The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson

The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson : Composition as Conversation

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Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson are known as much for their formidable egos as for their contributions to twentieth-century arts. That either could collaborate intimately with anyone is surprising. Yet Stein and Thomson did work together, magnificently so, most notably on the landmark opera Four Saints in Three Acts and the fanciful The Mother of Us All. This annotated collection of correspondence reveals the spark that existed between the two American masters over the course of their sometimes rocky friendship. The roughly 400 letters written between 1926 and 1946 record the fascinating nature of their partnership-their mutual excitement over evolving projects and their process for bringing together two often radical aesthetic sensibilities. The style of the letters is careful and forceful when the relationship is strained, but most often it is relaxed and affectionate. As a record of friendship the letters are particularly compelling, replete with love, support, and mutual fascination. Not surprisingly, the correspondence is stylistically remarkable-Stein being arguably the most innovative literary modernist and Thomson the author of crisp, insightful, irreverent music criticism, the most quoted of his century. In addition to their artistic partnership, the letters provide a revealing glimpse into their individual careers in the realms of literature and music, as they document a web of mutual friendships and the vibrant artistic community of the early twentieth century. The editors' notes contextualize this valuable exchange and add a layer of richness and accessibility. The volume will interest readers, critics, and scholars in music, literature, avant garde arts and modern culture more more

Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 162 x 238 x 32mm | 662.24g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 6 black and white halftone illustrations
  • 0195386639
  • 9780195386639
  • 2,078,843

Review quote

We have waited many years for this complete, accurate and fully documented edition of the letters of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson. With wide-ranging annotations that help us understand these two very different artists, here is a trustworthy resource that is also a fascinating story. * Ulla Dydo, author of Gertrude Stein: The Language That Rises: 1923-1934 *show more

About Thomas Dilworth

Dilworth is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Windsor and a Killam Fellow. Holbrook is Associate Professor of English at the University of more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments ; Introduction ; Letters ; Epilogue: Thomson and Toklas ; Appendix A. Georges Hugnet, "Virgil Thomson" ; Appendix B. Virgil Thomson, "Miss Gertrude Stein as a Young Girl" ; Appendix C. Gertrude Stein, "Virgil Thomson" ; Appendix D. Georges Hugnet, "La Vie de Gertrude Stein," trans. Basil Kingstone ; Appendix E. Contract for Four Saints in Three Acts ; Sources Citedshow more

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