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Gertrude Stein, Pétain, and the Politics of Translation

In recent debates about Gertrude Stein’s World War II activity, the assumption that translation is a derivative activity persists; Stein’s translation of the speeches of Vichy chief of state Phillipe Pétain has been called inept and submissive. However, Stein’s text shows the distinct signature of her idiosyncratic poetics and her “own interest,” rendering the translation double-voiced and the author more responsible for her complicity than her critics have it. Stein’s translation project ought to be brought out of the archives and read as a valuable artifact of Modernist reactionism, as it illuminates the complexities of wartime cultural production.

Was Gertrude stein a fascist, as some are now asserting? Her decision to remain in France during World War II and translate speeches delivered by Maréchal Philippe Pétain, the Vichy chief of state, has led critics to state as much. When France and England declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, Stein was in her mid-sixties and had been living in France for more than three decades.1 She and her partner Alice B. Toklas had summered in the village of Bilignin for 15 years and decided to stay there during the war.2 They traveled briefly to Paris on a two-day pass to collect some of their things from their apartment at rue Christine, taking only two paintings with them—Pablo Picasso’s portrait of Stein and Paul Cézanne’s portrait of Madame Cézanne—leaving behind Stein’s remarkable collection of modern art. When Gestapo agents entered their apartment on 19 July 1944, Picasso alerted Stein’s long-time friend, Vichy collaborator Bernard Faÿ, who deterred the agents from removing anything but some linen, some silver, and a footstool that Toklas had embroidered after a watercolor by Picasso.3

Much of the artwork that remained in Stein and Toklas’s Paris apartment during the war was displayed in a 2012 exhibition titled “The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde,” which toured the Grand Palais in Paris, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.4 A controversy erupted around the exhibition when critics complained that the wall labels did not specify that Stein’s remarkable collection had most likely survived the war thanks to the aid of a Vichy collaborator.5 The exhibition happened to coincide with the publication of Barbara Will’s monograph, Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ, and the Vichy Dilemma, which asserts that Stein acted as a “Vichy propagandist” because she drafted a translation of a book of speeches delivered by Pétain, Paroles aux Français. Messages et écrits (1934–1941).6 The popular media reported on the controversy, from the Washington Post to the Huffington Post and from the Los Angeles Review of Books to the New York Review of Books, leading to headlines [End Page 259] in spring 2012 such as “When Great Artists Do Bad Things” and “Gertrude Stein, Fascist?”7 In response, a group of scholars including Marjorie Perloff, Joan Retallack, Ed Burns, and others published a dossier of studies in Jacket 2 for the purpose of “setting the record straight,” as Charles Bernstein’s piece is titled.8

The dossier touches briefly on Stein’s translations of Pétain’s speeches.9 Stein may have undertaken the project at the suggestion of Faÿ, but with the evidence currently at hand, we can only speculate. Did she wish to garner American support for her adopted country and its new leader, as she wrote in her introduction to the speeches? Did she carry out the translation because of her admiration for Pétain? As a move to ingratiate herself with the Vichy administration, given the precarious status she and Alice had as Jewish lesbians? As an opportunity to make money at a juncture when she was low on funds? To help Faÿ, who felt that arranging for this translation would aid his career?10 All of the above? Faÿ may have proposed that she take on the project to help “ensure her safety in wartime France,” some scholars suggest (A, 405).11

Between December 1941 and January 1942, Stein began translating Paroles aux Français. Messages et écrits (1934–1941). The book had been published in September 1941, at a moment when Pétain’s popularity was dipping in the free zone.12 She appears to have signed a contract for the translation, and wrote an introduction for the volume (which shows that she was interested in bolstering his reputation), but it was never published. In January 1943, a neighbor in Bilignin, in addition to the sub-prefect of her town, “supposedly prevailed upon her to abandon the [translation] project because it drew excessive attention to her in an already risky situation under the occupation” (A, 410).13 She had translated more than half of the volume and was in the process of translating Pétain’s New Year speech of 1941 when, according to her manuscripts, she suddenly stopped in mid sentence.14 This was highly unusual, for she insisted on completing projects and frequently “wrote into given spaces,” allowing the parameters to determine the length of her composition—for example, making sure to complete a story when she arrived at the end of a notebook.15

Drafts of 29 speeches, two of which are incomplete, are held among the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers at Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Books Library. The speeches present the official ideology of the new French State and cover topics such as national recovery, foreign policy, and the Alsace-Lorraine refugees.16 Stein’s translation generally follows the order of the speeches collected in [End Page 260] the 1941 volume. The time that she devoted to the translation (one year) and the intensity with which she corrected her drafts show her intellectual commitment to the project. She was engaged in a reflective translation process, in which each word was weighed and debated with her companion, Alice B. Toklas, whose corrections were made in red. The outcome is a text that is thoroughly hers: Pétain’s speeches were Steined. (However, I want to note that “Steining” a text necessarily implies the participation of Toklas, who was a textual collaborator in all of Stein’s work.)

In the present essay, I suggest that Stein’s unpublished translation of Pétain’s speeches, which has yet to be studied in depth, ought to be included in considerations of Modernist literary experiments of reactionary nature.17 The translation reveals a carefully crafted poetics that fits within the general idiosyncratic style, or Steinese, of her published work. One of my goals is to demonstrate this similarity and in so doing to unsettle prevalent readings that depict Stein as intellectually and creatively subservient to Pétain. Such readings flatten the complexities of artistic production under occupation, and are underpinned by biases concerning the creativity and originality inherent in translation. They perpetuate the gendered logic by which translation is understood as a secondary and derivative activity (reproductive rather than productive). Stein’s translation constituted a creative practice through which she produced a new text. She took ownership of Pétain’s text and placed her own stamp on it; it is structured by her hallmark sonic play and repetitions. As I’ll demonstrate through genetic and comparative linguistic analysis, there are clear resemblances between the syntax, parallel structures, repetitions, and driving rhymes in Stein’s Pétain translation and her published work. Stein brought Pétain’s language into her own idiolect, rendering it in the same English-French inter-language (a variety “intermediate between the speaker’s native language and the target language”) that characterized much of her writing of this period.18 On a broader level, Stein’s translation reveals her abiding conviction in the autonomy of the text, and the importance of pursuing her “own interest” even when working on a translation project.19

Stein’s wartime writing has been criticized for insufficiently responding to its moment and for a hermetic style that evades political engagement. Yet her translation can be considered one way she sought to bridge her relative distance from the events of the war and to involve herself in politics. The aesthetics of collaboration is interestingly double-voiced in this case: her translation expresses an agency that at once corroborates and generates the language of Vichy. It is [End Page 261] therefore complicit with the aims of the regime. Her contribution to politics remained within the covers of her handwritten notebook, but had the translation been published, Stein would have very likely been considered a collaborator. Thus, while currently circulating claims that Stein “signed up” to become a “Vichy propagandist” are factually incorrect, archival evidence demonstrates that in 1942 she wished to help introduce Pétain’s ideas to Americans.20

The work of translation was filtered through Stein’s experience of the war. It contains a “domestic remainder,” as Lawrence Venuti calls it, or “an inscription of values, beliefs, and representations linked to historical moments and social positions in the receiving culture.”21 The translation sheds light on Stein’s views during key years of World War II, when she, like many middle-class inhabitants of her village, first welcomed Pétain as a savior—based on his 1916 triumph at the Battle of Verdun—before becoming disenchanted with him. In the introduction she drafted, Stein glorifies Pétain, citing the opinions of her French neighbors to suggest that he has once again become the country’s much-needed hero, comparing him to the American founding fathers.22 But in in Wars I Have Seen, from 1943 onward, she repeatedly expresses fervent support for the maquis, the Resistance fighters, whom she likens to Robin Hood, and worries about her neighbors, “firm reactionaries who are convinced that all maquis are terrorists.”23 In October 1943 she writes that Pétain is “an old man a very old man and mostly nowadays everybody has forgotten all about him” (W, 92). In August 1944 she describes Vichy as an “oligarchy and dictatorship,” and Adolf Hitler as a “monster” (W, 228, 231).

An incident concerning a long-delayed letter illustrates Stein’s own sense of her shifting views. In an undated letter from early 1942, Stein wrote to Random House editor Bennett Cerf that she had begun translating Pétain’s book of speeches, noting that her opinion of him had already seen fluctuations in 1941: “I found the book convincing and moving to an extraordinary degree and my idea was to write an introduction telling how my feelings have changed about him, I have had strong ups and downs and I think it would all do a lot of good, we all now over here can begin to understand that life with its reverses, are not what they were when all went alright” (A, 413). This letter went astray during the war and did not reach Cerf until 1946, reappearing unexpectedly, somewhat like a time capsule. When Cerf responded with outrage, Stein sent him a telegram: “KEEP YOUR SHIRT ON BENNET DEAR LETTER RE PETAIN WAS WRITTEN IN 1941” (A, 413). [End Page 262]

On 10 May 1943, Stein was placed on the “Liste Otto,” a list of blacklisted Jewish authors who wrote in French (“Juedische Autoren, Écrivains Juifs”).24 However, she continued to publish in Resistance publications such as Confluences, Fontaine, and L’Arbalète.25 An essay recounting her experience returning to Paris with Toklas after the war ended was published in Fontaine in April 1945, in the same issue as texts from Paul Éluard, Vercors (author of the resistance novel The Silence of the Sea), Pierre Emmanuel (on Jean-Paul Sartre), G. E. Clancier (on poetry and resistance), François Mauriac (an excerpt from his Occupation journal), and Federico García Lorca. The editors’ decision to feature her work in such company indicates that they viewed her as supportive of the Resistance. Thus, given the scope of her writings during the war and the fluctuation of her views, Stein’s translation of 1942 preserves traces of a particularly reactionary moment. Examining the draft uncovers her thinking and her understanding of the war as it took place, and demonstrates the complexities of living under occupation.

