â€œA CESSATION OF RESEMBLANCESâ€
STEIN / PICASSO / DUCHAMP
Originally published in Battersea Review 1, 1 (2012). Forthcoming in a volume of essays by Oxford University Press.
In 1935, as Gertrude Stein recalls it,[i] Picasso was suffering from what we might call painterâ€™s block.Â Finding himself at an impasse in his personal life, for two years he stopped painting altogether, taking up writing instead.Â â€œHe commenced to write poems,â€ Stein remarks, â€œbut this writing was never his writing.Â After all the egoism of a painter is not at all the egoism of a writer, there is nothing to say about it, it is not.Â Noâ€ (Picasso 67).Â And in Everybodyâ€™s Autobiography (1937), Stein recalls telling the great painter, who was perhaps her closest friend:
Your poetry . . . is more offensive than just bad poetry I do not know why it is but it just is, somebody who can really do something very well when he does something else which he cannot do and in which he cannot live it is particularly repellent, now you I said to him, you never read a book in your life that was not written by a friend and then not then and you never had any feelings about any words, words annoy you more than they do anything else so how can you write you know better. . . . all right go on doing it but donâ€™t go on trying to make me tell you it is poetry.[ii]
Steinâ€™s almost visceral reaction here was prompted, not just, as is often assumed, by Picassoâ€™s invasion of her territory or by her surprisingly traditional insistence on the separation of the arts.Â The deeper reasonâ€”and we tend to forget this when we discuss the relationship of the twoâ€”is that Picasso had never so much as pretended to read Steinâ€™s writing.Â For him, Gertrude was a wonderful patron and copainâ€”he loved coming to her salon and gossiping with her on a daily basisâ€”but her writing, especially given that it was in English–a language he couldnâ€™t, after all, read–was hardly within the radius of his discourse.Â Not surprisingly, when he did take on â€œpoetryâ€ in the mid-1930s, his models were the then prominent French surrealists, beginning with his good friend AndrÃ© Breton.Â Here, for example, is the opening of a typical Picasso prose poem from 1935, as translated from the Spanish by Jerome Rothenberg:
I mean a dish a cup a nest a knife a tree a frying pan a nasty spill while strolling on the sharp edge of a cornice breaking up into a thousand pieces screaming like a madwoman and lying down to sleep stark naked legs spread wide over the odor from a knife that just beheaded the wine froth and nothing bleeds from it except for lips like butterflies and asks you for no handouts for a visit to the bulls with a cicada like a feather in the wind[iii]
This passage is characteristically Surrealist in its mysterious juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated imagesâ€”â€œa tree a frying pan,â€ a â€œcornice . . . screaming like a madwomanâ€– its emphasis on violence–â€œstark naked legs spread wide over the odor from a knifeâ€â€”and its collocation of elaborate metaphor and simple syntax. Â Â Â A passionate advocate of Picassoâ€™s early Cubism, which, as has been frequently observed,[iv] is a technique Stein herself adapted in such compositions as Tender Buttons (1914), Picassoâ€™s Surrealist poetic mode is antithetical to Steinâ€™s own, with its avoidance of concrete nouns, its syntactic ambiguity, and its reliance on indeterminate pronouns, articles, and prepositions to produce a poetic construct she took to be appropriate to the twentieth century.Â Â â€œThe surrealists,â€ Stein remarks dismissively in her discussion of Picassoâ€™s painting of the early 1930s, â€œstill see things as everyone sees them, they complicate them in a different way but the vision is that of everyone else, in short the complication is the complication of the twentieth century but the vision is that of the nineteenth centuryâ€ (Picasso 65).
This critique of surrealism, whether just or unjust, is echoed by another of Steinâ€™s contemporaries.Â In describing his â€œBox of 1913-14â€ (the â€œGreen Boxâ€) to Pierre Cabanne, Marcel Duchamp explains that his assemblage of miscellaneous notes placed inside the box was designed as an art object â€œnot to be â€˜looked atâ€™ in the aesthetic sense of the wordâ€â€”indeed, to â€œremove the retinal aspectâ€ which had dominated painting from Courbet to the present:
Before, painting had other functions:Â it could be religious, philosophical, moral.Â If I had the chance to take an antiretinal attitude, it unfortunately hasnâ€™t changed much; our whole century is completely retinal, except for the Surrealists, who tried to go outside it somewhat.Â And still, they didnâ€™t go so far!Â In spite of the fact that [AndrÃ©] Breton says he believes in judging from a Surrealist point of view, deep down heâ€™s still really interested in painting in the retinal sense.Â Itâ€™s absolutely ridiculous.Â It must change.[v]
Duchampâ€™s critique of the retinal has its counterpart in Steinâ€™s writing, but the two artists have rarely been linked.Â For all the critical studies devoted to the relationship of Stein and Picasso (or, as in the current exhibition The Steins Collect,[vi] on Steinâ€™s debt to CÃ©zanne or Matisse or to the cubism of Juan Gris), what has been curiously ignored is the reverse situation:Â the influence, if any, of Steinâ€™s verbal composition on the visual artwork of her contemporaries.Â Â And here Duchamp, whose move to New York in 1915 necessitated the acquisition of English, even as Steinâ€™s expatriation to Paris meant that her â€œart discourseâ€ (especially with the Spaniard Picasso) was to be conducted in French, is the pivotal figure.
The two first met, according to the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, in Paris in 1913:
It was not long after this [the winter of 1913] that Mabel Dodge went to America and it was the winter of the armoury show which was the first time the general public had a chance to see any of these pictures.Â It was there that Marcel Duchampâ€™s Nude Descending the Staircase was shown.
It was about this time that Picabia and Gertrude Stein met.Â I rememberÂ going to dinner at the Picabiasâ€™ and a pleasant dinner it was, Gabrielle Picabia full of life and gaiety, Picabia dark and lively, and Marcel Duchamp looking like a young Norman crusader.
