Gertrude Stein, "Composition as Explanation"


I've always been a fan of Stein. I thought she was this super dope radical feminist that I just had to have in my life, and actually reading her work hasn't changed that opinion of her. (Though, for some reason I always forget her name and was terrified of accidentally referring to her as Kathy Bates in class).

What I want to say about CAE, is this: oh my god, I am so confused.

So, I did read this whole thing, believe it or not. I actually read it about 3 times because I felt like I was spiraling multiple times. Someone, as I'm reading this, I'm thinking of Hegel, which is not really a connection I want to make, but I can't completely control my brain. Hegel's approach to art and literature is didactic, all-inclusive. Stein, with her "continuous present" reminds me of the same kind of idea, but from a different angle.

This text makes me feel like I'm spiraling because of the way it repeats itself several times within the same sentence or paragraph. But this functions to me as a revolution that never ends, which brings in the continuous present even further. If we continue to be every version of ourselves that we ever have been, and we bring all of those versions with us to every single piece of art we approach, then we will be more aware of that art. I don't know exactly if that is what Stein was writing about, but that's what I take from it.

Karina SchinkComment