Gertrude Stein
Vintage, New York, 1990; originally published in 1946, English
Fiction; Nonfiction, General
ISBN: 9780679724643

From the Publisher. This collection, a retrospective exhibit of the work of a woman who created a unique place for herself in the world of letters, contains a sample of practically every period and every manner in Gertrude Stein's career. It includes The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in its entirety; selected passages from The Making of Americans; "Melanctha" from Three Lives; portraits of the painters Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso; Tender Buttons; the opera Four Saints in Three Acts; and poem, plays, lectures, articles, sketches, and a generous portion of her famous book on the Occupation of France, Wars I Have Seen.

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Warren Lehrer

Gertrude Stein is one of those very influential, barely read writers. This anthology has a lot of gorgeous writing, including “portraits,” plays (open to much interpretation for dramatists), poems, and selected passages of Stein’s history of everyone—The Making of Americans. My advice: don’t worry about what Stein means at first. Enjoy the music, and the playfully searching,  hermetic cubism of her writing. Once you’re in the deep waters, you can see how really truly funny she is. Stein is not just heady and abstract, but heartfelt, tender, and descriptive. From what I know, she didn’t really care what her pages looked like, but I like looking at them because of their patterns, and her control of the line breaks, which is testament to the poetry of her prose. Gertrude Stein spawned generations of sound poets, pattern poets, minimalist and feminist writers and artists, but it’s worth going back to the source every now and again, even if, at first, it (still) seems shockingly new and strange.

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