1 The editions of Kiki's memoirs that I examine in this essay include: Souvenirs: Kiki (Paris: Henri Broca, 1929); Kiki's Memoirs, trans. Samuel Putnam (Paris: At the Sign of the Black Manikin Press, 1930); The Education of a French Model: The Loves, Cares, Cartoons and Caricatures of Alice Prin, Originally Souvenirs Kiki in French and Kiki's Memoirs in English (New York: Boar's Head Books, 1950); The Education of a French Model (New York: Bridgehead Books, 1955); Kiki's Memoirs, eds. Billy Klüver and Julie Martin (Hopewell, New Jersey: The Ecco Press, 1996).
2 For more on the feminist reconceptualizing of modern art, see Elliot & Wallace and Caws, Kuenzli, & Raaberg.
3 Nowhere in their edition do Klüver and Martin mention Roth, and the dust jacket effaces his involvement in the memoirs' publishing history by claiming that "the English translation . . . never appeared in this country" after being banned by United States Customs in 1930.
4 The only in-depth accounts of Samuel Roth have been written by Leo Hamalian (1968, 1969, 1974). His work on Roth has been an invaluable resource for my article.
5 Roth's name is suppressed from the 1954 and 1955 editions of Education, but he did write and sign an introduction to Education that appeared in the 1950 edition. There is evidence that Roth is responsible for the later editions since they appear under his Seven Sirens Press imprint. I conclude that Roth pirated these texts since my search at the Library of Congress in 1995 revealed that no separate copyright was ever registered for Kiki's memoirs after 1930, even though all his editions record copyright imprints on them. One suspects the sequel in the 1954 and 1955 editions is faked due to a noticeable shift in the writing style; moreover, the only biography of Kiki (Mollgaard 1988) mentions neither a sequel to Souvenirs nor a late trip to New York, though it does reveal that Kiki, who died in 1953, was in no condition at this time to undertake either of these chores.
6 The term "modernism" in this essay will include the "avant-garde" and its many component movements (like surrealism), though I also use the term to indicate the eventual social complacency of modern art that the radical avant-garde has customarily resisted. For more on modernism, see Huyssen, Eysteinsson, and Nichols.
7 As Klüver writes, "Kiki remains the embodiment of the outspokenness, audacity, and creativity that marked this period of Montparnasse" (KM 1996, 39).
8 See Pietz.
9 Here one should note that one of the six introductory portraits of Kiki is by Hermine David, a woman artist.
10 Putnam's metaphor explicitly personalizes the city by mapping upon it men's affection for an (illicit?) lover, while it implicitly depersonalizes the mistress by having her serve as the territorial meeting-place for her multiple lovers.
11 "Elle prend ma place devant le chevalet, me demande de ne pas bouger et tranquillement commence à dessiner mon portrait. . . . Ce jour-là, je n'ai jamais compris lequel des deux était le peintre. "
12 "Kiki qui fut pendant des années l'inspiration des artistes...est devenue elle-même un artiste." This unidentified reporter later writes, "Ceux qui ignoraient que Kiki possédât un réel talent de peintre étaient surpris de manière plaisante" (SK 22).
13 For instance, Kiki throws cold water on the heated debates as to the differences between surrealism and dadaism; she also gives Hemingway a playful dig, wondering aloud if he is still a virgin (ch. 27)--even though Hemingway at that time had a wife and child.
14 "Tu as, ma chère Kiki, de si beaux yeux que, le monde au travers d'eux, doit être bien joli. Ce que tu vois?" (tr. Klüver and Martin 1989, p. 161).
15 "Si bien que tu rêves que le monde est pacifique comme la grasse prairie dans le vallon calme de ton imagination, qu'il n'est de tempêtes que dans les cauchemars. Et voici la prairie grasse dans le vallon calme, le ciel bleu, l'herbe verte, les femmes nues, les chansons et les fleurs." It may be worth comparing Desnos' dreamy description of Kiki to the way Klüver describes Broca's interest in Kiki: "he fell in love with a dream, the dream of Montparnasse. He saw Kiki as the embodiment of this dream, and he fell in love with her too" (KM 1996, 24).