I was always perfectly able to understand the enthusiasm that Marcel Duchamp aroused in New York when he went there in the early years of the war.Â His brother had just died from the effect of his wounds, his other brother was still at the front and he himself was inapt for military service.Â He was very depressed and he went to America. Everyone loved him.Â So much so that it was a joke in Paris when any American arrived in Paris the first thing he said was, and how is Marcel.[vii]
â€œThe young Duchamp,â€ she wrote a few days later to Mabel Dodge, â€œlooks like a young Englishman and talks very urgently about the fourth dimension.â€[viii] Â Â We know that Stein at this time was keenly interested in questions relating to mathematics and so this was a compliment.[ix]
Indeed, Steinâ€™s account in Alice B. Toklas is unusually flattering and without her usual maliceâ€”quite unlike, say, her references to Matisse or Pound or Hemingway.Â The â€œyoung Norman crusaderâ€: Duchamp was the son of a notary in the little Normandy town of Blainville, a fact Stein refers to with amusement in Everybodyâ€™s Autobiography, where she remarks how many artists–Cocteau, Bernard FaÃ¿, Dali– were the sons of notaries (EA 26).Â Duchamp was handsome and charming. Â And in 1917, Stein was made aware of the brouhaha over Fountain by a letter from her friend Carl Van Vechten:
This porcelain tribute was bought cold in some plumber shop (where it awaited the call to join some bath room trinity) and sent in. . . . When it was rejected [by the Salon of Independents], Marcel Duchamp at once resigned from the board.Â Stieglitz is exhibiting the object at â€œ291.â€Â And has made some wonderful photographs of it.Â The photographs make it look like anything from a Madonna to a Buddha.Â [figure 1 and 2][x]
Did the Readymades influence Steinâ€™s writing?Â Â Yes and no.Â Like Duchampâ€”and I have discussed this issue elsewhere[xi]â€”her compositions resemble Duchampâ€™s â€œobjectsâ€ in their wholesale rejection of the mimetic contract–a rejection that, to my mind, goes well beyond Cubist distortion and dislocation of what are, after all, still recognizable objects and bodies. In this sense, Duchampâ€™s dismissal of the â€œretinalâ€ is also hers.Â Such prose poems as â€œA Substance in a Cushionâ€ and â€œA Boxâ€ in Tender Buttons, for example, can be related to Duchampâ€™s Green Box and the later boÃ®tes en valise in their emphasis on what cannot be seen or inferred from the outside. Â Â More important, as different as their artistic productions wereâ€”Stein, after all, did not use â€œreadymadeâ€ or found textâ€”they drew on each otherâ€™s work in striking ways–ways that have largely been ignored.
The key text here is Geography and Plays, published in 1922.Â Â After the War, when Duchamp, having returned to Paris, called on Stein with their mutual friend Henri-Pierre RochÃ© (the writer who had introduced Gertrude and Leo to Picasso and was the subject of a 1909 Portrait)[xii], the discussion was evidently about Steinâ€™s desire to publish a collection of the shorter experimental texts– poems, prose pieces, portraits and playsâ€”she had been writing since 1908– for example, her masterpiece â€œMiss Furr and Miss Skeene.â€[xiii] Â Â Walter Arensberg and Henry McBride were enlisted, and Sherwood Anderson, newly arrived in Paris in 1921, offered to write a preface.Â After a number of rejections, Edmund F. Brownâ€™s Four Seas Company of Boston agreed to publish Geography and Plays [figure 3], surely one of Steinâ€™s most seminal collections and available today both at Project Gutenberg and Google books; there is also a fine reprint edition with a useful introduction by Cyrena N. Pondrom.[xiv]
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Geography and Plays contains the well-known early portraits of Harry Phelan Webb, Constance Fletcher, Georges Braque, Carl Van Vechten (â€œOneâ€), and Mrs. Whitehead; the rhyming musical pieces like â€œSusie Asadoâ€ â€œPink Melon Joy,â€ and â€œAccents in Alsace,â€ and the plays â€œLadies Voicesâ€ and â€œWhat Happened.â€Â Roughly at the center of the volume, Stein placed â€œSacred Emilyâ€ (1913), a ten-page poem Duchamp is quite likely to have known, which contains the first instance of what is probably Steinâ€™s most famous line: â€œRose is a rose is a rose is a roseâ€ (187). Â In later appearances of her tribute to the rose as merely itself (e.g., â€œDo we suppose that all she knows is that a rose is a rose is a rose,â€ in Opera and Plays), the noun â€œroseâ€ is preceded by the indefinite article:Â in â€œPoetry and Grammar,â€ for example, where Stein defines poetry as â€œconcerned with using with abusing, with losing with wanting, with denying with avoiding with adoring with replacing the noun,â€ she illustrates â€œnounâ€”the name of anythingâ€â€”with the comment:
When I said.
A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
And then later made that into a ring I made poetry
â€œIn that line,â€ Stein was to declare later, â€œthe rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years.â€ [xv]
But in â€œSacred Emily,â€ Rose is a proper name: it has already appeared in the opening section:
Compose compose beds.
Wives of great men rest tranquil.
Come go stay philip philip.
Egg be takers.
Parts of place nuts.
Suppose twenty for cent.
It is rose in henÂ Â Â Â Â (178)
This passage recalls â€œSusie Asadoâ€ in its punning and rhyming short and seemingly quite unrelated phrases.Â â€œComposeâ€ rhymes with â€œrose,â€ philip philipâ€ sounds like a bird call, â€œEgg be takersâ€ puns on â€œegg beaters,â€Â â€œplace nutsâ€ seems to be a misheard reference to â€œplacementsâ€ or â€œplace names,â€ just as â€œtwenty for centâ€ should be â€œtwenty percentâ€, but, then again, since â€œperâ€ means â€œfor,â€Â â€œtwenty for centâ€ is oddly accurate.Â By the time we come to line 7, what might have conventionally been a â€œrose in bloomâ€ becomes a â€œrose in henâ€ (the eggs have already been laid), with its sound allusion to Don Quixoteâ€™s beloved horse Rosinante, as well as its erotic reference of the verb form â€œroseâ€ which functions here.
Then too Rose as a high frequency (and hence boring) proper name is contrasted to the â€œSacred Emilyâ€ of the title.Â The reference is probably to Emile Zola, a sacred cow indeed in turn-of-the century France.Â The second line, â€œWives of great men rest tranquil,â€ surely refers to the great authorâ€™s death, while asleep in his bed, from carbon monoxide poisoning from a blocked chimney, even as his wife, â€œcomposedâ€ in the bed beside him, miraculously survived.Â Again, the sculptor of Zolaâ€™s tomb [see figure 4] was Philippe Solariâ€”the â€œphilip philipâ€ invoked in line 3.[xvi]
I do not mean to suggest that â€œSacred Emilyâ€ is â€œaboutâ€ Zola.Â Stein does not operate in this way; rather, â€œSo great so great Emily.Â / Sew grate sew grate Emilyâ€ becomes the occasion for the celebration of Steinâ€™s own domestic happiness with Alice. The sentence â€œRose is a rose is a rose is a roseâ€ is followed by these lines:
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
Page ages page ages page ages.
Wiped Wiped wire wire.
Sweeter than peaches and pears and cream.
