Gender and Genre in Gertrude Stein

Gender and Genre in Gertrude Stein

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Description

Gertrude Stein's works encompass a variety of genres. She explicitly called many of her works plays, operas, or novels intending her works to be read with certain generic expectations in mind, be it only to have them undermined. Although many writers depart from generic norms, Stein's generic transgressions are radical and are related to gender-specific traits of her writing. This work examines Stein's questions about gender hierarchies, classifications, and categories, and brings to light the direct relationship between gender and genre in her works. Gygax looks at a number of Stein's texts, including Ida A Novel, A Circular Play, Everybody's Autobiography, The Geographical History of America, and Blood on the Dining-Room Floor, which Stein called a detective story.



Readers bring to a text a set of expectations often relating to its genre. A novel, for example, is expected to share certain features with other novels, which is why it is not considered a play. But these distinctions are difficult to make, and writers often depart from generic conventions for the sake of being innovative. Generic expectations also closely relate to gender. For example, an autobiography may be read in light of the gender of the author. Like various genres, gender brings with it certain expectations, which are largely determined by social values. Some individuals transgress the conventional bounds of gender roles, just as some works of literature go beyond traditional generic frames.



The works of Gertrude Stein typically challenge the expectations of both gender and genre. As a lesbian writer, Stein was acutely aware of society's expectations with respect to gender. And in her writings, she is clearly concerned with genre. She explicitly calls many of her works plays, operas, or novels intending them to be read with certain generic expectations in mind only to transgress traditional generic expectations. Gygax explores why Stein was inevitably confronted with questions about gender and generic categories. Including a number of Stein's theoretical statements about writing, this insightful book illuminates the relationship between gender and genre in her works.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 168 pages
  • 162.56 x 249.94 x 18.29mm | 462.66g
  • Praeger Publishers Inc
  • Westport, United States
  • English
  • 0313307555
  • 9780313307553

Table of contents

Introduction: Gendered Genre Family vs. Female Wandering Departing from Patrilinearity: The Deconstruction of the Family and The Making of Americans Ida and Id-Entity Voices and Votes: Plays and Operas Stein Plays: A Circular Play (1920) The Multiple Voices of Ladies' Voices (1916) "Preparing for Opera": Gertrude Stein and Susan B. Anthony, Mothers of Us All Auto-Bio-Graphies Whose Autobiography? I/Eye and Everybody's Autobiographies The Double-Voiced Autobiography The "I" in Everybody's Autobiography Wars I Have Seen: Seeing and Telling Through the I/Eye Foreign America: Four in America and Gertrude Stein Detection and Meditation The Subject fo Detection: Blood on the Dining-Room Floor Stanzas in Meditation or Meditation in Stanzas Conclusion Stein's Compositional Approach: Beginning and Beginning Composing and Rearranging Rose and (Her) Autobiography The Round World of Rose and Rose and Rose and Rose Appendix: Stein's Manuscripts Bibliography Index
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Review quote

"[A] fine, nonintimidating introduction to Stein for the wary. The bibliography will be helpful to those seeking more feminist materials about Stein. For libraries interested in providing easy access to a usually formidable subject."-Choice "YA fine, nonintimidating introduction to Stein for the wary. The bibliography will be helpful to those seeking more feminist materials about Stein. For libraries interested in providing easy access to a usually formidable subject."-Choice ?[A] fine, nonintimidating introduction to Stein for the wary. The bibliography will be helpful to those seeking more feminist materials about Stein. For libraries interested in providing easy access to a usually formidable subject.?-Choice
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About Franziska Gygax

FRANZISKA GYGAX is Lecturer in English at the University of Basel, where she teaches courses in American literature. Her previous books include Serious Daring from Within: Female Narrative Strategies in Eudora Welty's Novels (Greenwood, 1990).
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