The True Story of Alice B. Toklas: A Study of Three Autobiographies
In this original and intriguing study, Anna Linzie examines three mid-twentieth-century texts never before treated as interrelated in a book-length work of literary criticism: Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933) and Alice B. Toklas's The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book (1954) and What Is Remembered (1963). Taking these three texts as intertexts or as an assemblage of the true story of Alice B. Toklas, Linzie challenges assumptions about primary authorship and singular identity that have continued to limit lesbian and feminist rereadings of autobiography as a genre and of Stein and Toklas as writers and historical figures.The True Story of Alice B. Toklas explores how the concept of autobiography as a primarily referential genre is challenged and transformed in relation to autobiographical texts written about the same person, the same life, but differently, by different writers, at different points in time. The concept of one true story is deconstructed in the process as Linzie modifies Homi K. Bhabha's “almost the same but not quite/not white” for the purposes of this particular study as “almost the same but not quite/not straight.” The investigation moves simultaneously on the planes of textuality and sexuality in order to provisionally articulate a “lesbian autobiographical subject” in Linzie's reading of these three texts.Linzie's study fills a gap in literary criticism where Stein's companion and her work have been more or less neglected, conceptualizing the Stein-Toklas sexual/textual relationship as fundamentally reciprocal. The True Story of Alice B. Toklas provides a new critical perspective on Toklas as indispensable to Stein's literary production, a cultural laborer in her own right, and a writer of her own books. Making a significant contribution to recent lesbian/feminist reconceptualizations of the genre of autobiography, this study will fascinate Stein and Toklas scholars as well as those interested in queer and autobiography studies.
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1 GenreTextuality and GenderSexuality in the Toklas Autobiographies
2 Authorship and Authority in The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas
3 Mimicry and SexualTextual Difference in What Is Remembered
4 The Alice B Toklas Cook Book and the Incompatible Combination
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aesthetic Alice Toklas Alice’s American anecdote argued authorship auto autobi Autobiog autobiographical truth Autobiography of Alice biography Bridgman Carl Van Vechten chapter concept context Cook Book culinary deﬁned deﬁnition Derrida’s discourse domestic Dydo emphasis Everybody’s Autobiography fact famous feminist ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁrst Fleurus gender genre Gertrude Stein Gertrude’s ghostwriter Gilmore Gilmore’s Hemingway Hemingway’s heterosexual identity inﬂuence instance intertextual kitchen labor las’s legend of Stein Leo Stein lesbian Matisse mimicry Miss Toklas Mix master modernist Moveable Feast narrative ofﬁcial ography original person Picasso points possible present study published question quite/not straight raphy reader reading recipes relation relationship Remembered repetition role rue Christine seems seen sexuality signiﬁcant speak speciﬁcally Stein and Toklas Stein–Toklas Stein’s and Toklas’s Stein’s Autobiography Stein’s death Stein’s literary Stein’s writing Stimpson story of Alice textual three Toklas autobiographies tion Toklas says true story wife woman women words