdotes because Miriam Hopkins think of the movie that she made in 1933 was all about bohemian society in Paris and the painter and there she is sitting and looking, studying this new art. So I would suspect that this is a little slippery and probably not entirely true. But she's going to be something because when she arrives in Los Angeles, Gertrude Stein says the only person Ionly movie star I know is Miriam Hopkins. Thats not quite true because she had met Mary Pickford and one of the grudges that she's going to carry back after she's left and she writes about this persistently is that she meets Mary Pickford in a part in New York andby the way, with JP Morgans famous librarian, and she sets up a photograph. She says toMary Pickford says, I really wish I knew more French. And Gertrude says, Well, I dont really know it all. I can speak but I dont read because I see no use to read something in another language. And she says, Why dont we take a photograph? And Mary Pickford says, Oh yes, thats a good idea. So there's a lot of running around and by the time the journalist comes back with the photo, Mary Pickford disappeared. And this was a sly to Gertrude Stein and there's a lot of speculation by her as to why that happened. Now, I'm telling you all of this about movie stars because this is I think what brings Gertrude Stein to Los Angeles, not in a pedestrian way but she is very, very conscious of this new media in the world and she's going to use her fame and celebrity very cleverly to move toto come to Los Angeles with idea in mind. It's not what she's going to say but thats what I think she's really here for. So she gets on an airplane place, noticed it's the United Airlines at flight. This is the United Airlines has launched this new transcontinental of service and they get Gertrude Stein to come on it. I'm sure that this was all a deal, you know, you can't document this. And this is a photograph and it's very carefully constructed again. Gertrude Steins very careful. You know, you see here and then they see the United Airlines and they're getting on the plane and this is much published in the period. Andso this is a map of the new United Airlines and flight, which notethere's no direct flight to Los Angeles and what struck me, just a little side note about how does California put itself into the consciousness of America. I looked at this map and I thought, oh it's the railroad again. You see that you have the Central Pacific going to San Francisco and you then you have to have this little branch that came down to Los Angeles and I think that is deeply significant and certainly was significant to get to Gertrude Stein this idea of where was Los Angeles geographically and intellectually for people and it was always and soI dont think it's just by the time you get to United Airlines. It's not justwell, thats the easy route to get there. I think that theythats how people thought about going to California. You went to San Francisco. That was where the director was and then you had to make this little side trip down to Los Angeles. Well, Gertrude Stein does make the side trips. She actually comes up through Texas. So, something to addso were nowshe arriving in Los Angeles and it is hardly this oasis of whatwhich of course the group, the Edith Wharton crowd, which is still very present in American culture and the kind of the conservative side of it certainly would've thought about Los Angeles as having absolutely no culture and certainly what a bunch of Europeans going to really know about America. These are their long list of canonical ideas. And I'm just going to show some connections. First of all, one of the biggest selling books, was by Gertrude Steins great friend, Bernard Fay. This is about a biography of Benjamin Franklin, which my grandfather translated and which Samuel Elliot Morison excoriated the translation because it was too modern. He said, well I dont understand howcan translate the word batoe as boat. Whatever. So that isso this isnow Bernard Fay is important because it's going to go in reverse, which is that he's going to translate the autobiography of Gertrude Stein into French. When Gertrude Stein goes back, she's going to dedicate one of her last autobiographical books to Fay. He's an enormously important person because he's also what saves her when she stays in France during the war. Okay. So you have this sort of broad cultural reference to American things in France. You have this interesting connection, which is this is the granddaughter of Charles Crocker and she goes to Paris and funds one of the small presses and one of the first books they do is Bret Harts The Wild West, which then they publish and Shakespeareso California literature is entering this Parisian circle in its particular way but again, it's not just, you know, California out there. Nobody knows anything about this. For some reason, they always havethere's a lot of ambiguous relationship to California but everybody still wants to be here. Okay. Here's an interesting figure. Went to USC. His name is Robert McAlmon and he was one of the editors and typist for James Joyce Ulysses and he was a great pal for a while with Hemmingway and they shared this interest in bullfights. He dies here in Desert Hot Springs. Here's an interesting trio. You have the Cuban painter, Picabia, who replaces Picasso in Gertrude Steins life in the period of the autobiography and you have Marcel Duchamp, and then you have Beatrice Woods. So I'll just give you a little sense of that sort of artistic circle and she has an affair with Marcel Duchamp. So they give you some sense that Californias always thread through the lives of many of these intellectuals and writers and artists in this