Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Gertrude Stein & William James


Susan Kay Anderson said...

Mysteriously mysterious.

Nin Andrews said...

G.S. actually wrote that on her exam, and didn't do her exam,
and WJ responded as stated.

I think he gave her an A.

TC said...

Those dang easy graders have got a lot to apologize for.

Lyle Daggett said...

Once in high school I had a social studies class that was taught by two teachers together. They both had fairly left-liberal politics, and the class discussions were pretty lively at times. They were very big on encouraging their students to question accepted ideas and authority. This was in the spring of 1970.

At the beginning of the quarter they told the class that our main work for the quarter would be to do one large research paper, and turn it in at the end of the quarter -- they said that anyone who didn't do the assignment would get an F for the class.

I took active part in the class discussions, but I didn't do the required paper -- at the end of the quarter, instead of turning in the paper, I gave them a short handwritten note saying that I refused to do the paper because doing such a research paper wasn't relevant to anything, and I objected to teachers requiring students to do any work in general.

They gave me a C for the quarter (not an F). It was the last quarter of the year, and I didn't find out the grade I got until my report card arrived in the mail during summer vacation, so I didn't ever ask why they hadn't given me an F as they'd threatened for anyone who didn't do the paper. I've always more or less assumed that it was because actually giving someone an F for an act of protest would have exposed a level of hypocrisy in their politics. Though maybe they just decided it would be more trouble than it was worth.


On the jacket of one of Gertrude Stein's book that Random House published, the publisher Bennett Cerf wrote (this isn't an exact quote, but something pretty close), "I have to admit that I don't fully understand what Gertrude Stein is doing in this book. This, Miss Stein informs me, is because I am dumb." He went on to add a couple of additional comments about the virtues of the book.