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The True Story of Alice B. Toklas: A Study of Three Autobiographies (review)

The True Story of Alice B. Toklas: A Study of Three Autobiographies (review) 08-Reviews 2/16/07 11:34 AM Page 108 108 Biography 30.1 (Winter 2007) Anna Linzie. The True Story of Alice B. Toklas: A Study of Three Autobiogra- phies. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2006. 230 pp. ISBN 0-877-49585-1, $34.95. The starting point for Anna Linzie’s engaging study is the exploration of Alice B. Toklas as a construct of three texts: Gertrude Stein’s 1933 The Autobiog- raphy of Alice B. Toklas, Toklas’s own 1954 The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, and her 1963 memoir What is Remembered. The promise of “the true story” is therefore ironized at the outset, given that there are several “autobiogra- phies” of Gertrude Stein’s partner, and that each of them confounds the sense of the genre of autobiography in multiple and intriguing ways. The mischie- vous reason for her “obnoxious title,” as Linzie calls it (28), is to turn the assumption of truth in autobiography into a question, or rather a prolifera- tion of questions and riddles. In this spirit she both begins and ends her “Con- clusion” with a “certain proliferation of question marks” (187). Her method- ology, she points out, is marked by what she calls “critical license”—that is, excess, lawlessness, and lack of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

The True Story of Alice B. Toklas: A Study of Three Autobiographies (review)

Biography , Volume 30 (1) – Apr 16, 2007

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 Biographical Research Center.
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

08-Reviews 2/16/07 11:34 AM Page 108 108 Biography 30.1 (Winter 2007) Anna Linzie. The True Story of Alice B. Toklas: A Study of Three Autobiogra- phies. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2006. 230 pp. ISBN 0-877-49585-1, $34.95. The starting point for Anna Linzie’s engaging study is the exploration of Alice B. Toklas as a construct of three texts: Gertrude Stein’s 1933 The Autobiog- raphy of Alice B. Toklas, Toklas’s own 1954 The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, and her 1963 memoir What is Remembered. The promise of “the true story” is therefore ironized at the outset, given that there are several “autobiogra- phies” of Gertrude Stein’s partner, and that each of them confounds the sense of the genre of autobiography in multiple and intriguing ways. The mischie- vous reason for her “obnoxious title,” as Linzie calls it (28), is to turn the assumption of truth in autobiography into a question, or rather a prolifera- tion of questions and riddles. In this spirit she both begins and ends her “Con- clusion” with a “certain proliferation of question marks” (187). Her method- ology, she points out, is marked by what she calls “critical license”—that is, excess, lawlessness, and lack of

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Apr 16, 2007

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