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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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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 27 July 2021

Stein, Van Vechten and Modernism’s Queer Gaze

Stein, Van Vechten and Modernism’s Queer Gaze

Chapter:
(p.251) Chapter 7 Stein, Van Vechten and Modernism’s Queer Gaze
Source:
Gertrude Stein's Transmasculinity
Author(s):

Chris Coffman

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474438094.003.0008

This chapter offers a counterpoint to Stein’s and Hemingway’s mutual aggression by focusing on her queerly productive friendship with modernist impresario Carl Van Vechten. Van Vechten’s friendship with Stein and Toklas was flirtatious and never soured. Rather than deriding Stein’s writing—as Hemingway and Picasso occasionally did—Van Vechten helped place her manuscripts, edited her Selected Writings, organized her 1934-1935 lecture tour of the United States, and took photographs that furthered her celebrity image. To track the vicissitudes of their bond, this chapter reads Stein’s temporally warped account in The Autobiography of her first meeting with Van Vechten; examines her two word-portraits of him (“One Carl Van Vechten,” 1913, and “Van Or Twenty Years After,” 1923); and analyzes several of his photographs of her and the “Woojums” family of choice they formed with Toklas. In a circuit of masculine homosocial desire that was markedly different than those addressed in chapters Five and Six, Stein returned Van Vechten’s affection with verbal portraits that show none of the ambivalence at work in her writings about Picasso and Hemingway.

Keywords:   Gertrude Stein, Modernism, Masculinity, Transgender theory, Queer theory, Alice B. Toklas, Carl Van Vechten, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, “One Carl Van Vechten”, “Van Or Twenty Years After”

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