The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas as “Portrait Narration”

  • Anne Herrmann


When Alice B. Toklas reaches the end of her memoir, What Is Remembered (1963), she ends by recounting the death of her lover. Anything that happens after that is not worth remembering. She ends not with a death scene, which takes place elsewhere, but with Gertrude Stein’s last words: two questions, neither of which receive an answer. The confusion Alice feels at her impending loss is reminiscent of the confusion she felt when she met Gertrude and first laid eyes on a cubist painting. As long as Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude hangs across from her in the apartment, Alice is able to live on in the company of her memory. Once it is removed (to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to whom Gertrude has bequeathed it), she lives on, for another 20 years, in solitude, as the memory of her.


Lesbian Couple Death Scene Detective Story Double Life American Audience 
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© Anne Herrmann 2000

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  • Anne Herrmann

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