Gertrude Stein’s Murder Mystery: the 2008 Dover Books Edition
and its antecedents:
The 1981 Black Lizard Edition * The
Arche Verlag Edition * The Medicine Show Production
The 1983 Greenwich Village Concert * The WPA Theatre Production of the Jonathan Sheffer Opera
CONTENTS OF THE GERTRUDE STEIN ATELIER:
Texts you can hear read by Miss Stein and Miss Toklas
from The Making of Americans and The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book
Click on the above image to hear Miss Stein on Family Living
Click on her picture to hear Miss Toklas on Murder
Texts you can read yourself
by John H. Gill:
from The New York Times:
Donald Gallup's Obituary
. . . even gossip columnist Earl Wilson heard about it, slightly garbled . . .
In 1982, Creative Arts Book Company of Berkeley, California, published my edition of Gertrude Stein's one crime novel, Blood On the Dining Room Floor, in its Black Lizard series of detective story reprints. The book included photographs and a manuscript facsimile from the collection of the Beinecke Library at Yale, and an Afterword and Bibliographical Note which I had written for the edition.
In 1985, Arche Verlag of Zurich published a handsome German edition of the work and my commentary:
Gertrude Stein: keine keiner, Ein Kriminalroman, aus dem Amerikanishen und mit einem Vorwort von Renate Stendahl, Herausgegeben und mit einem Nachwort
von John Herbert Gill
The entire Black Lizard imprint was subsequently acquired by Random House. Having no further interest in the title, Random House transferred all rights in the edition to me. A pirated edition, photocopied from the plates of my edition with my name and copyrighted material excised, was issued by something in Britain called "The Virago Press" and once showed up in a Greenwich Village bookshop. More recently, Creative Arts began (incredibly) trying to sell it yet again on their web site, and to distribute a purported “second edition” on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. When challenged, they expressed surprise, utterly baffled at how it could have turned up out of nowhere. But they continue supporting piracy to this day.
In April of 1983, I collaborated with talented friends Antonio Ramirez, Stephen Sturk, and Jim Willard to produce a concert titled Gertrude Stein, Words and Music at St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village. Virgil Thomson opened the program with a delightful address. The program included the world premiere of Paul Alan Levi's "This Much I Know", to a text from Blood On The Dining Room Floor, commissioned by Antonio and Marjorie Ramirez for the occasion and performed by Margaret Ahrens with the composer at the piano.
In 1984 a brilliant dramatic staging of the complete text of the Stein "Murder Mystery" was mounted in a tiny loft theater in the East Village by The Medicine Show, with music by William Hellerman. The inspired adaptation and direction were the work of Barbara Vann.
Most recently, Jonathan Sheffer, distinguished composer and conductor of the Eos Orchestra, composed a full length opera -- perhaps "musical theater piece" describes it better -- Blood On The Dining Room Floor. His libretto is largely based on the novel, plus other related texts from Miss Stein and Miss Toklas, following closely my reconstruction of the events and their relation to the writer's life and works. Parts of Sheffer's opera were heard at the Miller Theater, Columbia University, in the Spring of 1999 in a workshop performance sponsored by the New York City Opera, and the composer conducted a more fully realized selection of scenes at the Guggenheim Museum later that year. A full theatrical production opened at the WPA Theater, part of the Peter Norton Space on 42nd Street in Manhattan, on April 16, 2000, and ran through May 7. Critics praised the work and its production: Daily Variety called it "the best musical of the season."
A Personal Note
As an undergraduate at Yale in the class of 1954, I was one of very few students (my year there were two of us) enrolled in Donald Gallup's basic Bibliography course. It was a splendid course, divided between the nature and history of the printed book, and the organization and classification of information in libraries, a necessary background for all research.
I had no idea at the time that my teacher, a few years before, as a Major in the U. S. Army at the end of Word War II, had worked in cooperation with the Yale Library, under Thornton Wilder's leadership, to assemble and preserve the great Stein Collection, which included every scrap of paper to which she ever touched pencil or pen. Plus other treasures, including two little chairs with needlepoint seat covers made by Alice B. Toklas on an original design by Pablo Picasso.
It was nearly thirty years later, as Donald Gallup was nearing retirement as curator of the (also great) Yale Collection of American Literature at Yale's Beinecke Library, that I was beginning my researches into the life and work of Gertrude Stein. We met again at the Library, this time inside the new translucent marble tower, not the musty gothic stacks of Sterling, and he was gracious and hospitable in putting the resources of the collection at my disposal, and answering my many questions. He even (reluctantly) signed to me my copy of his 1948 Banyan edition of Blood On the Dining Room Floor.
The original Three Lives and Company in Greenwich Village,
with the Stein Murder Mystery prominently displayed
Donald Gallup Dies at 87; Bibliographer of T. S. Eliot
By William H. Honan
Donald Gallup, the Yale literary bibliographer who in 1968 confirmed the discovery of the long-lost manuscript of T. S. Eliot's ''Waste Land,'' died in Branford, Conn., on Wednesday. He was 87. Mr. Gallup spent more than 30 years as a curator in the Yale Collection of American Literature.
Patricia C. Willis, the current curator of the Yale Collection of American Literature, said she considered Mr. Gallup, who retired in 1980, ''the premier bibliographer for both Eliot and Ezra Pound, specializing in finding the first appearances of their work and documenting their creativity.''
''In the case of Pound,'' Ms. Willis said, ''Mr. Gallup found 1,989 works by the poet published in magazines and newspapers from 1902 until his death in 1972.'' The object of literary bibliography is to discover and provide all useful information about a writer's publications, including size, binding, book jacket, date, price, print run, contents and so forth. All this may deepen understanding of the work.
As a literary bibliographer, Mr. Gallup provided wide-ranging scholarly service to literature. The Eliot manuscript was discovered by curators in the New York Public Library, but it was Mr. Gallup whose analysis made the identification definitive.
In addition to assembling bibliographies of the work of Eliot and Pound, Mr. Gallup edited writings by Pound's friends Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas and Thornton Wilder, and has been celebrated for his work on Eugene O'Neill.
Last year, Mr. Gallup donated a major part of his Eliot collection to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale.
Donald Clifford Gallup was born on May 12, 1913, in Sterling, Conn. His father was a lumber worker. After graduating from Yale in 1934, he taught English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas until 1941, when the United States entered World War II. During the war, he was stationed for two years in England, where he bought first editions of English poetry and 19th-century classics. One such acquisition was a copy of a William Butler Yeats poem presented to Pound. When his unit moved to Paris after the liberation, Mr. Gallup bought letters and other materials relating to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.
Back at Yale in 1946, Mr. Gallup was employed as a librarian and then as a curator.