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The Wallflower Avant-GardeModernism, Sexuality, and Queer Ekphrasis$
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Brian Glavey

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190202651

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190202651.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 September 2021

Gertrude Stein’s Eye Lessons

Gertrude Stein’s Eye Lessons

Portraits and Pedagogy

(p.22) { 1 } Gertrude Stein’s Eye Lessons
The Wallflower Avant-Garde

Brian Glavey

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers the potential paradox that Gertrude Stein, an author often considered to be an opponent of mimesis, returned throughout her career to the composition of literary portraits. When approached from the vantage point of Stein’s dedication to queer ekphrasis, this apparent contradiction becomes the key to her pedagogical aesthetic. Stein’s goal is not, as many critics contend, to cut the word loose from its referent, but is instead to highlight forms of non-identical similitude. Abstraction functions as a means for attracting the interest of readers, often by invoking some sense of a secret reference only then to frustrate that sense. Stein’s goal in the end is to use the desire to find a likeness to change the way that a reader might pay attention to the world.

Keywords:   Gertrude Stein, portrait, abstraction, mimesis, interest

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