Posts tagged ‘Gertrude Stein’

April 5, 2014

“Susie Asado” — Gertrude Stein

by Biblioklept

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February 2, 2014

Gertrude Stein on Football

by Biblioklept

In a 1934 radio interview, Gertrude Stein talks American football:

INTERVIEWER: You saw the Yale-Dartmouth game a week ago Saturday didn’t you? Did you understand that in the American way or the football way or how?

STEIN: IN the American way. The thing that interested me was that the Modern American in his movements and his actions in a football game so resembled the red Indian dance and it proves that the physical country that made the one made the other and that the red Indian is still with us. They just put their heads down solemnly together and then double over, while on the sidelines the substitutes move in a jiggly way just like Indians. Then they all get down on all fours just like Indians.

INTERVIEWER: But those jiggles are just warming-up exercises.

STEIN: It doesn’t make any difference what they are doing it for, they are just doing it, like the way the Indian jiggles in the Indian dance and then there is that little brown ball they all bend down and worship.

INTERVIEWER: But the ideas in that is to get the ball across the goal line.

STEIN: But don’t you suppose I know that, and don’t you suppose the Indians had just as much reason and enjoyed their dancing just as much?

January 31, 2014

Please Unplease Me: A Review of Laura Frost’s The Problem With Pleasure

by ryan chang

First, I want to get a bad joke out of the way: it seems cruelly apt to review a scholarly text titled The Problem With Pleasure: Modernism and Its Discontents (Columbia UP 2013), especially one, while passionate and provocative, that may preclude pleasure for the casual reader. To be expected from a scholarly text, hence the bad joke, but Frost’s study of the vicissitudes of modernist unpleasure performs its argument quite well — The arrays of Unpleasure found in this book do delight and prod the reader in its investigations of everything from stalwart modernist topoi to perfume and farts. Frost’s mission, in her own words, is to “present the interwar debate about pleasure and the rise of unpleasure … as a new way of defining literary modernism more capaciously” (14). Frost wants to collapse the schism between the two divergent interwar poles of “high” and “low” culture and their shared mission to re-stabilize the shocked and distended interwar subject. Frost’s contribution to her field isn’t quite revolutionary, but the methods in which she ties the affect of text and media on the body is pressing and important, and carries weight outside the academy. For it is not simply that the “high” modernists wanted its world to repudiate fast & easy entertainment to engage with the post-World War One space. Rather, they wanted their readers to engage with pleasure in a different key — unpleasure. Seeing the beginnings of literary modernism with the more inclusive Unpleasure rather than Eliotian disdain or Poundian militancy allows us to see how literary modernists not only critiqued vernacular entertainment, but how  Jean Rhys, James Joyce and Aldous Huxley were themselves subject to mass cultural motifs in their own texts.  “High” and “low” culture were not as mutually exclusive as previously thought, Frost asserts, and the interwar period set the stage for our current moment of pleasure, cultural division, and technological innovation considerably more than we think.

January 18, 2014

“Rooms” — Gertrude Stein

by Biblioklept

“Rooms”

by Gertrude Stein

Act so that there is no use in a centre. A wide action is not a width. A preparation is given to the ones preparing. They do not eat who mention silver and sweet. There was an occupation.

A whole centre and a border make hanging a way of dressing. This which is not why there is a voice is the remains of an offering. There was no rental.

So the tune which is there has a little piece to play, and the exercise is all there is of a fast. The tender and true that makes no width to hew is the time that there is question to adopt.

To begin the placing there is no wagon. There is no change lighter. It was done. And then the spreading, that was not accomplishing that needed standing and yet the time was not so difficult as they were not all in place. They had no change. They were not respected. They were that, they did it so much in the matter and this showed that that settlement was not condensed. It was spread there. Any change was in the ends of the centre. A heap was heavy. There was no change.

Burnt and behind and lifting a temporary stone and lifting more than a drawer.

The instance of there being more is an instance of more. The shadow is not shining in the way there is a black line. The truth has come. There is a disturbance. Trusting to a baker’s boy meant that there would be very much exchanging and anyway what is the use of a covering to a door. There is a use, they are double.

If the centre has the place then there is distribution. That is natural. There is a contradiction and naturally returning there comes to be both sides and the centre. That can be seen from the description.

The author of all that is in there behind the door and that is entering in the morning. Explaining darkening and expecting relating is all of a piece. The stove is bigger. It was of a shape that made no audience bigger if the opening is assumed why should there not be kneeling. Any force which is bestowed on a floor shows rubbing. This is so nice and sweet and yet there comes the change, there comes the time to press more air. This does not mean the same as disappearance.

