Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein

Overview
Gertrude Stein was an American writer, poet and art collector who spent most of her life in France.


Gertrude Stein, the youngest of a family of five children, was born on February 3, 1874, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Allegheny City was a Pennsylvania municipality located on the north side of the junction of the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, across from downtown Pittsburgh. It was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907...

 (merged with Pittsburgh in 1907) to well-educated German Jewish parents, Daniel and Amelia Stein. Her father was a railroad executive whose investments in streetcar lines and real estate made the family wealthy.

When Gertrude was three years old she and her family moved for business, first to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 and then Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

.
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Quotations

From the very nature of progress, all ages must be transitional. If they were not, the world would be at a stand-still and death would speedily ensue. It is one of the tamest of platitudes but it is always introduced by a flourish of trumpets.

"Form and Intelligibility," from The Radcliffe Manuscripts (1949); written in 1894 as an undergraduate at Radcliffe College

Argument is to me the air I breathe. Given any proposition, I cannot help believing the other side and defending it.

"Form and Intelligibility," from The Radcliffe Manuscripts (1949); written in 1895 as an undergraduate at Radcliffe College

The whole duty of man consists in being reasonable and just... I am reasonable because I know the difference between understanding and not understanding and I am just because I have no opinion about things I don’t understand.

Manuscript (1903), published in Q.E.D. Book 1, from Q.E.D., and Other Early Writings (1971)

A beauty is not suddenly in a circle. It comes with rapture. A great deal of beauty is rapture. A circle is a necessity. Otherwise you would see no one. We each have our circle.

"A Circular Play," from Last Operas and Plays (1949) [written in 1920]

It is always a mistake to be plain-spoken.

"As Eighty," from Bee Time Vine (1953, Yale University Press); written in 1923

No sense in no sense innocence of what of not and what of delight. In no sense innocence in no sense and what in delight and not, in no sense innocence in no sense no sense what, in no sense and delight, and in no sense and delight and not in no sense and delight and not, no sense in no sense innocence and delight.

"Are There Arithmetics" (28 May 1927) [written in 1923]

Let me recite what history teaches. History teaches.

If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso|If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso (1923). First published in Vanity Fair.

One does not get better but different and older and that is always a pleasure.

Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald (22 May 1925), published in Fitzgerald's The Crack-Up (1945)

Before the flowers of friendship faded friendship faded.

This phrase was used as the title of a work published in 1931, but was originally used in Ch. LXII of A Novel of Thank You, written in 1925-1926, but not published until 1958 by the Yale University Press

All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation... You have no respect for anything. You drink yourselves to death.

Statement quoted by Ernest Hemingway in A Moveable Feast (1964) Ch. 3, it had also provided the epigraph to The Sun Also Rises|The Sun Also Rises (1926).
Encyclopedia
Gertrude Stein was an American writer, poet and art collector who spent most of her life in France.

Early life



Gertrude Stein, the youngest of a family of five children, was born on February 3, 1874, in Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Allegheny City was a Pennsylvania municipality located on the north side of the junction of the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, across from downtown Pittsburgh. It was annexed by Pittsburgh in 1907...

 (merged with Pittsburgh in 1907) to well-educated German Jewish parents, Daniel and Amelia Stein. Her father was a railroad executive whose investments in streetcar lines and real estate made the family wealthy.

When Gertrude was three years old she and her family moved for business, first to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 and then Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. They returned to America in 1878, settling in Oakland, California
Oakland, California
Oakland is a major West Coast port city on San Francisco Bay in the U.S. state of California. It is the eighth-largest city in the state with a 2010 population of 390,724...

, where Stein attended First Hebrew Congregation of Oakland
Temple Sinai (Oakland, California)
Temple Sinai is a Reform synagogue located at 2808 Summit Street in Oakland, California, United States...

's Sabbath school.

Her mother died in 1888, and her father in 1891. Michael, her eldest brother, took over the family business holdings. He arranged for Gertrude, and another sister Bertha, to live with their mother's family in Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

 after the deaths of their parents. In 1892 she lived with her uncle David Bachrach
David Bachrach
David Bachrach was an American commercial photographer based in Baltimore, Maryland. He made contributions to the technical, artistic, and professional advancements in the field as well as being the founder of a photographic dynasty that became a unique institution in the United States...

.

It was in Baltimore that Gertrude met Claribel Cone
Claribel Cone
The Cone sisters were Claribel Cone and Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland. Together they gathered one of the finest collections of modern French art in the United States. They were wealthy socialites during the Gilded Age.-Early life:Their parents were Herman Cone and Helen Cone, who were...

 and Etta Cone, who held Saturday evening salons
Salon (gathering)
A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to...

 which Gertrude would later emulate in Paris, who shared an appreciation for art and conversation about it, and who modeled a domestic division of labor that Gertrude was later to replicate in her relationship with Alice B. Toklas
Alice B. Toklas
Alice B. Toklas was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century.-Early life, relationship with Gertrude Stein:...

.

Stein attended Radcliffe College
Radcliffe College
Radcliffe College was a women's liberal arts college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was the coordinate college for Harvard University. It was also one of the Seven Sisters colleges. Radcliffe College conferred joint Harvard-Radcliffe diplomas beginning in 1963 and a formal merger agreement with...

 from 1893 to 1897, and was a student of psychologist William James
William James
William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism...

. With James's supervision, Stein and another student named Leon Mendez Solomons performed experiments on Normal Motor Automatism, a phenomenon hypothesized to occur in people when their attention is divided between two simultaneous intelligent activities, like writing and speaking.

These experiments yielded examples of writing that appeared to represent "stream of consciousness
Stream of consciousness
In literary criticism, stream of consciousness is a narrative mode that seeks to portray an individual's point of view by giving the written equivalent of the character's thought processes, either in a loose interior monologue, or in connection to his or her actions.Stream-of-consciousness writing...

," a psychological theory often attributed to James, which became the term used to describe the style of modernist authors like Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf
Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English author, essayist, publisher, and writer of short stories, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century....

 and James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

. In 1934, behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner in fact interpreted Stein's notoriously difficult poem, Tender Buttons, as an example of the "normal motor automatism" Stein had written about for the experiment at Radcliffe.

According to a letter Stein wrote during the 1930s, however, she had never really accepted the theory of automatic writing
Automatic writing
Automatic writing or psychography is writing which the writer states to be produced from a subconscious and/or spiritual source without conscious awareness of the content.-History:...

, explaining: "there can be automatic movements, but not automatic writing. Writing for the normal person is too complicated an activity to be indulged in automatically."

At Radcliffe, she began a lifelong friendship with Mabel Foote Weeks, whose correspondence traces much of the progression of Gertrude's life. In 1897, Gertrude spent the summer in Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Woods Hole is a census-designated place in the town of Falmouth in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States. It lies at the extreme southwest corner of Cape Cod, near Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands...

 studying embryology at the Marine Biological Laboratory
Marine Biological Laboratory
The Marine Biological Laboratory is an international center for research and education in biology, biomedicine and ecology. Founded in 1888, the MBL is the oldest independent marine laboratory in the Americas, taking advantage of a coastal setting in the Cape Cod village of Woods Hole, Massachusetts...

, succeeded by two years at Johns Hopkins Medical School. In 1901, she left Johns Hopkins without obtaining a degree.

In 1903 Gertrude moved to Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, where she would spend the rest of her life. From 1903 to 1914 she lived there with her brother Leo Stein
Leo Stein
Leo Stein was an American art collector and critic. He was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, the older brother of Gertrude Stein. He became an influential promoter of 20th-century paintings. Beginning in 1892, he studied at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for two years. The...

, an art critic. It was during this period that she became well-known.


Art collecting


Much of Gertrude Stein's fame derives from a private modern art gallery she assembled, from 1904 to 1913, with her brother Leo Stein. Carl Van Vechten
Carl van Vechten
Carl Van Vechten was an American writer and photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein.-Biography:...

 (music critic for the New York Times and then drama critic for the New York Press
New York Press
New York Press was a free alternative weekly in New York City, that was published from 1988 to 2011. During its lifetime, it was the main competitor to the Village Voice...

), and Henry McBride
Henry McBride (art critic)
Henry McBride was an American art critic. He was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania, to Quaker parents. He studied art in New York City at the Artist-Artisan Institute and later took night classes at the Art Students League of New York. McBride started the art department of The Educational...

 (art critic for the New York Sun), did much to increase Stein's fame in the USA. Both had wide-circulation newspaper article series in which they frequently exposed Gertrude's name to the public.

Of the art collection at 27 Rue de Fleurus, McBride commented: "in proportion to its size and quality ... [it is] just about the most potent of any that I have ever heard of in history." McBride also made the observation that Gertrude "collected geniuses rather than masterpieces. She recognized them a long way off." The collection soon had a worldwide reputation.

Leo Stein's acquaintances and study of modern art eventually resulted in the famous Stein art collections. Bernard Berenson
Bernard Berenson
Bernard Berenson was an American art historian specializing in the Renaissance. He was a major figure in pioneering art attribution and therefore establishing the market for paintings by the "Old Masters".-Personal life:...

 hosted Gertrude and Leo in his English country house in 1902, and suggested they visit Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

 and Ambroise Vollard
Ambroise Vollard
Ambroise Vollard is regarded as one of the most important dealers in French contemporary art at the beginning of the twentieth century...

's art gallery.

The joint collection of Gertrude and Leo Stein began in late 1904, when Michael Stein announced that their trust account had accumulated a balance of 8,000 francs. They spent this at Vollard
Ambroise Vollard
Ambroise Vollard is regarded as one of the most important dealers in French contemporary art at the beginning of the twentieth century...

