Gertrude Stein’s best-seller, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, begins with the scene of a woman writing. When the Toklas character offers us a tour of Stein’s life in Paris, full of international artists and still unvalued pictures, she prefaces it: ‘Before I tell you about the guests I must tell you what I saw’ (AABT 8). In the middle of the atelier she sees ‘a lovely inkstand, and at one end of it note-books neatly arranged, the kind of note-books french children use, with pictures of earthquakes and explorations on the outside of them’ (AABT 8-9). When compared to the paintings that cover ‘all the walls right up to the ceiling’ (AABT 9), the unpublished manuscripts, which she will subsequently type, proofread, edit and, in some cases, publish, appear as if a secondary, almost diminutive object. But closed as they are, they occupy the center of the atelier and testify to the significance of a silent writing that goes on when we no one is looking.