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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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Visual Economies of Queer Desire in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

Visual Economies of Queer Desire in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

(p.132) Chapter 4 Visual Economies of Queer Desire in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
Gertrude Stein's Transmasculinity

Chris Coffman

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter uses The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas to frame and advance this book’s central argument about Stein’s masculine homosocial relationships with her colleagues. Tracking the dynamics of vision that animate The Autobiography, I argue that it uses Toklas’s loving gaze to establish and recognize Stein’s masculinity, as well as to highlight the importance to modernism of her masculine homosocial bonds. The Autobiography depicts those ties as very congenial with men such as Sherwood Anderson and with masculine women such as Jane Heap, but more fraught—and more likely to induce perspectival vacillation—with Hemingway and Picasso. This multiperspectivalism structures the book and mobilizes multiple narratives of modernism’s emergence. In so doing, The Autobiography reframes Stein’s masculinity and relationship with Toklas as part of the appearance of the new that the text initially attributes solely to the formal properties of modern art and writing.

Keywords:   Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Modernism, Masculinity, Transgender theory, Queer theory, Sherwood Anderson, Jane Heap, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso

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