January 8, 2014

“Breakfast” — Gertrude Stein

by Biblioklept

“Breakfast” by Gertrude Stein

From Tender Buttons

BREAKFAST.

A change, a final change includes potatoes. This is no authority for the abuse of cheese. What language can instruct any fellow.

A shining breakfast, a breakfast shining, no dispute, no practice, nothing, nothing at all.

A sudden slice changes the whole plate, it does so suddenly.

An imitation, more imitation, imitation succeed imitations.

Anything that is decent, anything that is present, a calm and a cook and more singularly still a shelter, all these show the need of clamor. What is the custom, the custom is in the centre.

What is a loving tongue and pepper and more fish than there is when tears many tears are necessary. The tongue and the salmon, there is not salmon when brown is a color, there is salmon when there is no meaning to an early morning being pleasanter. There is no salmon, there are no tea-cups, there are the same kind of mushes as are used as stomachers by the eating hopes that makes eggs delicious. Drink is likely to stir a certain respect for an egg cup and more water melon than was ever eaten yesterday. Beer is neglected and cocoanut is famous. Coffee all coffee and a sample of soup all soup these are the choice of a baker. A white cup means a wedding. A wet cup means a vacation. A strong cup means an especial regulation. A single cup means a capital arrangement between the drawer and the place that is open.

Price a price is not in language, it is not in custom, it is not in praise.

A colored loss, why is there no leisure. If the persecution is so outrageous that nothing is solemn is there any occasion for persuasion.

A grey turn to a top and bottom, a silent pocketful of much heating, all the pliable succession of surrendering makes an ingenious joy.

A breeze in a jar and even then silence, a special anticipation in a rack, a gurgle a whole gurgle and more cheese than almost anything, is this an astonishment, does this incline more than the original division between a tray and a talking arrangement and even then a calling into another room gently with some chicken in any way.

A bent way that is a way to declare that the best is all together, a bent way shows no result, it shows a slight restraint, it shows a necessity for retraction.

Suspect a single buttered flower, suspect it certainly, suspect it and then glide, does that not alter a counting.

A hurt mended stick, a hurt mended cup, a hurt mended article of exceptional relaxation and annoyance, a hurt mended, hurt and mended is so necessary that no mistake is intended.

What is more likely than a roast, nothing really and yet it is never disappointed singularly.

A steady cake, any steady cake is perfect and not plain, any steady cake has a mounting reason and more than that it has singular crusts. A season of more is a season that is instead. A season of many is not more a season than most.

Take no remedy lightly, take no urging intently, take no separation leniently, beware of no lake and no larder.

Burden the cracked wet soaking sack heavily, burden it so that it is an institution in fright and in climate and in the best plan that there can be.

An ordinary color, a color is that strange mixture which makes, which does make which does not make a ripe juice, which does not make a mat.

A work which is a winding a real winding of the cloaking of a relaxing rescue. This which is so cool is not dusting, it is not dirtying in smelling, it could use white water, it could use more extraordinarily and in no solitude altogether. This which is so not winsome and not widened and really not so dipped as dainty and really dainty, very dainty, ordinarily, dainty, a dainty, not in that dainty and dainty. If the time is determined, if it is determined and there is reunion there is reunion with that then outline, then there is in that a piercing shutter, all of a piercing shouter, all of a quite weather, all of a withered exterior, all of that in most violent likely.

An excuse is not dreariness, a single plate is not butter, a single weight is not excitement, a solitary crumbling is not only martial.

A mixed protection, very mixed with the same actual intentional unstrangeness and riding, a single action caused necessarily is not more a sign than a minister.

Seat a knife near a cage and very near a decision and more nearly a timely working cat and scissors. Do this temporarily and make no more mistake in standing. Spread it all and arrange the white place, does this show in the house, does it not show in the green that is not necessary for that color, does it not even show in the explanation and singularly not at all stationary.