period and it isnt just, you know, we have a great sort ofthe great visibility to the German ex-patriots but there's AmericanAmericans participating in Southern California and its north is a very significant and that is where I have focused. Okay. Now, we have this artistic figures, which really was Gertrude Steins circle but there's something thats changed culturally, which is you have the movies and here we have Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickfords husband. I go refer to it that way because Gertrude Stein would've thought of it that way. And their raising war bonds in New York in 1917. When Gertrude Stein gets off the plane, the LA Times writes, The stormy petrel of belles lettres, the high priestess of the cult of scrambled words. The literary rebus whose unorthodox style of writing the English language has made her glorified and ridiculous alike. So they say to her, Well, do you see yourself as a future thinker? And she says, No, I'm just keeping abreast of the times. And I think that she meant it, which is, I'm in Los Angeles because this is where the future is going to be. Certainly she goes on from this and what does she tell us. They as her what does she think, are you glad to be here in Hollywood? And she says, which is very Steinian, which is, No, no, I'm not happy to be here. I couldnt care less about the movies. Once you're finished with the cowboy films or cowboy operas, I lost complete interest. However, she didn't lose total interest because whos going to meet her but representatives from Warner Brothers and Pathe Films and what is it that she finally goes to see a movie and what does she go to see? She goes to see the film that Pathe made of her when she came first to America and this film played as a leader of in all over America in film as a sort of newsreel. The other thing that she does aside from going to this film is that she goes to a party. Was here for 10 days and the only thing that she does is she goes to a party and what does she do? The person whos going to take her around is the sister of a 20th Century Fox agent and they set up a party for her and who does she meet? The Charlie Chaplin and Anita Louise and most importantly for this conference and we'll tie in matters later, is that she makes a big point and gets the hostess to round up Dashiell Hammett because Gertrude Stein was a great lover of mysteries as was Alice B. Toklas. As Alice B. Toklas was typing the manuscripts of Gertrude Stein preserved during the war because Alice B. Toklas types them all and gives them to Carl Van Vechten and that they get put in Yale. And when she's typing it, there's a story piled up around Alice B. Toklas are all these mystery novels. And it's fantastic, you have the sort of sense of modernism in the history making of Gertrude Stein and they're sitting and reading mystery novels. Anyway, she makes a big point and I'm not going to get into what she quite gets into with Dashiell Hammett but it's complicated but sort of the structure of novels in the 19th century. It's fantastic, you know, she stars with George and we ended up with Dashiell Hammett and Hammett says, oh yeah, you're too worried about this. Men are men and, you know, sort of some back and forth about how these narrations go. Okay. So she also comments about this party that this cinema is the spirit of the age. Okay. So after the party, what is she really here for? She is going to give a talk at the Pasadena Playhouse to give sense of again, you know, the Huntington versus, let's say this other culture, George Bernard refers to as the Athens of the west because he saw that the theater was this avant-garde, a place protecting this new thinking. So, the talk. We dont have a film of her talking. We only have what's reported. We know what she talks about and we know the day she gives it and I dont think any of this is by accident. Nothing usually is with Gertrude Stein. First of all, she gives the talk on April Fools Day, and thisthere's a famous paragrapha section of 4 Saints and 3 Acts when she recites a whole rift on April Fools Day. And what does she talk about? What is English literature? Well, to be around the corner from the Huntington and talking about what is English literature, there's no accident of what she had in mind and she proceeds to give the talk. And someshe's dressed in a dark blue with a white color. Somebody describes her as looking like Queen Victoria. And she says, The difference between England and America is that in England they have no sense, everything is planned. In America, they have no sense of time. That becomes a long theme with her about sort American sense of time and that she goeswhen she speaks, she sat at a table, on the stage, all over America, she did this. She sat at a table, plain chair, glass of water and she would read these lectures. She wrote 5 of them and she would read the lecture and then she would comment afterwards and she did this in a very particular way that Gertrude SteinGertrude Stein exemplified her own thinking, which was there was you wrote how you spoke. And of course everybody will always ask her the question, How can that possibly be when you do nothing but repeat your words? And she says, Well, the problem is you're not listening. I urge everybody to try and hear her and look at one of the times when she does is recorded speaking because it is astonishing. She did speak in theof how she wrote. Afterwards, she's asked after this talk. How do you think America has changed since you were here 30 years ago? And she says, How could they change? What would they change to? You dont get out of this corner with Gertrude Stein ever and the answers are always rather diabolical and I'll have