Hugh Sykes Davies

Hugh Sykes Davies

1936 review of 'Narration' by Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein as Miss America, photo  by Carl Van Vechten (1880–1964)
Gertrude Stein as Miss America, photo by Carl Van Vechten (1880–1964)

Gertrude Stein was not always revered as a muse of literature. Far from it. Her climb to fame was long and arduous.  The English surrealist Huge Sykes Davies dropped this boulder in her path.

Narration. By Gertrude Stein. (The University of Chicago Press.) 11s.6d. [Eleven shillings and sixpence.]
 This piece was first published in ‘Books of the Quarter,’ in Criterion, UK, 15/61, July 1936, pages 752–5.
 It is 1,700 words or about four printed pages long.

“In fact all Miss Stein’s old virtues have forsaken her. The trick of constant repetition which gave pleasure when it was used in prose with no rational end, for purely aesthetic purposes, has adapted itself very ill to the making of statements with meaning. It is bad enough to hear a silly theory advanced once, it is agony to hear it advanced twenty times in quick succession.”

More … In Jacket 20, here.

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