Gertrude Stein quotes
Birthdate: 3. February 1874
Date of death: 27. July 1946
Other names: Gertruda Steinová, Gertruda Stein
Gertrude Stein was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. Born in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh and raised in Oakland, California, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life. She hosted a Paris salon, where the leading figures of modernism in literature and art, such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, Sherwood Anderson and Henri Matisse, would meet.In 1933, Stein published a quasi-memoir of her Paris years, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, written in the voice of Alice B. Toklas, her life partner. The book became a literary bestseller and vaulted Stein from the relative obscurity of the cult-literature scene into the limelight of mainstream attention. Two quotes from her works have become widely known: "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose," and "there is no there there", with the latter often taken to be a reference to her childhood home of Oakland.
Her books include Q.E.D. , about a lesbian romantic affair involving several of Stein's friends, Fernhurst, a fictional story about a love triangle, Three Lives , and The Making of Americans . In Tender Buttons , Stein commented on lesbian sexuality.Her activities during World War II have been the subject of analysis and commentary. As a Jew living in Nazi-occupied France, Stein may have only been able to sustain her lifestyle as an art collector, and indeed to ensure her physical safety, through the protection of the powerful Vichy government official and Nazi collaborator Bernard Faÿ. After the war ended, Stein expressed admiration for another Nazi collaborator, Vichy leader Marshal Pétain.
Quotes Gertrude Stein
„One has to remember that about imagination, that is when the world gets dull when everybody does not know what they can or what they cannot really imagine.“
Source: Everybody’s Autobiography (1937), Ch. 3
Context: Would I if I could by pushing a button would I kill five thousand Chinamen if I could save my brother from anything. Well I was very fond of my brother and I could completely imagine his suffering and I replied that five thousand Chinamen were something I could not imagine and so it was not interesting.
One has to remember that about imagination, that is when the world gets dull when everybody does not know what they can or what they cannot really imagine.
„It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.“
Source: Everybody’s Autobiography (1937), Ch. 2
„A great deal of beauty is rapture. A circle is a necessity. Otherwise you would see no one. We each have our circle.“
"A Circular Play," from Last Operas and Plays (1949) [written in 1920]
Context: A beauty is not suddenly in a circle. It comes with rapture. A great deal of beauty is rapture. A circle is a necessity. Otherwise you would see no one. We each have our circle.
Source: Everybody’s Autobiography (1937), Ch. 2
Context: It always did bother me that the American public were more interested in me than in my work. And after all there is no sense in it because if it were not for my work they would not be interested in me so why should they not be more interested in my work than in me. That is one of the things one has to worry about in America.
„Always it comes very slowly the completed understanding of it, the repeating each one does to tell it the whole history of the being in each one, always now I hear it. Always now slowly I understand it.“
The Making of Americans (1925)
Context: There are many that I know and I know it. They are many that I know and they know it. They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it. Always I listen to it. Slowly I come to understand it. Many years I listened and did not know it. I heard it, I understood it some, I did not know I heard it. They repeat themselves now and I listen to it. Every way that they do it now I hear it. Now each time very slowly I come to understand it. Always it comes very slowly the completed understanding of it, the repeating each one does to tell it the whole history of the being in each one, always now I hear it. Always now slowly I understand it.
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„Explanations are clear but since no one to whom a thing is explained can connect the explanations with what is really clear, therefore clear explanations are not clear.“
Source: Everybody’s Autobiography (1937), Ch. 4
Context: Explanations are clear but since no one to whom a thing is explained can connect the explanations with what is really clear, therefore clear explanations are not clear. Now this is a simple thing that anybody who has ever argued or quarreled knows perfectly well is a simple thing, only when they read it they do not understand it because they do not see that understanding and believing are not the same thing.
"Form and Intelligibility," from The Radcliffe Manuscripts (1949); written in 1894 as an undergraduate at Radcliffe College
Context: From the very nature of progress, all ages must be transitional. If they were not, the world would be at a stand-still and death would speedily ensue. It is one of the tamest of platitudes but it is always introduced by a flourish of trumpets.
Statement quoted by Ernest Hemingway in A Moveable Feast (1964) Ch. 3, it had also provided the epigraph to The Sun Also Rises (1926).
Context: All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation... You have no respect for anything. You drink yourselves to death.
Reflections on the Atom Bomb (1946)
Source: Tender Buttons