's Gallery, buying Gauguin
Paul Gauguin
Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin was a leading French Post-Impressionist artist. He was an important figure in the Symbolist movement as a painter, sculptor, print-maker, ceramist, and writer...

's Sunflowers and Three Tahitians, Cézanne's Bathers, and two Renoirs
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to...

.

The art collection increased and the walls at Rue de Fleurus were rearranged continuously to make way for new acquisitions. In "the first half of 1905" the Steins acquired Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

's Portrait of Mme Cézanne and Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

's Perseus and Andromeda. Shortly after the opening of the Paris Autumn Salon of 1905 (on October 18, 1905), the Steins acquired Matisse's Woman with a Hat and Picasso's Young Girl with Basket of Flowers.

By early 1906, Leo and Gertrude Stein's studio had many paintings by Henri Manguin
Henri Manguin
Henri Charles Manguin[p] was a French painter, associated with Les Fauves.Manguin entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts to study under Gustave Moreau, as did Matisse and Charles Camoin with whom he became close friends...

, Pierre Bonnard
Pierre Bonnard
Pierre Bonnard was a French painter and printmaker, as well as a founding member of Les Nabis.-Biography:...

, Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

, Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne
Paul Cézanne was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th...

, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to...

, Honoré Daumier
Honoré Daumier
Honoré Daumier was a French printmaker, caricaturist, painter, and sculptor, whose many works offer commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century....

, Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa or simply Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, and illustrator, whose immersion in the colourful and theatrical life of fin de siècle Paris yielded an œuvre of exciting, elegant and provocative images of the modern...

. Their collection was representative of two famous art exhibitions that took place during their residence together in Paris, and to which they contributed, either by lending their art, or by patronizing the featured artists.
The Steins' elder brother, Michael, and sister-in-law Sarah (Sally) acquired a large number of Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

 paintings; Gertrude's friends from Baltimore, Claribel
Claribel Cone
The Cone sisters were Claribel Cone and Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland. Together they gathered one of the finest collections of modern French art in the United States. They were wealthy socialites during the Gilded Age.-Early life:Their parents were Herman Cone and Helen Cone, who were...

 and Etta Cone, collected similarly, eventually donating their art collection, virtually intact, to the Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore Museum of Art
The Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, United States, was founded in 1914. Built in the Roman Temple style, the Museum is home to an internationally renowned collection of 19th-century, modern, and contemporary art. Founded in 1914 with a single painting, the BMA today has 90,000 works...



While numerous artists visited the Stein salon, many of these artists were not represented among the paintings on the walls at 27 Rue de Fleurus. Where Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Pierre-Auguste Renoir was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that "Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to...

, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso's works dominated Leo and Gertrude's collection, the collection of Michael and Sarah Stein
Sarah Stein
Sarah Stein , was born on July 26, 1870 San Francisco. She married Michael Stein on March 1894. She was the outspoken and academically successful daughter of a wealthy German Jewish merchant. She was given the nickname "Sally" by Jack London. She gave birth to Allan Daniel Stein on November 1,...

 emphasized Matisse.

Contemporaries of Leo and Gertrude, Matisse and Picasso became part of their social circle, and were a part of the early Saturday evenings at 27 Rue de Fleurus. Gertrude attributed the beginnings of the Saturday evening salons to Matisse, as
Among Picasso's acquaintances who frequented the Saturday evenings were: Fernande Olivier (Picasso's mistress), Georges Braque
Georges Braque
Georges Braque[p] was a major 20th century French painter and sculptor who, along with Pablo Picasso, developed the art style known as Cubism.-Early Life:...

 (artist), André Derain
André Derain
André Derain was a French artist, painter, sculptor and co-founder of Fauvism with Henri Matisse.-Early years:...

 (artist), Max Jacob
Max Jacob
Max Jacob was a French poet, painter, writer, and critic.-Life and career:After spending his childhood in Quimper, Brittany, France, he enrolled in the Paris Colonial School, which he left in 1897 for an artistic career...

 (poet), Guillaume Apollinaire
Guillaume Apollinaire
Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki, known as Guillaume Apollinaire was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic born in Italy to a Polish mother....

 (poet), Marie Laurencin
Marie Laurencin
Marie Laurencin was a French painter and printmaker. -Biography:Laurencin was born in Paris, where she was raised by her mother and lived much of her life. At 18, she studied porcelain painting in Sèvres...

 (Apollinaire's mistress and an artist in her own right), Henri Rousseau
Henri Rousseau
Henri Julien Félix Rousseau was a French Post-Impressionist painter in the Naïve or Primitive manner. He was also known as Le Douanier , a humorous description of his occupation as a toll collector...

 (painter), and Joseph Stella
Joseph Stella
Joseph Stella was an Italian-born, American Futurist painter best known for his depictions of industrial America. He is associated with the American Precisionism movement of the 1910s-1940s....

.

In April 1914 Leo relocated to Settignano, Italy, near Florence
Settignano
Settignano is a picturesque frazione ranged on a hillside northeast of Florence, Italy, with spectacular views that have attracted American expatriates for generations...

, and the art collection was divided.
The division of the Steins' art collection was described in a letter by Leo:
The Steins' holdings were dispersed eventually, by various methods and for various reasons.

After Stein's and Leo's households separated in 1914, she continued to collect examples of Picasso's art which had turned to Cubism
Cubism
Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture...

. At her death, Gertrude's remaining collection emphasized the artwork of Picasso and Juan Gris
Juan Gris
José Victoriano González-Pérez , better known as Juan Gris, was a Spanish painter and sculptor who lived and worked in France most of his life...

, having sold most of her other pictures.

Literary career


While living in Paris, Gertrude began writing for publication. Her earliest writings were mainly retellings of her college experiences. Her first critically acclaimed publication was Three Lives
Three Lives
Three Lives was Gertrude Stein's first published work. The book is separated into three stories, "The Good Anna," "Melanctha," and "The Gentle Lena."...

. In 1911 Mildred Aldrich
Mildred Aldrich
-Biography:She was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She grew up in Boston, taught at elementary school there and went on into journalism. She wrote for the Boston Home Journal, the Boston Journal and the Boston Herald. She started the short-lived The Mahogany Tree in 1892.In 1898, she moved to...

 introduced Gertrude to Mabel Dodge Luhan
Mabel Dodge Luhan
Mabel Evans Dodge Sterne Luhan , née Ganson was a wealthy American patron of the arts. She is particularly associated with the Taos art colony.-Early life:...

 and they began a short-lived but fruitful friendship during which a wealthy Mabel Dodge promoted Gertrude's legend in the United States.

Mabel was enthusiastic about Gertrude's sprawling publication The Makings of Americans and, at a time when Gertrude had much difficulty selling her writing to publishers, privately published 300 copies of Portrait of Mabel Dodge at Villa Curonia, a copy of which was valued at $25,000 in 2007 (James S. Jaffee Rare Books). Dodge was also involved in the publicity and planning of the 69th Armory Show
Armory Show
Many exhibitions have been held in the vast spaces of U.S. National Guard armories, but the Armory Show refers to the 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art that was organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors...

 in 1913, "the first avant-garde art exhibition in America."

In addition, she wrote the first critical analysis of Gertrude's writing to appear in America, in "Speculations, or Post-Impressionists in Prose", published in a special March 1913 publication of Arts and Decoration. Foreshadowing Gertrude's later critical reception, Mabel wrote in "Speculations":
Mabel attributed the end of their friendship to an exchange in the autumn of 1912 when, during lunch, Gertrude sent her "such a good strong look over the table that it seemed to cut across the air to me in a band of electrified steel-- a smile traveling across on it-- powerful-- Heavens!". Alice interpreted the look as a flirtation and left the room, prompting Gertrude to follow, and when Gertrude returned, she said, "[Alice] doesn't want to come lunch ... She feels the heat today." The salon, and the people that came to visit it, provided the inspiration for The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is a 1933 book by Gertrude Stein, written in the guise of an autobiography authored by Alice B. Toklas, who was her lover.-Summary:-Before I came to Paris:...

.

Q.E.D. (Not published until after her death)


Gertrude completed Q.E.D. (Quod Erat Demonstrandum) on October 24, 1903. This piece is discussed more completely later in this article at Relationship with Alice B. Toklas and its precursors

Fernhurst (written 1904)


In 1904 Stein began this fictional account of a scandalous three-person romantic affair involving a dean (M. Carey Thomas
M. Carey Thomas
Martha Carey Thomas was an American educator, suffragist, and second President of Bryn Mawr College.-Early life:...

) and a faculty member (Mary Gwinn) from Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr College is a women's liberal arts college located in Bryn Mawr, a community in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, ten miles west of Philadelphia. The name "Bryn Mawr" means "big hill" in Welsh....

 and a Harvard graduate (Alfred Hodder). Mellow asserts that Fernhurst "is a decidedly minor and awkward piece of writing.". It includes some commentary that Gertrude mentioned in her autobiography when she discussed the "fateful twenty-ninth year" during which:
Mellow observes that, in 1904, 30-year-old Gertrude "had evidently determined that the 'small hard reality' of her life would be writing".

Three Lives (written, 1905–06)


Among the paintings was a portrait of Madame Cézanne which provided Gertrude with inspiration as she began to write, and which she credited with her evolving writing style illustrated by her early work, Three Lives:
She began her novel Three Lives during the spring of 1905, and finished it the following year.

The Making of Americans (written, 1902–11)


Gertrude Stein stated the date for her writing of The Making of Americans was 1906-1908. Her biographer has uncovered evidence that it actually began in 1902 and did not end until 1911. Stein compared her work to James Joyce
James Joyce
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century...