Wiped wire wiped wire. (187)
â€œLoveliness extreme,â€ with its allusion to Edmund Wallerâ€™s famous â€œGo Lovely Rose,â€ jostles in Dadaesque fashion with those â€œExtra gaitersâ€ evidently needed for protection, or again â€œextricatorsâ€ from difficult situations, and with the â€œSweetest ice-creamâ€ that echoes that other 1913 poem â€œPreciosillaâ€ (â€œToasted Susie is my icecreamâ€).Â The lines that follow introduce the phonemic play that, in these years, became one of Steinâ€™s signatures: â€œPage ages page ages page ages,â€ where the words (nouns or verbs?) merge with one another and also call up â€œpassagesâ€™; and the echolalia in â€œWiped Wiped wire wire,â€ where a single phoneme makes all the difference.Â The ugly monosyllables of â€œWiped wire wiped wireâ€ are in turn undercut by the cloying sing-songy simile â€œSweeter than peaches and pears and cream.â€
Cyrena Pondrom remarks that â€œSacred Emilyâ€ â€œproceeds as an interplay of three extensive sets of referenceâ€”the sexual, the domestic, and the aesthetic (G & P xlv).Â Â I think this is accurate: the poem begins, after all, with â€œcomposeâ€â€”compositionâ€”of â€œbeds,â€ followed by the observation that â€œWives of great men rest tranquilâ€â€”a reference to Steinâ€™s own â€œwifeâ€ as well as Zolaâ€™s.Â Indeed, like â€œAdaâ€ or â€œSusie Asado,â€ â€œSacred Emilyâ€ is an erotic love poem for Alice.Â A rose is a rose is a rose:Â a rose is eros.Â By line 18 of its opening page, the erotic theme is distinctly audible in:
Murmur pet murmur pet murmur.
Push sea push sea push sea push sea push sea push sea push sea push sea
Sweet and good and kind to all.Â Â (178)
And eros is the dominant motif of the entire book, coming to a kind of crescendo in â€œAccents in Alsace,â€ which culminates in the passage;
Sweeter than water or cream or ice.Â Sweeter than bells of roses.Â Sweeter than winter or summer or spring.Â Sweeter than pretty posies.Â Sweeter than anything is my queen and loving is her nature.
Loving and good and delighted and best is her little King and Sire whose devotion is entire who has but one desire to express the love which is hers to inspire.
In the photograph the Rhine hardly showed
In what way do chimes remind you of singing.Â In what way do birds sing.Â In what way are forests black or white.
We saw them blue.
With for get me nots.
In the midst of our happiness we were very pleased.Â (G & P 415)
â€œAccents in Alsaceâ€ (1919) is followed by a portrait that was the last piece written for inclusion in Geography & Plays: namely, â€œNext.Â Life and Letters of Marcel Duchampâ€ Â (G & P 405-406).Â Its â€œnextnessâ€ can, I think, be related to the fact that the year of its composition (1920), Duchamp, back in New York, had given birth to his female alter ego Rrose SÃ©lavy, who, from then on, signed many of his personal letters and paintings and played a major role in his art-making.Â Asked by Calvin Tomkins why he felt the need to invent a new identity, Duchamp responded, â€œIt was not to change my identity, but to have two identitiesâ€ (Tomkins 231).Â His first thought, he said, had been to choose a Jewish name to offset his own Catholic background.Â â€œBut then the idea jumped at me, why not a female name?Â Much better than to change religion would be to change sex . . . Rose was the corniest name for a girl at that time, in French, anyway.Â And SÃ©lavy was a pun on câ€™est la vieâ€ (231).Â Talking to Pierre Cabanne, Duchamp explains that he added the extra â€œRâ€ to â€œRoseâ€ because this gave him a further pun on â€œarrose,â€ â€œarroserâ€ meaning to water, to sprinkle, and hence also to make fertile, enrich. â€œSÃ©lavy,â€ one should also note, contains the name â€œLevyâ€– as common a Jewish name as Stein.
The iconic image of Duchampâ€™s Rose is Man Rayâ€™s famous photograph of 1920-21, signed â€œlovingly Rrose SÃ©lavy alias Marcel Duchampâ€ [figure 5]. Â In this soft-focus photograph, Rose wears a cloche hat with a brim that comes down to her eyebrows; it is the lack of facial hair,â€ Dalia Judovitz notes, â€œthat engenders sexual ambiguity.Â Duchampâ€™s shaved face and discreet smile, generously framed by a fur collar (a punning diplacement of facial hair), invokes the illusion of a feminine presence.â€[xvii]Â Then again, this Rose hardly looks like a woman: Duchampâ€™s own masculine features are unmistakable.Â But the ambiguity is intentional: the image is riddling, at once Marcel and Rose, masculine and feminine.Â Two further Man Ray photographs of Rrose SÃ©lavy, this time in an even more elaborate headdress, sweeping velvet cape, and bead necklace, recalling Renaissance portraits of painters [figures 6, 7], are even more ambiguous.
Roseâ€™s first appearance in a Duchamp art work was in the assisted readymade Fresh Widow [figure 8], in which a miniature French window, painted an ugly blue-green like that of beach furniture, contains eight glass panes covered with sheets of black leather.Â The French window stands on a wooden base bearing large capital letters FRESH WIDOW COPYRIGHT ROSE SELAVY 1920.Â Â It is a brilliant pun, made simply by erasing the letter â€œnâ€ in both words. A fresh widow is a recent one (here perhaps a war widow) but also â€œfreshâ€ in the sense of bold, not easy to repress or squelch. Â What is this widow thinking?Â We donâ€™t know because the leather panes are impenetrable: we donâ€™t know whatâ€™s behind them.Â The window is also closed but the little knobs suggest it could be opened.
Rrose next appears in Belle Haleine, Eau de Voilette [figure 9, 1921], whose punning title overtly plays on â€œBelle HelÃ¨neâ€ and violet waterâ€”extract of violet.Â Â But the perfume bottle itself is empty, and eau de voilette (veiled water) invokes the eau de toilette of Duchampâ€™s Â Fountain. Â The bottle is labeled with one of Man Rayâ€™s photographs of Rose and signed â€œMan Ray and Rrose SÃ©lavy.â€ Â Â The same year, Duchamp put together a small wire bird cage, painted it white, and put inside some 152 sugar cubes (actually marble and very heavy), an ordinary fever thermometer, a cuttlebone, and a little porcelain dish. The construction was named Why not Sneeze Rrose SÃ©lavy? [figure 10].Â The thermometer used to measure a girlâ€™s â€œheat,â€ the phallic shaped cuttlebone and female dish, the sugar that is really cold marble: these objects placed in the empty cage create a complex and witty spectacle of unfulfilled desire.Â For unlike all those erotic eighteenth-century paintings of young girls who let the bird out of the cage and watch it fly about, this cage contains no bird and a good â€œsneezeâ€ is needed to change things, to arroser la vie.Â Eros câ€™est la vie.
