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Gertrude Stein

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Gertrude Stein
 
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Gertrude Stein was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, on February 3, 1874, to an affluent Jewish family, spent her early childhood in Vienna and Paris, and later grew up in Oakland, California. At Radcliffe College she studied under William James, who remained her lifelong friend, and then went to Johns Hopkins to study medicine. Abandoning her studies, she moved to Paris with her brother Leo in 1903. At 27 rue de Fleurus, Gertrude Stein lived with Alice B. Toklas, who would remain her companion for forty years. Not only was she an innovator in literature and a supporter of modern poetry and art, she was the friend and mentor of those who visited her at her now-famous home: Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, and Guillaume Appollinaire. Her first important book was Three Lives (1909), then Tender Buttons (1914), followed by her magnum opus, The Making of Americans (1925), and the book which became a huge popular success, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). Just before her death at the age of 72 on July 27, 1946, she asked Alice Toklas from her hospital bed, “What is the answer?” Getting no answer, she then asked, “In that case, what is the question?”


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Gertrude Stein was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, on February 3, 1874, to an affluent Jewish family, spent her early childhood in Vienna and Paris, and later grew up in Oakland, California. At Radcliffe College she studied under William James, who remained her lifelong friend, and then went to Johns Hopkins to study medicine. Abandoning her studies, she moved to Paris with her brother Leo in 1903. At 27 rue de Fleurus, Gertrude Stein lived with Alice B. Toklas, who would remain her companion for forty years. Not only was she an innovator in literature and a supporter of modern poetry and art, she was the friend and mentor of those who visited her at her now-famous home: Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, and Guillaume Appollinaire. Her first important book was Three Lives (1909), then Tender Buttons (1914), followed by her magnum opus, The Making of Americans (1925), and the book which became a huge popular success, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). Just before her death at the age of 72 on July 27, 1946, she asked Alice Toklas from her hospital bed, “What is the answer?” Getting no answer, she then asked, “In that case, what is the question?”


Books by thisAuthor
  • Tender Buttons

    Tender Buttons
    The Corrected Centennial Edition
    The MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions has awarded Tender Buttons: The Corrected Centennial Edition its seal designating it an MLA Approved Edition. 2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the original publication of Gertrude Stein's groundbreaking modernist classic, Tender Buttons. This centennial edition is the first and only version to incorporate Stein's own handwritten corrections—found in a first-edition copy at the University of Colorado—as well as corrections discovered among her papers at the Beinecke Library at Yale University. Editor Seth Perlow has assembled a text with over one hundred emendations, resulting in the first version of Tender Buttons that truly reflects its author's intentions. These changes are detailed in Perlow's "Note on the Text," which describes the editorial process and lists the specific variants for the benefit of future scholars. The book includes facsimile images of some of Stein's handwritten edits and lists of corrections, as well as an afterword by noted contemporary poet and scholar Juliana Spahr. A compact, attractive edition suitable for general readers as well as scholars, Tender Buttons: The Corrected Centennial Edition is unique among the available versions of this classic text and is destined to become the standard. Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) was one of the most important and innovative American writers of literary modernism, as well as one of the great art collectors and salon hosts of the period. A pioneering lesbian writer, Stein lived most of her life in Paris but became a celebrity in the United States with the publication of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). Seth Perlow teaches English at Oklahoma State University. Juliana Spahr teaches writing at Mills College. "Tender Buttons is the touchstone work of radical modernist poetry, the fullest realization of the turn to language and the most perfect realization of 'wordness,' where word and object are merged. For the centennial of this masterpiece, Seth Perlow has given us much the best edition of the poem, based on Stein’s manuscript and corrections she made to the first edition. Punctuation, spelling, format, and a few phrases are affected and most especially the change in the capitalization of the section titles. 'The difference is spreading.'"--Charles Bernstein, University of Pennsylvania, author of Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions “The publication of an authoritative edition of Tender Buttons, with Stein’s hitherto unpublished corrections and editions, is a splendid way to celebrate the centennial of this influential modernist work. Scholars will benefit from the full documentation, and readers will appreciate its convenient format, which resembles the original publication.”--Jonathan Culler, Cornell University "This radical multi-dimensional generative cubist text with the simplest words imaginable continues to alter and shape poetics into the post post modernist future. We have Gertrude Stein's 'mind grammar' operating at full tilt, with unpredictability, wit and sensory prevarication. Look to the 'minutes particulars,' Blake admonished, and here she does just that: 'it is a winning cake.' Salvos to the editor and salient 'afterword' that give belletristic notes and political perspective as well. A unique edition."--Anne Waldman, The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics

    Three Lives

    Three Lives
    Gertrude Stein, as a college student at Radcliffe and a medical student at Johns Hopkins Medical School, was a privileged woman, but she was surrounded by women who were trapped by poverty, class, and race into lives that offered little choice. Her portraits of Anna and Lena are examples of realistic depictions of immigrant women who had no occupational choice but to become domestic workers. This collection of documents from the history of women's suffrage, medical history, modernist art, and literature enables readers to see how radical Stein's subject was.

