Lucy Daniel Reaktion Books, 2009 Library of Congress PS3537.T323Z5857 2009 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
“You are, of course, never yourself,” wrote Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) in Everybody’s Autobiography. Modernist icon Stein wrote many pseudo-autobiographies, including the well-known story of her lover, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas;but in Lucy Daniel’s Gertrude Stein the pen is turned directly on Stein, revealing the many selves that composed her inspiring and captivating life.
Though American-born, Stein has been celebrated in many incarnations as the embodiment of French bohemia; she was a patron of modern art and writing, a gay icon, the coiner of the term “Lost Generation,” and the hostess of one of the most famous artistic salons. Welcomed into Stein’s art-covered living room were the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway, and Pound. But—perhaps because of the celebrated names who made up her social circle—Stein has remained one of the most recognizable and yet least-known of the twentieth-century’s major literary figures, despite her immense and varied body of work. With detailed reference to her writings, Stein’s own collected anecdotes, and even the many portraits painted of her, Lucy Daniel discusses how the legend of Gertrude Stein was created, both by herself and her admirers, and gives much-needed attention to the continuing significance and influence of Stein’s literary works.
A fresh and readable biography of one of the major Modernist writers, Gertrude Stein will appeal to a wide audience interested in Stein’s contributions to avant-garde writing, and twentieth century art and literature in general.
Gertrude Stein is recognized as an iconic and canonical literary modernist. In Gertrude Stein and the Reinvention of Rhetoric, Sharon J. Kirsch broadens our understanding of Stein’s influence to include her impact on the field of rhetoric.
For humanities scholars as well as popular audiences, the relationship between rhetoric and literature remains vexed, in part due to rhetoric’s contemporary affiliation with composition, which makes it separate from, if not subordinate to, the study of literature. Gertrude Stein recognized no such separation, and this disciplinary policing of the study of English has diminished our understanding of her work, Kirsch argues. Stein’s career unfolded at the crossroads of literary composition and rhetorical theory, a site where she alternately challenged, satirized, and reinvented the five classical canons of rhetoric—invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery—even as she invented new trajectories of literary experimentation.
Kirsch follows Stein from her days studying composition and philosophy at Harvard through her expatriate years in France, fame in the 1930s, and experience of the Second World War. She frames Stein’s explorations of language as an inventive poetics that reconceived practices and theories of rhetorical invention during a period that saw the rise of literary studies and the decline of rhetorical studies. Through careful readings of canonical and lesser-known works, Kirsch offers a convincing critical portrait of Stein as a Sophistic provocateur who reinvented the canons by making a productive mess of canonical rhetoric and modernist categories of thought.
Readers will find much of interest in Gertrude Stein and the Reinvention of Rhetoric. Kirsch offers myriad insights to scholars of Stein, to those interested in the interdisciplinary intersections of literature, rhetoric, and philosophy, as well as to scholars and students in the field of rhetoric and communication studies. Positioning Stein as a major twentieth-century rhetorical theorist is particularly timely given increasing interest in historical and theoretical resonances between rhetoric and poetics and given the continued lack of recognition for women theorists in rhetorical studies.
The first extensive examination of Stein's notebooks, manuscripts and letters, prepared over a period of twenty years, Gertrude Stein: The Language That Rises asks new questions and explores new ways of reading Stein. This definitive study give us a finely detailed, deeply felt understanding of Stein, the great modernist, throughout one of her most productive periods. From "An Elucidation" in 1923 to Lectures In America in 1934, Ulla E. Dydo examines the process of the making and remaking of Stein's texts as they move from notepad to notebook to manuscript, from an idea to the ultimate refinement of the author's intentions. The result is an unprecedented view of the development of Stein's work, word by word, text by text, and over time.
Frank Galati's dramatic adaptation of Gertrude Stein's texts begins with Stein at age 60 as she is lecturing at the University of Chicago in 1934. She starts to speak about her writing, specifically her use of repetition, and to connect this idea with her own life experiences. A young Gertrude then appears to guide the audience through her memories of her life as a student, falling in love with Alice B. Toklas, their time together in France and Alice's account of Stein's final day. These vignettes, each culminating in a song (music by Stephen Flaherty), adeptly encapsulate the joy and passion of Stein's life and work, and the depth and complexity of a lesbian romance. Galati sheds new light on Stein's views on language, communication, and ideas by emphasizing how her art evolved from her fascination with the repetition of human behavior-as Stein sings to the audience "Loving repeating is one way of being."
Using experimental style as a framework for close readings of writings produced by late twentieth-century North American women, Deborah Mix places Gertrude Stein at the center of a feminist and multicultural account of twentieth-century innovative writing. Her meticulously argued work maps literary affiliations that connect Stein to the work of Harryette Mullen, Daphne Marlatt, Betsy Warland, Lyn Hejinian, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. By distinguishing a vocabulary-which is flexible, evolving, and simultaneously individual and communal--from a lexicon-which is recorded, fixed, and carries the burden of masculine authority--Mix argues that Stein's experimentalism both enables and demands the complex responses of these authors.
Arguing that these authors have received relatively little attention because of the difficulty in categorizing them, Mix brings the writing of women of color, lesbians, and collaborative writers into the discussion of experimental writing. Thus, rather than exploring conventional lines of influence, she departs from earlier scholarship by using Stein and her work as a lens through which to read the ways these authors have renegotiated tradition, authority, and innovation.
Building on the tradition of experimental or avant-garde writing in the United States, Mix questions the politics of the canon and literary influence, offers close readings of previously neglected contemporary writers whose work doesn't fit within conventional categories, and by linking genres not typically associated with experimentalism-lyric, epic, and autobiography-challenges ongoing reevaluations of innovative writing.