16 Kiki took great pains in making up her eyes, and never appeared in public without being heavily painted. It is Hemingway who suggests that Kiki's investment in cosmetics has greater artistic significance: "[Kiki] was very wonderful to look at. Having a fine face to start with she had made of it a work of art" (E 1950, 12).
17 "[Man Ray] had made women into objects before, as for instance in Violon d'Ingres . . . , not only a reference to the classical purity of Kiki's torso and to the hobby of the famous painter, but also to putting woman in her place, as a thing of pleasure. Man Ray sometimes enjoyed putting her in her place forcibly, and more than once he proudly commented on violently abusing women" (Phillips, 212-15).
18 This marketing of surrealism looks ahead to the future when movement will be adopted as a fad by the fashion industry.
19 "Les peintres m'avaient adopté" is the headline for the last installment in Kiki's "Kiki vous parle sans pose," Ici-Paris, No. 267 (Aug.15-22), 1950. Kiki's relationship with the artists is actually more complicated than this, for she alternately characterizes the artists as parents and as "copains" or playmates. Whereas the first depiction allows Kiki to benefit from the artists' professional authority, the second precludes any repressive force that may arise from the artists' governance by making them into fellow children and all of Montparnasse into an Eden-like playground.
20 This irony extends to the way Kiki's memoirs update Ovid's--or is it Shaw's?--"Pygmalion": Kiki's lower-class background and the nurturing she receives from the avant-garde mark her resemblance to Liza Doolittle; but when the avant-garde, like Henry Higgins, remakes her in their own image, Kiki winds up not as a respectable member of the middle-class but rather as an affront to the public.
21 The nearness of these two topics seems to be registered by the consecutive placement of two chapters in Kiki's narrative: "Love Wakes" (ch. 5) and "First Contact with Art" (ch. 6).
22 "Une fois où j'avais posé pour lui, j'ai regardé ce qu'il avail fait, et j'ai été stupéfaite de voir qu'il avait dessiné une petite maison de campagne." (Tr. Putnam).
23 Interestingly Kiki gives a different spin to this episode years later: "Quand j'y pense maintenant, je crois que je comprends mieux. Je suis et je resterai toujours une campagnarde pur sang, comme disait ma mère avec désespoir; j'aurai toujours de la terre après mes souliers: `Cul-terreuse tu es, et cul-terreuse tu resteras,' me disait-elle, croyant me vexer" ("Kiki vous parle sans pose," Ici-Paris, Aug. 15-22). That is to say, Utrillo was not simply watching Kiki naked while he worked upon his art, but was indeed painting Kiki's portrait--the essence of her rustic being--when he drew a house and garden on the canvas.
24 Elsewhere Kiki records how the art dealer Zborowski "monte plusieurs fois dans la matinée pour voir si ça marche, et pour se rincer l'oeil" (SK 139), and how the critic Fels "me regarde comme il regarderait un beau morceau de viande à l'étalage d'un boucher. Il a un sourire communicatif et des yeux malins. Il voit très clair!" ("Zborowski climbs the stairs several times in the course of the morning, just to get an eyeful and see how things are coming along"; "[Fels] looks me over as if I were a hunk of beef in front of a butcher-shop. He's got a smile that says a lot and a pair of wicked eyes. He sees what he's looking at" Tr. Putnam). The vagueness of Kiki's double entendre suggests how hard it is to tell if the dehumanizing male gaze here is "artistic" or "salacious" in intent.
25 Kiki's tell-all narrative gives us an eyeful; topics include masturbation, the loss of virginity, exhibitionism--by Kiki as well as others, male impotence, encounters with prostitutes and prostitution, drug use, violence against women, humiliation, the drudgery of menial labor, and hardships like homelessness, poverty and illness.