something to conclude with what I think is going on there. What I do have to give you some sense of her because it's unfair to be describing her in this way because by this time, she's making a big point of letting people see her is that I have the Pathe film. So were going to look at the film. I'm sorry for theit's very hard to film. It's taped from an exhibition in Paris. But you'll get the feeling you'll have to listen carefully for her sound. What does she in thisit's got French subtitles. But what she says is. She's sitting there and in the first scene you're going to see and she says, Everybody asks me, why dont I write the way I speak? And she saysthe response is, I certainly write the way I speak because I speak exactly as I write. It is very easy if you listen to what I say. And then she proceeds to recite a portion of some stanzas out of 4 Saints and 3 Acts and this is this famous poem when she says, Pigeons on the grass at last. Pigeons on the grass at last. And she repeats all of this. And she gets to theand you'll see this happen. She takes off her glasses and she says, she just turns to the audience after reciting this and she says, This is exactly what I think of pigeons on the grass. And thats the end. In this place, out all over America. I mean, cities were playing thisnow, significantly to hold on to this and what is something that can't be stressed enough is that Americans werent quite as amodernity was not far away for America, and modernism, it say, in its sort of way, was not unknown to people. They were curious about it. There were lots of qualifications about how Stein put it. She took enormous criticism from the public, from magazines and she stood up to it. And she becomes this period when you see her looking so caring and sort ofas I say grandmotherly, I think it's very conscious that she felt safe, that she could come to America and do this now. One historian has said that he feels that she kept the audiences very small. She wouldnt speak to any larger than 500 people. There were 500 all completely sold out in Pasadena that she spoke in small audiences because she was aware of the criticism that avant-garde figures, Oscar Wilde being the most noted one for California. She was a child when he came to San Francisco, that she was very conscious of containing the criticism even though she was also masterful at pushing back on it. So here's the briefit's one minute. [Film playing] Sam Watters:Now, significantly, in which to hold on to is that Gertrude Stein isshe is seeing herself in a multimedia way. She sees herself photographically. She's going to see herself in the film. She's going to see herself in writing. And within the literature itself when you read Gertrude Steinif you can hold to this idea that she is going to see it in a multidimensional way that she doesnt just see writing as an outside painting. As a matter of fact, she's deeply competitive with Picasso in this idea that I can do in writing what you do in pictures. This is Los Angeles, perfect place for this because the introduction of the movies and then reception of the movies in Los Angelestalk about the media moment over the kind of interdisciplinary idea. You dont have film without writing, visuals and speaking. And Gertrude Stein is in a way and I think she was deeply aware of this that she saw her own practice and her own visit to Los Angeles as a sense coming home to with the modern world was. She's born in 1870 and she comes here in 1935 and she's hanging out with movie stars and telling people that the movies are the way of the future. She's taken a ship. She's taken an airplane for the first time. She rents a car, which she finds very exciting. She goes to football games. She goes to universities. She goes to libraries. She is going to see. There are only two people she missed seeing. She said was, Henry Ford but she said, Why do I have to see him? I own the car. I mean, this is a completelyI mean, this is something wed say now. And she didn't get to meet Roosevelt, though she did have tea with Mrs. Roosevelt. She is ideal for Los Angeles and I'm thinking that if riding from Los Angeles and what David Ulin said, which is this sensibility and the shared world. Gertrude Stein is able to take in what Los Angeles is going to or has been offering culture. She's going to ignore these differences that she grew up in, which was this high and low, this division between high and low. I mean, to actually get rid of that, I mean, sort of deal with that in a conscious way when you're 30 years old in 1900 and then arrive start talking about I'm going on the radio and talk about movies and I'm going to make my literature cinematic is a significant change for her but thats where I think the shared community and the idea of writing from Los Angeles is that she is writing from Los Angeles, she just does it in a form that she knows is going to work in a new way because she moves her written word into film and thats what's going on and she is voracious in making certain she shows up for radio assignments and she goes to see her own movie. Well, I dont think thats pretty gutsy considering the time and what generation she came from and if we want to know whatwhether she was modern and significant, I think that answers pretty much answers it that you see her on a movie of residing 4 Saints and 3 Acts. I'm going to conclude now with...well, briefly adjust as shethis is what the LA Times writes, little ad she says, you know, start of your generic. Oh gee, is she a genius or a sensationalist? Does she make any sense or doesnt make any sense? This became sort of the mantra that was going around. But what in fact I think audiences were experienced was far more dynamic and