What I find especially interesting is that when Marcel came back to France for a stay in July 1921, he started signing his letters to friends Rrose SÃ©lavy, sometimes with variants like â€œRose Mar-Celâ€ or â€œRrose Marcel,â€Â â€œMarcel Rrose,â€Â â€œMarcelavyâ€ (in aÂ letter to Man Ray), â€œSelatzâ€ or â€œMar-SÃ©lavy,â€ (in notes to Picabia).[xviii]Â After 1925 or so, the Rrose SÃ©lavy signature disappears, replaced by Duchampâ€™s nicknames â€œDucheâ€ and â€œTotor,â€ but most frequently simply â€œMarcel.â€Â The bisexual punning and wordplay, elaborate as it was in the early 1920s, gradually decreased in volume although Duchampâ€™s short book of puns, Rrose SÃ©lavy was not published until 1939. Steinâ€™s own most playfully erotic verse (â€œHappy happy happy all the. /Â Happy happy happy all the.â€) comes in the same period.
In Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein recalls her first visit, soon after the War, to Man Rayâ€™s tiny studio on the Rue Delambre, where â€œhe showed us pictures of Marcel Duchampâ€ (ABT 197).Â Man Ray was photographing Duchamp as early as 1916-17 [see figure 11] and Rrose SÃ©lavy had not yet been born, but it is hard to believe that Stein would not have been aware of Rroseâ€™s presence when she was composing her portrait in Geography and Plays.Â Â Conversely, although there is no proof that Duchamp based his pseudonym SÃ©lavy on Stein or his sexy and â€œfeminineâ€ â€œRroseâ€ on her more equivocal Roses, it is, to say the least, an astonishing coincidence that Duchamp, who never seems to have expressed a particular interest in Jewish culture, would want to adopt a Jewish name and one that was the name of a lesbian writer whose name begins with an S, even as he chose as his first name the banal â€œRoseâ€ that Stein had made so prominent.
The two artists, in any case, seem to have understood one anotherâ€™s work perfectly.Â Consider Steinâ€™s portrait â€œNext.Â Life and Letters of Marcel Duchampâ€:
A family likeness pleases when there is a cessation of resemblances. This
is to say that points of remarkable resemblance are those which make Henry leading.Â Henry leading actually smothers Emil.Â Emil is pointed.Â He does not overdo examples.Â He even hesitates.
But am I sensible.Â Am I not rather efficient in sympathy or common feeling.
I was looking to see if I could make Marcel out of it but I canâ€™t.
Not a doctor to me not a debtor to me not a d to me but a c to me a credit to me.Â To interlace a story with glass and with rope with color and roam.
How many people roam.
Dark people roam.
Can dark people come from the north.Â Are they dark then.Â Do they begin to be dark when they have come from there.
Any question leads away from me.Â Grave a boy grave.
What I do recollect is this.Â I collect black and white.Â From the standpoint of white all color is color.Â From the standpoint of black.Â Black is white.Â White is black. Black is black.Â White is black.Â White and black is black and white.Â What I recollect when I am there is that words are not birds.Â How easily I feel thin.Â Birds do not.Â So I replace birds with tin-foil.Â Silver is thin.
Life and letters of Marcel Duchamp.
Quickly return the unabridged restraint and mention letters.
My dear Fourth.
Confess to me in a quick saying.Â The vote is taken.
The lucky strike works well and difficultly.Â It rounds, it sounds round.Â I cannot conceal attrition.Â Let me think.Â I repeat the fullness of bread.Â In a way not bread.Â Delight me. I delight a lamb in birth.Â Â Â Â (G & P 405-06)
This is one of Steinâ€™s particularly opaque portraits, and readers seem to have avoided it as wholly â€œnon-sensical.â€Â Stein herself, after all, says in the third paragraph, â€œI was looking to see if I could make Marcel out of it but I canâ€™t,â€ thus presumably admitting her failure to portray her subject.Â Then again she published the piece and gave it a very specific name so that the reader is challenged to understand the portraitâ€™s meaning.
The title â€œNext,â€ for starters, can be understood either spatially or temporally.Â A can be next to B in a picture or A can be next in line at the grocery store; in either case, next is always a relational term.Â One cannot be next alone.Â Does this mean Stein is relating â€œNextâ€ to the previous piece in Geography and Plays, â€œTourty or Tourtebattreâ€?Â Or that this composition is â€œnextâ€ on Steinâ€™s list?Â The question is left open:Â certainly the subtitle is parodic, for the â€œLife and Lettersâ€ format, so common in the middlebrow portraits of the Eminent Victorians, hardly seems appropriate for the iconoclastic Duchamp who was anything but a Man of Letters. Still, the mock-title does set the stage for Steinâ€™s opening sentence:Â â€œA family likeness pleases when there is a cessation of resemblances.â€Â Â Â If, it is implied, we can get rid of representational art or poetry, of the need to make a portrait or still-life look like its subjectâ€”then its particular family likeness can become â€œpleasing.â€Â Take Duchampâ€™s â€œIn Advance of the Broken Armâ€â€”that ordinary snow shovel hanging on a wire from the ceiling [figure 12].Â This readymade doesnâ€™t resemble something else:Â like Steinâ€™s rose it is what it is.Â As for its family likeness, the shovel has a very particular family: the readymades that live with it in the Arensberg Collection in Philadelphia or elsewhere.
The Henry and Emil to whom Marcel is now compared are almost surely Henry James, whom Stein regarded as her model, and again Emil(e) Zola, Franceâ€™s great naturalistic writer.Â Descriptive as Henry James is, he is never â€œpointedâ€ like Zola.Â Having made these analogies, the author hesitates.Â Can Marcel really be placed in such a literary context? â€œBut am I sensible.Â Am I not rather efficient in sympathy or common feeling.â€Â When one reads this sentence aloud, one almost inevitably reads â€œefficientâ€ as â€œdeficientâ€â€”for it is standard phrasing to refer to someone as â€œdeficient in sympathy or common feeling.â€ Is â€œefficientâ€ then perhaps a misprint?Â Or does Stein purposely take the clichÃ© and invert it, calling herself not exactly overflowing with sympathy but at least â€œefficientâ€â€”capable of the â€œcommon feelingâ€ that has made Zola such an icon.Â Â It is the character of Marcel that seems to escape her.
Still, Duchampâ€™s place in the poetâ€™s life remains to be assessed.Â Â â€œNot a doctor to me not a debtor to me not a d to me but a c to me a credit to me.â€Â Â Duchamp is not her mentor nor her discipleâ€”indeed not a â€œdâ€ at allâ€”but a â€œcâ€ for â€œcreditâ€â€”the â€œCâ€ phoneme perhaps of â€œSÃ©lavy,â€ for whose existence Stein can take credit.Â And in the next sentence, she pays homage to the Large Glass [figure 13] : â€œTo interlace a story with glass and with rope with color and roam.â€Â The portraitist wants to have control over her subject, but the fact is that Duchamp, the â€œdarkâ€ Norman crusader is a â€œroamerâ€:Â he has, at the time of the portrait, gone back and forth between the US and France again and again and also spent time in Argentina the last year of the war.Â One could never be sure where he might be.