26 For instance, Kiki recounts how her mother calls her a dirty whore when she discovers her daughter had begun to model; her friend Robert unsuccessfully pressures Kiki to prostitute herself on the boulevard; an artist she poses for tries to "make" her; Kiki is friendly with a neighbor who "fait le trottoir"; her grandmother runs from an American soldier who wants to pay her for sex, while a friend of her grandmother made good money that way during the war; Kisling calls her a whore and a "vieille vérolée" ["syphilitic old bitch"] when they first meet; and so on.
27 The other major structural changes in this book are: 1) the addition of about ten new pages of narrative by Kiki, placed at the end of various chapters; 2) the repositioning of Kiki's paintings so they now appear interlaced (though in the same order) with the pages of the narrative instead of preceding the memoirs as a discrete unit. Some ink drawings and photos of Kiki that accompanied the text in the original edition have also been dropped. The only two naked images of Kiki that appeared in Souvenirs--one a photograph, the other a drawing by herself--have been removed from the English edition. Even so, the book did not pass United States customs.
28 Putnam says he "approached [his] task reverently, never once doubting the plenary inspiration of the text before me"; he also considers Kiki "divine" and says it is a "sacrilege" to compare her to a flapper. Finally, after likening her to St. Theresa, Putnam pleads, "may God and Kiki forgive me" for daring to translate her.
29 The following list of books published by Roth offers some idea of the nature of his business: The Private Life of Frank Harris (1931) by Roth himself; The Intimate Journal of Rudolph Valentino (1931); Memoirs and Mistresses: The Amatory Recollections of a Physician (1932) by Ralcy Bell; My Friendship with Oscar Wilde (1932) by Alfred Douglas; Woman's Doctor (1933) by Walter Lennox; Celestine: The Diary of a Chambermaid (1930) by Octave Mirbeau; The Secret Places of the Human Body (1935) by Sir Richard Burton; I Was Hitler's Doctor (1941) by Dr. Kurt Krueger, also published as Inside Hitler; Bachelor's Quarters: Stories from Two Worlds (1944); My Sister and I (1951), by Friedrich Nietzsche; The Secret Diary of My Life (1951) by André Gide; Lese Majesty: The Private Lives of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor (1952) by Roth's alias, "Norman Lockridge"; The Secret Life of Walter Winchell (1953) by Lyle Stuart; My Life and Loves in Greenwich Village (1954) by Maxwell Bodenheim; Vagabond Scholar: A Venture into the Privacy of George Santayana (1962).
30 The following ad describes an item on Roth's booklist.
IN PREPARATION: Nude Ascending A Staircase A One-Act Play by Francis Page Photographically Illustrated
Do you remember the confusion created in the artistic world of 1908 by the cubist spectacle of a nude coming down a staircase? Most of the extralinear consternation stemmed from the fact that what people really wanted to see was a nude going up such a subdivided precipice--but really see it. Faithful to word and line, here is what we have all been waiting for. [The author, "Francis Page", is one of Roth's aliases].
31 On some counts, the 1950 Education, published under Roth's Boar's Head Books imprint, is identical to Titus's 1930 edition. It seems that the text was not reset; thus the pagination is the same, and the contents page is at the back of the book. The differences in the later edition are therefore mostly additions: Roth has written an "advertisement" that serves as his introduction to the reader, a few additional pictures appear that were published in the French original but not included in the English translation, and a dozen or so nude photos have been dispersed through the text.
The 1955 edition, published under Roth's Bridgehead Books imprint, is a considerably different book: the type has been reset, a "sequel" has been added (so now there are 39 chapters rather than 29), a new series of pin-ups has been inserted, and all the pictures, photos and line drawings from the original have been replaced by a series of illustrations by an unidentified artist. It would seem that this version is less concerned than the 1950 edition with maintaining the pretense and protection of high art.
