Fiction Daily.
A blog on writing, writers and why we read. Posted most mornings by Marion Blackburn.
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Part 3 of a rather rambling look at Gertrude Stein

In Gertrude Stein and the Geography of the Sentence, William Gass describes the young writer at the door of the 20th century, seeing fragmentation and subjectivity everywhere.

She also saw repetition. The doing again, however, did not mean doing the same. No, Gass suggests that for Stein, doing again could never be doing over.

At the same time, he suggests, the repeated actions offer a chance to finally get it right.

This passage is from Stein's Three Lives

All that day ... Jeff Campbell worked, and thought, and beat his breast, and wandered, and spoke aloud, and was silent, and was certain, and then in doubt, and then keen to surely feel, and then all sodden in him....

Here we begin to see the hints of repeated actions that never provide additional certainty, no matter how often redone. What's more, we get a sense that Stein is developing her voice, the musicality of writing, with the heavy single-syllabled words, the monotonous drumming, simplicity, exactness.

In the history of language, Gass says, no one had ever written this way before.

AHEAD: Yes, there is a there, there
2008-01-03 14:38:28 GMT
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