â€œAny question leads away from me.â€ Â Â Stein cannot â€œcollectâ€ Marcelâ€™s art, which seems, at this moment in time, quite uncollectable, but she can â€œrecollectâ€ his chess-playing: the black and white board to be mastered.Â â€œBlack is white.Â White is black. Black is black.Â White is black.Â White and black is black and whiteâ€ (405).Â But chess is also the paradigm for Marcelâ€™s art in which, like her own, â€œwords are not birdsâ€; they donâ€™t fly away.Â And a few lines further down, â€œThe lucky strike works well and difficultly. It rounds it sounds round.â€ Â Â The sentence evokes not only the cigarette brand (already in use in 1917, and Duchamp was a big smoker) but also the â€œdifficultyâ€ of rounding out sound. Duchamp, whose punning titles and anagrams came to be one of his chief signatures, is seen as a man of lettersin both senses of the word.â€
Duchamp had by this time invented not only the word play of Rrose Selavy, but also the elaborate verbal play of his Readymade titles that begins as early as 1915 with lâ€™Egouttoir [figure 14], the Bottle Dryer or literally, a device that takes the taste out of something.Â The phallic bottle rack that holds no bottles, that has removed their â€œtasteâ€:Â it is this kind of word play that must have appealed to Stein, culminating as it does in the goateed and whiskered Mona Lisa called L.H.O.O.Q (Elle a chaud au cul, figure 15), and those self-designations Rrose SÃ©lavy and Le Marchand du sel. It is Duchampâ€™s facility with letters, not his life (â€œreturn the unabridged restraint) that matters.
How closely allied is the composition of a portrait like â€œNextâ€ to Duchampâ€™s own work?Â Negatively, the relationship is remarkably close:Â in both cases, we could say, the attack is on retinal art, in Steinâ€™s case on retinal poetry.Â In both cases, language is to be seen as well as heard, and one letter, or rather, phoneme, can make all the difference as when â€œdeficientâ€ becomes â€œefficientâ€ (Stein) or French Window becomes Fresh Widow.Â Again, both Stein and Duchamp eroticize the actual language as in the â€œegg be takersâ€ and â€œparts of place nutsâ€ of â€œSacred Emilyâ€ and in the family of Duchamp readymades from the lâ€™Egouttoir to the Eau de voilette, to the androgynous Fountain by R. Mutt and then Rrose SÃ©lavy.
Indeed, Steinâ€™s poetics is surely much closer to Duchampâ€™s than to Picassoâ€™s vigorous, masculinist and still essentially painterly aesthetic.Â Consider Duchampâ€™s playful treatment of book art and page layout. Â In 1922, Henry McBride, who had been close to both Stein and Duchamp for years, commissioned Marcel, who was once again living in New York, to design a book for his art essays.Â The resulting pamphlet [figure 16],[xix] was composed of eighteen cardboard sheets, held together by three rings.Â Its title, Some French Moderns says McBride, is spelled out in twenty-seven separate file tabs attached the right edge of each page; when viewed from the verso, these same tabs spell out the name of the bookâ€™s publisher: â€œSOCIETÃ‰ ANONYME INCORPORATED,â€ and the copyright [see figure 17] is designated as that of Rrose SÃ©lavy.Â Rrose also provides her autograph, and underneath her name, we read â€œfor Joseph Solomon forty years later by Marcel Duchamp.â€Â Â Rrose-Marcelâ€™s design also affected the typography: the first essay is set in standard type, but the print selected for each succeeding page gradually increases in size, until only a few words fit on the page and then drop back suddenly on the last page to standard type. Â McBrideâ€™s essays could hardly be â€œreadâ€: rather, the â€œunreadableâ€ text forms a backdrop for the seven photographs by Charles Sheeler that grace its orange pages.
â€œItâ€™s a wonderful book,â€ Alfred Stieglitz wrote to McBride, who passed the sentiment on to Duchamp (see Naumann 98).Â In Paris, the young Dada poet Pierre de Massot heard about the McBride project and in turn produced a book written in English called The Wonderful Book: RÃ©flections on Rrose SÃ©lavy [1924, figure 18].Â This intriguing little pamphlet has been reproduced page by page as part of the â€œDossier Pierre de Massot,â€ assembled by Paul B. Franklin for the second issue (1999) of the seminal journal Etant DonnÃ©, edited by Franklin for the Association pour lâ€™Etude de Marcel Duchamp.[xx] In the frontispiece [figure 19], the first part of the title is dropped and Reflections on Rrose SÃ©lavy is followed by an epigraph, which is none other than the revealing sentence in Steinâ€™s portrait â€œNext.Â Life and Letters of Marcel Duchamp,â€ â€œI was looking to see if I could make Marcel out of it but I canâ€™tâ€ (Etant DonnÃ© 101).
Why would Massot choose these words as his epigraph, thus making an explicit link between Gertrude Stein and Rrose SÃ©lavy?Â The book itself turns out to be a â€œlivre blancâ€: it consists of twelve blank pages, each headed by a single word designating one month of the year in sequence [figure 20].Â But the â€œIntroductionâ€ by â€œA Woman of No Importanceâ€â€”the reference is to the title of Oscar Wildeâ€™s 1893 play about a humble woman who learns that her sonâ€™s aristocratic employer is her former lover and hence her sonâ€™s father–provides a clue:
P[ierre de M[assot] determined . . .to write a wonderful book on MARCEL
DUCHAMP.Â But at each attempt he was overwhelmed by the difficulty of such a task.Â For, I ought to explain that M has always declared he considers Duchamp the greatest genius he knows.
To speak about the youth, the evolution, and especially the life of Marcel Duchamp without blundering!Â Might not one well hesitate?Â Anybody would hesitate.
The thing is impossible.
We know that the author of â€œNu descendant lâ€™escalierâ€ lives on chess and love.Â The author of this book loves to recall a Sunday afternoon when he slept in Duchampâ€™s room under the gaze of the King, the queen and the pawns.Â Black and white move on the chequerboard of life.