32 Dante Cacici, "Introducing the Author of Bumarap " (Roth 1947, 245-6). Cacici makes this point in his postscript to Roth's novel, but I suspect he is also demonstrating his point since "Cacici" is possibly an alias Roth used to speak on his own behalf.
33 I should note that fraud was, as often as obscenity, the charge levied against Roth. In part, this demonstrates the industriousness of the Society for the Suppression of Vice in their effort to put the publisher out of business: if they could not stop Roth by characterizing him as a pornographer, they would stop him by characterizing him as a publisher who falsely advertises himself to his readers as a peddler of obscenity.
34 By aligning Kiki with the Biblical source of original sin, the picture further confirms the text's fetishization of Kiki as a fallen--and therefore supremely experienced--woman. But I can detect an irony within the picture if I contrast the painting Kiki is producing of herself with the act she is engaged in. Even as Kiki-as-Eve is pictured covering up her pubic area, Kiki-as-artist is shamelessly posing for herself and quietly exposing her private self through a public image. In public Kiki may seem to identify with a repentant Eve and to place herself under the law as a fallen woman; but "I pose for myself" shows us how this model uses her art to slyly wiggle out of this subjection and takes a secret, prelapsarian delight in revealing herself naked in public.
35 Roth had considerable difficulty trying to publish in the New York newspapers his version of what happened in the Joyce affair. The latest effort to clear his name has been taken up by his daughter; see Kugel.
36 How does Kiki fare in the sequel? Besides running into Hemingway (who gives her $25) and then Roth (who gives her $50), Kiki also runs into the Rockettes, whom she mistakes for prostitutes ("delightful little cocottes"). She follows the Rockettes around town, only to have them turn the tables on her when they begin, en masse, to pursue her; eventually she learns that Hemingway is the mastermind behind this little game. Kiki finally locates Antoine, but he turns out to be married--to one of the Rockettes. Kiki is now ready now to return home; to raise money for the ticket, she paints a series of pictures and sells them for $10 each to a local dealer.
37 The letter of protest and list of signatures is reprinted in Joyce (1966), vol. 3, pp. 151-153.
38 Transition, 180.
39 From Hamalian's account of Roth's life, it appears that Roth had five stints in prison: 2 months in 1928 (1969, 78-9); about 9 months in the Tombs in 1929 (84); 3 years, toward the end of the 1930s, in the Federal Penitentiary in Lewisburg, PA (92); 2 years in Sing Sing at the end of the forties (96); and 5 years, again in Sing Sing, from 1956-61 (104-5).
40 John M. Woolsey, U.S. District Court Ruling in United States vs. Ulysses (December 6, 1933); in Joyce (1961), vii.-xii.
41 According to Richard S. Randall, Woolsey's judgment "represented a significant shift in the legal concept of obscenity in the United States" (57). Harry Levin writes that the "incisive opinion acted as a great watershed, since it reversed the trend of earlier opinions and would be frequently cited in later ones" (10).
42 "[T]o find out if the book had merit, that is, to determine the author's purpose and success, the courts should, in appropriate cases, receive the benefit of testimony from students of the author's art--critics, teachers, and whoever else might be qualified to explain the meaning of the work and the relevancy of its objectionable parts to the author's objectives" (Paul and Schwartz, 65).
43 "In both American and British legal theory, a work having literary or artistic value cannot be obscene; likewise, one found obscene is, ipso facto, without intellectual or aesthetic worth" (Randall, 68). Charles Rembar writes: "by the 1950's most courts were willing to hold (usually in connection with a 'classic') that sufficient literary quality could drown out a certain amount of lustfulness. . . . Thus the law recognized two kinds of books: literature, which produces cortical responses, or in any case emotional responses from somewhere above the belt, and pornography, which gets you in the groin. The categories were treated as mutually exclusive" (24).
44 See Lewis (98) and Gurstein (passim).