    Tender Buttons

    Tender Buttons
    Objects
    First published in 1914, Gertrude Stein's revolutionary poetic work Tender Buttons is a must-read for every serious lover of literature. Delighting in the rhythm of words, its first section, "Objects," runs playful linguistic circles around teacups, ribbons, umbrellas, and other quotidian artifacts. Presented here in an exquisite small package, this new edition of "Objects" pairs Stein's avant-garde verse with colorful contemporary illustrations by indie art star Lisa Congdon, who illuminates and interrogates the classic Cubist text with visuals as capricious as Stein's own prose. A celebration of independent thinking old and new, this captivating marriage of image and text is a treasure of arts and letters.

    Geography and Plays

    Geography and Plays
    Generous collection of works -- dating from 1910-1920 -- reveals Stein as a philosopher, poet, portraitist, dramatist and short story writer, as the investigator of the nature of language, and much more.

  • Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein

    Matisse Picasso and Gertrude Stein

    Three Lives and Tender Buttons

    Three Lives and Tender Buttons
    Three Lives Three short stories comprise Gertrude Stein’s first significant work, each a psychological portrait of a different woman. “The Good Anna” is a kindly but domineering German servant. “The Gentle Lena” apathetically endures her miserable life until she dies in childbirth. “Melanctha” is a young Black woman learning about sexuality and love. Different as they may be, all three women are bound by poverty—and all three face the restrictions of class, race, and sex with resignation. Tender Buttons Stein spoke of maintaining a “continuous present,” comprised of “moments of consciousness,” independent of time and memory. Nowhere is this more clear than in her prose poems Tender Buttons. Their repetitive sentences, juxtaposition of sounds, and simple language connote this continuous presence. To live in this state is “to begin again and again,” to “use everything.” Each of the three sections, “Objects,” “Food,” and “Rooms,” employs both this repetition and disjointed words to build images. Prose poetry at its most abstract expression, Tender Buttons “is to writing…what cubism is to art.” (W.G. Rogers)

    The World Is Round

    The World Is Round
    Published to commemorate its 75th anniversary, The World Is Round brings back into print the classic story created by Gertrude Stein and Clement Hurd. Written in her unique prose style, Gertrude Stein's The World Is Round chronicles the adventures of a young girl named Rose—a whimsical tale that delights in wordplay and sound while exploring the ideas of personal identity and individuality. This stunning volume replicates the original 1939 edition to a T, including all of Clement Hurd's original blue-and-white art printed on the rose-pink paper that Stein insisted upon. Also featured here are two essays that provide an inside view to the making of the book. The first, a foreword by Clement Hurd's son, author and illustrator Thacher Hurd, includes previously unpublished photographs and sheds light on a creative family life in Vermont, where his father and mother, author Edith Thacher Hurd, often collaborated on children's books. The second essay, an afterword by Edith Thacher Hurd, takes readers behind the scenes of the making of The World Is Round, including the numerous letters exchanged between Hurd and Stein as well as images of Stein with the real-life Rose and her white poodle, Love.

    Paris France

    Paris France
    Celebrated for her innovative literary bravura, Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) settled into a bustling Paris at the turn of the twentieth century, never again to return to her native America. While in Paris, she not only surrounded herself with—and tirelessly championed the careers of—a remarkable group of young expatriate artists but also solidified herself as "one of the most controversial figures of American letters" (

  • The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

    The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
    Stein's most famous work; one of the richest and most irreverent biographies ever written.

    Ida

    Ida
    A Novel
    Gertrude Stein wanted Ida to be known in two ways: as a novel about a woman in the age of celebrity culture and as a text with its own story to tell. With the publication of this workshop edition of Ida, we have the novel exactly as it was published in 1941, and we also have the full record of its creation. Logan Esdale offers informative critical commentary and judiciously selected archival materials to illuminate Stein’s experience of authorship from the novel’s beginning in early summer 1937, through the various drafts and negotiations with her publisher, to the reviews that greeted the book’s publication. Stein’s careful and systematic preservation of all Ida-related materials for her archive at the Yale University Library was a conscious decision, and an invitation for us to study the complexity of her creative process.

    Stanzas in Meditation

    Stanzas in Meditation
    The Corrected Edition
    In the 1950s, Yale University Press published a number of Gertrude Stein's posthumous works, among them her incomparable Stanzas in Meditation. Since that time, scholars have discovered that Stein's poem exists in several versions: a manuscript that Stein wrote and two typescripts that her partner Alice B. Toklas prepared. Toklas’s work on the second typescript changed the poem when, enraged upon detecting in it references to a former lover, she not only adjusted the typescript but insisted that Stein make revisions in the original manuscript. This edition of Stanzas in Meditation is the first to confront the complicated story of its composition and revision. Through meticulous archival work, the editors present a reliable reading text of Stein's original manuscript, as well as an appendix with the textual variants among the poem's several versions. This record of Stein's multi-layered revisions enables readers to engage more fully with the author's radically experimental poem and also to detect the literary impact of Stein's relationship with Toklas. The editors’ preface and poet Joan Retallack’s introduction offer insight into the complexities of reading Stein's poetry and the innovative modes of reading that her works require and generate. Students and admirers of Stein will welcome this illuminating new contribution to Stein’s oeuvre.