February 18, 2013

Gertrude Stein Writes F. Scott Fitzgerald

by Biblioklept

Hotel Pernollet Belley (Ain) Belley, le 22 May, 192- [1925]

My dear Fitzgerald:

Here we are and have read your book and it is a good book. I like the melody of your dedication and it shows that you have a background of beauty and tenderness and that is a comfort. The next good thing is that you write naturally in sentences and that too is a comfort. You write naturally in sentences and one can read all of them and that among other things is a comfort. You are creating the contemporary world much as Thackeray did his in Pendennis and Vanity Fair and this isn’t a bad compliment. You make a modern world and a modern orgy strangely enough it was never done until you did it in This Side of Paradise. My belief in This Side of Paradise was alright. This is as good a book and different and older and that is what one does, one does not get better but different and older and that is always a pleasure.. Best of good luck to you always, and thanks so much for the very genuine pleasure you have given me. We are looking forward to seeing you and Mrs. Fitzgerald when we get back in the Fall. Do please remember me to her and to you always

Gtde Stein

(From New Directions’ edition of The Crack-Up).

 

February 3, 2013

Gertrude Stein on Football

by Biblioklept

In a 1934 radio interview, Gertrude Stein talks American football:

INTERVIEWER: You saw the Yale-Dartmouth game a week ago Saturday didn’t you? Did you understand that in the American way or the football way or how?

STEIN: IN the American way. The thing that interested me was that the Modern American in his movements and his actions in a football game so resembled the red Indian dance and it proves that the physical country that made the one made the other and that the red Indian is still with us. They just put their heads down solemnly together and then double over, while on the sidelines the substitutes move in a jiggly way just like Indians. Then they all get down on all fours just like Indians.

INTERVIEWER: But those jiggles are just warming-up exercises.

STEIN: It doesn’t make any difference what they are doing it for, they are just doing it, like the way the Indian jiggles in the Indian dance and then there is that little brown ball they all bend down and worship.

INTERVIEWER: But the ideas in that is to get the ball across the goal line.

STEIN: But don’t you suppose I know that, and don’t you suppose the Indians had just as much reason and enjoyed their dancing just as much?

January 14, 2013

“Cézanne” — Gertrude Stein

by Biblioklept

“Cézanne” by Gertrude Stein

The Irish lady can say, that to-day is every day. Caesar can say that
every day is to-day and they say that every day is as they say.
In this way we have a place to stay and he was not met because
he was settled to stay. When I said settled I meant settled to stay.
When I said settled to stay I meant settled to stay Saturday. In this
way a mouth is a mouth. In this way if in as a mouth if in as a
mouth where, if in as a mouth where and there. Believe they have
water too. Believe they have that water too and blue when you see
blue, is all blue precious too, is all that that is precious too is all
that and they meant to absolve you. In this way Cézanne nearly did
nearly in this way. Cézanne nearly did nearly did and nearly did.
And was I surprised. Was I very surprised. Was I surprised. I was
surprised and in that patient, are you patient when you find bees.
Bees in a garden make a specialty of honey and so does honey. Honey
and prayer. Honey and there. There where the grass can grow nearly
four times yearly.

September 20, 2012

William Gass: “Ways of Reading Are Adversaries”

by Biblioklept

William Gass, in his 1977 Paris Review interview

INTERVIEWER

Is the reader an adversary for you?

GASS

No. I don’t think much about the reader. Ways of reading are adversaries—those theoretical ways. As far as writing something is concerned, the reader really doesn’t exist. The writer’s business is somehow to create in the work something which will stand on its own and make its own demands; and if the writer is good, he discovers what those demands are, and he meets them, and creates this thing which readers can then do what they like with. Gertrude Stein said, “I write for myself and strangers,” and then eventually she said that she wrote only for herself. I think she should have taken one further step. You don’t write for anybody. People who send you bills do that. People who want to sell you things so they can send you bills do that. People who want to tell you things so they can sell you things so they can send you bills do that. You are advancing an art—the art. That is what you are trying to do.

May 21, 2012

David Markson, Cormac McCarthy, Slavoj Žižek (Books Acquired, 5.19.2012)

by Biblioklept

20120521-122339.jpg

I ordered David Markson’s Reader’s Block from my local book shop, and intended to get it—and only it—this Saturday. Somehow I took a detour through the film section and picked up the Žižek and didn’t put it back; in the same section I also picked up McCarthy’s screenplay The Gardener’s Son, which is the only thing I haven’t read by him to date, so I picked it up too. So there you go.

April 4, 2012

21 Citations on Pablo Picasso — David Markson

by Biblioklept

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, oil on canvas, 1907 (MoMA)

Painting is not done to decorate apartments –PICASSO

People speak of naturalism in opposition to modern painting.
Where and when has anyone ever seen a natural work of art?
Asked Picasso.

Depressed at the apparent lack of interest in one of his early still lifes, Matisse visited his dealer to retrieve it, only to learn that it had been purchased after all.
By Picasso.