Since the late 1990s, scholars have begun to pay closer attention to Stein’s wartime writing, and her friendship with Faÿ has been regularly noted.26 But the 2012 debate, in its mediatization and presentation as a long-obscured truth coming to light, resembles exposés of Martin Heidegger, Paul De Man, and Louis-Ferdinand Céline—or controversies around the reactionary politics held by T. S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, W. B. Yeats, and Ezra Pound. Pound, for one, maintained views that led him to outright fascism commitment, a stint as radio propagandist for Benito Mussolini, and eventually, a trial for treason in the United States.27 There is far more significant detail about these histories than can be discussed here, but suffice it to say that in analyzing Stein’s reactionary politics, there is at least one major difference that needs to be taken into account, and which I keep in mind throughout this essay: none of the preceding writers shared Stein’s precarious status as a Jew and a lesbian living in Nazi-occupied territory.

While there is no historical or literary evidence that Stein was a fascist, she was most certainly a political conservative. She disliked communism and supported the General Francisco Franco-led Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War (A, 413). One of her correspondents, Will Rogers, wrote that she had the mentality of a “rentier”:

Without her fixed income we might never have heard of the rue de Fleurus, but with it we should not be surprised to find her disapproving of Roosevelt and the New Deal, believing in rugged individualism, favoring a gold basis for the dollar, regarding a man out of work as lazy or incompetent, thinking every American could take care of himself.28 [End Page 263]

She has been described as a patrician, and during the war she maintained friendships with upper-class women who were members of the Croix de Feu, a pro-Vichy organization (see A, 414–16). Unlike her contemporaries who poured their efforts into the Resistance (Éluard, Louis Aragon, Robert Desnos, and René Char, to name just a few), Stein must be grouped with those who made compromises and focused their energies on making art. She continued to write while German troops were quartered in her home, just as Henri Matisse continued to paint when they were lodged in his, and as Picasso persevered with his painting despite harassment and regular visits from German officers. “Those who stayed … exchanged overt freedom for inner exile or in some cases collaboration,” writes cultural historian Frederic Spotts: “They believed it was necessary to work in familiar surroundings and that their work was more important than the circumambient ideological environment of Occupation.”29

Assessment of cultural production under the Vichy regime is an ongoing process, and the case of Stein’s wartime writing is an example of the challenges that persist. One of the many after-effects of the postwar purge (épuration) of collaborators has been a glorification of the Resistance in French culture, and a disinclination to explore the myriad modes of compromise and outright collaboration among artists, intellectuals, and average citizens alike.30 Monographs devoted to the question of “how artists and intellectuals survived the Nazi occupation,” as Spott’s study The Shameful Peace is subtitled, have been few and slow to appear.31 But the rhetoric involved in the recent debate about Stein—and the slippage between the concepts of fascism, Nazism, and Pétainism in the articles on Stein mentioned above—is directly related to the knowledge gaps in this still evolving field of inquiry.

i. the problem of steinian style

In the recent debate about Stein’s views on Pétain, her distinctive poetics are at issue.32 Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun, a leftist-progressive magazine of Jewish culture and politics, writes in an editorial dated 4 June 2012, “[A]rtists, writers, poets, and intellectuals are not exempt from the moral obligation to fight against the rise of evil.”33 His argument is consonant with those of public intellectuals in the west who, at least since Émile Zola, have called for writers and artists to provide counter-discourse and aid social change. Lerner links moral behavior to the choice of subject matter, criticizing those artists and intellectuals who may have “received protection from Nazis and may arguably have even unintentionally helped fascist regime[s],” [End Page 264] writing that they had a “moral obligation to use their creativity and smarts to alert those who listened to them or read their poems, articles, or books to inform people about what was evil about fascism, and why it should be resisted with all one’s energies.”34 He goes on to expand his argument to a writer’s choice of style:

Nor is it an excuse to say, as some have, that Gertrude Stein or others like her who benefited from the protection of Nazi collaborators had no obligation to do this [“to speak out clearly and unambiguously”] since their form of writing and communication was not that of discursive sentences or positions. One’s form of communication is itself an ethical choice, and cannot be given a blanket permission in the face of mass murder happening around oneself. If you choose to be ambiguous in the face of evil, you become one of its collaborators, empowerers, or enablers.35

It is true that Stein did not speak out to denounce Vichy or the Nazis, as many of her peers did. Lerner characterizes this in religious terms as a “sin of silence,” and numerous other scholars, although avoiding moral judgment, have considered her silence as a form of complicity.36 Archival records do not show with any clarity what she knew or did not know about Vichy, the deportations from France, or the camps, but Rabbi Lerner makes an important argument.

The idea that stylistic ambiguity is equivalent to moral and political ambiguity is articulated in several other essays from 2011–13 that criticize Stein’s wartime activities. But are one’s poetics necessarily coextensive with one’s ethics and politics? Poetry scholars such as Mutlu Konuk Biasing, James Longenbach, and David Caplan have argued that form cannot be understood as possessing trans-historical political value (free verse is not inherently liberating, for example).37 The fact that the same poetic form can convey contradictory political meanings leads Longenbach to caution against the “easy confluence of formal and social vision,” Caplan to argue for attention to form’s changing, contextually dependent political and aesthetic implications, and Biasing to assert the ultimate neutrality of form.38 These scholars would agree that a sonnet is not fascist per se, as William Carlos Williams had claimed it was in 1938.39 Yet difficult texts—whether they are called hermetic, opaque, indeterminate, obscurantist, or ambiguous—continue to be read as willfully elitist and, as in Stein’s case, reactionary in their retreat from explicit political statement.

This raises the question of what Stein was writing and publishing between 1939 and 1945, and whether those texts display her signature [End Page 265] poetics. Despite being blacklisted on the Liste Otto, Stein continued to write about the war while it was taking place, in In Savoy; or, Yes Is for a Very Young Man, A Play of the Resistance in France; Brewsie & Willie (1945); and the autobiographical Wars I Have Seen, which was written from 1943 through 1945. As complex as her wartime writing is, much of it, including Wars I Have Seen, Paris France (1940), and Brewsie & Willie, is much clearer, discursively, than her earlier work—and arguably may be considered part of her “audience writing,” as she called her works that include, most famously, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933).40 The jacket copy of the first edition of Wars I Have Seen, signed by Random House editor Bennett Cerf, boasts that “when she wants to, [Stein] can write straightforward English that any average high-school student can understand. Wars I Have Seen, with a very few minor aberrations, is another such book.” Random House marketed Wars I Have Seen as a “noteworthy” book about the war, in the company of Richard Tregaskis’s Guadalcanal Diary, Cecil Brown’s Suez to Singapore, and Captain Ted W. Lawson and Robert Considine’s Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, all of which are listed on the back inside jacket. The first edition includes a red banner across the cover with a description in all capitals: “A FIRST-HAND REPORT OF FOUR YEARS OF NAZI RULE IN FRANCE AND THE JOY OF LIBERATION IN 1944.” (Figure 1).

In the jacket copy, Cerf describes Wars I Have Seen as an eyewitness account of the French experience of occupation that was smuggled out like an urgent message.

Bear in mind that this entire book was written in longhand under the very noses of the Nazis. After they were driven out of France, Alice Toklas typed the manuscript and Frank Gervasi, who moved in with General Patch’s Seventh U.S. Army, brought it back with him to America. Wars I Have Seen is the on-the-spot story of what the common people of France endured from 1940 to September, 1944.

Not quite reportage, and not quite memoir, Wars I Have Seen is set to the war in real time.41 Stein always includes the dates on which she wrote, explaining that she intends to end the book only when the first American soldier came to Culoz. Archival evidence shows that she considered the book an autobiography. She tried out a series of titles on the cover of the first notebook of drafts: “An Emotional Autobiography,” “Gertrude Stein’s Autobiography,” and “I am really writing my autobiography,” as well as “Civil Domestic and Foreign Wars.”42 In the middle figures a large “I” with squiggles radiating [End Page 266]

Figure 1. Front cover of first edition of Wars I Have Seen, 1945. Author’s copy.
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Figure 1.

Front cover of first edition of Wars I Have Seen, 1945. Author’s copy.

from it. The book may be about the many wars she lived through, from the Spanish-American War, the Russo-Japanese War, the Boer War, the Chinese-Japanese War, two Balkan wars, World War I, the Abyssinian War, and the Spanish Civil War, through World War II, but Stein herself is always at the center of it (Figure 2). Her title indicates that the book’s point of view is “at once relative and self-emphasizing, at once involved and detached.”43 The fact that Stein made writing a daily practice, and did not correct the book with hindsight, makes Wars I Have Seen a useful document of the time. It offers a nuanced portrait of village life in the Bugey region and expresses Stein and her fellow villagers’ increasingly vigorous support for the Resistance. In this [End Page 267] way it charts the circulation of ideologies in France between 1939 and 1944 and the “belated rise of the antifascist opposition in France.”44

Figure 2. Cover of notebook draft of Wars I Have Seen.<br/><br/>Courtesy of the Gertrude Stein Estate. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
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Figure 2.

Cover of notebook draft of Wars I Have Seen.