After years of hesitation, P. de M. brought me this book.Â I preface it without the slightest hesitation.Â It is perfectly idiotic â€“ or idiotically perfect!Â But since it is my duty to be sincere, I must admit, for the benefit of the reader, that this lazy, naughty little boy said to me the other evening: â€œUn livre agrÃ©able doit toujours Ãªtre illisible.â€
In her portrait, Stein presents Marcel as indefinable: she cannot produce a coherent identity from what she knows about the artistâ€™s work (â€œglass and with rope with color and roam,â€ his chess-playing, his â€œdarkâ€ Northern heritage.Â Then, tooâ€”although Stein doesnâ€™t say itâ€”what to make of Rrose SÃ©lavy, that â€œwoman of no importanceâ€ who is Marcel?Â Pierre de Massot, who again refers to Duchampâ€™s preoccupation with chessâ€”the â€œblack and move on the chequerboard of lifeâ€â€” here reinforces Steinâ€™s response to Duchamp, her perplexity mingled with â€œdelightâ€ born of the conviction that â€œThe lucky strike works well and difficultly.Â It rounds, it sounds roundâ€ (G & P 406)–and takes it one step further as the pleasure of unreadabilityâ€”the illisible.Â Wildeâ€™s dramatic treatment of the mystery of identity, becomes, for Stein, the recognition that human identity cannot be satisfactorily captured in words.Â â€œI was looking to see if I could make Marcel out of it but I canâ€™t,â€ looks ahead, not only to the blank calendar pages of Massonâ€™s The
Wonderful Book but to such later responses to Duchamp as John Cageâ€™s Not Wanting to Say Anything about Marcel [figure 21].Â Â And the illisible, is, of course, central to our own aesthetic today.[xxi]
On the back cover of The Wonderful Book [figure 22], Massot placed a series of Rrose SÃ©lavyâ€™s choice puns, from â€œEtrangler lâ€™Ã©trangerâ€ â€œRuiner, Uriner,â€ to â€œOrchidÃ©e fixeâ€ and â€œPoulet exaucÃ©â€â€”his pun on â€œsatisfiedâ€™ chicken as one that has been â€œde-sauced.â€Â These puns, Massot evidently thought, could be related to Steinian word play, and indeed, in his incisive preface for Dix Portraits, Steinâ€™s important 1930 volume, which contained her second Picasso portrait (1923), â€œGuillaume Apollinaireâ€ (1913), and â€œErik Satieâ€ (1922),[xxii]Â Massot gives this perceptive summary of her language art:
Tout y est pesÃ©, dosÃ©, calculÃ©, mesurÃ©, dÃ©duit, ainsi que dans une mosaÃ¯que;Â chaque terme enclave le prochain, strictement, le compÃ©nÃ¨tre, comme les plans
et les volumes dâ€™une nature morte; chaque Ã©lÃ©ment est perÃ§u avec une telle acuitÃ© que sa reprÃ©sentation Ã©quivaut Ã un element neuf; nous assistons Ã une re-creation
abstraite, par le dedans, du monde extÃ©rieur que je nomme: miracle. (reproduced in Paul Franklin, â€œPortrait dâ€™un poÃ¨te,â€13)
(Everything here is weighed, released in doses, calculated, measured, deduced, just as in a mosaic; each term encloses the next, strictly, co-penetrating it, like the planes and volumes of a still life; each element is broken down with such acuity that its representation is equivalent to a new element; we are present at an abstract recreation, from the inside out, of the exterior world so that I can only call it a miracle. (My translation)
One of the portraits Massot probably had in mind was â€œGuillaume Apollinaireâ€ which begins with the line, â€œGive known or pin ware,â€ (LOA 1, 385), a homophonic translation of the poetâ€™s name of which the author of â€œOrchidÃ©e fixeâ€ and â€œDes bas en soie . . . . la chose aussi,â€ would surely have approved.[xxiii]
Throughout the 1920s, when Duchamp shuttled back and forth between Paris and New York, he and Stein kept in touch, especially through their mutual friend Picabia.Â In December 1932, when the latter was having an exhibition of his drawings at the Galerie LÃ©once Rosenberg in Paris, Stein was asked to contribute a preface to the catalogue. Â Her â€œPrefaceâ€ turned out to be Stanza LXXI of Part V of her long and difficult poetic sequence Stanzas in Meditation, and it was translated by none other than Duchamp.[xxiv]Â It was, we should note, the very first selection from Stanzas to be published anywhere.Â Indeed, except for a few extracts, Stanzas was not published during Steinâ€™s lifetime.
â€œThese austere stanzas,â€ wrote John Ashbery, reviewing the posthumous Yale edition (1956) â€œare made up almost entirely of colorless connecting words such as â€˜where,â€™ â€˜which,â€™ â€˜these,â€™ â€˜of,â€™ â€˜not,â€™ â€˜have,â€™ â€˜about, and so on, though now and then Miss Stein throws in an orange, a lilac, or an Albert to remind us that it really is the world, our world, that she has been talking about.â€Â And he calls Stanzas â€œa hymn to possibility.â€[xxv]Â No doubt, Stanzas is Steinâ€™s most abstract, her least â€œretinalâ€ work.
Steinâ€™s meditation begins with a fractured narrative, like a passage from a childrensâ€™ book:
There was once upon a time a place where they went from time to time.
I think better of this than of that.
They met just as they should.
This is my could I be excited.
And well he wished that she wished.
All of which I know is this.
Once often as I say yes all of it a day.
This is not a day to be away.
Oh dear no.[xxvi]
Duchamp translates this as follows:
Il y avait une fois un endroit oÃ¹ ils allaient de temps en temps
Je pense mieux de ceci que de cela
Ils se sont recontrÃ©s exactement comme ils devaient.
Lui et moi puis-je Ãªtre excitÃ©
Et alors il a dÃ©sirÃ© quâ€™elle desire
Tout ce que jâ€™en sais câ€™est ceci
Une fois souvent tout cela un jour quand je dis oui
Ce nâ€™est pas une journÃ©e Ã Ãªtre loin
Oh! mais nonÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (Mohler 42)
The translation is, if anything, even more prominently rhyming than the original, with â€œfoisâ€ rhyming with â€œendroitâ€ and â€œcela,â€Â â€œceciâ€ rhyming with â€œoui,â€ and so on.Â Duchamp follows the original fairly closely but does make some subtle changes.Â For one thing, he eliminates the periods which, in Steinâ€™s poem, terminate each line, emphasizing the separateness of each phrase.Â Then, too, in line 4, â€œThis is my could I be excitedâ€ gets an extra set of male/female pronouns so as to emphasize the union: â€œLui et moi puis-je Ãªtre excitÃ©.â€ Â And in line 5, the choice of â€œdesirÃ©â€ (rather than, say, â€œvouluâ€ or â€œsouhaitÃ©â€) for â€œwished,â€ and then the shift from the second â€œwishedâ€ to the present tense– â€œquâ€™elle desireâ€– enhances the erotic element in the stanza: itâ€™s as if Rrose SÃ©lavy could almost make an appearance.
With the introduction to Picabia in line 17, however, comes the admonition to â€œforget men and womenâ€ (â€œoubliez hommes et femmesâ€), and the meditation culminates in the following passage:
The thing I wish to say is this.
It might have been.
There are two things that are different.
One and one.
And two and two.
Three and three are not in winning.
Three and three if not in winning.
I see this.
I would have liked to be the only one.
One is one.
If I am would I have liked to be the only one.
Yes just this.
