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Selected Writings (Vintage) [Paperback]

Gertrude Stein
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

18 May 1990 Vintage
"This collection, a retrospective exhibit of the work of a woman who created a unique place for herself in the world of letters, contains a sample of practically every period and every manner in Gertrude Stein's career. It includes The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in its entirety; selected passages from The Making of Americans; "Melanctha"from Three Lives; portraits of the painters Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso; Tender Buttons; the opera Four Saints in Three Acts; and poem, plays, lectures, articles, sketches, and a generous portion of her famous book on the Occupation of France, Wars I Have Seen.

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Selected Writings (Vintage) + The Complete Dramatic Works of Samuel Beckett
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Product details

  • Paperback: 85 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; Vintage Books ed edition (18 May 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679724648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679724643
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.4 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 25 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Glad to be able to buy a section of the author's works in one volume
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well compiled offering of a diverse writer 30 Jun 2000
By D. Swanson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Normally I am hesitant to give a book 5 stars, I try to save this rating for when I really really really am impressed by it, and if this hadn't been a compilation of Stein's writing, I might not have given it this rating. It is really Carl Van Vechten that deserves the stars, Stein's writing is a bit much to digest or even swallow a lot of times, but Van Vechten gives an insightful foreword and has selected a diverse array of this colorful and eccentric author's writing. I had never read any of her work before I happened upon this edition and it proved insightful to be able to compare Tender Buttons and The Autobiography of Alice B.Toklas together side by side, as this edition allows you to do. A good way to gain a feel for the work of Gertrude Stein
36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buy this instead of Alice . B. Toklas autobio and you're set for Stein. Set for life one sets. Really set and setting one sets. 25 Jun 2005
By Peter Gillette - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is really a terrific compilation--I'm speaking as a cheap undergradaute, here--because it really is all the Stein that most people will need, unless one gets into the whole Lost Generation phase (you know, getting grants to research and inspect Joyce and Hemingway's bar tabs, trying to find the last living Picasso slept with, that sort of thing) and then the books will suffice. Today is Saturday. Saturday in the afternoon winds blow. Repeating more and more and repeating the same thing this volume stricken of commas does its job. Nouns still in the way. The thing is, very few people (I hope not to sound ignorant, only honest) are going to finish "The Making of the Americans" or "Tender Buttons" (although, I must say, coming back to "Tender Buttons" after reading it, or trying to, two years ago, it makes more and more "sense," in a sense, every time I come across it the few times I have chosen it to come across me) and so it is good to have one volume with these and Melanctha and the Toklas "autobio" (Stein's most-likely-to-be-completely-read work) in its entirety.

I am saying again and I will repeat again to emphasize again that one ought to buy this work this work the selected writings of gertrude stein instead of buying the autobiography of alice b. toklas which is a fine book yet an expensive book as books go compared to this book a book that is more expensive but commensurately valuable as value is. Book to be bought needs the buying.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fine Compilation 1 Jan 2005
By D. Cannon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I think Gertrude Stein is a supreme literary artist of the 20th century, and this anthology offers a wide range of her work, which ranges from poetry to essays. Her writing is difficult to penetrate, but in her case, and I rarely say this about abstruse writing, it enhances the effect. It's as if underneath words lies the human being itself, in all its feeling and rhythms, and language is a mere shadow of this self. Her words are like paths crisscrossing around the being, so that the reader can eventually see the whole. Magnificant artist. She also was apparently a good person, having befriended Hemingway, James, Picasso and others. A+.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pigeons on the Grass Alas 27 Aug 2011
By Giordano Bruno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
San Francisco has been in a frenzy of Gertrude Stein adulation this summer. I came back to the city from a long absence just in time for a production, by Ensemble Parallele, of the opera "Four Saints in Three Acts", with a libretto by Stein and music by Virgil Thomson. I took in the exhibit of paintings from the personal collections of Stein and her two brothers, splendid and important works by Matisse, Picasso, and nearly everybody else active in Paris in the early decades of the 20th C. There is no doubt that the Steins were influential and insightful patrons of modern art. I also saw the "Five Rooms" exhibit at the SF Jewish Museum, depicting stages in the life of Gertrude Stein chiefly through photographs, drawings and paintings of the woman in all her vigorous presence. But before I got back to SF, I'd gotten a kick out of Woody Allen's 'grandmotherly' portrayal of Queen Gertrude in his film "Midnight in Paris". And so, thought I, why not follow up by trying once again to READ Stein?

That hasn't been such a success. Not quite a debacle ... I can fix my eyes on a page or two of Stein's words without flinching, but I don't admire her literary craft. The woman herself is so much more fascinating than her books or poems. She was an indefatigable self-promoter, a narcissist of gargantuan grandeur, a monument in herself of the cultural history of her century. The title of this review -- Pigeons on the Grass Alas -- comes from the libretto of "Four Saints in Three Acts". It's also the title of a novel by Wolfgang Koeppen, written in the 1950s, which I've read recently and admired very much. For some obscure reason, that line seems rich in implicit emotion to me, but I have to confess that I couldn't hear it, couldn't pick it out, from the singing in the opera on stage. Honestly, I couldn't pick out more than a dozen words as sung, and upon reading the libretto in this volume, I can't quite grasp what Stein and Virgil Thomson thought they had in common. The 'affect' of the language and the swelling tenor of the music seem totally disparate.

Stein is an icon. She's been virtually beatified as a founder/pioneer of "gay" liberation and of 'bohemian' freedoms at large. But she wasn't quite as generous and grandmotherly as Woody Allen portrays her. She could be vindictive and manipulative on a grand scale. She parted ways with her brother Leo with a harsh unforgivingness, and she 'dumped' Pablo Picasso decisively as soon as the painter's reputation began to dwarf her own. Despite her conspicuously daring lifestyle, she was a sour social conservative. Here's what wikipedia says about her politics:

""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 and vocal critic of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal. She publicly endorsed General Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War and admired Vichy leader Marshal Philippe Pétain, 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. "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, Adolf Hitler, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky: "There is too much fathering going on just now and there is no doubt about it fathers are depressing,""

The "Five Rooms" exhibit recounts the plain fact that Stein was protected by the Vichy administration, allowing her to continue living in France during World War II despite her Jewish heritage. But then, that exhibit also follows her post-war connections with and admiration for the American soldiers, with whom she actually traveled into conquered Germany.

Altogether, an extraordinary, contradictory character was Gertrude! One could make a hobby of trying to make sense of her ...
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to ridicule, but she broke new ground in writing. 22 Dec 2013
By Mrs. Janet F. Harper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The "Autobiography" is the easiest way in. This volume would be more complete with her love poem, "Lifting Bellies", in which her use of repetition has time and space to work.
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