Courtesy of the Gertrude Stein Estate. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

The language of Wars I Have Seen may not be as limpid as that of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, but it is closer to that end of the spectrum of her work. However, the idea that Stein espoused a poetics of ambiguity and indeterminacy remains predominant among scholars. Depending on the critic, her “indeterminacy,” a synonym for the undecidability of poetic associations, signals that her work is either politically subversive or reactionary.45 The frequently cited hallmarks of her opacity, difficulty, or indeterminacy include her lexical [End Page 268] repetitions, recursive structures, and highly abstract texts, such as the cubist poetry of Tender Buttons (1914); the apparent simplicity of some of her syntax, which has been read as puerile; and conversely, the sheer volume of lengthy, run-on sentences. This is not surprising, given that since she began publishing, her poetics has been met with bewilderment and, at times, ridicule. In 1929, Max Eastman memorably identified Stein with “the cult of unintelligibility,” later calling her its “high priestess,” a phrase that has been widely repeated.46 Her more accessible “audience writing” is overlooked in such assessments, and in particular, the relative clarity of her wartime writing, which often features straight-ahead, discursive sentences.

While the majority of scholars of twentieth-century poetry have focused on the indeterminacy of Stein’s language, a few have shown that her style and mode of composition do anything but invite indeterminacy, and that Stein in fact eschews it in her search for exactitude, mastery, authorial control, and textual autonomy.47 In this line of thinking, her modernism is “absolutely devoted to the name and the determinacy it entails,” as Jennifer Ashton has observed; Stein is committed to the integrity of the text, which, if it is to be a “masterpiece,” can never be an open text.48 The reader’s experience is irrelevant to the meaning of the poem that she, the author, creates and which will “force itself” upon the reader (PG, 321).49 The complications that she invents, as she writes in “Poetry and Grammar,” “make eventually for simplicity”: “Why if you want the pleasure of concentrating on the final simplicity of excessive complication would you want any artificial aid to bring about that simplicity” (PG, 321). Stein’s writing is anything but indeterminate, given the tight control she wielded over her texts and her desire to bend language to her “own interest” (PG, 320). In the next section I expand on this claim to show that the same is true of Stein’s translation, and that her draft demonstrates a level of authorial control that is similar to that of her original compositions. Her manipulation of the speeches contradicts the notion that she ceded aesthetic control. Quite to the contrary, she embellished the original. Stein appears to have been committed to a sense-for-sense translation, casting herself as a generator of text, an orator who would trumpet Pétain’s texts to Americans.

Stein’s style is deliberately crafted to maintain total control over the text and its reception. She is interested in “exactitude of abstract thought … creating sense by intensity of exactness.”50 It is up to the audience to follow along. The same is true of her translational disobedience and her “Steining” of Pétain’s speeches. Close examination of her [End Page 269] archive unsettles readings that depict her as intellectually and creatively subordinate to Pétain as a figure of authority. Her creativity remained apart and sovereign, despite the fact that her political ideas were marked by allegiance to Pétain. She insisted on translating according to her own poetics, and indeed it seems she thought she could improve Pétain’s style (which has been called “dry and didactic”) (M, 79n1).51 She believed that she had a role to play in disseminating information about Pétain to her fellow Americans. This is consonant with the self-aggrandizement visible both in her published and unpublished work (vividly figured by the “I” on the cover of the notebook in which she wrote Wars I Have Seen).

ii. stein’s “own interest” in the pétain translations

Some have claimed that Stein’s version is conspicuously maladroit. One scholar calls it an “exercise in shallowness and ambiguity” that makes Pétain sound “foolish, childish, or inept,” and another writes that Stein makes the language “unreadable” in her “word-by-word translation that must be a joke.”52 A third, Barbara Will, describes it as “‘almost stupefyingly literal,’” suggesting that Stein translated “word by word” and “completely ignores questions of idiom or style.”53 Will claims that based on the translation’s linguistic ineptitude, Stein was “in thrall to the aura of a great man”; for her, the translation shows a “compositional submissiveness” and “the attempt to render the French original into English through a one-to-one correspondence between signs seems to be conceding authority, interpretation, and interrogation to the voice of Pétain.”54 This account implies that Stein viewed Pétain’s speeches as something like a sacred text, and followed a pietistic theory of translation resembling that advocated by early Christian commentators, who urged equivalence between original and target texts.55 This interpretation would have Stein relinquish her aesthetic principles and set aside her hallmark, aggressively self-asserting poetics when she translated. But these complaints ignore Stein’s very particular sense of style and her command of French. Any translation decision she made must be taken as deliberate. She had lived in France since 1902, had translated Georges Hugnet’s Enfances (1933) and Gustave Flaubert’s Trois Contes (1877), and had written her own works in French (as Will notes). The above interpretation of her translation poetics as puerile also fails to account for the resemblances between the style of her translations and her wartime writing.56 It does not make sense given the mix of phono-semantic matching and interlanguage that characterizes the translation. [End Page 270]

To read Stein’s translation as “submissive” rehearses an old canard about the secondary nature of translation. Translation, as activity and text, has long been gendered as derivative and female, according to what Lori Chamberlain calls the “politics of originality and its logic of violence.”57 Tropes used to characterize translation often imply sexual domination, as in the work of George Steiner, who describes translation as an “act of appropriative penetration” in After Babel, or Jerome, who writes of the translator “[carrying] the sense captive into his own language.”58 These tropes have been thoroughly analyzed by feminist critics such as Chamberlain, who notes that “the reason translation is so overcoded, so overregulated, is that it threatens to erase the difference between production and reproduction which is essential to the establishment of power.”59 Stein produced a new text that corresponded to the text by Pétain and yet at the same time was indelibly her own. Her translation is subversive—not politically, to be sure, since it is complicit with the aims of Vichy—but linguistically subversive, as it aims to take control of the text. Ultimately, this intensifies her responsibility for the project.

Stein develops her credo of authorial control in the essay “Poetry and Grammar,” an essay that extensively analyzes parts of speech and the “inner life of sentences and paragraphs” (PG, 321). She explains that certain types of punctuation undermine her independence and precision, and therefore casts them out of her republic:

As I say commas are servile and they have no life of their own, and their use is not a use, it is a way of replacing one’s own interest and I do decidedly like to like my own interest my own interest in what I am doing. A comma by helping you along holding your coat for you and putting on your shoes keeps you from living your life as actively as you should lead it and to me for many years and I still do feel that way about it only now I do not pay as much attention to them, the use of them was positively degrading.

(PG, 321)

Stein chafes against the idea of being a passive writer, and argues that commas undercut the writer’s mastery of the sentence as well as the reader’s experience of it. This is a motif of control that runs through all of her work. Steinian sentences are carefully designed to “force” themselves upon the reader. (In Tender Buttons Stein had written “secure the steady rights and translate more than translate the authority, show the choice and make no more mistakes than yesterday.”)60 This aesthetic principle applies to her translation poetics in several ways. [End Page 271]

In the translation, Stein neither systematically dilates nor condenses the sentences. At times, she makes them more declarative and direct, stripping them down to their basic components, while at others, she echoes the Latinate structure of French syntax for a foreignizing effect, as translation theorists from Friedrich Schleiermacher to Antoine Berman have called it. Schleiermacher defines “a feeling of the foreign” as the sense a translator imparts to her readers that they are encountering a foreign tongue even when reading a translation in their own language.61 Her English is a Steinese version of English, however. (I use the term Steinese even though critics have tended to employ it pejoratively ever since Stein began first published. I want to recuperate the term to indicate her characteristic style, cadence, word play, and sound play.)62 I’ll mention three features of Steinese that are salient in the translation: 1) the omission of punctuation; 2) a tendency toward parallel structures and repetitions on all levels (alliteration, lexical repetition, syntactical parallels); and 3) the cultivation of a narrative logic according to which sound leads sense (often marked by word play and calque).

Conventional punctuation is often absent from the translation. Question marks, for example, are consistently replaced by periods. “Pourquoi faut-il que les heureuses dispositions, tirées de nos malheurs, se soient estompées dans la prospérité?” becomes “Why must it be that the excellent qualities created by our distresses are stamped out by our prosperity.” Similarly, “Où en sommes-nous en 1938?” becomes “Where are we in 1938.”63 This translation decision is in keeping with Stein’s composition method as she sets it out in “Poetry and Grammar,” where she explains that she does not consider questions marks “interesting.”

The question mark is aright when it is all alone when it I used as a brand on cattle or when it could be used in decoration but connected with writing it is completely entirely completely uninteresting. It is evident that if you ask a question you ask a question but anybody who can read at all knows when a question is a question as it is written in writing. Therefore I ask you therefore wherefore should one use it the question mark. … A question is a question, anybody can know that a question is a question and so why add to it the question mark when it is already there when the question is already there in the writing. Therefore I never could bring myself to use a question mark, I always found it positively revolting, and now very few do use it.

(PG, 316–17)

Additionally, as in typical Steinian syntax, which can unfurl like kudzu, clauses in the translation that would be normally set off by commas are not, as in “Those which remain to us considerable though they are [End Page 272] constitute only a mangled victory” [Ce qui nous en reste [des clauses des traités de 1919], si appréciable que ce soit, ne constitue plus qu’une victoire mutilée] (S; P, 19). Stein is vociferous on the topic of commas and how they “enfeeble” sentences (PG, 319). Commas undercut the writer’s mastery of the sentence as well as the reader’s experience of its definitude. A comma is “at most a poor period that it lets you stop and take a breath but if you want to take a breath you ought to know yourself that you want to take a breath” (PG, 320–21). Writing lengthy sentences, which string together “long dependent adverbial clauses,” thus becomes “a passion” for her:

Complications make eventually for simplicity. … You can see how loving the intensity of complication of these things that commas would be degrading. Why if you want the pleasure of concentrating on the final simplicity of excessive complication would you want any artificial aid to bring about that simplicity. Do you see now why I feel about the commas I did and as I do.

Think about anything you really like to do and you will see what I mean.

