Gertrude Stein (USA. 1874-1946)
to begin is more interesting than to finish
This author is special, very special. She was an experimental writer, the only Cubist writer that I know of!, an explorer of words and feelings and ideas...
The love story below, Ada, can be read by everybody. It's the story of the person Gertrude Stein loved, Alice B. Toklas. If you REALLY want to enjoy this author, you should open your minds to music and read her aloud. You should open your minds, period! She is an experimental writer, and a controversial thinker. But the trip is worth it, I believe!
From Geography & Plays (1908-20), read the story called Ada (1 page)
Listen to Ada at the Talking People Podcast!
Listen to Gertrude Stein read her portrait of Matisse the French painter!
Here is an audio about "The World Is Round" a really deep and easy-to-read book, for children, but we adults need it too. Because the Spanish translation is out of print, I can send you the complete story in a word doc, so you can read it!
Mama Dada, this was a way people called Gertrude Stein, as if she were the mother of dadaism...
Gertrude and Alice at home. This house is considered by many
the first Modern Art museum -- they bought works by Picasso and others when these works were not well-known, and showed them to all their visitors...
Read Melanctha: Each One As She May (45 pages), the middle chapter of her novel Three Lives, or the complete novel at Bartleby. It is my favorite chapter in the novel. It sets you in a strange inner mood...
Although it's in Spanish, you can read this dossier at Mujer Palabra on her.
Some audios: Listen to Gertrude's Stein voice reading...
A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson (3:46)
If I Told Him Would He Like It? A Portrait of Picasso (3:43)
A Portrait of Matisse (2:47)
The Making of Americans (extracts: 5:38)
Poetry. Read Tender Buttons (1919), one of the strangest pieces of writing ever, where the author attempts to rescue words from the distortion use has subjected them to! Here is the beginning...
A CARAFE, THAT IS A BLIND GLASS.
A kind in glass and a cousin, a spectacle and nothing strange a single hurt color and an arrangement in a system to pointing. All this and not ordinary, not unordered in not resembling. The difference is spreading.
Reflections on the Atom Bomb (1946)
Why Should I Read Stein? (From SteinOpera )
The question is not why one should read Stein but what will be missed in omitting her work from your list. Stein infuses joyful play into the English word. She brings back the oral tradition. She scats before it was invented by jazz singers. If you have been wondering where the fractured point of view now seen in contemporary stories and film comes from, try reading Stein. Stein took Picasso's Cubism (a figure seen from all angles at once) as a writing approach. You get various aspects of the same person or object in her writing. If you enjoy and welcome a large landscape of imagination and invention, Stein opens all these doors. If you just want to be the first person on your block to actually read Gertrude Stein, you can still be a pioneer. She may have killed the old writing ideas of the 19th century and brought in the 20th century, but her work is going to lead us through the entire 21st. In my opinion she writes in the style of the 4th Dimension. She just doesn't have an equal in what she accomplished.
What's the Best Way to Experience Stein?
Read her work out loud. Hear Stein read selections from her work. There is at least one recording of Stein reading short selections from some of her famous people portraits like Picasso and a short vignette from The Making of Americans. Get recordings of the Gertrude Stein / Virgil Thomson operas Four Saints in Three Acts and The Mother of Us All.
Listen to this! http://www.ubu.com/sound/softpalate_stein.html
|Picasso's Picture of Gertrude||Gertrude's Picture of Picasso|