    3 Lives

    3 Lives
    Consists of three character studies of women; "The Good Anna"--a kind but domineering German servingwoman; "Melanctha"--an uneducated but sensitive black girl; "The Gentle Lena"--a pathetically feebleminded young German maid.

  • Lucy Church, Amiably

    Lucy Church, Amiably

    Narration

    Narration
    Four Lectures
    Newly famous in the wake of the publication of her groundbreakingAutobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein delivered herNarrationlectures to packed audiences at the University of Chicago in 1935. Stein had not been back to her home country since departing for France in 1903, and her remarks reflect on the changes in American culture after thirty years abroad.    In Stein’s trademark experimental prose,Narrationreveals the legendary writer’s thoughts about the energy and mobility of the American people, the effect of modernism on literary form, the nature of history and its recording, and the inventiveness of the English language—in particular, its American variant. Stein also discusses her ambivalence toward her own literary fame as well as the destabilizing effect that notoriety had on her daily life. Restored to print for a new generation of readers to discover, these vital lectures will delight students and scholars of modernism and twentieth-century literature.   “Narrationis a treasure waiting to be rediscovered and to be pirated by jolly marauders of sparkling texts.”—Catharine Stimpson, NYU

    Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein

    Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein
    "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.

    A Stein Reader

    A Stein Reader

  • Everybody's Autobiography

    Everybody's Autobiography
    “Alice B. Toklas wrote hers and now everybody will write theirs.” In 1933 Gertrude Stein’s The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas skyrocketed to the top of the bestseller lists, and the author found herself a celebrity. Everybody’s Autobiography is the very Steinian account of her soul-satisfying next five years in France, England, and America, where she made a triumphant tour of the country. Here are Stein’s devastating analyses of some of the major figures of the day whom she met—among them Dashiell Hammett, Charlie Chaplin, Pablo Picasso, Marianne Moore, Mrs. Roosevelt, and Sherwood Anderson—and also of her own life and work.

    Useful Knowledge

    Useful Knowledge
    Useful Knowledge is pleasant and therefore it is very much to be enjoyed," writes Gertrude Stein in her "Advertisement for this Book"-an apt characterization of the experience of reading it sixty years after its disappearance from print. Despite her long expatriation, she "always remained" in her words, "firmly born in Allegheny Pennsylvania." Indeed- physical detachment from her homeland seems only to have deepened her love for the country, a passion very nearly erotic, that blossomed in this private remembrance that is both tender and humorous. War, Woodrow Wilson, Chicago, Sherwood Anderson-such is the range of her intimate concerns. As for the significant questions to which her writings respond: "Wherein Iowa differs from Kansas and Indiana" and "Wherein the South differs from the North," useful knowledge indeed, when the thought is opened along with the word in these extraordinary prose inventions. Keith Waldrop's introduction furnishes new insight into the process and development of Stein's infamous style as always more intricately evolving than is recognized. And Edward Burns provides "useful knowledge about Useful Knowledge," the kind of information about Stein's text that we rarely find when we most want it

    A Novel of Thank You

    A Novel of Thank You
    This is the first paperback edition of one of Stein's most revealing novels. Written in 1925-26 (but not published until 1958), it is Stein's midcareer assessment of herself, her writing, and her relationships, composed in the unique style for which she is celebrated. In place of a traditional narrative, Stein explores the nature of narrative, its possibilities, the various genres (historical novels, the novel of manners, adventure stories) available to the writer, the conventions of novel-writing, and the novelist's relation to her materials. In a sense, the novel is about "preparing a novel" (the subject of chap. 50), about everything that goes through a writer's head as she begins to write. Mixed in with her meditations on writing are daily events in her marriage to Alice B. Toklas, visits from friends - including such notable figures of the period as Josephine Baker, Virgil Thomson, Rene Crevel, and a number of expatriate American writers and artists - travels in and around France, memories of the past,,inquiries into names and the nature of identity, and virtually anything else that occurs to her. As she writes at one point, "It can easily be remembered that a novel is everything", so everything of interest to Stein goes into her preparations for the novel that is A Novel of Thank You.

    Gertrude Stein's America

    Gertrude Stein's America
    The groundbreaking writer Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was intensely American, though she lived most of her life in France. She returned only once to the United States, having left it at the age of twenty-nine, yet she never lost her plain American accent and manner nor her ardor for the United States. Stein approached her country with an appreciation akin to discovery. She wrote about it all—railroad stations, mailboxes, cities, farms, five-and-dime stores, drugstores, the food, the landscape, the speech, the ideas. She wrote, too, about Americans she met in France, the writers and artists who flocked there in the twenties and early thirties, the doughboys of World War I, the GIs of World War II, and Americans she met when she came home briefly in 1934-35.

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