When it gets really difficult you want to disentangle rather than to cut the knot, at least so anybody feels who is working with any thread, so anybody feels who is working with any tool so anybody feels who is writing any sentence or reading it after it has been written. … A long complicated sentence should force itself upon you, make you know yourself knowing it[.]

(PG, 321)

In this crucial essay, Stein sets out a philosophy of composition characterized by control and exactitude. Its fruits are equally visible in her own texts of the time and those that she translated and made her own. The distinct “pleasure of concentrating on the final simplicity of excessive complication” is clearly a far cry from championing indeterminacy.

Stein also makes robust use of parallel structures and repetitions, even when they do not appear in Pétain’s original. For example, in the following excerpt, where Pétain employs two different verbs (relever, redresser), Stein uses just one, “reestablish,” and carries it forward through the text as a key term: “The same way as we reestablished ourselves in 1871 after our defeat, Germany beaten in 1918 reestablished itself as soon as we prematurely quit the banks of the Rhine” [nous nous sommes relevés en 1871 … de même l’Allemagne … s’est redressé dès que nous avons quitté prématurément les bords du Rhin.] (S; P, 19). On the following page, when Pétain refers to redressement, or recovery, Stein tries out several possibilities: “Our destiny is still in our hands, the conditions way of possibilities of pulling ourselves [End Page 273] together reestablishing ourselves are easy to state explain tell” [Notre destin reste dans nos mains: les conditions du redressement sont faciles à énoncer] (S; P, 20). Here, we see that Stein ultimately maintains the slightly strange “reestablish” as a translation for redresser, as she did earlier. In her version, redresser is not just “recovery” or improvement, nor its alternate denotation, the physical gesture of straightening up, but instead becomes a national movement of self-assertion, both in the case of Germany and France. Alliteration is often a guiding principle of word selection; Stein offers “Nothing nevertheless is lost,” for “rien cependant n’est perdu,” rejecting Toklas’s suggestion of translating cependant as “however” (S). A similar logic explains her translation of “le combat reste le même” as “the struggle continues the same” (S). She considers “fight” and “combat” “remains the same,” “continues the same,” and “is the same,” but ultimately chooses a slightly odd formulation. It may sound unconventional, but it follows an alliterative logic.

The drafts are also particularly marked with instances of calque, such as translating discours as “discourse” instead of “speech.” Will cites this particular calque of “discourse” as prime evidence for Stein’s “incongruous, even inept” translation: “Arguably, this is the work of a writer with little or no real familiarity toward the foreign language being translated.”64 However, Stein’s translation of “discourse” occurs near the end of the third notebook held in the archive; in the first two notebooks, constituting more than two hundred pages of handwritten drafts, she systematically translates discours correctly as “an address.” This indicates that deviations such as the choice of “discourse” are either unconscious slips or deliberate translation decisions, and as I will discuss below, they are instances of Stein’s interlanguage between French and English.

The following example from the 1938 “Pour l’union des français” demonstrates Stein’s lexical choices that create word play. She links “remembrances” and “dismembered country,” yoking together memory and the body, suggesting that it is the work of memory to reconstitute the country torn apart like Osiris’s body:

In spite of the understanding never to speak of it, all our remembrance was faithful to it and our emotions turned toward the blue line of the Vosges which marked henceforward the boundary of our dismembered country.


[Malgré les consignes de n’en parler jamais, toutes les mémoires restèrent fidèles et les esprits tournés vers la ligne bleue des Vosges, qui marquait désormais à l’Est les frontières de la Patrie mutilée.]

(P, 14) [End Page 274]

It seems fair to conclude that Stein employed different translations of mutilée based on the context of the sentence and the rhetorical effect she was after. She is likely to have chosen “dismembered country” for “Patrie mutilée” in the passage above because of the suggestive sonic and semantic links between “dismembered” and “remembrance.” This is especially probable given that in the instance cited earlier, in which she rendered “une victoire mutilée” as “a mangled victory,” neither she nor Toklas made any edits to the line, indicating that they were in accord about the translation’s accuracy. The translation of Patrie, or homeland, as “country” is also notable, as it seems to undo Pétain’s tripartite slogan Travail, Famille, Patrie (Work, Family, Fatherland), which had replaced the Republican motto Liberté, Egalité, Fraterntié. But as in characteristic Steinese, sound leads the way. “Country” paired with “boundary” is more euphonious, and perhaps more generalizable for her American readership. How different the translation would have been, and potentially more alienating for the American reader, had Stein opted for “the borders of our mutilated fatherland” rather than “the boundary of our dismembered country.”

To delve more deeply into the ways that sound leads sense in these drafts, I will take a closer look at another text, Pétain’s notorious speech, “Appel du 17 juin 1940,” in which he took the helm of the Vichy government. In it he portrays himself as France’s savior, expresses compassion for his people’s suffering, and announces the end of hostilities. The next day, Charles de Gaulle broadcast a response in London that is commonly considered the origin of the resistance movement, the infamous “Appel du 18 juin 1940” rejecting Pétain’s call. Shortly thereafter, on 22 June 1940, the armistice was signed at Rethondes in a symbolically charged location: the same train car where the Reich had accepted defeat in 1918. The number and intensity of corrections to Stein’s translation indicate her sense of the momentousness of this particular speech, and it is clear that she invested particular energy into translating it (Figure 3). [End Page 275]

Figure 3. Manuscript page of Wars I Have Seen.<br/><br/>Courtesy of the Gertrude Stein Estate. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
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Figure 3.

Manuscript page of Wars I Have Seen.

Courtesy of the Gertrude Stein Estate. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

The officially sanctioned version of Pétain’s speech was a 1940 translation by Emile Pons, a professor at Strasbourg, which was published (along with a Spanish translation) in a pamphlet by the Fédération des associations françaises pour le développement des relations avec l’étranger and the Comité France-Amérique, titled L’armistice du 25 Juin 1940 and edited by Gabriel Louis-Jaray. Louis-Jaray later edited the 1942 volume of Pétain’s Messages et écrits from which Stein translated; and he was the editor who offered Stein the contract for this translation:

French People

At the request of the President of the Republic I assume from to-day the direction of the government of France. Convinced of the devotion of our admirable army which is fighting with a heroism worthy of its long military tradition against an enemy superior in numbers and in arms, convinced by its magnificent resistance it has fulfilled its obligations to our allies, convinced of the support of the veterans whom I have pride in having commanded, convinced of the confidence of all the people I dedicate all of myself to France to appease its agony. [End Page 276]

In these melancholy days I think of the unhappy fugitives who suffering every extremity of privation cover our roads. I convey to them my compassion and my solicitude. It is with a heavy heart that I say to you to-day that it is necessary to attempt to stop fighting.

This night, I have sent to our opponent to ask him if he is ready to consider with us as between soldiers and after battle and in all honor the means of putting an end to hostilities.

That all the French will gather to the government over which I preside during this time of difficulty and stress, and quiet their anxieties in order to be conscious only of their faith in the destiny of their country.


[Maréchal Pétain, 17 June 1940


à l’appel de M. le président de la République, j’assume à partir d’aujourd’hui la direction du gouvernement de la France. Sûr de l’affection de notre admirable armée, qui lutte avec un héroïsme digne de ses longues traditions militaires contre un ennemi supérieur en nombre et en armes, sûr que par sa magnifique résistance elle a rempli son devoir vis-à-vis de nos alliés, sûr de l’appui des anciens combattants que j’ai eu la fierté de commander, sûr de la confiance du peuple tout entier, je fais à la France le don de ma personne pour atténuer son malheur.

En ces heures douloureuses, je pense aux malheureux réfugiés, qui, dans un dénuement extrême, sillonnent nos routes. Je leur exprime ma compassion et ma sollicitude. C’est le cœur serré que je vous dis aujourd’hui qu’il faut cesser le combat.

Je me suis adressé cette nuit à l’adversaire pour lui demander s’il est prêt à rechercher avec nous, entre soldats, après la lutte et dans l’honneur, les moyens de mettre un terme aux hostilités.

Que tous les Français se groupent autour du gouvernement que je préside pendant ces dures épreuves et fassent taire leur angoisse pour n’écouter que leur foi dans le destin de la patrie.]65

As in her own compositions, here Stein carefully crafts the language of the translated speech according to her “own interest.” This is visible in her calculated acceptance of some of Toklas’s editorial suggestions and rejection of others. In comparison with other, much less marked-up pages, Stein’s draft of the opening passages of this speech is particularly revised. The second version in slanting script on the left-hand page is unusual for her notebooks (Figure 3). Stein appears to have tried out the loaded word “Armistice” in the title at the top of the second version of the translation, and then crossed it out. “Armistice” would have been her addition, since the word does not appear in Pétain’s speech. In 1940, it had been a much-discussed, contested term, offered as a more dignified alternative to “capitulation” (M, 65). By the time Stein was carrying out the translation in 1942, however, the idea that [End Page 277] an armistice would bring peace had been shown to be a false hope. It is possible that, as she prepared the draft with her American audience in mind, she had considered calling it an armistice and then thought better of it because of this shift.

