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Somehow a Past:
This tender book, carefully edited by Susan Elizabeth Ryan, was chosen from among six handwritten manuscripts of the same title by the prolific American modernist painter and writer Marsden Hartley. Hartley "presents the scholar with an untidy field of inquiry," Ryan writes gently. Partly inspired by his friend Gertrude Stein's "autobiography" of Alice B. Toklas, it tells the story of a life at the center of the early modernist art movement in America, chiefly among the Alfred Stieglitz crowd. For this book, Ryan, in an extensive introduction, fills in many blanks, such as Hartley's homosexuality and the extreme sadness of his childhood after his mother's death when he was 8. The main text is a model of intellectual inquiry, self-doubt, and frequently mordant observations: "The summer in Paris was gay and amusing--there is always one summer in Paris when it is that." Or, "O, the wild rough gaiety of the Marseillaises when they are not murdering and thieving." --Margaret Moorman [via]