The interrelationship of Picasso and Braque during Cubism:
Like being roped together on a mountain, Braque said.

The oddity that Velazquez and Picasso, surely two of the three greatest Spanish-born painters, each used his mother’s name rather than his father’s.

Among the many paintings in her Paris flat, Gertrude Stein had two exceptional Picassos.
If there were a fire, and I could save only one picture, it would be those two. Unquote.

The Bateau-Lavoir, the legendary former Montmartre piano factory broken up into artists’ studios, where Picasso contrived any number of his early masterpieces — while living with no running water and only one communal toilet.

The so-called anarchist artist who in 1988 smeared a large X in his own blood on a wall in the Museum of Modern Art — and in the process splattered an adjacent Picasso.

Picasso. Cézanne. Matisse. Braque. Bonnard. Renoir.
All of whom painted portraits of Ambroise Vollard.

Cartier-Bresson. Brassaï. Man Ray. Lee Miller. Robert Doisneau. Robert Capa. David Douglas Duncan. Cecil Beaton.
All of whom photographed Picasso.

Picasso’s play, Desire Caught by the Tail — which could be performed for the first time only privately, because of the Nazi occupation of Paris.
But avec Camus, Sartre, Michel Leiris, Raymond Queneau, Dora Maar, Pierre Reverdy, Simone de Beauvoir.

There is no such thing as abstract art, said Picasso.
You always have to start somewhere or other.

Gertrude Stein once delighted Picasso by reporting that a collector had been dumbfounded, years afterward, to hear that Picasso had given her her portrait as a gift, rather than asking payment.
Not understanding that that early in Picasso’s career, the difference had been next to negligible.

You never paint the Parthenon; you never paint a Louis XV armchair. You make pictures out of some little house in the Midi, a packet of tobacco, or an old chair.
Said Picasso.

Future generations will regard Bob Dylan with the awe reserved for Blake, Whitman, Picasso and the like.
Said an otherwise seemingly rational writer named Jonathan Lethem.

Picasso, avec laughter, after being asked if he had used models for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon:
Where would I have found them?

Picasso’s admiration for Charlie Chaplin.
Diego Rivera’s.
Stalin’s.

Kees van Dongen’s admission that there were occasions during his own early Montmartre years when he was forced to filch milk and/or bread from neighborhood doorsteps — with an accomplice named Picasso.

Picasso, in Paris during the Nazi occupation and learning that someone had accused him of having Jewish blood:
I wish I had.

A rejection of all that civilization has done.
Said the London Times of a first Post-Impressionist exhibition, in 1910 — which included Cézanne, van Gogh, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, others.

My old paintings no longer interest me. I’m much more curious about those I haven’t done yet.
Said Picasso, at seventy-nine.

From David Markson’s The Last Novel

February 21, 2012

Gertrude Stein Next to Her Portrait (Portrait by Picasso; Photo by Man Ray; Commentary by David Markson)

by Biblioklept

In The Last NovelDavid Markson offers the following citations re: Picasso, Stein, Man Ray (citations not in Markson’s (anti-)order):

Gertrude Stein once delighted Picasso by reporting that a collector had been dumbfounded, years afterward, to hear that Picasso had given her her portrait as a gift, rather than asking payment.

Not understanding that that early in Picasso’s career, the difference had been next to negligible.

Among the many paintings in her Paris flat, Gertrude Stein had two exceptional Picassos.

If there were a fire, and I could save only one picture, it would be those two. Unquote.

Picasso. Cézanne. Matisse. Braque. Bonnard. Renoir.

All of whom painted portraits of Ambroise Vollard.

Cartier-Bresson. Brassaï. Man Ray. Lee Miller. Robert Doisneau. Robert Capa. David Douglas Duncan. Cecil Beaton.

All of whom photographed Picasso.

February 5, 2012

Gertrude Stein Talks American Football, American Indians

by Biblioklept

In a 1934 radio interview, Gertrude Stein talks American football:

INTERVIEWER: You saw the Yale-Dartmouth game a week ago Saturday didn’t you? Did you understand that in the American way or the football way or how?

STEIN: IN the American way. The thing that interested me was that the Modern American in his movements and his actions in a football game so resembled the red Indian dance and it proves that the physical country that made the one made the other and that the red Indian is still with us. They just put their heads down solemnly together and then double over, while on the sidelines the substitutes move in a jiggly way just like Indians. Then they all get down on all fours just like Indians.

