Gertie Stein

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vic-k
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Sat May 15, 2010 1:12 pm Post

The following sentence, credited to Gertrude Stein, oozes ambiguity from where I`m sitting. For the life of me, I can`t find an explanation by Stein, as to what she actually meant: Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?’

Could any of Scriv`s illustrious scriobhneiors offer assistance?
Thank you
Vic.
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Sun May 16, 2010 2:54 pm Post

Never had much luck, Vic, deciphering any of la Gertie's writing. The one fairly simple and straightforward bit -- so I foolishly presumed -- in which I did feel comfortable was "Rose is a rose...[etc]," where the first Rose is a woman named Rose; no matter, far as I was concerned, whether the ultimate message was the gentle petals or the vicious thorns. Then Stein re-used the line and made it, "A rose is a rose..." Well, still okay, I said. Then Robert Frost picked it up in...

The rose is a rose,
And was always a rose.
But the theory now goes
That the apple's a rose,
And the pear is, and so's
The plum, I suppose.
The dear only knows
What will next prove a rose.
You, of course, are a rose--
But you were always a rose.

...some bit of which I always wished I had been clever enough to put together in my youthful search for truth, beauty, and pliable young women. But didn't. Anyway, we never really....

What was the question?

Phil
You can't conquer stupid — or cure it — with more stupid.

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vic-k
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Sun May 16, 2010 6:10 pm Post

Thanks pal :(
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gr
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Mon May 17, 2010 1:35 pm Post

vic-k wrote:For the life of me, I can`t find an explanation by Stein, as to what she actually meant: ‘Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?’



It is like pigeons on the grass alas.

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gr
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Mon May 17, 2010 1:59 pm Post

Without helpful context, one can only wildly speculate, but my armchair diagnosis would be something like: <Why should a sentence be anything but a pleasure? . . . as opposed to having to mean (or be there for the sake of meaning) in some literal-minded and dreary sense.>

In the fine Stein I am familiar with many of the sentences exist largely for their own sakes, as it were. It seems clear that they are there as much for the music they make, for the trance pattern they are a part of, as for any new advance they make to the content of the text. And the sentences are generally structured as they are for their rhythm. But don't try these things at home, kids!

One can easily imagine the line as Stein's response to some interviewer quoting back to her some snippet of her writing--maybe a famous line--and asking her what it meant. In that way, it would be a slightly more forthcoming cousin to Samuel Beckett's "Don't ask me what it means. It is an object."

That's my two speculation's worth.
-gr

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vic-k
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Tue May 18, 2010 5:51 pm Post

Hi Greg,
Thanks for your speculations, much appreciated.
The only time I locked horns with Gert, I ended up with a headache, and was moved t`ards copious amounts of extremely deletable obscene expletive laden invective. Could that have had anything to do with trance patterns? :?
Take care
Vic.
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gr
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Thu May 20, 2010 3:12 pm Post

No, no. I think you can chalk that up to the lurching tile pattern on the floor at the Red Lion bedizened as it would be by a well-juiced brain.

g
Last edited by gr on Fri May 21, 2010 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Fri May 21, 2010 2:35 am Post

As gr says context is really required here though I suspect there's really not much there to fret about.

For example, I would imagine the following sequence of words is perfectly reasonable, natural, and not a pleasure:

"Your account is over-drawn."

Dave

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Fri May 21, 2010 8:00 am Post

dafu,
Thank you. My point exactly. Even worse would be: "Time gentlemen please!!!"
Vic
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Fri May 21, 2010 12:01 pm Post

In those two examples though, isn't pleasure relative to your position in respect to the string of words? Maybe the bank manager is a sadist? Maybe the "gentlemen" are really just drunken louts needing to leave so the speaker can go spend some time with the better half. Isn't pleasure like beauty as it is "in the eye of the beholder"?

One might argue that I see a string of words that argue a point as a pleasure.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 24 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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gr
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Fri May 21, 2010 2:29 pm Post

I really must protest -- not that last and truly painful sentence of Jaysen's, I can look passed that -- but, really, on no plausible interpretation is Stein asserting that every [sequence of words --edit for v-k] is a pleasure -- which seems to be the operative assumption of the current foray.

Puts foot down,
G
Last edited by gr on Fri May 21, 2010 4:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Jaysen
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Fri May 21, 2010 2:36 pm Post

Certainly not my position. My position is that any string of words CAN be a pleasure and that in some case they may only pleasure certain individuals. I would add to that, some stings of word exist for no reason other than the pleasure produced by the writing. As evidence I offer just about everything I have written that is not directly related to work, public education, or bills. If you have ever read any technical reference manual it becomes clear, very clear, that some strings exist solely to communicate information.

As to my closing statement in the previous post, consider it applicable. Often.

;)
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 24 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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vic-k
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Fri May 21, 2010 3:27 pm Post

Pay attention now. S.E.Q.U.E.N.C.E. not sentence. Wot' y'sall like tch! tch! :shock:
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gr
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Fri May 21, 2010 4:14 pm Post

Jaysen wrote:Some stings of word exist for no reason other than the pleasure produced


Can I quote you on that? Oops, too late.

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Fri May 21, 2010 4:38 pm Post

When a typo becomes a window to the soul.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 24 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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