's Ulysses
Ulysses (novel)
Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce. It was first serialised in parts in the American journal The Little Review from March 1918 to December 1920, and then published in its entirety by Sylvia Beach on 2 February 1922, in Paris. One of the most important works of Modernist literature,...

 and to Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental À la recherche du temps perdu...

's In Search of Lost Time
In Search of Lost Time
In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past is a novel in seven volumes by Marcel Proust. His most prominent work, it is popularly known for its considerable length and the notion of involuntary memory, the most famous example being the "episode of the madeleine." The novel is widely...

. Her critics were less enthusiastic about it. First publication in Alfred Stieglitz
Alfred Stieglitz
Alfred Stieglitz was an American photographer and modern art promoter who was instrumental over his fifty-year career in making photography an accepted art form...

's Camera Work (August 1912).
Further publication history

Stein wrote the bulk of the novel between 1903 and 1911, and evidence from her manuscripts suggests three major periods of revision during that time. The manuscript remained mostly hidden from public view until 1924 when, at the urging of Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

, Ford Madox Ford
Ford Madox Ford
Ford Madox Ford was an English novelist, poet, critic and editor whose journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature...

 agreed to publish excerpts in the transatlantic review
Transatlantic Review
Transatlantic Review was a literary journal founded and edited by Joseph F. McCrindle in 1959, and published at first in Rome, then London and New York...

. In 1925, the Paris-based Contact Press published a limited run of the novel consisting of 500 copies. A much-abridged edition was published by Harcourt Brace in 1934, but the full version remained out of print until Something Else Press
Something Else Press
Something Else Press was founded by Dick Higgins in 1963. It published many important Intermedia texts and artworks by Higgins, Ray Johnson, Gertrude Stein, George Brecht, Daniel Spoerri, Bern Porter, John Cage, Emmett Williams and others. The Something Else Press was an early publisher of...

 republished it in 1966. In 1995, a new, definitive edition was published by Dalkey Archive Press
Dalkey Archive Press
Dalkey Archive Press is a publisher of fiction, poetry, and literary criticism in Illinois in the United States, specializing in the publication or republication of lesser known, often avant-garde works...

 with a foreword by William Gass.

Gertrude's Matisse and Picasso descriptive essays appeared in Alfred Stieglitz
Alfred Stieglitz
Alfred Stieglitz was an American photographer and modern art promoter who was instrumental over his fifty-year career in making photography an accepted art form...

's August 1912 edition of Camera Work
Camera Work
Camera Work was a quarterly photographic journal published by Alfred Stieglitz from 1903 to 1917. It is known for its many high-quality photogravures by some of the most important photographers in the world and its editorial purpose to establish photography as a fine art...

, a special edition devoted to Picasso and Matisse, and represented her very first publication. Of this publication, Gertrude said, "[h]e was the first one that ever printed anything that I had done. And you can imagine what that meant to me or to any one."

Word Portraits (written, 1908–1913)


Gertrude's descriptive essays apparently began with her essay of Alice B. Toklas, "a little prose vignette, a kind of happy inspiration that had detached itself from the torrential prose of The Making of Americans
The Making of Americans
The Making of Americans: Being a History of a Family's Progress is a modernist novel by Gertrude Stein. The novel traces the genealogy, history, and psychological development of members of the fictional Hersland and Dehning families...

". Gertrude's early efforts at word portraits are catalogued in Mellow, 1974, p. 129-37 and under individual's names in Kellner, 1988. Matisse and Picasso were subjects of early essays, later collected and published in Geography and Plays (published 1922) and Portraits and Prayers (published 1934). The Matisse and Picasso portraits were reprinted in MoMA, 1970, pp. 99–102.

Her subjects included several ultimately famous personages, and her subjects provided a description of what she observed in her Saturday salons at 27 Rue de Fleurus: "Ada" (Alice B. Toklas
Alice B. Toklas
Alice B. Toklas was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century.-Early life, relationship with Gertrude Stein:...

), "Two Women" (The Cone Sisters) (Claribel Cone
Claribel Cone
The Cone sisters were Claribel Cone and Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland. Together they gathered one of the finest collections of modern French art in the United States. They were wealthy socialites during the Gilded Age.-Early life:Their parents were Herman Cone and Helen Cone, who were...

 and Etta Cone), Miss Furr and Miss Skeene (Ethel Mars and Maud Hunt Squire), "Men" (Hutchins Hapgood
Hutchins Hapgood
Hutchins Hapgood was an U.S. journalist, author, individualist anarchist/philosophical anarchist....

, Peter David Edstrom
Peter David Edstrom
Peter David Edstrom was an American sculptor.-Background:...

, Maurice Sterne
Maurice Sterne
Maurice Sterne was an American sculptor and painter remembered today for his association with philanthropist Mabel Dodge Luhan, to whom he was married from 1916 to 1923. He began his career as a draftsman and painter, and critics noted the similarity of his work, in its volume and weight, to...

), "Matisse" (1909) (Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French artist, known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter...

), "Picasso" (1909) (Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

), "Portrait of Mabel Dodge at the Villa Curonia" (1911) (Mabel Dodge Luhan
Mabel Dodge Luhan
Mabel Evans Dodge Sterne Luhan , née Ganson was a wealthy American patron of the arts. She is particularly associated with the Taos art colony.-Early life:...

), and "Guillaume Apollinaire
Guillaume Apollinaire
Wilhelm Albert Włodzimierz Apolinary Kostrowicki, known as Guillaume Apollinaire was a French poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and art critic born in Italy to a Polish mother....

" (1913).

Tender Buttons (written, 1912)


Tender Buttons is the best known of Gertrude Stein's "hermetic" works. It is a small book separated into three sections - Food, Objects and Rooms each containing prose under subtitles. (Kellner, 1988, p. 61-62). Its publication in 1914 caused a great dispute between Mabel Dodge Luhan
Mabel Dodge Luhan
Mabel Evans Dodge Sterne Luhan , née Ganson was a wealthy American patron of the arts. She is particularly associated with the Taos art colony.-Early life:...

 and Gertrude, because Mabel had been working to have it published by another publisher. (Mellow, 1974, p. 178). Mabel wrote at length about the bad choice of publishing it with the press Gertrude selected. Evans wrote Gertrude:
Claire Marie Press ... is absolutely third rate, & in bad odor here, being called for the most part 'decadent" and Broadwayish and that sort of thing. . . . I think it would be a pity to publish with [Claire Marie Press] if it will emphasize the idea in the opinion of the public, that there is something degenerate & effete & decadent about the whole of the cubist movement which they all connect you with, because, hang it all, as long as they don't understand a thing they think all sorts of things. My feeling in this is quite strong.
Stein ignored Mabel's exhortations, and eventually Mabel, and published 1,000 copies of the book, in 1914. (An antiquarian copy was valued at over $1,200 in 2007). It is currently in print.

Stein's poems in Tender Buttons are very stylised and hermetic, as she preferred for sound rather than sense.

Alice Toklas


Stein met her life partner
Life partner
A life partner is a romantic or otherwise very close friend for life. The partners can be of the same or opposite sexes, married or unmarried, and monogamous or polyamorous....

 Alice B. Toklas
Alice B. Toklas
Alice B. Toklas was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century.-Early life, relationship with Gertrude Stein:...

 on September 8, 1907, on Toklas' first day in Paris, at Sarah and Michael Stein's apartment. (Mellow, 1974, at 107) On meeting Stein, Toklas wrote:
Soon thereafter, Stein introduced Toklas to Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

 at his studio, where he was at work on Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
He followed his success by developing into his Rose period from 1904 to 1907, which introduced a strong element of sensuality and sexuality into his work...

.

In 1908, they summered in Fiesole
Fiesole
Fiesole is a town and comune of the province of Florence in the Italian region of Tuscany, on a famously scenic height above Florence, 8 km NE of that city...

, Italy, Toklas staying with Harriet Lane Levy
Harriet Lane Levy
Harriet Lane Levy is a California writer best known for her memoir, 920 O’Farrell Street. Levy was also an avid art collector, a girlhood friend of Alice B. Toklas, and an acquaintance of Gertrude Stein. She was born into an upper-middle-class Jewish family and raised in San Francisco...

, the companion of her trip from the United States, and her housemate until Alice moved in with Stein and Leo in 1910. That summer, Stein stayed with Michael and Sarah Stein, their son Allan, and Leo in a nearby villa. (Ibid.) Gertrude and Alice's summer of 1908 is memorialized in images of the two of them in Venice, at the piazza in front of Saint Mark's.

Toklas arrived in 1907 with Harriet Levy, with Toklas maintaining living arrangements with Levy until she moved to 27 Rue de Fleurus in 1910. In an essay written at the time, Stein discussed the complex efforts humorously, involving much letter writing and Victorian niceties, to extricate Levy from Toklas' living arrangements. In "Harriet", Stein considers Levy's nonexistent plans for the summer, following her nonexistent plans for the winter:
During the early summer of 1914, Gertrude bought three paintings by Juan Gris
Juan Gris
José Victoriano González-Pérez , better known as Juan Gris, was a Spanish painter and sculptor who lived and worked in France most of his life...

: Roses, Glass and Bottle, and Book and Glasses. Soon after she purchased them from Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler's gallery (Mellow, 1974, at 209), the Great War began, Kahnweiler's stock was confiscated and he was not allowed to return to Paris. Gris, who before the war had entered a binding contract with Kahnweiler for his output, was left without income. Gertrude attempted to enter an ancillary arrangement in which she would forward Gris living expenses in exchange for future pictures. Stein and Toklas had plans to visit England to sign a contract for the publication of Three Lives, to spend a few weeks there, and then journey to Spain. They left Paris on July 6, 1914 and returned on October 17. [Ibid., 210-15]. When Britain declared war on Germany, Stein and Toklas were visiting Alfred North Whitehead
Alfred North Whitehead
Alfred North Whitehead, OM FRS was an English mathematician who became a philosopher. He wrote on algebra, logic, foundations of mathematics, philosophy of science, physics, metaphysics, and education...

 in England. After a supposed three-week trip to England that stretched to three months due to the War, they returned to France, where they spent the first winter of the war.

