Gertrude Stein | USA/France (1874-1946)

Testimony Against Gertude Stein (1935)
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(The Hague: Servire Press) February 19335

Georges Braque
Eugene Jolas
Maria Jolas
Henri Matisse
André Salmon
Tristan Tzara

""Miss Gertrude Stein's memoirs, published last year under the title of Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, having brought about a certain amount of controversial comment, Transition has opened its pages to several of those she mentions who, like ourselves, find that the book often lacks accuracy. This fact and the regrettable possibility that many less informed readers might accept Miss Stein's testimony about her contemporaries, make it seem wiser to straighten out those points with which we are familiar before the book has had time to assume the character of historic authenticity. To MM. Henri Matisse, Tristan Tzara, Georges Braque, André Salmon we are happy to give the opportunity to refute those parts of Miss Stein's book which they consider require it.

These documents invalidate the claim of the Toklas-Stein memorial that Miss Stein in any way concerned with the shaping of the epoch she attempts to describe. There is a unanimity of opinion that she had no understanding of what really was happening around her, that the mutation of ideas beneath the surface of the more obvious contacts and clashes of personalities during that period escaped her entirely. Her participation in the genesis and development of such movements as Fauvism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Transition etc. was never ideologically intimate and as M. Matisse states, she has presented the epoch "without taste and without relation to reality."

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, in its hollow, tinsel bohemianism and egocentric deformations, may very well become one day the symbol of the decadence that hovers over contemporary literature."


Gertrude Stein in UbuWeb Sound
Gertrude Stein in UbuWeb Film