Sound leads sense in the translated passage above. Stein reaches for alliteration in oratorical phrases such as “convinced of the confidence” and “to appease its agony.” “Convinced of” is a strange translation for “sûr de,” implying the process of persuasion, unlike its near synonyms “certain of” or “sure of.” But the alliteration of the hard c in “convinced of the confidence” lends a ring to the phrase. In the last crucial line of the first paragraph, Pétain infamously casts himself as a Christ figure, sacrificing himself for his people: “je fais à la France le don de ma personne pour atténuer son malheur.” This resounding phrase, which articulated Pétain’s posture toward his direction of the Vichy government, reflected a popular French belief, political scientist and World War II specialist Philippe Burrin writes:

He himself encouraged people generally to identify themselves with him, appealing to both their republican and their Christian sentiments. The former element went with the image of the hero of the Great War and also with that of educator and teacher, in this instance of national rehabilitation; the latter emphasized the father of the family, the good shepherd, the Christ-like figure. … This savior, at once glorious, paternal and suffering, called forth a wave of devotion fuelled by the most archaic sources of personal power: here at last was a public figure who could be loved. It was a many-sided popularity that gave Pétain a long-lasting appeal that he did much to foster by presenting himself as the best possible option in the face of the occupier, a guardian of peace in the midst of raging war.66

Because of his prestige, patriotism, track record as a winner, and reputation for common sense and disinterestedness, Pétain was viewed as a point fixe (fixed point), a protector from the internal as well as external demons of the French nation.67 As one song had it in 1940,

Marshal, here we areBefore you, France’s savior,We, your fellows, swearTo serve and follow you.[Maréchal, nous voilà!Devant toi, le sauveur de la FranceNous jurons, nous tes garsDe servir et de suivre tes pas.]

(M, 79) [End Page 278]

But Stein makes a subtle, crucial change in the valence of Pétain’s famous declaration offering himself up as sacrifice and savior. Instead of “I make the gift of my person [myself],” Stein has “I dedicate all of myself,” which subtracts the religious resonance. It also reduces the grandeur of Pétain’s phrase. “I did not like his way of saying I Philippe Pétain, that bothered me,” she wrote in Wars I Have Seen in September 1943, indicating that she resisted his self-aggrandizement, despite the admiration she had for him (W, 87).

The phrase “atténuer son malheur” in the 17 June address, meaning to mitigate or relieve its distress, becomes “to appease its agony.” This term “appease” simply could not be used lightly in 1941 when Stein began the translations, since it had entered the popular lexicon as a tarnished phrase associated with the Munich Pact. Signed by France, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany, the 30 September 1938 agreement had permitted Germany to annex Czechoslovakia. But the “policy of appeasement,” as it was known, failed to stall Hitler’s aggression. To create an alliteration with “appease,” Stein insisted on keeping “agony” as the last word, instead of “misery” or “woe” as Alice suggested, which would have been closer to the French term “malheur.” She translates as an orator, not an interpreter; and she translates the text into Steinese. Given the range of rhetorical structures that her translation employs, and in this sentence in particular (“convinced of the support of the veterans whom I have pride in having commanded, convinced of the confidence of all the people I dedicate all of myself to France to appease its agony”), it is likely that she opted for alliteration as a way to add polish and persuasiveness to the speech. The strange substitution of “convinced” for “certain,” (“sûr de”) reinforces this interpretation. The term implies the process of persuasion, unlike its near synonym “certain,” “sure,” or “confident.” Compared with the Comité France-Amérique’s sanctioned translation, which renders this phrase as “in the hope that it may allay the calamity befallen her,” the idiosyncrasies of Stein’s version are apparent (P, 69). Her rendition is more direct, more poetic, and more memorable. In its relative clarity, her translation is of a piece with her wartime books Wars I Have Seen, Paris France, and Brewsie & Willie.

This translation is an improvement on the original, in that Pétain’s speech does not contain a marked sensitivity to sound or oratorical structures other than the refrain (“sûr de”). The fact that in translating other speeches Stein renders malheur as “misery” (“la France est en proie au malheur veritable” becomes “France is the victim of real misery”) is further evidence that she expressly translates it as “agony” [End Page 279] here (P, 69). Other translation decisions show Stein dissipating the force of Pétain’s original declaration. “En ces heures douloureuses,” or “in these painful hours,” becomes in the sanctioned translation the less urgent and immediate “in these melancholy days,” which reduces the element of Pétain’s expression of compassion for the difficult times that the French people were living through.68

Most significantly, the key sentence that represents Pétain’s damaging legacy, “C’est le coeur serré que je vous dis aujourd’hui qu’il faut cesser le combat” (or, as the sanctioned translation has it, “It is with a broken heart that I am telling you to-day: we must cease fighting”) becomes in Stein’s translation “It is with a heavy heart that I say to you to-day that it is necessary to attempt to stop fighting.”69 Neither she nor Toklas marked any doubts about or revisions to the addition of “attempt,” which hedges the assertion and potentially casts doubt upon Pétain’s announcement of the cessation of hostilities. This choice changes the meaning of the sentence, mitigating the illocutionary force of the declaration. Stein’s version is strikingly less direct than the sanctioned translation, “we must cease fighting.” But there is a probable historical source for this modification. It is very likely that Stein would have heard on the radio or read in the newspapers the modified version of the speech, disseminated after the first caused confusion—some claimed it was fraudulent, created by the enemy—as fighting continued throughout the country (such as in the Loire valley and near Lyon) (see M, 64). The second version of Pétain’s statement was amended to “we must try to cease fighting” [Il faut tenter de cesser le combat].70

Since the printed volume Stein was working with only includes the first version of the speech, this slight change in wording demonstrates one of the ways in which Stein’s translation was filtered through her experiences. Stein’s treatment of polemical terms and phrases reveals her position on key events such as the armistice and the consolidation of the Vichy government. The translation is much more than a rote, literal transference of Pétain’s language. It holds within its folds signs and signals of Stein’s own experiences of the war, and her inescapably contemporary gaze in 1942 as she looked back to speeches spanning from the late 1930s to the current year. The translation is a palimpsest which, when closely examined, shows fractures and fossils from this year of crisis. [End Page 280]

iii. the armistice: french victory in defeat?

The archive also offers an important clue to understanding one of Stein’s recurrent phrases that has drawn critical heat. “The winner loses,” a conceptual reversal suggesting that the Germans were the actual losers in signing the armistice, not the French, has been interpreted as an indication of Stein’s desire to write “propaganda” for Vichy. Iterations of the phrase appear throughout her wartime writing, and she titled a November 1940 essay in the Atlantic Monthly “The Winner Loses: A Picture of Occupied France.” Some critics argue that this notion represents a deluded wish on Stein’s part to bury her head, ostrich-like, in a sandpit of rhetoric and torque France’s capitulation into a victory. But this reading ignores the rhetoric of national renovation circulating at the time, as I will explain in a moment.

It is an exaggeration to call the essay a “notorious instance” of the “propaganda pieces” that Stein wrote “for Vichy.”71 “The Winner Loses” was neither commissioned nor approved by the Vichy regime, as far as can be ascertained; and Stein later folded it into her diaristic Wars I Have Seen. Stein made repeated use of this provocative verbal paradox, structured by a chiasmus, like a verbal talisman promising France’s resurgence.72 It evokes her understanding of the French national character, current events, and her hopes for her adopted country. Historically situating Stein’s writing offers context for her choice to use such a seemingly strange phrase. Primarily, it bears a strong connection to contemporary ideas circulating in France on the benefits of the armistice, and to a broader rhetoric of expiation and phoenix-like renewal through suffering (see OF, 224–29). Based on French historians’ accounts of the year 1940, intertextual evidence, and archival traces (particularly in her translation of Pétain’s 1938 speech to the anciens combattants), it is clear that her text channels a widespread idea, or meme, and feeds it into the mill of her composition process.

The phrase “la victoire des vaincus” (the victory of the vanquished) is the title of a book by André Fribourg that appeared in 1938, which Pétain presented to the Académie des Sciences morales et politique on 14 May of that year.73 Fribourg’s book warned against the return of Germany (“the vanquished”), condemning France’s tolerant position toward its longtime enemy in the post-World War I period. Twelve days later, in his address to World War I veterans (le congrès des anciens combattants), Pétain elaborates on this notion, considering whether Germany, having been defeated in 1918, was now rising to power once again: “One has even been able to speak of the victory of the vanquished. What is there to say. Will victory have changed sides [End Page 281] camps” [On a même pu parler de la victoire des vaincus. Qu’est-ce à dire? La victoire aurait-elle change de camp?] (S; P, 19). Pétain identifies Germany as a growing threat and appeals to the assembled veterans to once again adopt a soldier’s mentality and help France become more unified, so that “[u]nited and awakened they will defend with arms the fortune of their country and will prevent the victory of the vanquished developing until it becomes the defeat of the conquerors” [unis et eclairés, les Français defendront avec success la fortune de leur pays et empecheront que la victoire des vaincus, en s’accentuant, ne devienne la defaite des vainqueurs] (S; P, 21). Pétain emphatically refers to Germany as “the vanquished” and France as “the conqueror” in 1938, 20 years after the conclusion of World War I. Two years later, after the armistice, Pétain revivified this idea in another speech, announcing that French honor had been “saved” and national sovereignty preserved. “From abject defeat, the new regime in embryo extracted its own putative victory,” writes historian James Shields; “Soon the term ‘occupation,’ with its connotations of defeat and passivity, would give way to a quite different term suggesting that France could remain at the helm of its own destiny.”74 The idea seems to have been provocative for Stein, as she rewrote these sentences in English in 1941. Committed as she was to a cyclical idea of history, it would have been logical to her that war caused first the Germans and now the French to pull themselves back up by their bootstraps.

