Discovery in Repetition and Repeating

This is a longish piece from Januaray 10, 2003, here transcribed from two pages of longhand.

Gertrude Stein’s Portrait of Mabel Dodge at the Villa Curonia

A close reading of a passage and a bit of translation à la Erasmian De Copia has led me to understand that Stein’s use of such terms as “there” plays with their states as both diectics and as delimiters. “There” as diectic points to a place. “There” as delimiter points towards an area — it circumscribes a space. And when you add a delimited space to a copula something astonishing happens: a moment of space, a movement of time.

There is all there is when there has all there has where there is what there is.

But who wants to work at parsing? Not I. My eye catches on the “when” and the “where” and my mind thinks of a reversal of the categories of time and space (at least in this piece of discourse) and so using Stein’s proclivity for gerunds, I generate:

what there is is there where having all there when having there all there being there

And her famous quip about Oakland — there being no there there gains new or renewed resonance. And if the reversal is dropped and if the gerund is gone and one respects the syntax of Stein and simply substitutes a nice word anticipating a garden in spring:

green is all green is when green has all green where green is what green is

What is remarkable about the sentence is that the ends possess a semantic immediacy. Lacking that tautological expression, the middle is hard to hold onto. Dizzying.

And yet. A pace. And the vertigo subsides.

Stein writes earlier in the piece:

There is not that precision when there has not been an imagination. There has not been that kind of abandonment. Nobody is alone.

There, in that spot, in that place, is all there. A sort of abandonment of the imagination, letting it go, leaving it behind, becomes that uncanny ability to remember Blake and to concentrate a universe in a tiny space. The imagination has not been. It begins again. And the way it begins again is simply by remembering nobody is alone.

Not I in my writing. Not you in your reading. Each with each other and with others. All tugging at any moment to be in a there with all there there.

And so for day 637

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.