In the wake of my previous post, I began thumbing through Janet Hobhouse's Everybody Who Was Anybody: A Biography of Gertrude Stein
. The author is good (and appropriately waspish) on literary maneuvering in the City of Light. In one excellent bit, it appears that Stein will abandon Ford Madox Ford's Transatlantic Review
, which had been bravely serializing her work, for the tonier Criterion
. She never actually jumped ship--in part because Criterion
bigwig T.S. Eliot, always referred to in hushed tones as The Major, found her prose disturbing and incomprehensible. What I loved, though, was the insanely decent note Ford sent to his rising star when her departure seemed imminent:
I should be sorry to lose you, but I was never the one to stand in a contributor's way: indeed I really exist as a sort of half-way house between non-publishable youth and real money--a sort of green baize swing door that everyone kicks both on entering and leaving.