As Stein composed her Atlantic Monthly essay in 1940, the idea would have rung with new significance for her. It indicated the possibility that the French would be strengthened by hardship and had only to strive to come out on top once again. She sets out a rationale for the armistice in her essay, arguing that France will emerge triumphant from its capitulation: “The French do naturally not like that life is too easy, they like, like the phoenix, to rise from the ashes. They really do believe that those that win lose.”75 She argues that young French people are taking an optimistic view, expressing excitement about meeting the challenge of improving and strengthening their country, which they see as bracing for the national character:

They say now … that if they had had an easy victory the vices would have been weaker and more of them, and now well, now there is really something to do they have to make France itself again and there is a future; … they are looking forward. … In short, they feel alive and like it.76 [End Page 282]

The rhetoric of autonomy and national renovation was current at the time, and it went hand in hand with self-reproach for the current state of affairs. Military commanders such as General Maxime Weygand and Pétain blamed the French post-World War I cultivation of ease and pleasure rather than a national “spirit of sacrifice” (OF, 225). Bishop Jules Saliège of Toulouse, who was recognized after the war for being a friend of the Resistance and one of the Just, wrote in La Croix on 28 June 1940,

Lord, we ask you forgiveness.What use have we made of the victory in 1918?What use would we have made of an easy victory in 1940?

(OF, 227)

This meditation came to be used as a prayer in the Toulouse region. From newspaper editorials in La Dépêche to statements by intellectuals such as André Gide and Julien Benda (who wrote of the obligation to “consent to sacrifice”), self-flagellation and the discussion of the benefits of not achieving an easy victory were prevalent (OF, 232).77 As Laborie notes, in the summer of 1940, France was psychologically ready for the aid of a Redeemer (see OF, 228). Just so, Stein writes in her essay that the signing of the armistice signified that France was “saved” and “everything was over,” yet, she adds, “but it wasn’t, not at all it was just beginning for us.”78

The importance of this loaded phrase, “the winner loses,” also illuminates Toklas’s vigorous interchange in the notebook surrounding Pétain’s affirmation in his 1938 address to the veterans: “C’est un fait reconnu que la défaite réveille toujours les Français” (P, 14). In her first draft, Stein leaves out this one-sentence paragraph, only to include it on the following page of her notebook. Toklas marks the gap on the first page with a red star and translates the sentence herself on the left-hand page in red: “It is a recognized fact that a defeat always awakens the French people.” Stein crosses this out vigorously. Her first attempt at the statement about French perseverance in the face of defeat runs like so, including the phrases she considered: “It is a recognized [a well known] fact that it is in defeat always that the real quality of the French shows itself. quickens the French people” (S). After the changes, the line reads, “It is a recognized fact that defeat always quickens the French people.” On the facing page, where Stein and Toklas have the habit of marking their corrections and possible substitutions—their many exchanges revealing how intimately they [End Page 283] collaborated on the translation—Toklas writes again in red, with a small variation, “It is a recognized fact that defeat always rouses / awakens the French people” (S). Stein crosses this out with her black pen. This debate between Toklas and Stein shows Stein considering how to frame this statement about the French character in light of current events. It has oratorical qualities; it is a grand phrase with the ring of aphorism. Rather than Toklas’s suggestion of “awakens” or “rouses” for the key verb, she chooses the more active “quickens,” which implies an imminent leap into action. She crosses out her earlier, less direct syntactical structure, which would have more closely mirrored French syntax (“it is in defeat that”), opting for the more direct “defeat always quickens.” Whereas Toklas first offers “a defeat” Stein makes it more generalizable by leaving out the article. The statement not only hearkens back to World War I (as Pétain would have it in 1938), but it is also generalized to anticipate the armistice of 1940. Translating this statement in 1942 as the war intensified around her, Stein was reliving the speeches and events of just a few years previously. Her translation is crafted out of a layered awareness of history, and reveals how the act of translation may make history continuous with the present.

iv. conclusion

By 1941, French and English had become mixed for Stein in a kind of interlanguage. “Interlanguage” is a sociolinguistic term that describes a variety of language that is idiosyncratic to the speaker, and is

intermediate between the speaker’s native language and the target language, since the target language will be subject to interference or admixture from the learner’s native language. Crucially, though, the interlanguage will also contain elements which are not present in either the native language or the target language. The interlanguage will develop and change as the learner progresses, but may also be subject to fossilisation.79

Interlanguage is found in Stein’s compositions in English as well as her translations. In Paris France, which is arguably an example of her “audience writing,” Stein does not capitalize “French,” just as it wouldn’t be capitalized in French; and instead of writing “neighborhood,” she employs phono-semantic matching and uses “quarters” for quartier. Phono-semantic matching camouflages a borrowed foreign word because it matches a target-language word phonetically and semantically (like “chase lounge” for chaise-longue).80 In Paris France [End Page 284] she writes, “Not to know the well known in Paris does not argue yourself unknown, because nobody knows anybody whom they do not know.”81 The phrase “argue yourself” phono-semantically matches the French argumenter, in the sense of “to prove”—a more idiomatic sentence would be, “Not to know the well-known in Paris does not prove that you yourself are unknown.” The frequency of interlanguage in Stein’s later work indicates that it is important to take into account her nearly 43 years of living in France and how it influenced both her political beliefs and her language use. One of my points is that Stein was less of an American writer and more of an international writer poised between languages.

Near the end of Wars I Have Seen, when the Americans have liberated France, Stein notes the differences between British English and American English, in a comment that would serve well as a gloss on her own French-English interlanguage:

So the only way the Americans could change their language was by choosing words which they liked better than other words, by putting words next to each other in a different way than the English way, by shoving the language around until at last now the job is done, we use the same words as the English do but the words say an entirely different thing.

(W, 171)

Stein indeed chose the words she liked best and shoved the language around until the job was done—not only in Wars I Have Seen, Paris France, and other wartime texts, but in her unpublished translations of Pétain as well. The translation follows a poetics that values euphony, sonorous repetition, parallel structures, and other rhetorical flourishes. Her manipulation of the speeches contradicts the notion that she ceded aesthetic control. Quite to the contrary, she embellished the original. She falls within the tradition of translators and translation theorists ranging from Cicero to Jorge Luis Borges to Venuti who have argued for the translator’s visibility. She demonstrates a commitment to a sense-for-sense translation, which, as Cicero once wrote, makes the translator not a mere “interpreter” but an “orator.”82 Stein sought to become the generator of text, an orator who re-voiced Pétain’s texts so as to publicize them to Americans.

It is of course impossible to locate Stein’s intentions in these translations. There are lacunae in the story of how the translations came to be, why Stein abruptly stopped translating, and why the drafts remained within her notebooks rather than seeing publication. It is not simple to read a writer’s politics into her half-made gesture of an unpublished [End Page 285] translation. However, what I hope to have made clear is that the translation is a startling departure from the original and shows Stein’s own distinct signature. For this reason I maintain that it is fruitful to read the translation as part of her oeuvre, and to place it within the context and the stylistic spectrum of her other writing. Her project is worth bringing out of the archive and reading as one of the literary artifacts of modernist reactionism. Exploring it illuminates some of the complexities of cultural production under the Occupation. I have also aimed to show that thinking about translation can bring much to sociohistorical, political, and aesthetic questions in the study of modernism. Translation was famously central to many modernist poetic projects, such as Pound’s translations from the Chinese, or Eliot’s translations of Jules Laforgue.83 But the influence courses in the other direction, too. Stein’s poetics significantly informed how she translated, even when working with a utilitarian text such as a political speech. Familiar Steinian elements are prevalent in the text’s poetics, undermining the claim that the project was a departure for her; it indubitably reflects her idiosyncratic poetics. In recent debates about her wartime activity, the assumption that translation is a secondary and derivative activity persists. However, translation is a primary production of text, and this is what makes Stein’s translation double-voiced. Ultimately, it indicates that she was even more responsible for her aspiration to complicity than her critics would have it.

Rachel Galvin
University of Chicago


I would like to thank the curators at the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library at Yale University for their help. I am also grateful to Joshua Kotin, Liesl Olson, Lindsay Reckson, and the members of the spring 2013 Andrew W. Mellon Seminar at Johns Hopkins for the generous responses to this essay.

1. For narration of this period, see Linda Wagner-Martin, Favored Strangers: Gertrude Stein and Her Family (New Brunswick: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1995) and W. G. Rogers, When This You See Remember Me: Gertrude Stein in Person (New York: Reinhart, 1948), 191.

2. Matisse traveled to Nice; James Joyce and his family went to a village near Vichy. For an overview of prominent artists and intellectuals’ locations when war was declared and at the armistice, see Frederic Spotts, The Shameful Peace: How French Artists and Intellectuals Survived the Nazi Occupation (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2008), 8–13.

3. See Edward Burns, “Gertrude Stein: A Complex Itinerary, 1940–1944,” Jacket 2 (9 May 2012), https://jacket2.org/article/gertrude-stein-complex-itinerary-1940%E2%80%931944; and Faÿ, Les Précieux (Paris: Librairie Académique Perrain, 1966), 160–63. [End Page 286]

4. This criticism built on similar protests that had been expressed the previous year in reaction to the 2011 “Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories” exhibition, which toured the Contemporary Jewish Museum of San Francisco and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. Those protests aimed to reveal Stein’s “dark side”; as one reporter wrote, “[t]he Faÿ controversy is increasingly dogging the Stein legacy” (Philip Kennicott, “Gertrude Stein in Full Form at Portrait Gallery,” The Washington Post [21 October 2011], http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-10-21/lifestyle/35276647_1_art-collector-matisse-and-picasso-leo-stein). Even earlier, information about Stein’s politics was framed as a scandalous revelation in Scott Heller’s article, “A Study Shows That Gertrude Stein Backed the Vichy Government During World War II” (Chronicle of Higher Education, 18 October 1996: A14, A16). The study Heller’s title refers to is Wanda Van Dusen’s essay in Modernism/modernity analzying Stein’s translations of Pétain; see “Portrait of a National Fetish: Gertrude Stein’s ‘Introduction to the Speeches of Maréchal Pétain’ (1942),” Modernism/modernity 3.3 (1996): 69–92.