they were in a sense ahead of the press because she had no problem selling out all over this country and certainly her literature stays with us now. What do they think of her? Well, the LA Times runs a long interview with a sculptor that she goes and see that she's known from Paris and we'll just keep it short because the way he writes this story, it's sort of interviewso he says, Gertrude Stein called me up and within 3 sentences she ask me I was fat. Okay, and he then proceeds to say, Well, it really doesnt matter since she has no power of analysis or discernment anyway. So that was the end of that long interview. Thats what runs and it's sort of stuck in that problem of, well, is Gertrude Stein a genius or not a genius and that was what they did. Alma Whittaker who reports on the subject up in Pasadena. She gets onwhen Gertrude Stein says, well that the great literary figures were Emerson and Mark Twain and somebody asked, Well, who do you consider the greatest American writer today? And she says, Me. You never ask that kind of question to Gertrude Stein. So she moves on from Los Angeles up to Northern California and she doesnt really say what she thinks of Los Angeles. She tells us that she likes San Francisco better because people do real work there. Okay. And the otherthe only place I've actually been able to find her directly answeringsaying what she thought of Los Angeles very careful is, in a letter to the author of this book, Carl Van Vechten and this book is one ofset her on a play right from New York who comes to Los Angeles and to write movies and how he is sandbagged by the movie community and it has many descriptions of Beverly Hills and big houses, all of theseto another generation. So she writes back and she sayssends her the book and she says, Oh I like many things about it. But I really can't realize that my Californiaeverybody by the way has my California. Everybody has a California they use and thatthats turned into butthen after all, it is not my California because even in those far off days, we always despise Los Angeles and we were right. So I just take that as sort of whatthats thea response, I dont think she really believed that and she is certainlyworse, she thought that on the other hand like many other people, sheit was ineluctable that she was going to land in Los Angeles and it was going to have the enormously alluring if you're somebody sensitive to where culture was going. Okay. She goes to Northern California and here we have Gertrude Athertonjust to connect. I'm not going to talk about San Francisconot important. And Gertrude Atherton sets up Steins lectures in Northern California at Stanford in Mills College. She goes across the country, you know, by the railroad, by the airplane, and sets sail and goes back in May 1935. She thenshe turns around and what does she write? She writes an entire book, which is dedicated to her musings on celebrity, what it is to be famous. And the problems of being famous and how this person was so relieved to get back to Paris because this was finally, she could go back where she could think. Okay. And there's that photograph of the United Airlines and I'm going to conclude now very briefly with three thoughts. One of the issues about Gertrude Stein is was she modern. Now, I think we could all give her modern but I think many of uslots of scholars have written about this. She really is in fact post-modern. And the part that gets difficult in that is, where do you create from? Stein had this idea thatI come from America but I write in Paris, and she had this idea that you could do this much better in a different country where you didn't understand the language. By the way, her brother and she did not refer to it necessarily as English but as speaking American. Michael Stein comes back from Paris and moved back to San Francisco to mix that he can hear people speaking American. Stein is in here fragmentation and in her sensibility for this broken narrative for her dismantling of structures within literature and her articulating of that, of being able to go from writing that autobiography of Alice B Toklas to being able to turn around and then write something that was completely abstract. This is in a sense thatDavid spoke about this in San Francisco about the openness of literature where you can't get any more open than this because it is almost impossible, many instances to actually follow thisher writing as a dialogue thats always understandable. One can take that as good or bad at the time. Lots of people as you saw at the New York Times struggle for this. I'm going tohere we have finally, this is actually not Warhol. It's bywho does her Gertrude Stein based on Warhols geniuses, great Jewish geniuses and one of those that he included was Gertrude Stein. And theCass said something that is very significant in this Gertrude Stein sort of place in our thinking. She says that Gertrude Stein is part of the AndyAndy Warhol thingbecause I always say a lesbian invented repetition but it took gay men to market it. Now that I think is a sensibility that is LA allowed for that and Gertrude Stein is embraced here and thought about correctly that the response to her is not one of convention and the writing about her and her own response to LA is completely in that fragmentary way that we associate with post-modernism. She goes home and in that book, she writes something about what America is and I dont thinkthis pretty much sayswhich is thinking of anything, of cowboys, of movies, of detective stories, of anybody who goes anywhere or stays at home and is an American and you will realize that it's something strictly American to conceive space that is filled with moving. Thank you [Applause]