With money acquired from the sale of Stein's last Matisse Woman with a Hat
Woman with a Hat
Woman with a Hat is a painting by Henri Matisse from 1905.It is believed that the woman in the painting was Matisse's wife, Amelie....

  to her brother Michael, she and Toklas vacationed in Spain from May 1915, through the spring of 1916. During their interlude in Majorca, Spain, Gertrude continued her correspondence with Mildred Aldrich
Mildred Aldrich
-Biography:She was born in Providence, Rhode Island. She grew up in Boston, taught at elementary school there and went on into journalism. She wrote for the Boston Home Journal, the Boston Journal and the Boston Herald. She started the short-lived The Mahogany Tree in 1892.In 1898, she moved to...

 who kept her apprised of the War's progression, and eventually inspired Gertrude and Alice to return to France to join the war effort.

Toklas and Stein returned to Paris in June 1916, and acquired a Ford automobile with the help of associates in the United States; Gertrude learned to drive it with the help of her friend William Edwards Cook
William Edwards Cook
William Edwards Cook was an American-born expatriate artist, architectural patron, and long-time friend of American writer Gertrude Stein. Following his 1903 departure from the U.S., Cook resided in Paris, Rome, Russia, and on the island of Majorca, in the Balearic Islands off the eastern coast of...

. (Ibid., at 226-27). Gertrude and Alice then volunteered to drive supplies to French hospitals, in the Ford they named Auntie, "after Gertrude's aunt Pauline, 'who always behaved admirably in emergencies and behaved fairly well most times if she was flattered.'"
During the 1920s, her salon
Salon (gathering)
A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine taste and increase their knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to...

 at 27 Rue de Fleurus, with walls covered by avant-garde paintings, attracted many of the great writers of the time, including Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

, Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound
Ezra Weston Loomis Pound was an American expatriate poet and critic and a major figure in the early modernist movement in poetry...

, Thornton Wilder
Thornton Wilder
Thornton Niven Wilder was an American playwright and novelist. He received three Pulitzer Prizes, one for his novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and two for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, and a National Book Award for his novel The Eighth Day.-Early years:Wilder was born in Madison,...

, and Sherwood Anderson
Sherwood Anderson
Sherwood Anderson was an American novelist and short story writer. His most enduring work is the short story sequence Winesburg, Ohio. Writers he has influenced include Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, J. D. Salinger, and Amos Oz.-Early life:Anderson was born in Clyde, Ohio,...

. While she has been credited with inventing the term "Lost Generation
Lost Generation
The "Lost Generation" is a term used to refer to the generation, actually a cohort, that came of age during World War I. The term was popularized by Ernest Hemingway who used it as one of two contrasting epigraphs for his novel, The Sun Also Rises. In that volume Hemingway credits the phrase to...

" for some of these expatriate
Expatriate
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing...

 American writers, at least three versions of the story that led to the phrase are on record, two by Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

 and one by Gertrude Stein (Mellow, 1974, pp. 273–74). During the 1920s, she became friends with writer Mina Loy
Mina Loy
Mina Loy born Mina Gertrude Löwry was an artist, poet, playwright, novelist, Futurist, actress, Christian Scientist, designer of lamps, and bohemian. She was one of the last of the first generation modernists to achieve posthumous recognition. Her poetry was admired by T. S...

, and the two would remain lifelong friends. Extremely charming, eloquent, and cheerful, she had many friends and promoted herself often. Her judgments of literature and art were influential. She was Ernest Hemingway's mentor, and upon the birth of his son he asked her to be the godmother of his child. During the summer of 1931, Stein advised the young composer and writer Paul Bowles
Paul Bowles
Paul Frederic Bowles was an American expatriate composer, author, and translator.Following a cultured middle-class upbringing in New York City, during which he displayed a talent for music and writing, Bowles pursued his education at the University of Virginia before making various trips to Paris...

 to go to Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

, where she and Alice had vacationed.

During the 1930s, Stein and Toklas became famous with the 1933 mass market publication of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. She and Alice had an extended lecture tour in the United States during this decade. They also spent several summers in Bilignin, France, and doted on a famous poodle named "Basket" whose successor, "Basket II", comforted Alice in the years after Gertrude's death. With the outbreak of World War II, Stein and Toklas relocated to a country home that they had rented for many years previously in Bilignin, Ain
Ain
Ain is a department named after the Ain River on the eastern edge of France. Being part of the region Rhône-Alpes and bordered by the rivers Saône and Rhône, the department of Ain enjoys a privileged geographic situation...

, in the Rhône-Alpes
Rhône-Alpes
Rhône-Alpes is one of the 27 regions of France, located on the eastern border of the country, towards the south. The region was named after the Rhône River and the Alps mountain range. Its capital, Lyon, is the second-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris...

 region. Gertrude and Alice, who were both Jewish, escaped persecution probably because of their friendship to Bernard Faÿ
Bernard Faÿ
Bernard Faÿ was a French historian of Franco-American relations and an anti-Masonic polemicist. He knew the United States at first hand, having studied at Harvard, and translated into French an excerpt of Gertrude Stein's The Making of Americans and wrote his view of the United States as it was at...

 who was a collaborator with the Vichy regime and had connections to the Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

. When Faÿ was sentenced to hard labor for life after the war, Gertrude and Alice campaigned for his release. Several years later, Toklas would contribute money to Faÿ's escape from prison.

After the war, Stein was visited by many young American soldiers. Her preface written for a 1945 Paris exhibition for Spanish painter Francisco Riba Rovira
Francisco Riba Rovira
Francisco Riba-Rovira also known as Francesc, was a Catalan and a Spanish painter.He worked to pay for his Beaux-Arts studies in Barcelona. He succeeded in this for only one or two months before the start of the Spanish Civil War...

 "is one of Gertrude Stein's last texts" on her vision of the painting art, approximately one year before her death. In it she expressed her opinions of Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse and Juan Gris as well as Riba-Rovira, a familiar artist of her salon at rue de Fleurus.

The following is a translation from Stein's preface to the exhibition by Francisco Riba Rovira
Francisco Riba Rovira
Francisco Riba-Rovira also known as Francesc, was a Catalan and a Spanish painter.He worked to pay for his Beaux-Arts studies in Barcelona. He succeeded in this for only one or two months before the start of the Spanish Civil War...

 at Roquepine Gallery in May 1945:

It is inevitable that when we really need someone we find him. The person you need attracts you like a magnet. I returned to Paris, after these long years spent in the countryside and I needed a young painter, a young painter who would awaken me. Paris was magnificent, but where was the young painter?I looked everywhere:at my contemporaries and their followers. I walked a lot, I looked everywhere, in all the galleries , but the young painter was not there. Yes, I walk a lot, a lot at the edge of the Seine where we fish, where we paint, where we walk dogs (I am of those who walk their dogs). Not a single young painter!

One day, on the corner of a street, in one of these small streets in my district, I saw a man painting. I looked at him; at him and at his painting, as I always look at everybody who creates something I have an indefatigable curiosity to look and I was moved. Yes, a young painter!

We began to speak, because we speak easily, as easily as in country roads, in the small streets of the district. His story was the sad story of the young people of our time .A young Spaniard who studied in fine arts in Barcelona: civil war; exile; a concentration camp;escape .Gestapo, another prison, another escape... Eight lost years! If they were lost, who knows? And now a little misery, but all the same the painting. Why did I find that it was him the young painter, why? I visited his drawings, his painting :we speak.

I explained that for me, all modern painting is based on what Cézanne nearly made, instead of basing itself on what he almost managed to make. When he could not make a thing, he hijacked it and left it. He insisted on showing his incapacity: he spread his lack of success: showing what he could not do, became an obsession for him .People influenced by him were also obsessed by the things which they could not reach and they began the system of camouflage. It was natural to do so, even inevitable:that soon became an art, in peace and in war, and Matisse concealed and insisted at the same time on that Cézanne could not realize, and Picasso concealed, played and tormented all these things.

The only one who wanted to insist on this problem, was Juan Gris. He persisted by deepening the things which Cézanne wanted to do, but it was too hard a task for him: it killed him.

And now here we are, I find a young painter who does not follow the tendency to play with what Cézanne could not do, but who attacks any right the things which he tried to make, to create the objects which have to exist, for, and in themselves, and not in relation.

This young painter has his weakness and his strength. His force will push him in this road. I am fascinated and that is why he is the young painter who I needed. He is Francisco Riba Rovira
Francisco Riba Rovira
Francisco Riba-Rovira also known as Francesc, was a Catalan and a Spanish painter.He worked to pay for his Beaux-Arts studies in Barcelona. He succeeded in this for only one or two months before the start of the Spanish Civil War...