5. Not only scholars and exhibition-goers, but politicians, too, expressed their disgruntlement, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who published a press release on the issue (see “Hikind Demands Metropolitan Museum of Art Unmask Gertrude Stein’s Nazi Past” [1 May 2012], http://dovhikind.blogspot.com/2012/05/hikind-demands-metropolitan-museum-of.html). The museum curators amended the wall labels and pointed out that the exhibition catalog refers several times to the intercession of Faÿ on Stein and Toklas’s behalf. See Cécile Debray, “Gertrude Stein and Painting: From Picasso to Picabia,” in The Steins Collect, ed. Janet Bishop, Debray, and Rebecca Rabinow (New Haven: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Yale Univ. Press, 2011), 238; see also, in The Steins Collect, Edward Burns, 265; Kate Medillo, 329; and Hélène Klein, 244, 250n26.

6. Barbara Will, Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ, and the Vichy Dilemma (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 2011), 140. See also Barbara Will, “The Strange Politics of Gertrude Stein” (Humanites Magazine [March/April 2012], www.neh.gov/humanities/2012/marchapril/feature/the-strange-politics-gertrude-stein), where she writes: “And yet throughout her life Stein hewed to the political right, even signing up to be a propagandist for an authoritarian, Nazi-dominated political regime.” Vaclav Paris calls the drafts the “corpus delicti of her collaboration with the Vichy regime” (“Gertrude Stein’s Translations of Speeches by Philippe Pétain,” Jacket 2 [6 May 2013], http://jacket2.org/article/gertrude-steins-translations-speeches-philippe-petain).

7. See Robin Bates, “When Great Artists Do Bad Things,” Better Living through Beowulf (7 May 2012), http://www.betterlivingthroughbeowulf.com/?p=13609. See also Christopher Benfey, “The Alibi of Ambiguity,” New Republic (28 June 2012), www.newrepublic.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/103918/barbara-will-gertrude-stein-christopher-benfey#; Emily Greenhouse, “Why Won’t the Met Tell the Whole Truth About Gertrude Stein?,” The New Yorker (8 June 2012), www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/why-wont-the-met-tell-the-whole-truth-about-gertrude-stein; Alan Dershowitz, “Suppressing Ugly Truth for Beautiful Art,” Huffington Post (1 May 2012), www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/met-gertrude-stein-collaborator_b_1467174.html; and “Gertrude Stein: Why Her Fascist Politics Matter,” The Jewish Week (24 April 2012), www.thejewishweek.com/blogs/well_versed/gertrude_stein_why_her_fascist_politics_matter; and Eitan Kensky, “Gertrude Stein, Fascist?,” Jewish Ideas Daily (29 February 2012), http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/Jewish-Ideas-Daily-Gertrude-Stein-fascist. For the suggestion that this furor had an impact on the White House’s correction to its 2012 Jewish [End Page 287] Heritage Month press release, see Natasha Mozgovaya, “Obama Corrects Controversial Jewish Heritage Month Proclamation” (3 May 2012), www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/obama-corrects-controversial-jewish-heritage-month-proclamation-1.427880.

8. Charles Bernstein, “Gertrude Stein’s War Years: Setting the Record Straight,” Jacket 2 (9 May 2012), https://jacket2.org/feature/gertrude-steins-war-years-setting-record-straight.

9. See Paris; and “Appendix IX—Gertrude Stein: September 1942–September 1944,” in The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder, ed. Edward Burns and Ulla E. Dydo (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1996), 401–21. Hereafter abbreviated A and cited parenthetically by page number.

10. Faÿ was trained at the Sorbonne and Harvard and was the first professor of American civilization at the Collège de France. He became director of the Bibliothèque Nationale when the incumbent, Julien Cain, was dismissed because he was Jewish. Faÿ, who had known Pétain for twenty years, was tasked with aiding Vichy in identifying Freemasons and members of other secret societies, and cataloguing the archives and objects seized from Masonic lodges. After the Liberation, Faÿ was prosecuted for collaboration and sentenced to twenty years of forced labor. For a detailed narrative of his activities, see Will, “Faÿ’s War,” in Unlikely Collaboration, 149–84.

11. Burns and Dydo do not provide a source for this suggestion. I have been unable to substantiate it elsewhere.

12. Pétain’s popularity rose again in January 1942. See Philippe Burrin, France Under the Germans: Collaboration and Compromise (New York: Norton, 1996), 181–82.

13. Stein’s neighbor was named Paul Genin, and the sous-préfet, Maurice Sivan. Genin had helped Stein translate her introduction to Pétain’s speeches into French. See A, 410.

14. Burns and Dydo speculate that perhaps Stein continued the translation in another notebook that has been lost. See A, 409. Paris suggests that rather than recognize the “political ramifications” of her project, Stein may have stopped translating because her interest waned.

15. Dydo, Gertrude Stein: The Language That Rises, 1923–1934 (Evanston: Northwestern Univ. Press), 40.

16. See Jean-Pierre Azéma, De Munich à La Libération, 1938–1944 ([Paris]: Éditions du Seuil, 1979), 78. Hereafter abbreviated M and cited parenthetically by page number.

17. The two scholars who have most closely examined the translations held in the Stein archives are Will, whose arguments I discuss further on, and Van Dusen, who published Stein’s draft introduction in Modernism/modernity (Gertrude Stein, “[Introduction to the Speeches of Maréchal Pétain],” ed. Van Dusen, Modernism/modernity 3.3 [1996], 93–96). Her reading opened the way for Will’s interpretation. In “Portrait of a National Fetish,” Van Dusen claims that Stein’s introduction to Pétain’s speeches carries out a “redemptive fetishistic ritual” (71) with an “idolatrous dimension” (75) as she portrays Pétain as “national savior and benevolent father” (75). See also Paris; Burns and Dydo; Will, Unlikely Collaboration; Will, “The Strange Politics of Gertrude Stein”; and Will, “Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ, and the Ruthless Flowers of Friendship,” Modernism/modernity 15.4 (2008): 647–63.

18. Peter Trudgill, A Glossary of Sociolinguistics (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2003), 65.

19. Gertrude Stein, “Poetry and Grammar,” in Stein: Writings 1932–1946, 2 vol. (New York: Library of America, 1998), 2:320. Hereafter abbreviated PG and cited parenthetically by page number.

20. It is useful to contextualize Stein’s translation project within the fluctuations of public opinion in France during the turning-point year of 1942. The difference between maréchalisme, or the admiration for or attachment to the person of Maréchal Pétain, [End Page 288] and pétainisme, or support for the Vichy government, is essential for understanding the history of the time period and situating Stein’s translation (see M, 78).

21. Lawrence Venuti, “Translation, Community, Utopia,” in The Translation Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 2000), 485.

22. Stein writes in the introduction to the speeches she drafted, “About one thing they were all agreed and that is that he had achieved a miracle, without arms without any means of defense, he had succeeded in making the Germans more or less keep their word with him” (Stein, “[Introduction],” 95).

23. Stein, Wars I Have Seen (New York: Random House, 1945), 206. Hereafter abbreviated W and cited parenthetically by page number. For Stein’s assessment of the maquis, see W, 227. In Gertrude Stein, le Bugey, la guerre: d’août 1924 à décembre 1944 (Bourg-en-Bresse: Musnier-Gilbert Éditions, 2009), Dominique Saint-Pierre states that the fact that Stein does not mention the maquis until page 53 of Wars I Have Seen is not surprising, given that they had a very minimal presence in Belley until June 1943.

24. Burns, “Gertrude Stein.”

25. Burns (“Gertrude Stein”) details the specifics surrounding her work’s appearance in these Resistance publications.

26. Mention of Stein’s friendship with Faÿ had been made in memoirs, biographies, and critical studies as early as W. G. Rogers’s 1948 When This You See Remember Me, Robert Bridgman’s Gertrude Stein in Pieces (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1979), James Mellow’s Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Company (New York: Praeger, 1974), and Wagner-Martin’s Favored Strangers. For discussion of Stein’s wartime writing, see Dydo and Burns; Jean Gallagher, The World Wars Through the Female Gaze (Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1998); Maria Diedrich, “‘A Book in Translation About Eggs and Butter’: Gertrude Stein’s World War II” in Women and War: The Changing Status of American Women from the 1930s to the 1950s, ed. Maria Diedrich and Dorothea Fischer-Fornung (New York: Berg, 1990), 87–106; Van Dusen; Marianne DeKoven, Rich and Strange: Gender, History, Modernism (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1991); Phoebe Stein Davis, “‘Even Cake Gets to Have Another Meaning’: History, Narrative, and ‘Daily Living’ in Gertrude Stein’s World War II Writings,” Modern Fiction Studies 44.3 (1998): 568–607; Liesl Olson, “Gertrude Stein, William James, and Habit in the Shadow of War,” in Modernism and the Ordinary (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2009), 89–114; John Wittier-Ferguson, “The Liberation of Gertrude Stein: War and Writing,” Modernism/modernity 8.3 (2001): 405–28; and Dana Cairns Watson, Gertrude Stein and the Essence of What Happens (Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press, 2005).

27. A study based on archival research in Pound’s FBI files shows that the poet engaged in myriad “seditious actions on behalf of the fascist Axis,” not just the radio broadcasts (Matthew Feldman, “The ‘Pound Case’ in Historical Perspective: An Archival Overview,” Journal of Modern Literature 35.2 [2012]: 92).

