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Gertrude Stein's Transmasculinity$
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Chris Coffman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474438094

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474438094.001.0001

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Seeing Stein’s Masculinity

Seeing Stein’s Masculinity

(p.39) Chapter 1 Seeing Stein’s Masculinity
Gertrude Stein's Transmasculinity

Chris Coffman

Edinburgh University Press

“Seeing Stein’s Masculinity” analyses the shifting significance of visual images of and written texts about Stein. Driven by recent reinterpretations of Jacques Lacan’s theory of the gaze, this chapter reads his theories against the grain to counter arguments about the visual that reproduce binary thinking about gender. Queering his account of the gaze makes it possible to register the expanded array of masculinities mobilized in photographs of Stein by George Platt Lynes, Henri Manuel, and Man Ray as well as in their recent reception during the 2011 Seeing Gertrude Stein exhibit in San Francisco. Moreover, Stein’s own comments in The Autobiography about being photographed by Man Ray queer the heteronormative gaze that drives James Agee’s review of that book in the September 11, 1933 issue of Time whose cover featured Lynes’s image of Stein in profile. Tracking changes that have taken place between the early twentieth century and the present in attitudes toward her queer sexuality and masculinity, this chapter argues that traces of abjection remain in contemporary reactions to Stein despite greater acceptance of her gender, sexuality, and innovative writing.

Keywords:   Gertrude Stein, Masculinity, Transgender theory, Gaze, Queer theory, Modernism, Man Ray, George Platt Lynes, Henri Manuel, James Agee

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