Lesbian relationships


Stein is the author of one of the earliest coming out
Coming out
Coming out is a figure of speech for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people's disclosure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity....

 stories, Q.E.D. (published in 1950 as Things as They Are), written in 1903 and suppressed by the author. The story, written during travels after leaving college, is based on a three-person romantic affair she joined while studying at Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...

 in Baltimore. The affair was complicated, as Stein was less experienced with the social dynamics of romantic friendship
Romantic friendship
The term romantic friendship refers to both very close but non-sexual relationship and at times physical relationship between friends, often involving a degree of physical closeness beyond that which is common in modern Western societies, and may include for example holding hands, cuddling,...

 as well as her own sexuality and any moral dilemmas regarding it. Stein maintained at the time that she detested "passion in its many disguised forms". The relationships of Stein's acquaintances Mabel Haynes and Grace Lounsbury ended as Haynes started one with Mary Bookstaver
Mary Bookstaver
Mary A. Bookstaver was a feminist, political activist, and editor, widely known by the nickname "May." Daughter of Judge Henry W. Bookstaver and Mary Baily Young, she attended Miss Florence Baldwin's School and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1898 in History and Political Science...

 (also known as May Bookstaver). Stein became enamored of Bookstaver but was unsuccessful in advancing their relationship. Bookstaver, Haynes, and Lounsbury all later married men. (Blackmer 1995, p. 681-686)

Her growing awareness of her sexuality began to interfere with the bourgeois values implicit in her medical studies and would have put her at odds with contemporary feminist theory and opinion, and Q.E.D. may have assisted her with understanding her scholarly and romantic failure. However, Stein began to accept and define her pseudo-masculinity through the ideas of Otto Weininger
Otto Weininger
Otto Weininger was an Austrian philosopher. In 1903, he published the book Geschlecht und Charakter , which gained popularity after his suicide at the age of 23...

's Sex and Character (1906). Weininger, though Jewish by birth, considered Jewish men effeminate and women as incapable of selfhood and genius, except for female homosexuals who may approximate masculinity. As Stein equated genius with masculinity, her position as a female and an intellectual becomes difficult to synthesize and modern feminist interpretations of her work have been called into question.

More positive affirmations of Stein's sexuality began with her relationship with Toklas. Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

 describes how Alice was Gertrude's "wife" in that Stein rarely addressed his (Hemingway's) wife, and he treated Alice the same, leaving the two "wives" to chat.(Grahn 1989) Alice was 4'11" tall, and Gertrude was 5'1" .

The more affirming essay "Miss Furr and Miss Skeene" is one of the first homosexual revelation stories to be published. The work, like Q.E.D., is informed by Stein's growing involvement with a homosexual community (Grahn 1989), though it is based on lesbian partners Maud Hunt Squire and Ethel Mars (Blackmer 1995). The work contains the word "gay
Gay
Gay is a word that refers to a homosexual person, especially a homosexual male. For homosexual women the specific term is "lesbian"....

" over one hundred times, perhaps the first published use of the word "gay" in reference to same-sex relationships and those who have them, (Blackmer 1995) and, thus, uninformed readers missed the lesbian content. A similar essay of homosexual men begins more obviously with the line "Sometimes men are kissing" but is less well known. (ibid)

In Tender Buttons
Tender buttons: objects, food, rooms
Tender Buttons: objects, food, rooms is the title of a 1914 book by Gertrude Stein consisting of word clusters chosen for their prosody, juxtaposed for the purpose of subverting commonplace dictionary meanings which Stein believed had largely lost their expressive force and ability to communicate...

 Stein comments on lesbian sexuality and the work abounds with "highly condensed layers of public and private meanings" created by wordplay including puns on the words "box", "cow", and in titles such as "tender buttons". (ibid)

Political views


Stein was politically conservative, though the nature of her opinions is debated. According to Janet Malcolm's Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice, Stein was a life-long Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 and vocal critic of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

. She publicly endorsed General Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

 during the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 and admired Vichy leader Marshal Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

, translating some of the latter's speeches into English. These unpublished translations included a favorable introduction in which she compared him to George Washington. Some have argued for a more nuanced view of Stein's collaborationist activity, arguing that it was rooted in her wartime predicament and status as a Jew in Nazi-occupied France.
Prior to World War II she made public her opinion that Adolf Hitler should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

. "I say that Hitler ought to have the peace prize, because he is removing all the elements of contest and of struggle from Germany. By driving out the Jews and the democratic and Left element, he is driving out everything that conduces to activity. That means peace.... By suppressing Jews... he was ending struggle in Germany," (New York Times Magazine, May 6, 1934). Stein at 1938 comment on Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

, Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

, Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 and Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

: "There is too much fathering going on just now and there is no doubt about it fathers are depressing," (Blackmer 1995).

Literary style



Stein's writing can be placed in three categories: "hermetic" works that have gone largely unread, best illustrated by The Making of Americans: The Hersland Family; popularized writing such asThe Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas; and speech writing and more accessible autobiographical writing of later years, of which Brewsie and Willie is a good example. Her works include novels, plays, stories, libretti and poems written in a highly idiosyncratic, playful, repetitive, and humorous style. Typical quotes are: "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
The sentence "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose." was written by Gertrude Stein as part of the 1913 poem Sacred Emily, which appeared in the 1922 book Geography and Plays. In that poem, the first "Rose" is the name of a person...

"; "Out of kindness comes redness and out of rudeness comes rapid same question, out of an eye comes research, out of selection comes painful cattle"; about her childhood home in Oakland
Oakland, California
Oakland is a major West Coast port city on San Francisco Bay in the U.S. state of California. It is the eighth-largest city in the state with a 2010 population of 390,724...

, "There is no there there"; and "The change of color is likely and a difference a very little difference is prepared. Sugar is not a vegetable."

These stream-of-consciousness experiments, rhythmical essays or "portraits", were designed to evoke "the excitingness of pure being" and can be seen as literature's answer to Cubism
Cubism
Cubism was a 20th century avant-garde art movement, pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, that revolutionized European painting and sculpture, and inspired related movements in music, literature and architecture...

, plasticity, and collage. Many of the experimental works such as Tender Buttons have since been interpreted by critics as a feminist reworking of patriarchal language. These works were well-received by avant-garde critics but did not initially achieve mainstream success. Despite Stein's work on automatic writing with William James, she did not see her work as automatic, but as an 'excess of consciousness'.

Though Gertrude collected cubist paintings, especially those of Picasso, the largest visual influence on her work is that of Cézanne. Particularly, he influenced her idea of equality, distinguished from universality: "the whole field of the canvas is important" (p. 8). Rather than a figure/ground relationship, "Stein in her work with words used the entire text as a field in which every element mattered as much as any other." It is a subjective relationship that includes multiple viewpoints. Stein explained: "The important thing is that you must have deep down as the deepest thing in you a sense of equality."

Her use of repetition is ascribed to her search for descriptions of the "bottom nature" of her characters, such as in The Making of Americans where the narrator is described through the repetition of narrative phrases such as "As I was saying" and "There will be now a history of her." Stein used many Anglo-Saxon words and avoided words with "too much association". Social judgement is absent in her writing, so the reader is given the power to decide how to think and feel about the writing. Anxiety, fear and anger are also absent, and her work is harmonic and integrative.

Stein predominantly used the present progressive tense, creating a continuous present in her work, which Grahn argues is a consequence of the previous principles, especially commonality and centeredness. Grahn describes "play" as the granting of autonomy and agency to the readers or audience: "rather than the emotional manipulation
Psychological manipulation
Psychological manipulation is a type of social influence that aims to change the perception or behavior of others through underhanded, deceptive, or even abusive tactics. By advancing the interests of the manipulator, often at the other's expense, such methods could be considered exploitative,...

 that is a characteristic of linear writing, Stein uses play." (p. 18) In addition Stein's work is funny, and multilayered, allowing a variety of interpretations and engagements. Lastly Grahn argues that one must "insterstand
... engage with the work, to mix with it in an active engagement, rather than 'figuring it out.' Figure it in." (p. 21)

In 1932, using an accessible style to appeal to a wider audience, she wrote The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas; the book would become her first best-seller. Despite the title, it was actually Stein's autobiography. The style was quite similar to that of The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, which was written by Toklas.

Several of Stein's writings have been set to music by composers, including Virgil Thomson
Virgil Thomson
Virgil Thomson was an American composer and critic. He was instrumental in the development of the "American Sound" in classical music...

's operas Four Saints in Three Acts
Four Saints in Three Acts
Four Saints in Three Acts is an opera by American composer Virgil Thomson with a libretto by Gertrude Stein. Written in 1927-8, it contains about 20 saints, and is in at least four acts...

 and The Mother of Us All, and James Tenney
James Tenney
James Tenney was an American composer and influential music theorist.-Biography:Tenney was born in Silver City, New Mexico, and grew up in Arizona and Colorado. He attended the University of Denver, the Juilliard School of Music, Bennington College and the University of Illinois...

's setting of Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose as a canon
Canon (music)
In music, a canon is a contrapuntal composition that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration . The initial melody is called the leader , while the imitative melody, which is played in a different voice, is called the follower...

 dedicated to Philip Corner
Philip Corner
Philip Corner is an American composer, action musician, trombone/alphornist, sometime vocalist, pianist-improvisor, theorist-educator, graphic score designer, and visual artist, collage&assembleur, calligrapher.-Biography:After The High School of Music & Art in New York City, Philip Corner...

, beginning with "a" on an upbeat and continuing so that each repetition shuffles the words, e.g. "a/rose is a rose/is a rose is/a rose is a/rose."

Critical reception


Sherwood Anderson
Sherwood Anderson
Sherwood Anderson was an American novelist and short story writer. His most enduring work is the short story sequence Winesburg, Ohio. Writers he has influenced include Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, J. D. Salinger, and Amos Oz.-Early life:Anderson was born in Clyde, Ohio,...

 in his public introduction to Stein's 1922 publication of Geography and Plays wrote:
In a private letter to his brother Karl, Anderson said,

As for Stein, I do not think her too important. I do think she had an important thing to do, not for the public, but for the artist who happens to work with words as his material.

