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Bisque Moules with Gertrude Stein


     Here is a lovely quote from Lyn Hejinian's essay "Two Stein Talks" as printed in The Language of Inquiry:
     "...perhaps it was the discovery that language is an order of reality itself and not a mere mediating medium - that it is possible and even likely that one can have a confrontation with a phrase that is as significant as a confrontation with a tree, chair, cone, dog, bishop, piano, vineyard, door, or penny - that replaced her [Gertrude Stein's] commitment to a medical career with a commitment to a literary career."
     It's interesting to imagine the phrase with which she might have had that confrontation: from the waiter at Chez Max: "more creme broulee Ms. Stein?"; or Hemingway arriving early with sparring gloves: "how about a few rounds with old Papa!"; or maybe Alice: "have you tried the bisque moules at Miss Kitty's Parlour... Oh!"
     It's the penny that's most beautiful in the quote above, and most confrontational.

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