If I am one I would have liked to be the only one
Which I am.
But we know that I know.
That if this has come
To be one
Of this too
Not only now but how
This I know now. Â Â (Stanzas 242)
In Duchampâ€™s version:
La chose que je dÃ©sire dire est ceci
Quâ€™aurait pu Ãªtre
Il y a deux choses qui sont diffÃ©rentes
Un et un
Et deux et deux
Trois et trois ne sont pas en gagnant
Trois et trois si pas en gagnant
Je vois ceci
Jâ€™aurais voulu Ãªtre la seule
Un et un
Si je suis aurais-je aimÃ© Ãªtre la seule
Oui rien que ceci ou exactement
Si je suis un jâ€™aurais aimÃ© Ãªtre la seule
Que je suis
Mais nous savons que je sais
Que si ceci est venu ou celui-ci
Pour entre un
De ceci aussi
Pas seulement maintenant mais comment
Ceci je sais maintenant
The French cannot quite reproduce Steinâ€™s clipped monosyllabic lines with their rhyme and paragram: â€œnot only now but how / This I know now.â€Â But Duchamp captures the tone with â€œmaintenant,â€ â€œcomment,â€ and â€œCeci je sais.â€ Â The one subtle change he makes comes in the ninth line above:Â the revealing remark, â€œI would have liked to be the only one,â€ which in English has no gender designation, becomes â€œâ€Jâ€™aurais voulu Ãªtre la seule.â€Â And further, in translating line 13, â€œIf I am one I would have liked to be the only one,â€ Duchamp creates an odd split, making â€œoneâ€ masculine (â€œunâ€) but the â€œonly oneâ€ (â€œla seuleâ€) feminine: â€œSi je suis un jâ€™aurais aimÃ© Ãªtre la seule.â€
In her own writing, Stein never gave herself away so fully; her Â pronouns usually have a studied indeterminacy.[xxvii]Â But Duchamp playfully implies that Stein is all too aware that to be â€œthe only oneâ€ is to be a male oneâ€”indeed, a man like Picabiaâ€”or, for that matter, Picasso. And she adds proudly, â€œWhich I amâ€ (â€œque je suisâ€). Â Indeed, she is the one. It is what Stein has always wanted. â€œYes just this.â€ Here Duchamp embellishes the line slightly, making it â€œOui rien que ceci ou exactement.â€Â Why, the extra emphasis?Â Perhaps because Duchamp sympathizes with Steinâ€™s need to be exactly that only one.Â It was a need not felt by Rrose SÃ©lavy, for Rrose could always shift back to become Marcel: from his perspective, â€œuneâ€ could become â€œunâ€ any time.Â Stein, on the other hand, was who she was: she could not adopt another identity as readily as did Marcel; indeed, the ironic distance so central to Duchampâ€™s oeuvre was not her mÃ©tier.Â Serious (if also very funny) and single-minded, she understood that â€œThree and three are not in winning.â€ Â Threeâ€”whether in the love triangle at the back of â€œStanzas in Meditations,â€[xxviii] or in her relationship to Picabia and Picasso, was a crowd.Â Unlike Duchampâ€”and here she may have been more like Picasso, Stein had no desire to be a translator of someone elseâ€™s work. Â No, she was â€œthe only one,â€ â€œThis one.â€ â€œNot only now but how,â€ she concludes, â€œThis I know now.â€
Marcel, Marcelavy, le Marchand du Sel, Rrose SÃ©lavy the Fresh Widow, the Rose of Eros, had no such ego.Â Certainly, he too wanted to be â€œone,â€ to have autonomy as creator, but for the sake of his close friend Picabia, who was getting a bad press in these years, he was quite willing to do a quick translation of a verbal composition, whose indeterminacy and word play he could obviously relish.Â Especially a composition by an author as sympathique as Gertrude Stein.Â â€œThis I know nowâ€; â€œCeci je sais maintenantâ€: in their dismantling of the painterly form and the dissolution of retinal identity, the Stein of â€œa rose is a rose is a roseâ€ and Marcel-Rrose were nothing if not natural allies.Â Indeed, from the vantage point of the twenty-first century, it is Duchamp rather than Picasso or the Cubists, Duchamp rather, for that matter, than Apollinaire or Max Jacob, who stands â€œNextâ€ to Stein.
When it appeared in the Picabia catalogue and in the periodical Orbes (#4, 1932-33), Steinâ€™s Stanza 71 was introduced by an epigraph from Picabia. Â â€œLa vie nâ€™aime pas les verres grossissants câ€™est pour cela quâ€™elle ma tendu la mainâ€ (â€œLife doesnâ€™t like magnifying glasses thatâ€™s why she gave me her handâ€).Â This may well be a sly allusion to the poet Georges Hugnetâ€™s encomium to Stein in the Spring 1929 issue of Orbes called â€œRose is a Rose on Steinâ€:[xxix]
En Espagne, un jour, vÃªtue de violet et la main baguÃ©e, Gertrude Stein fut tout etonnÃ©e que dans la rue on lui baise la main.Â (61)
(In Spain, one day, dressed in purple and rings on her fingers, Gertrude Stein was astonished that on the street, someone kissed her hand. (my translation).
Then, too, â€œverresâ€ puns on â€œversâ€ (verses): Steinâ€™s, it is implied, are not the bloated â€œmagnifyingâ€ verses of traditional poetry. The homage is Picabiaâ€™s.Â But it is cited by Duchamp..Â â€œOne and one. Â And two and two.Â Next.â€
[i]Gertrude Stein, Picasso (Paris: Libraire Floury, 1938; English edition, trans. Stein with Alice B. Toklas, London: B. T. Batsford, 1939; revised edition, Gertrude Stein on Picasso, ed. Edward Burns, Afterword by Leon Katz and Edward Burns (New York: Liveright, 1970), 3-76.Â This volume also contains Steinâ€™s two Picasso portraits, â€œPicassoâ€ (1909), 79-81; and â€œIf I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picassoâ€ (1923), 83-91, as well as Steinâ€™s Notebook entries on Picasso and extensive illustration.
[ii] Gertrude Stein, Everybodyâ€™s Autobiography (1937; New York: Vintage, 1973), 37.
[iii] Pablo Picasso, â€œ21 december xxxv,â€ in Jerome Rothenberg, Writing Through: Translations and Variations (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 204), 66.Â For a selection of Picassoâ€™s poems in French, see Picasso, PoÃ¨mes, ed. dâ€™Androula MichaÃ«lÂ (Paris: le cherche midi, 2005).Â In her Introduction, MichaÃ«l expresses great enthusiasm for Picassoâ€™s poetry:
â€œâ€Ecrire nâ€™est pas pour Picasso une occupation de circonstance, ni un violon dâ€™Ingres mais une activitÃ© Ã laquelle il sâ€™est adonnÃ© avec passionâ€ (14).