(Mellow, 1974 at p. 260)

Other critics took a more negative view of Stein's work. F. W. Dupee (1990, p. IX) defines "Steinese" as "gnomic, repetitive, illogical, sparsely punctuated...a scandal and a delight, lending itself equally to derisory parody and fierce denunciation."

Composer Constant Lambert (1936) compares Stravinsky's choice of "the drabbest and least significant phrases" in L'Histoire du Soldat to Gertrude Stein's in "Helen Furr and Georgine Skeene" (1922), specifically:
"[E]veryday they were gay there, they were regularly gay there everyday." He writes that the "effect would be equally appreciated by someone with no knowledge of English whatsoever", apparently missing the pun frequently employed by Stein.

James Thurber
James Thurber
James Grover Thurber was an American author, cartoonist and celebrated wit. Thurber was best known for his cartoons and short stories published in The New Yorker magazine.-Life:...

 wrote:

(From Collecting Himself, Michael Rosen, ed.)

Death


Stein died at the age of 72 from stomach cancer
Stomach cancer
Gastric cancer, commonly referred to as stomach cancer, can develop in any part of the stomach and may spread throughout the stomach and to other organs; particularly the esophagus, lungs, lymph nodes, and the liver...

 in Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine
Neuilly-sur-Seine is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.Although Neuilly is technically a suburb of Paris, it is immediately adjacent to the city and directly extends it. The area is composed of mostly wealthy, select residential...

 on July 27, 1946, and was interred in Paris in the Père Lachaise cemetery. When Stein was being wheeled into the operating room for surgery on her stomach, she asked Toklas, "What is the answer?" When Toklas did not reply, Stein said, "In that case, what is the question?" Stein named writer and photographer Carl Van Vechten
Carl van Vechten
Carl Van Vechten was an American writer and photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein.-Biography:...

 as her literary executor
Literary executor
A literary executor is a person with decision-making power in respect of a literary estate. According to Wills, Administration and Taxation: a practical guide "A will may appoint different executors to deal with different parts of the estate...

, and he helped to publish works of hers which remained unpublished at the time of her death. There is a monument to Stein on the Upper Terrace of Bryant Park
Bryant Park
Bryant Park is a 9.603 acre privately managed public park located in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues and between 40th and 42nd Streets in Midtown Manhattan...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

.

Quotations

  • "I do want to get rich, but I never want to do what there is to do to get rich."
  • "A writer should write with his eyes and a painter paint with his ears".
  • "Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense".
  • “Met Ezra Pound. Didn’t much like him. Found him to be the village explainer. Very useful if you happen to be a village; if not, not.”
  • "Hemingway, remarks are not literature".
  • "I've been rich and I've been poor. It's better to be rich".
  • "America is my country, but Paris is my hometown".
  • "You are all a lost generation
    Lost Generation
    The "Lost Generation" is a term used to refer to the generation, actually a cohort, that came of age during World War I. The term was popularized by Ernest Hemingway who used it as one of two contrasting epigraphs for his novel, The Sun Also Rises. In that volume Hemingway credits the phrase to...

    ".
  • "It is extraordinary that whole populations have no projects for the future, none at all. It certainly is extraordinary, but it is certainly true".
  • "A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
    Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
    The sentence "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose." was written by Gertrude Stein as part of the 1913 poem Sacred Emily, which appeared in the 1922 book Geography and Plays. In that poem, the first "Rose" is the name of a person...

    ".
  • "To write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write".
  • "Out of kindness comes redness and out of rudeness comes rapid same question, out of an eye comes research, out of selection comes painful cattle".
  • "There is no there there." [re: childhood home in Oakland, CA]
  • "I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences."
  • "I have made it [white electric light] but have I a soul to pay for it."
  • "Affectations can be dangerous."
  • "Everything is so dangerous that nothing is really very frightening."
  • "Why do something if it can be done."
  • "It is natural to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes to that siren until she allures us to our death."
  • "Matisse, there is nothing inside of you that fights with itself anymore."
  • "Sugar is not a vegetable."

Legacy and commemoration

  • In 2011, Blue Verhey released an album entitled "The Ridding of Nouns," which features Cori Samuel's reading of Stein's Tender buttons: objects, food, rooms
    Tender buttons: objects, food, rooms
    Tender Buttons: objects, food, rooms is the title of a 1914 book by Gertrude Stein consisting of word clusters chosen for their prosody, juxtaposed for the purpose of subverting commonplace dictionary meanings which Stein believed had largely lost their expressive force and ability to communicate...

    .
  • In the 1998 Latin American literary classic "Yo-Yo Boing!," novelist Giannina Braschi
    Giannina Braschi
    Giannina Braschi is a Puerto Rican writer. She is credited with writing the first Spanglish novel YO-YO BOING! and the poetry trilogy Empire of Dreams , which chronicles the Latin American immigrant's experiences in the United States...

     pays homage to Gertrude Stein as an imaginary mentor. Both Stein and Pablo Picasso
    Pablo Picasso
    Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso known as Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, one of the greatest and most influential artists of the...

     figure as the controversial modernist masters who inspire the narrator to take structural and stylistic risks.
  • In 2001, author Bill Richardson published the novel "Waiting for Gertrude", which is a fictional story told mostly through the eyes of Alice B. Toklas as she is reborn as a cat in Paris' Pere-Lechaise cemetery, along with many other greats such as Oscar Wilde, and she is waiting for Gertrude to come back to here and begin "her four legged life"
  • In March 2008, a new musical entitled "27, rue de Fleurus" by Ted Sod and Lisa Koch, which is told from the perspective of Alice B. Toklas and featuring Gertrude Stein, will premiere at Urban Stages in NYC
  • The Lynne Truss book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, makes several references to Stein's writings, specifically Stein's vendetta against most punctuation.
  • In the musical The Drowsy Chaperone
    The Drowsy Chaperone
    The Drowsy Chaperone is a musical with book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar and music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison. It debuted in 1998 at The Rivoli in Toronto and opened on Broadway on 1 May 2006. The show won the Tony Award for Best Book and Best Score. It started as a spoof of old...

    , the song "Bride's Lament" references her with the line "Gertrude Stein, she gave me a rose."
  • In 2005 the British electronica band Broadcast released an album called Tender Buttons, as lead singer Trish Keenan was a fan of Stein's writing.
  • In 2005, playwright/actor Jade Esteban Estrada
    Jade Esteban Estrada
    Jade Esteban Estrada is a successful Latin pop singer, comedian, choreographer, actor, political commentator, and human rights activist...

     portrayed Stein in the solo musical ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 1 at Princeton University.
  • In the 2006 motion picture The Devil Wears Prada
    The Devil Wears Prada (film)
    The Devil Wears Prada is a 2006 comedy-drama film, a loose screen adaptation of Lauren Weisberger's 2003 novel of the same name. It stars Anne Hathaway as Andrea Sachs, a recent college graduate who goes to New York City and gets a job as a co-assistant to powerful and demanding fashion magazine...

    , the character Christian Thompson, played by Simon Baker
    Simon Baker
    Simon Baker is an Australian actor. Since 2008, he has starred in the CBS television series The Mentalist.-Early life:...

    , attributes the statement "America is my country, but Paris is my hometown" to Gertrude Stein.
  • In the 1995 motion picture Sabrina, the character Sabrina, played by Julia Ormond
    Julia Ormond
    Julia Karin Ormond is an English actress who has appeared in film and television and on stage.-Early life and education:...

     says, upon readying to depart to Paris, "Gertrude Stein once said 'America is my country, but Paris is my hometown.'"
  • Chuck Coleman, jazz-popular music singer/songwriter, sings about Stein in the track "Me And Gertrude Stein" from his album, "People, Places, and Flings."
  • Scottish rock music band Idlewild
    Idlewild (band)
    Idlewild are a Scottish rock band, formed in Edinburgh, in 1995, comprising Roddy Woomble , Rod Jones , Colin Newton , Allan Stewart and Gareth Russell...

     released a single called Roseability
    Roseability
    "Roseability" is a song by Scottish rock band Idlewild, from their 2000 album 100 Broken Windows. It was the fourth and final single to be released from the album in October 2000 and charted at #38 in the UK Singles Chart ....

     in 2000 from the album 100 Broken Windows
    100 Broken Windows
    -B-Sides from this album:* "A Tone" * "Broken Windows" * "1990 Nighttime" * "Meet Me at the Harbour"...

    . This is apparently a reference to Stein's observation that "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
    Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
    The sentence "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose." was written by Gertrude Stein as part of the 1913 poem Sacred Emily, which appeared in the 1922 book Geography and Plays. In that poem, the first "Rose" is the name of a person...

    ". The song also includes the refrain, "Gertrude Stein says that's enough."
  • The phrase 'a rose is a rose...' occurs in the musical 'Singin' in the Rain
    Singin' in the Rain
    Singin' in the Rain is a 1952 American comedy musical film starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor and Debbie Reynolds and directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, with Kelly also providing the choreography...

    ', when Gene Kelly
    Gene Kelly
    Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly was an American dancer, actor, singer, film director and producer, and choreographer...

     is receiving elocution lessons to allow him to move from silent films to talkies. He sings it with Donald O'Connor
    Donald O'Connor
    Donald David Dixon Ronald O’Connor was an American dancer, singer, and actor who came to fame in a series of movies in which he co-starred alternately with Gloria Jean, Peggy Ryan, and Francis the Talking Mule...