28. Rogers, 219.

29. Spotts, 15.

30. Investigation of Vichy only began in earnest in the early 1970s, prompted in large part by the work of American political scientist and historian Robert O. Paxton’s Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940–1944 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972). See also Dudley Andrew and Steven Ungar, Popular Front Paris and the Poetics of Culture (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 2008); Denis Hollier, Absent Without Leave: French Literature under the Threat of War (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1997); and Zeev Sternhell, Neither Right Nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1986). [End Page 289]

31. A picture of what life was like has begun to emerge with Spotts’s study and those of Stéphanie Corcy (La vie culturelle sous l’Occupation [Paris: Perrin, 2005]); Laurence Bertrand Dorléac (L’art en guerre, France 1938–1947 [Paris: Paris Musées, 2012]); Gilles and Jean Robert Ragache (La vie quotidienne des écrivains et des artistes sous l’Occupation: 1940–1944 [Paris: Hachette, 1988]); and Jean-Pierre Rioux (La vie culturelle sous Vichy [Brussels: Éditions Complexe, 1990]). The “shameful peace” was Jean Cocteau’s term for the period.

32. Among the multiple examples of this sort of critique published in 2011 and 2012, Philip Kennicott wrote in a particularly choleric article for The Washington Post that Stein “wrote reams of gibberish, either in a singsong style … or in a hermetically sealed private language that she absurdly considered an analog of cubism” (Kennicott, “Gertrude Stein in Full Form”).

33. Michael Lerner, “Editor’s Note on ‘Why the Witch-Hunt Against Gertrude Stein?’ By Renate Stendhal,” Tikkun Magazine (4 June 2012), http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/editors-note-on-why-the-witch-hunt-against-gertrude-stein-by-renate-stendhal.

34. Lerner, “Editor’s Note.”

35. Lerner’s argument centers on the moral obligation incumbent upon all artists, writers, and intellectuals “to fight against the rise of evil (as manifested in racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Islam, anti-democracy, destruction of human rights, repression of free speech and freedom of assembly, destruction of the environment, militarism, torture, etc.)” (Lerner, “Editor’s Note”).

36. Lerner, “Editor’s Note.” See also Zofia Lesinska, “Gertrude Stein’s War Autobiographies: Reception, History, and Dialogue,” LIT 9 (1999): 313–42.

37. See David Caplan, Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2005), 14; Mutlu Konuk Biasing, Politics and Form in Postmodern Poetry: O’Hara, Bishop, Ashbery, and Merrill (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1995); and Lawrence S. Rainey, Institutions of Modernism: Literary Elites and Public Culture (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1998).

38. James Longenbach, Modern Poetry after Modernism (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997), 6. Caplan discusses both Biasing and Longenbach, differentiating his own method from both of theirs by specifying that he attends to historical contingency (see Caplan, 141n17). See also Biasing, 16–17.

39. Williams writes: “To me the sonnet form is thoroughly banal because it is a word in itself whose meaning is definitely fascistic” (Something to Say: William Carlos Williams on Younger Poets [New York: New Directions Publishing, 1985], 88).

40. For a discussion of Stein’s concept of “audience writing,” see Dydo, Gertrude Stein.

41. In Poetry and the Press in Wartime (1936–1945), forthcoming from Oxford Univ. Press, I argue that Stein composed Wars I Have Seen to record what was happening in Bilignin in the near absence of daily newspapers. She creates lyric outbursts within the prose that encode and dwell on moments of fear and danger, even as they inscribe an authorial presence above and against the norms of war reportage. These lyric outbursts, which I call “reverse epiphanies,” work to contain disturbing incidents and rein in the felt perception of threat, instead of signaling a sudden revelation as epipanies usually do. Reverse epiphanies are lyric eruptions within the continuity of the prose that assert the author’s presence.

42. Stein, Wars I Have Seen, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MSS 76, box 80.

43. Peter Nicholls, “Wars I Have Seen,” in A Concise Companion to Twentieth-Century American Poetry, ed. Stephen Fredman (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2005), 16.

44. Lesinska, 314. [End Page 290]

45. Marjorie Perloff, The Poetics of Indeterminacy: Rimbaud to Cage (Evanston: Northwestern Univ. Press, 1999), 18.

46. Max Eastman, “The Cult of Unintelligibility,” Harper’s Monthly Magazine 158 (1929): 632–39; Eastman, “Non-Communicative Art,” The Freeman 4.16 (3 May 1954): 571.

47. See Jennifer Ashton, From Modernism to Postmodernism: American Poetry and Theory in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2005); Annalisa Zox-Weaver, Women Modernists and Fascism (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011); and Lisa Ruddick, Reading Gertrude Stein: Body, Text, Gnosis (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1991).

48. Ashton, 68. “Masterpiece” is a term that Stein used throughout her work; see, for instance, “What Are Master-pieces and Why Are There So Few of Them,” in Gertrude Stein, Writings, 1932–1946 (New York: The Library of America, 1998), 353–364. This argument has been made persuasively by Ashton and by Lisa Siraganian, who argues that Stein’s work is not in fact “indeterminate,” as scholars ranging from Perloff to Juliana Spahr have maintained (“Out of Air: Theorizing the Art Object in Gertrude Stein and Wyndham Lewis,” Modernism/modernity 10.4 [2003]: 669).

49. See also Siraganian, 661–66.

50. In a letter dated 1932, Stein writes of the “exactitude of abstract thought and poetry as created by exactness and as far as possible disembodiedment if one may use such a word, creating sense by intensity of exactness” (cited in Dydo, Gertrude Stein, 25).

51. Pétain’s own composition method was simply to revise the draft provided by his assistants.

52. Benfey; Renate Stendhal, “Why the Witch-Hunt Against Gertrude Stein?,” Tikkun Magazine (4 June 2012), http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/why-the-witch-hunt-against-gertrude-stein.

53. Will, Unlikely Collaboration, 139.

54. Will, Unlikely Collaboration, 140.

55. Saint Augustine, for one, argued that word-for-word translation of the Hebrew bible into Greek preserved its divinely inspired message. See Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, trans. D. W. Robertson, Jr. (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958).

56. John Whittier-Ferguson observes that since the 1930s, it has been a commonplace of criticism to describe Stein as childish and incapable of sophisticated analysis, from Wyndham Lewis’s negative assessment in Time and Western Man to Ben Ray Redman’s positive evaluation in The Saturday Review. See “The Liberation of Gertrude Stein: War and Writing,” Modernism/modernity 8.3 [2001]: 405–28.

57. Lori Chamberlain, “Gender and the Metaphorics of Translation,” in The Translation Studies Reader, 314.

58. George Steiner, After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1998), 314; Jerome, “Letter to Pammachius,” trans. Kathleen Davis, in The Translation Studies Reader, 25. Steiner continues, “There is a also a sadness after success, the Augustinian tristitia which follows on the cognate acts of erotic and of intellection possession” (Steiner, 314).

59. Chamberlain, 314.

60. Stein, Tender Buttons, in Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, ed. Carl Van Vechten (New York: Random House, 1946), 508.

61. Friedrich Schleiermacher, “On the Different Methods of Translating,” in The Translation Studies Reader, 53. [End Page 291]

62. Steinese is an alternative is “Steinish,” which was used in the newspapers during Stein’s lifetime. See Olson, 339.

63. Philippe Pétain and Gabriel Louis-Jaray, Paroles aux Français. Messages et écrits, 1934–1941 (Lyon: H. Lardanchet, 1941), 16, 19 (hereafter abbreviated P and cited parenthetically by page number); Gertrude Stein, “The Speeches of Maréchal Pétain,” Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MSS 76, box 64, folders 1140–42 (hereafter abbreviated S and cited parenthetically).

64. Will, “Lost in Translation: Stein’s Vichy Collaboration,” Modernism/modernity 11.4 (2004): 653.

65. Philippe Pétain, Ferdinand Bouyssy, Gabriel Louis Jaray, and Émile Pons, L’Armistice du 25 juin 1940: appels aux Français (Royat: Fédération des associations françaises pour le développement des relations avec l’étranger et Comité France-Amérique, 1940), 41–42.

66. Burrin, 70.

67. See Pierre Laborie, L’opinion française sous Vichy (Paris: Seuil, 1990), 229–30. Hereafter abbreviated OF and cited parenthetically by page number.

68. For discussion of the emotional tone of this speech, see Burrin, 10.

69. Pétain, L’armistice; P, 69.

70. André Kaspi. La deuxième guerre mondiale: chronologie commentée (Paris: Éditions Complexe, 1995), 98. My translation.

71. Will, Unlikely Collaboration, 103.

72. Stein uses similar language in the first scene of her 1944 play In Savoy; Or Yes Is for a Very Young Man, which is set in June 1940 (Stein, In Savoy: Or, Yes Is for a Very Young Man [Alexandria: Alexander Street Press, 2005]).

73. See Jacques Le Groignec, Pétain et les Allemands (Paris: Nouvelles Editions Latines, 1997), 206.

74. James Shields, The Extreme Right in France: From Pétain to Le Pen (London: Routledge, 2007), 16.

75. Stein, “The Winner Loses: A Picture of Occupied France,” in Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, 560.

76. Stein, “The Winner Loses,” 566.

77. See OF, 225–28.

78. Stein, “The Winner Loses,” 553.

79. Trudgill, 65.

80. See Ghil’ad Zuckermann, Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).

81. Stein, Paris France, 14.

82. Marcus Tullius Cicero, De inventione, De Optimo genere oratorum, Topica, trans. H. M. Hubbell (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press: 1976), 356.

83. H. D., W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, and many other modernists maintained an active translation practice. See Stephen Yao, Translation and the Languages of Modernism: Gender, Politics, Language (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002) for analysis of how modernist poets pursued a program of cultural renewal through translation. See also Yao, “Translation Studies and Modernism,” in A Handbook of Modernism Studies, ed. Jean-Michel Rabaté (Chicester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013), 209–20. [End Page 292]