restricted access Speculating on an Art Movement: Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
Abstract

Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933) amalgamates narrative and market-making aims. Adapting important formal features of the novel, the text depicts the story of the cubist movement to reveal how financial and creative speculation motivates modern art movements. Ventriloquizing Toklas enables Stein to distinguish the social world’s version of speculation (embodied by Toklas) from Stein’s aesthetic version. Simultaneously, the women’s committed partnership renders monetary and aesthetic speculation indivisible and interdependent. Stein’s feminine “wife” represents the degraded public sphere, while the text allegorizes different forms of speculation, knowledge, and value, binding them together.


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