    .
  • In an episode of the television series The X-Files
    The X-Files
    The X-Files is an American science fiction television series and a part of The X-Files franchise, created by screenwriter Chris Carter. The program originally aired from to . The show was a hit for the Fox network, and its characters and slogans became popular culture touchstones in the 1990s...

     called "Bad Blood
    Bad Blood (The X-Files)
    "Bad Blood" is the twelfth episode of the fifth season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files. Written by Vince Gilligan and directed by Cliff Bole, it aired in the United States on February 22, 1998 on the Fox network...

    ", the character Fox Mulder
    Fox Mulder
    FBI Special Agent Fox William Mulder is a fictional character and protagonist in the American Fox television shows The X-Files and The Lone Gunmen, two science fiction shows about a government conspiracy to hide or deny the truth of Alien existence. Mulder's peers consider his theories on...

    , played by David Duchovny
    David Duchovny
    David William Duchovny is an American actor, writer and director. He has won Golden Globe awards for his work as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder on The X-Files and as Hank Moody on Californication.-Early life:...

    , warns his partner, Dana Scully
    Dana Scully
    FBI Special Agent Dana Katherine Scully, M.D. is a fictional character and protagonist on the Fox television series The X-Files , played by Gillian Anderson. She also appeared in two theatrical films based on the series...

    , played by Gillian Anderson
    Gillian Anderson
    Gillian Leigh Anderson is an American actress.After beginning her career in theatre, Anderson achieved international recognition for her role as Special Agent Dana Scully on the American television series The X-Files. During the show's nine seasons, Anderson won Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen...

    , that if she goes to prison, "your cellmate's nickname is gonna be Large Marge, she's gonna read a lot of Gertrude Stein."
  • In "La Vie Boheme
    La Vie Boheme
    "La Vie Bohème" is a song, which is broken into two parts , in the musical Rent. The song is a celebration of bohemianism, especially the type present in the 1980s Alphabet City, Manhattan, and begins with a mocking of the character Benny's statement that "Bohemia is dead"...

    ", a song of the musical Rent
    Rent (musical)
    Rent is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème...

    , a toast is made to Gertrude Stein.
  • The Elephant 6 band Olivia Tremor Control mentions Stein in their song "Define a Transparent Dream".
  • In Anastasia (1997 film)
    Anastasia (1997 film)
    Anastasia is a 1997 American animated musical film produced and directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. It was the first feature film to be released by Fox Animation Studios....

    , Gertrude Stein is seen in a car singing "Where a rose is a rose!" during a musical number, "Paris Holds The Key to Your Heart".
  • In The Rutles' song "Another Day", a reference to her is made: "A glass of wine with Gertrude Stein,/I know I'll never share,/but I don't mind. That's just the kind/of cross each man must bear./I'm on my way,/I cannot stay another day."
  • In the Marvel comic Runaways, one character is named Gertrude Yorkes, while her boyfriend's name is Chase Stein.
  • Loving Repeating is a musical by Stephen Flaherty
    Stephen Flaherty
    Stephen Flaherty is an American composer of musical theatre. He works most often in collaboration with the lyricist/bookwriter Lynn Ahrens...

     based on the writings of Gertrude Stein and is unified through a 1934 speech that Stein delivered at the University of Chicago. Stein and Alice B. Toklas
    Alice B. Toklas
    Alice B. Toklas was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century.-Early life, relationship with Gertrude Stein:...

     are both characters in the eight person show.
  • In the Swedish film "The Adventures of Picasso" ("Picassos Äventyr") Bernard Cribbins plays a hilarious Gertrude Stein, who among other things dresses up as a pirate in a masquerade held by Henry Rousseau, almost cutting the head of Picasso with her sword, by accident. Wilfrid Brambell plays Alice B Toklas.
  • In Mame, a stage and film musical, the character Vera Charles declares in the song lyrics of "Bosom Buddies", "... but sweetie, I'll always be Alice Toklas
    Alice B. Toklas
    Alice B. Toklas was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde of the early 20th century.-Early life, relationship with Gertrude Stein:...

     if you'll be Gertrude Stein."
  • In the movie "Corrina, Corrina", Whoopi Goldberg
    Whoopi Goldberg
    Whoopi Goldberg is an American comedian, actress, singer-songwriter, political activist, author and talk show host.Goldberg made her film debut in The Color Purple playing Celie, a mistreated black woman in the Deep South. She received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress and won...

     quotes Gertrude Stein with "There is no there there", though she (Goldberg) is referring to a romantic relationship while Stein was describing the search for her childhood home in Oakland, California.
  • The artist Poe, wrote the song "A Rose is A Rose" for the album Lounge-a-palooza, and makes several references to Gertrude Stein and lesbian sexuality.
  • The musical band Le Tigre reference Gertrude Stein in their song "Hot Topic" from their 1999 self-titled album.
  • The band The Butchies
    The Butchies
    The Butchies are a punk rock band from Durham, North Carolina, that existed from 1998 to 2005, and are currently on a hiatus. The frequent focus of their lyrical content concerned lesbian and queer themes....

     include a song named Gertrude + Stein on their album Population 1975.
  • The Wilde Stein Alliance for Sexual Diversity
    Wilde Stein Alliance for Sexual Diversity
    The Wilde Stein Alliance for Sexual Diversity is a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender student advocacy and social organization at the University of Maine. It is one of the oldest such organizations in the United States and the oldest in Maine. Founded in 1973, Wilde Stein is named after Oscar...

    , one of the first LGBT student organizations in the United States, is named in part after Gertrude Stein.
  • The cartoon series "Animaniacs
    Animaniacs
    Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, usually referred to as simply Animaniacs, is an American animated series, distributed by Warner Bros. Television and produced by Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. The cartoon was the second animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven...

    " references Gertrude Stein in the episode entitled "Baloney & Kids." The Warners are forced to make faces on paper plates, Dot Warner choosing to make a caricature of Gertrude Stein.
  • The movie I Love You, Alice B. Toklas
    I Love You, Alice B. Toklas
    I Love You, Alice B. Toklas is a 1968 comedy film starring Peter Sellers, directed by Hy Averback and featuring music by Harpers Bizarre. The film is set in the counterculture of the 1960s. The addition cast includes David Arkin, Jo Van Fleet, Leigh Taylor-Young, in her film debut, and a cameo by...

     is a 1968 comedy film starring Peter Sellers. It featured a song of the same title by Harpers Bizarre
    Harpers Bizarre
    Harpers Bizarre was an American pop-rock band of the 1960s, best known for their Broadway/Sunshine Pop sound and their remake of Simon & Garfunkel's "The 59th Street Bridge Song ."- Career :...

    .
  • The album 'Rhythm Science' by dj Spooky contains samples of Gertrude Stein's voice (track 5. 'Zeta Reticulli/If I Told Him, A Completed Portrait of Picasso').
  • An excerpt from The Making of Americans was made use of by M. Cunningham as an epigraph to his novel Flesh and Blood.
  • In New York City, there is a Madison Avenue boutique called "Tender Buttons" which sells rare, antique buttons and sewing kits.
  • Stein is a central character in Nick Bertozzi
    Nick Bertozzi
    Nick Bertozzi is an American comic book writer and artist, as well as a commercial illustrator and teacher of cartooning. His series Rubber Necker from Alternative Comics won the 2003 Harvey Awards for best new talent and best new series. His project, The Salon Nick Bertozzi (born May 26, 1970)...

    's 2007 graphic novel The Salon.
  • The posthumously-published Journals of Ayn Rand
    Journals of Ayn Rand
    Journals of Ayn Rand is a book derived from the private journals of novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand, and published in 1997, 15 years after her death. It was edited by David Harriman with the approval of Rand's estate.-Background:...

     contain several highly hostile references to Gertrude Stein. From Rand's working notes for her novel "The Fountainhead
    The Fountainhead
    The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand. It was Rand's first major literary success and brought her fame and financial success. More than 6.5 million copies of the book have been sold worldwide....

    ", it is clear that the character Lois Cook in that book - a writer enjoying a high literary reputation while in fact writing worthless nonsense - was intended as a caricature of Stein.
  • Portrayed in the 2011 Woody Allen
    Woody Allen
    Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

     film Midnight in Paris
    Midnight in Paris
    Midnight in Paris is a 2011 romantic comedy-fantasy film written and directed by Woody Allen. The plot centers on a small group of Americans visiting the French capital for business and pleasure...

     by Kathy Bates
    Kathy Bates
    Kathleen Doyle "Kathy" Bates is an American actress and director.After several small roles in film and television, Bates rose to prominence with her performance in Misery , for which she won both the Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe...

    .
  • A children's picture book featuring Gertrude Stein's soirees Paris in the Spring with Picasso by J. Yolleck, illustrated by M. Priceman

Published works


  • Three Lives
    Three Lives
    Three Lives was Gertrude Stein's first published work. The book is separated into three stories, "The Good Anna," "Melanctha," and "The Gentle Lena."...

     (The Grafton Press, 1909)
  • White Wines, (1913)
  • Tender buttons: objects, food, rooms
    Tender buttons: objects, food, rooms
    Tender Buttons: objects, food, rooms is the title of a 1914 book by Gertrude Stein consisting of word clusters chosen for their prosody, juxtaposed for the purpose of subverting commonplace dictionary meanings which Stein believed had largely lost their expressive force and ability to communicate...

     (1914) online version
  • An Exercise in Analysis (1917)
  • A Circular Play (1920)
  • Geography and Plays (1922)
  • The Making of Americans
    The Making of Americans
    The Making of Americans: Being a History of a Family's Progress is a modernist novel by Gertrude Stein. The novel traces the genealogy, history, and psychological development of members of the fictional Hersland and Dehning families...