[iv]See, for example, my â€œPoetry as Word-System: The Art of Gertrude Stein,â€ The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage (1981; Evanston: Northwestern Univ. Press, 1999): 67-108.
[v]Pierre Cabanne, Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp, trans. Ron Padgett (New York: Vikine Press, 1971), 42-43.
[vi] The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde (touring exhibition, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, May 21-September 6, 2011, Grand Palais, Paris, October 5, 2011â€”Jan. 13, 2012, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, February 1-June 3, 2012), ed. Janet Bishop et. al. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011).
[vii] Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933; New York: Vintage Books, 1990), 133-34.
[viii]As told by Calvin Tomkins in Duchamp (New York: Henry Holt, 1996), 130.
[ix]On Steinâ€™s mathematical interests, see Steven Meyer, Irresistible Dictation: Gertrude Stein and the Correlations of Writing and Science (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001), esp. Chapter 4, â€œAt the Whiteheadsâ€™: Science and the Modern World,â€ 165-206.
[x] The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Carl Van Vechten, 1913-1914, ed. Edward Burns (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 58-59.
[xi]See Marjorie Perloff, â€œOf Objects and Readymades: Gertrude Stein and Marcel Duchamp,â€ Forum for Modern Language Studies 32, 2 (1996): 137-54; cf. Perloff, 21st Century Modernism: The â€œNewâ€ Poetics (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 77-120.
[xii] â€œRoche,â€ is written in the style of the first Picasso portrait:Â it begins, â€œWas one who certainly was one really being living, was this one a complete one, did that one complete have it to do very well something that that one certainly would be doing if that one could be doing something,â€ Geography and Plays (1922; Madison; University of Wisconsin Press, 1993), 141.Â This text is subsequently cited in the text as G & P.
[xiii] See James Mellow, Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein & Company (New York: Avon, 1974), p. 311.
[xiv]See http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/33403; Cyrena Pondrom, Introduction, Geography and Plays (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993), i-lv.
[xv] Stein, â€œPoetry and Grammar,â€ Lectures in America, in Gertrude Stein, Writings 1932-1946 (New York: The Library of America, 1998), 313-336, see pp. 327,
[xvi] The Zola reference was pointed out to me by Susan Barbour, an Oxford PhD candidate living in Paris, who also alerted me to the image of Zolaâ€™s tomb at the CimitiÃ¨re Montmartre.
[xvii]Dalia Judovitz, Unpacking Duchamp: Art in Transit (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 144-45. Â In her more recent book, Drawing on Art: Duchamp & Company (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), Judovitz writes, â€œNot only did Duchamp borrow a stylish hat from Germaine Everling (Picabiaâ€™s mistress), but, more importantly, he also borrowed her arms and delicate hands in order to enhance the illusion of femininty conveyed by the photograph . .Â . she stood right behind him in a sort of embrace,â€ 32-33.
[xviii] See Affect-Marcel: The Selected Correspondence of Marcel Duchamp, French-English edition, ed. Francis M. Naumann & Hector Obalk (London: Thames & Hudson, pp. 87-160.
[xix]The pamphlet is reproduced in Francis M. Naumannâ€™s Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Making Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (New York: Harry Abrams, 1999), 89-91.
[xx] The Dossier includes Pierre de Massot poems, an important selection of letters to Massot from Duchamp, and Paul B. Franklinâ€™s important essay, â€œPortrait dâ€™un poÃ¨te en jeune homme bi: Pierre de Massot, Marcel Duchamp, et lâ€™hÃ©ritage Dada,â€ 56-85.Â Â The Wonderful Book is further annotated by extracts from reviews and commentaries by Gerald Pfister, Michel Vanpeene and others.
[xxi] See, for example, Craig Dworkin, Reading the Illegible (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2006).
[xxii] Gertrude Stein, Dix Portraits, bilingual edition with French translations by Georges Hugnet and Virgil Thomson (Paris: Editions de la Montagne, 1930).Â The other seven portraits are of Christian BÃ©rard, Eugene Berman, Bernard FaÃ¿, Georges Hugnet, Pavel Tchelitchew, Virgil Thomson, Kristians Tonny.
[xxiii] For background, see Ulla E. Dydo, Gertrude Stein: The Language That Rises 1923-1934 (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2003), 294-301.Â Dydo notes that de Massot spoke excellent English and wanted to translate Tender Buttons and Geography & Plays, but this didnâ€™t come to pass.Â For discussion of the translations of the Dix Portraits, as rendered by Hugnet and Thompson: see Ulla Dydo, 296-300.Â Dydo notes that word-for-word translation, as used in Dix Portraits, failed to reproduce any sense of the original world play.Â But, one might add, Duchamp, able to read Stein in English and now often producing English puns of his own, could appreciate the originals.
[xxiv] â€œPrÃ©face,â€ Expositions de dessins par Francis Picabia, Galerie LÃ©once Rosenberg, Paris, 1-24 December, 1932.Â English Preface by Gertrude Stein, pp. 1-2; French Preface by Marcel Duchamp, pp. 3-4.Â Reprinted in Orbes, no. 4 (Winter 1932-33), 64-67 (where it is found in side by side with poems by Hans Arp and Picabia), and again in Olga Mohler, Francis Picabia (Torino: Ed. Notizie, 1975), 43.Â In the French translation, the stanza in question is numbered â€œStance 69 des Stances de meditationâ€).Â I produce both English and French versions from Mohler.
[xxv]John Ashbery, â€œThe Impossible: Gertrude Steinâ€ (1957; Selected Prose, ed. Eugene Richie (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004), 11-15; rpt in Gertrude Stein, Stanzas in Meditation, The Corrected Edition, ed. Susannah Hollister and Emily Setina (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), 50-55.Â The editors explain Steinâ€™s misnumbering in successive manuscripts on 264-67.
[xxvi] Stanzas in Meditation, Part V, Stanza 71, 241.Â Â For the variants, see Stanzas 372-73.Â In the Orbes version, for example, line 7, â€œOnce often as I say yes all of it a day,â€ is misprinted, â€œOnce of ten as I say yes all of it a day.â€
[xxvii] On the use of pronouns in Stanzas, see Retallack, â€œOn Not Not Reading Stanzas in Meditation,â€ Introduction, Stanzas in Meditation, 22-25.
[xxviii]On Aliceâ€™s substitution of the word â€œcanâ€ for every â€œmayâ€ (a reference to May Bookstaver with whom Stein was once in love) in her transcript of the text, see Dydo, 488-502; Joan Retallack, 8-14.Â Appendix D to the Corrected Edition tracks all the changes in the manuscript: see 268-379.
[xxix]Georges Hugnetâ€™s â€œRose is a Rose on Stein,â€ Orbes #2 (Spring 1929), 59-61.