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Gertrude Stein and the Making of Jewish Modernism$
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Amy Feinstein

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066318

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066318.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

“Can a Jew be wild”

“Can a Jew be wild”

A Radical Jewish Grammar in the Voices Poems

Chapter:
(p.123) 5 “Can a Jew be wild”
Source:
Gertrude Stein and the Making of Jewish Modernism
Author(s):

Amy Feinstein

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813066318.003.0006

In the fourteen years between the completion and publication of The Making of Americans, Stein found a new voice writing poetry, portraits, and plays. Chapter 5 considers the startling proliferation of explicitly Jewish motifs in Stein’s formally revolutionary compositions of the 1910s and 1920s. In these seemingly ahistorical non-referential writings, Stein’s Jew remains a figure of convention and difference that demonstrates the paradoxical fixity and indeterminacy of modernist poetics. Stein’s Jewish lexicon expresses bourgeois family relations (especially marriage), the singularity of Jewish tradition, and, in the aftermath of World War I, international relations concerning the proper nouns “Zionist” and “Palestine.” The chapter looks closely at the poems “A Sonatina Followed by Another,” “Look at Us,” “Have They Attacked Mary. He Giggled” (which appeared in Vanity Fair in 1917), “A Radical Expert,” “Coal and Wood,” and “The Revery of the Zionist.” Beginning in the decade preceding Eliot’s The Waste Land and Joyce’s Ulysses and continuing through the 1920s, Stein’s references to Jews in her experimental poetry radically change the story of the Jew in modernism by uniting the historical with the quotidian, the cultural with the racial, and the personal with the political.

Keywords:   Voices, Poetry, Indeterminacy, Marriage, Zionist, Vanity Fair, World War One, “Coal and Wood”, “A Sonatina Followed By Another”, “Look At Us”

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