    : Being a History of a Family's Progress (written 1906-1908, published 1925)
  • Four Saints in Three Acts
    Four Saints in Three Acts
    Four Saints in Three Acts is an opera by American composer Virgil Thomson with a libretto by Gertrude Stein. Written in 1927-8, it contains about 20 saints, and is in at least four acts...

     (libretto, 1929: music by Virgil Thomson
    Virgil Thomson
    Virgil Thomson was an American composer and critic. He was instrumental in the development of the "American Sound" in classical music...

    , 1934)
  • Useful Knowledge (1929)
  • How to Write (1931)
  • They must. Be Wedded. To Their Wife (1931)
  • Operas and Plays (1932)
  • The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
    The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
    The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas is a 1933 book by Gertrude Stein, written in the guise of an autobiography authored by Alice B. Toklas, who was her lover.-Summary:-Before I came to Paris:...

     (1933)
  • Lectures in America (1935)
  • The Geographical History of America or the Relation of Human Nature to the Human Mind (1936)
  • Everybody's Autobiography
    Everybody's Autobiography
    Everybody's Autobiography is a book by Gertrude Stein, published in 1937.It is a continuation of her own memoirs, picking up where The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, published in 1933, left off. Both were written in a less experimental, more approachable style than most of her other work...

     (1937)
  • Picasso (1938)
  • Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights
    Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights
    Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights is a libretto for an opera by the American modernist playwright and poet Gertrude Stein. For avant-garde theatre artists from the United States, the text has formed something of a rite of passage—the Judson Poets’ Group, the Living Theatre, Richard Foreman, Robert...

     (1938)
  • Paris France
    Paris France (novel)
    Paris France is a novella written by Gertrude Stein and published in 1940 on the day that Paris fell to Germany during World War II. The book blends Stein's childhood memories with a commentary on French people and culture.-Plot summary:...

     (1940)
  • Ida: A Novel (1941)
  • Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters (1943)
  • Wars I Have Seen (1945)
  • Reflections on the Atom Bomb (1946) online version
  • Brewsie and Willie  (1946)
  • The Mother of Us All
    The Mother of Us All
    The Mother of Us All is an opera by Virgil Thomson to a libretto by Gertrude Stein. It chronicles the life of Susan B. Anthony, one of the major figures in the fight for women's suffrage in the United States...

     (libretto, 1946: music by Virgil Thompson 1947)
  • Last Operas and Plays (1949)
  • The Things as They Are (written as Q.E.D. in 1903, published 1950)
  • Patriarchal Poetry (1953)
  • Alphabets and Birthdays (1957)

  • "A LA RECHERCHE D'UN JEUNE PEINTRE" Gertrude Stein /Yale University/U.S.A. "Looking for a young paintor"-Riba-Rovira-
  • "A LA RECHERCHE D'UN JEUNE PEINTRE" Gertrude Stein /Revue Fontaine n °42, p. 287-288, édition Paris 1945, directeur Max-Pol Fouchet.-Riba-Rovira-
  • Burns, Edward, ed., Gertrude Stein on Picasso (New York: Liveright Publishing Corp., 1970). ISBN 0-87140-513-X
  • ---. The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Carl Van Vechten, 1913-1946, 2 v. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986). ISBN 0-231-06308-3, ISBN 978-0-231-06308-1
  • ---. The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder, co-ed. with Ulla Dydo (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996). ISBN 978-0-300-06774-3
  • ---. Staying on Alone: Letters of Alice B. Toklas (New York: Liveright, 1973). ISBN 0-87140-569-5
  • Chessman, Harriet and Stimpson, Catharine R., eds. Gertrude Stein, Writings 1903-1932 (Library of America
    Library of America
    The Library of America is a nonprofit publisher of classic American literature.- Overview and history :Founded in 1979 with seed money from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation, the LoA has published over 200 volumes by a wide range of authors from Mark Twain to Philip...

    , 1998). ISBN 978-1-883011-40-6
  • ---. Gertrude Stein, Writings 1932-1946 (Library of America
    Library of America
    The Library of America is a nonprofit publisher of classic American literature.- Overview and history :Founded in 1979 with seed money from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation, the LoA has published over 200 volumes by a wide range of authors from Mark Twain to Philip...

    , 1998). ISBN 978-1-883011-41-3
  • Grahn, Judy, ed. Really Reading Gertrude Stein: A Selected Anthology with Essays by Judy Grahn (Crossing Press, 1989). ISBN 0-89594-380-8
  • Stein, Gertrude. 1922. Geography and Plays. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1999. ISBN 048640874
  • ---. 1932. Operas and Plays. Barrytown NY: Station Hill Arts, 1998. ISBN 1-886449-16-3
  • ---. 1934. Portraits and Prayers. New York: Random House, 1934. ISBN 978-1-135-76198-1 ISBN 113576198
  • ---. 1946. Gertrude Stein on Picasso (London, B.T. Batsford, Ltd. (1946) ISBN 978-0-87140-513-5, ISBN 0-87140-513-X
  • ---. 1949. Last Operas and Plays. Ed. Carl van Vechten. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8018-4985-3
  • Vechten, Carl Van, ed. (1990). Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein. ISBN 0-679-72464-8

Related exhibits

  • "Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories" October 14, 2011 through January 22, 2012 the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
  • THE STEINS COLLECT Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
    The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a modern art museum located in San Francisco, California. A nonprofit organization, SFMOMA holds an internationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art and was the first museum on the West Coast devoted solely to 20th century art...

    , May 21, 2011 - September 6, 2011 http://www.sfmoma.org/exhib_events/exhibitions/410
This exhibit reconstructs most of Leo's and Gertrude's collection and related artworks, with many works from private collections.
Illuminating Stein's life and pivotal role in art during the 20th century.
  • Four Saints in Three Acts: Four live presentations of a new production, August 18 through August 21, 2011 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is a multi-disiplinary contemporary arts center in San Francisco, California, United States. Located in Yerba Buena Gardens, YBCA features visual art, performance, and film/video that celebrates local, national, and international artists and the Bay Area's diverse...

    , San Francisco (YBCA event website).

  • Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris June 11, 2011 - October 9, 2011 at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum
    M. H. de Young Memorial Museum
    The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, commonly called simply the de Young Museum, is a fine arts museum located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. It is named for early San Francisco newspaperman M. H...

    , San Francisco, (de Young exhibit website)

Works Cited

  • Behrens, Roy R. COOK BOOK: Gertrude Stein, William Cook and Le Corbusier. Dysart, Iowa: Bobolink Books, 2005; ISBN 0-9713244-1-7.
  • Blackmer, Corrine E. "Gertrude Stein" in Summers, Claude J. (1995). The Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage. ISBN 0-8050-5009-4.
  • Bowers, Jane Palatini. 1991. "They Watch Me as They Watch This":Gertrude Stein's Metadrama. Philadelphia: University of Pennstlvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-3057-4.
  • Dean, Gabrielle. "Grid Games: Gertrude Stein's Diagrams and Detectives" in Modernism/modernity
    Modernism/modernity
    Modernism/modernity is a peer-reviewed academic journal founded in 1994 by Lawrence Rainey and Robert van Hallberg. Since 2001 it has been the official publication of the Modernist Studies Association and each September issue presents papers from their annual conference.The journal is...

     15:2 http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/modernism-modernity/toc/mod15.2.html April 2008), 317-41.
  • Grahn, Judy (1989). Really Reading Gertrude Stein: A Selected Anthology with essays by Judy Grahn. Freedom, California: The Crossing Press. ISBN 0-89594-380-8.
  • Hobhouse, Janet. Everybody Who Was Anybody: A Biography of Gertrude Stein New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1975. ISBN 978-1-199-83299-3.
  • Kellner, Bruce, ed. A Gertrude Stein Companion: Content with the Example. New York, Westport, Connecticut, London: Greenwood Press, 1988. ISBN 0-313-25078-2.
  • Malcolm, Janet. Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice, London: Yale University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-300-12551-1
  • Malcom, Janet. Gertrude Stein's War, The New Yorker, June 2, 2003, p. 58-81
  • ---. Strangers in Paradise, The New Yorker, November 13, 2006, p. 54-61.
  • Mellow, James R. Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein & Company. New York, Washington: Praeger Publishers, 1974. ISBN 0-395-47982-7
  • Perelman, Bob
    Bob Perelman
    Bob Perelman is an American poet, critic, editor and teacher. He is often associated with the Language School group of poets. Perelman is Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania.-Life and work:...

    . The Trouble with Genius: Reading Pound, Joyce, Stein, and Zukofsky. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994.
  • Rosenbaum, Fred, "San Francisco-Oakland: The Native Son", in Brinner, William M. & Rischin, Moses. Like All the Nations?: The Life and Legacy of Judah L. Magnes, State University of New York Press
    State University of New York Press
    The State University of New York Press , is a university press and a Center for Scholarly Communication. The Press is part of the State University of New York system and is located in Albany, New York.- History :...

    , 1987. ISBN 0-88706-507-4
  • The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Four Americans in Paris: The Collections of Gertrude Stein and Her Family. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1970. ISBN 078100674.
  • Ryan, Betsy Alayne. 1984. Gertrude Stein's Theatre of the Absolute. Theater and Dramatic Studies Ser., 21. Ann Arbor and London: UMI Research Press. ISBN 0-8357-2021-7.
  • Renate Stendhal, ed., Gertrude Stein In Words and Pictures: A Photobiography. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1989. ISBN 0-945575-99-8; ISBN 978-0-945575-99-3. http://www.amazon.com/Gertrude-Stein-Pictures-Renate-Stendhal/dp/0945575998/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308633947&sr=8-1
  • Truong, Monique. The book of salt, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003. A novel about a young Vietnamese cook who worked in Stein's Montparnasse-household.

External links




Listening