pain is the staff of life

The joys of being middle class.

Posted in Uncategorized by ruthanzo on April 24, 2009

Dane was reading Gertrude Stein’s ‘America’ and was struck by this excerpt✵ from the intro by Gilbert A. Harrison. “My sentiments, exactly.” Is what he said.

Gertrude Stein by Carl Van Vechten, 1935.

Gertrude Stein by Carl Van Vechten, 1935.

✵Gertrude Stein came of a well-to-do, middle-class family, and for her the middle class always remained “the very best the world can ever know. In ‘Things As They Are,’ Helen asks her friend to explain what she means by calling herself middle class. “From the little I have seen of you I think that you are quite right when you say that you are reasonable and just but surely to understand others and even to understand oneself is the last thing a middle class person cares to do.” Adele (Miss Stein) replies: “I never claimed to be middle class in my intellect and in truth, I probably have the experience of all apostles, I am rejected by the class whose cause I preach but that has nothing to do with the case. I simply contend that the middle class ideal which demands that people be affectionate, respectable, honest and content, that they avoid excitements and cultivate serenity is the ideal that appeals to me, it is in short the ideal of affectionate family life, of honorable business methods.”

Serenity. What’s that?

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2 Responses

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  1. zz dans le meteo said, on April 25, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Well this got me to thinking about serenity and Gertrude Stein and Alice’s brownie points well taken. Then I re found this from Woodeye Allen:

    The Lost Generation
    I mentioned before that I was in Europe. It’s not the first time that I was in Europe, I was in Europe many years ago with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway had just written his first novel, and Gertrude Stein and I read it, and we said that is was a good novel, but not a great one, and that it needed some work, but it could be a fine book. And we laughed over it. Hemingway punched me in the mouth.
    That winter Picasso lived on the Rue d’Barque, and he had just painted a picture of a naked dental hygenist in the middle of the Gobi Desert. Gertrude Stein said it was a good picture, but not a great one, and I said it could be a fine picture. We laughed over it and Hemingway punched me in the mouth.
    Francis Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald came home from their wild new years eve party. It was April. Scott had just written Great Expectations, and Gertrude Stein and I read it, and we said it was a good book, but there was no need to have written it, ’cause Charles Dickens had already written it. We laughed over it, and Hemingway punched me in the mouth.
    That winter we went to Spain to see Manolete fight, and he was… looked to be eighteen, and Gertrude Stein said no, he was nineteen, but that he only looked eighteen, and I said sometimes a boy of eighteen will look nineteen, whereas other times a nineteen year old can easily look eighteen. That’s the way it is with a true Spaniard. We laughed over that and Gertrude Stein punched me in the mouth.

  2. To zazie from our sea haiche said, on April 26, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Anyone can copy & paste. What I say is that when G said there is no there there she didn’t forsee digital age when we all live 4 feet from each other and talk thru digital musings. What we have now is that there is no here here.
    If we dont Catch him here we’ll Ketcham in Idaho


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