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200 × 130 mm
224 pages
30 illustrations
01 Sep 2009
Critical Lives

Gertrude Stein Lucy Daniel

‘You are, of course, never yourself’, wrote Gertrude Stein in one of her famously witty autobiographies. Since the 1920s Stein has been celebrated in many incarnations: as the embodiment of Left Bank bohemia, as a patron of modern art and writing, as a gay icon, as the coiner of the expression ‘Lost Generation’, and as the hostess of perhaps the most famous salon of modern times. Yet despite an immense and varied body of work and a writing life that spanned 50 years, she remains one of the most recognizable and yet least-known of the twentieth century’s major literary figures.

With detailed reference to her works, to the many notable portraits and readings, and to Stein’s own entertaining anecdotes, Lucy Daniel discusses how the legend of ‘Gertrude Stein’ was created, both by herself and her admirers. The book tracks Stein’s work, from early efforts in automatic writing to late experiments in the art of autobiography, via her combination of continual stylistic rejuvenation and extraordinary personal charisma. It also takes in her involvement with turn-of-the-century feminism and psychology, her 40-year relationship with Alice B. Toklas, the cultural impact of her salon in the Parisian ex-pat scene, her many famous friendships, and the controversy surrounding her life in occupied France during the Second World War.

A fresh and readable presentation of one of the major Anglo-American Modernists, Gertrude Stein will appeal to readers of Gertrude Stein and her circle, as well as specialists in the fields of literature, art, gender studies, Modernism and cultural studies.

‘Daniel synthesizes this material in a lively and readable fashion. She moves with skill from biography to analysis and never gets bogged down with overanalyzing Stein’s motivations or her creative efforts.’ – The Gay and Lesbian Review

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Lucy Daniel is a freelance reviewer and critic. She has written for a wide range of publications, including The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times Magazine, Time Out, Mslexia, The Times Literary Supplement, London Review of Books and the European Journal of American Culture.