Friday, 23 May 2008

it is funny that the two things most men are proudest of is the thing that any man can do and does in the same way, that is being drunk and being the father of their son."- Gertrude Stein.

Something about that quote makes me wonder if it is accurate (I found it identical in a printed and online source.) I find myself wanting to add a comma. The picture is from my new set of author portrait bookmarks for Bent Books of which this is the third shown here. Mr. Bent doesn't have them online yet but you can see the previous sets..

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Michael Avolio said...

Is it possible it's from an interview, rather than something she herself wrote? That could account for the problematic punctuation.
Although, aside from that, "is the thing" should be "are the things." Not the type of mistake I'd expect her to make, even in speech...

23 May 2008 10:57:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

I was thinking
is the thing any man can do (that is being drunk)
(comma)
and (read: the other thing) being the father...

I originally started tampering with it and then thought, hold up, for all I know it could be a clever piece of wordplay,

like the old verse
"In all the world i do think
there are five reasons why we drink..."
and then enumerates four...

The first online version i can find gives it like this

"In all this world, why I do think
There are five reasons why we drink:
Good friends,
good wine,
lest we be dry
and any other reason why."

but you can se ethe point

23 May 2008 11:58:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

I only posted it because it's facing me on my desk calendar and the mystery of its syntax is haunting me.

24 May 2008 12:12:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Michael Avolio said...

Ohh, I see what you mean. But if it's "the two things most men are proudest of is [1,] the thing any man can do and [2, the thing every man] does in the same way..." it should STILL be "are" and not "is" ("proudest of are"). She's still making a list of two, even if the thing any man can do (being drunk) and the thing every man does in the same way (being a father) are separated like that.

That is to say, it should always be "the two things... are" and never "the two things... is."

Anyhow, I like that old verse's way with language much more than the (faux?) Stein-way. :)

24 May 2008 12:31:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

unless she's implying that the two things are the same thing.

24 May 2008 1:10:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

the two things Eddie Campbell is good at is being drunk, and finding his way home.

24 May 2008 1:11:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Michael Avolio said...

Hm. It seems a bit of a reach, but maybe.

"The mystery of its syntax is haunting me" is, I think, a keeper.

24 May 2008 1:41:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous John C said...

Gertrude was a stream of consciousness fan. It's probably accurate since she often avoided punctuation to derive extra effect from the way words run together.

"When I said.
A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
And then later made that into a ring I made poetry and what did I do I caressed completely caressed and addressed a noun."

But I got that quote from the internet so don't take my word for it.

24 May 2008 9:12:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger me said...

I think I would put a colon, right after "that is". But that's me, and I don't even speak english..

24 May 2008 4:39:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Matthew Adams said...

me speak english good

24 May 2008 11:04:00 pm GMT-5  

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