INTERVIEWER: But those jiggles are just warming-up exercises.

STEIN: It doesn’t make any difference what they are doing it for, they are just doing it, like the way the Indian jiggles in the Indian dance and then there is that little brown ball they all bend down and worship.

INTERVIEWER: But the ideas in that is to get the ball across the goal line.

STEIN: But don’t you suppose I know that, and don’t you suppose the Indians had just as much reason and enjoyed their dancing just as much?

September 27, 2011

Book Acquired, 9.27.2011

by Biblioklept

20110926-033724.jpg

I’m psyched about this one—Uncreative Writing by Kenneth Goldsmith, who you may know as UbuWeb.  Here’s the description from the publisher, Columbia UP

Can techniques traditionally thought to be outside the scope of literature, including word processing, databasing, identity ciphering, and intensive programming, inspire the reinvention of writing? The Internet and the digital environment present writers with new challenges and opportunities to reconceive creativity, authorship, and their relationship to language. Confronted with an unprecedented amount of texts and language, writers have the opportunity to move beyond the creation of new texts and manage, parse, appropriate, and reconstruct those that already exist.

In addition to explaining his concept of uncreative writing, which is also the name of his popular course at the University of Pennsylvania, Goldsmith reads the work of writers who have taken up this challenge. Examining a wide range of texts and techniques, including the use of Google searches to create poetry, the appropriation of courtroom testimony, and the possibility of robo-poetics, Goldsmith joins this recent work to practices that date back to the early twentieth century. Writers and artists such as Walter Benjamin, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Andy Warhol embodied an ethos in which the construction or conception of a text was just as important as the resultant text itself. By extending this tradition into the digital realm, uncreative writing offers new ways of thinking about identity and the making of meaning.

August 8, 2011

“Ernest Taking Me to That Bum Restaurant” and Other References to Hemingway in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Notebooks

by Biblioklept

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Notebooks are crammed with little sketches, scenes, observations, and, uh, notes (obviously). Although they are brief, his notes on Ernest Hemingway reveal much about Fitzgerald’s agon with Papa.

Ernest—until we began trying to walk over each other with cleats.

Snubs—Gen. Mannsul, Telulah phone, Hotel O’Con­nor, Ada Farewell, Toulman party, Barrymore, Tal­madge, and M. Davies. Emily Davies, Tommy H. meeting and bottle, Frank Ritz and Derby, Univ. Chicago, Vallambrosa and yacht, Condon, Gerald in Paris, Ernest apartment.

Day with a busy man. Combine the day of Ernest’s pictures, the man of genius episode,

As to Ernest as a boy—reckless, adventurous, etc. Yet it is undeniable that the dark was peopled for him. His bravery and acquired characteristics.

Nevertheless value of Ernest’s feeling about the pure heart when writing—in other words the comparatively pure heart, the “house in order.”

That Willa Cather’s poem shall stand at beginning of Mediaval and that it shall be the story of Ernest.

Just as Stendahl’s portrait of a Byronic man made Le Rouge et Noir so couldn’t my portrait of Ernest as Phillipe make the real modern man.

Didn’t Hemmingway say this in effect:  If Tom Wolfe ever learns to separate what he gets from books from what he gets from life he will be an original. All you can get from books is rhythm and technique. He’s half-grown artistically—this is truer than what Ernest said about him. But when I’ve criticized him (several times in talk) I’ve felt bad afterwards. Putting sharp weapons in the hands of his inferiors.

Ernest Hemingway, while careful to avoid cliches in his work, fairly revels in them in his private life, his favorite being Parbleu (“So what?”) French, and “Yes, We Have No Bananas.” Contrary to popular opinion he is not as tall as Thomas Wolfe, standing only six feet five in his health belt. He is naturally clumsy with his body, but shooting from a blind or from adequate cover, makes a fine figure of a man. We are happy to announce that his work will appear in future exclusively on United States postage stamps.

Parallel of Ernest’s and French conversation as opposed to Gerald and me and U.S.A. emotional bankruptcy.

Do you know what your affair was founded on? On sorrow. You got sorry for each other. (Did Ernest borrow this one?)

Very strong personalities must confine themselves in mutual conversation to very gentle subjects. Everything eventually transpired—but if they start at a high pitch as at the last meeting of Ernest, Bunny and me their meeting is spoiled. It does not matter who sets the theme or what it is.

Ernest taking me to that bum restaurant. Change of station implied.

Ernest would always give a helping hand to a man on a ledge a little higher up.

Ernest Hemingway and Ernest Lubitsch—Dotty “We’re all shits.”

I talk with the authority of failure—Ernest with the authority of success. We could never sit across the table again.

People like Ernest and me were very sensitive once and saw so much that it agonized us to give pain. People like Ernest and me love to make people very happy, caring desperately about their happiness. And then people like Ernest and me had reactions and punished people for being stupid, etc., etc. People like Ernest and me————

Tom Fast’s story of Ernest.

Ernest and “Farewell to Arms”—producer story.

An inferiority complex comes simply from not feeling you’re doing the best you can—Ernest’s “drink” was simply a form of this.

It [For Whom the Bell Tolls] is so to speak Ernest’s ’Tale of Two Cities’ though the comparison isn’t apt. I mean it is a thoroughly superficial book which has all the profundity of Rebecca.

I want to write scenes that are frightening and inimitable. I don’t want to be as intelligible to my contemporaries as Ernest who as Gertrude Stein said, is bound for the Museums. I am sure I am far enough ahead to have some small immortality if I can keep well.

But there was one consolation:  They could never use any of Mr. Hemingway’s four letter words, because that was for fourth class and fourth class has been abolished—
(The first class was allowed to cheat a little on the matter.)
But on the other hand they could never use any two letter words like NO. They had to use three letter words like YES!

Bald Hemingway characters.

July 22, 2011

Midnight in Paris — Woody Allen

by Edwin Turner

Woody Allen’s new film Midnight in Paris opens with a sumptuous montage of the City of Light, clearly establishing from the get-go that the movie is Allen’s love letter to Paris. The romantic overture idealizes Paris, just as the film’s protagonist Gil, played pitch perfect by Owen Wilson, idealizes the Lost Generation of writers and artists who populated the cafes and bars of Paris in the ’20s. Gil is on a working vacation with his fiancé and future in-laws; he’s a successful Hollywood screenwriter but dreams of becoming a great novelist. Only he’s struggling with his novel-in-progress, which features a protagonist who runs a nostalgia shop. Nostalgia, or the romance of nostalgia, is the primary idiom of Midnight in Paris, and Owen Wilson transcends the usual parameters of Woody-surrogate in bringing this idiom to life. Wilson’s breezy charisma propels the movie forward at all times; indeed, the entire plot rests on Wilson’s charm, which saves the film from falling into syrupy dreck or boring indie whimsy.

Midnight in Paris works to literally charm its viewers and its protagonist, transporting the narrative back into the ’20s via a magical motorcar, where Wilson’s Gil falls in with a host of notable writers, artists, dancers, and other personalities. There are Cole Porter and Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Luis Bunuel, Pablo Picasso and Josephine Baker—but the standouts are the Fitzgeralds, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway. The Hemingway character is a marvelous parody of both Hemingway’s caricature and Hemingway’s prose—although I think the humor in his scenes was lost on more than a few of the audience members I watched the film with. On Hemingway’s advice, Gil submits his manuscript to Gertrude Stein for an honest critique. In the meantime, Gil engages in a romance with Adrianna, Picasso’s muse and mistress, who herself pines for the Belle Époque era. Through another magical transposition, Gil and Adrianna move again through time, heading back to the 1890s to meet Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Gaugin. As Gil pursues a romance with Adrianna (and the nostalgia of an idealized past), his own fiancé seems to be spending a bit too much time with a windbaggish and pretentious American who is a visiting lecturer at the Sorbonne. The reality of this conflict pulls Gil into making dramatic choices about his own future.

Midnight in Paris falls squarely into Allen’s fantasy films like The Purple Rose of Cairo, A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Alice, and Shadows and Fog. The film has much to offer those who, like Gil, find themselves fascinated by the romance of the Lost Generation. Allen’s parodies of the Fitzgeralds, Hemingway, and the rest are loving and gentle, and will surely be appreciated by most English majors. At the same time, Midnight in Paris is a slight, ephemeral work, one that relies on beautiful cinematography and the charm of its lead character more than plot, insight, or even jokes. There is no risk or danger in Gil’s fantasy, no sense that his sanity is in jeopardy or that he might not come to realize the theme of the film, which he spells out clearly for the audience if they somehow missed it—the tendency to romanticize the past has more to do with a dissatisfaction with the present than with any objective evidence that the past was somehow better, and dissatisfaction with the present should be viewed positively, for dissatisfaction can be productive and meaningful if we engage it. Recommended.

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