Primary Stein

Primary Stein : Returning to the Writing of Gertrude Stein

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Recent scholarly trends and controversies in Gertrude Stein scholarship have focused on her politics and her friendships as well as on Stein the collector, the celebrity, the visual icon. Clearly, these recent examinations not only deepen our understanding of Stein but also attest to her staying power. Yet Stein's writing itself too often remains secondary. The central premise of Primary Stein is that an extraordinary amount of textual scholarship remains to be done on Stein's work, whether the well-known, the little-known, or yet unpublished. The essays in Primary Stein draw on recent interdisciplinary examinations, using cultural and historical contexts to enrich and complicate how we might read, understand, and teach Stein's writing. Following Stein's own efforts throughout her lifetime to shift the focus from her personality to her writing, these innovative essays turn the lens back to a wide range of her texts, including novels, plays, lectures and poetry. Each essay takes Stein's primary works as its core interpretive focus, returning scholarly conversations to the challenges and pleasures of working with Stein's more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 28mm | 599.99g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, figures
  • 0739183192
  • 9780739183199

About Janet Boyd

Janet Boyd is assistant professor of English at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Sharon J. Kirsch is an assistant professor of English and rhetorical studies at Arizona State more

Review quote

These 14 essays contribute to growing scholarship about Stein as a modernist. Boyd and Kirsch aim to shift focus from Stein's biography, celebrity, art collecting, and salon to her writing, especially her experimental pieces, and her method of composition. Some contributors examine little-known pieces, such as the play For the Country Entirely and the narratives 'Subject Cases: The Background of a Detective Story' and 'Why Are There Whites to Console'; others take a fresh look at better-known pieces, such as Wars I Have Seen and Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights. Neil Schmitz offers a witty take on Tender Buttons, reading the work in the context of Stein's falling out with her brother Leo. Steven Gould Axelrod argues against claims that Stein was a Nazi sympathizer by reading her novel Mrs. Reynolds as 'a hate letter to Hitler.' Curator Gabrielle Dean traces the history of Plain Editions, the publishing venture that enabled Stein to publish her early works. Several writers consider themes of time, space, and movement. Two appendixes illuminate Yale's Stein archive. A wide-ranging collection that includes works not usually given scholarly attention. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. CHOICE Primary Stein heralds a return to where the impetus of literary critical should lay: with the writing itself, rather than with a character assassination of a nearly 70 year-old Jewish lesbian who was just trying to save her life (as well as the life of her also Jewish lesbian partner, Alice B. Toklas) during World War II. With this collection of essays, Boyd and Kirsch remind us about the scope and sophistication - as well as the playfulness and sensuality - of Stein's writing. Lambda Literary Janet Boyd and Sharon J. Kirsch's Primary Stein: Returning to the Writing of Gertrude Stein fulfils its titular ambitions of sparking a revaluation and rethinking of Stein's accomplishments through greater reference to her texts in published and archival forms while lessening the privileged position often accorded to her personality and coterie... The attention here to the Stein archives, primarily at Yale but also important collections at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin and the Donald Gallup Collection at the Southern Methodist University, is rich... The individual contributions should have a significant impact on studies of Stein. Year's Work in English Studies Primary Stein will become a primary source for our reading of Gertrude Stein, among the greatest of modern writers, among the most incessantly challenging. I am grateful for this smart, original book. -- Catharine R. Stimpson, New York University It is great to have an anthology that returns to the writing of Gertrude Stein, since her interesting life and times have often diverted attention from actually reading her work. Stein's work is unlike any other writing-funny, challenging, almost physical in its rhythms, rhymes, and patterns of repetition, and it covers many genres and modes of writing. Sharon J. Kirsch and Janet Boyd's volume Primary Stein: Returning to the Writing of Gertrude Stein is an inspiration to anyone who wants to read Gertrude Stein's work, whether that one is a practiced reader or just beginning to read Stein. And anyone who teaches Stein's writing will find the essays on a selection of works as well as on publication history and the poetics of Stein very useful. -- Tania Orum, University of Copenhagen This is a terrific collection-lucid, wide ranging, and rich. Boyd and Kirsch have assembled a wonderful group of essays on a variety of Stein texts, representing a range of approaches to Stein's work. This collection is an exciting contribution to Stein scholarship and will also appeal to scholars in feminist and gender studies, modernist studies, and other areas. -- Deborah Mix, Ball State Universityshow more

Table of contents

Contents Acknowledgments Introduction. A Primer for Primary Stein Sharon J. Kirsch and Janet Boyd Chapter 1. Make It Plain: Stein and Toklas Publish the Plain Edition Gabrielle Dean Chapter 2. Woolfenstein, the Sequel Rachel Blau DuPlessis Chapter 3. "Come too": 1920s Erotic Rights Discourse and Gertrude Stein's "Patriarchal Poetry" Jody Cardinal Chapter 4. Long Dull Poems: Stein's Stanzas in Meditation and Wordsworth's The Prelude Rebecca Ariel Porte Chapter 5. tender buttons, notwithstanding Neil Schmitz Chapter 6. How to Read How to Write: Bothering with Gertrude Stein Sharon J. Kirsch Chapter 7. Framing Devices: Reading Background in the Sequence of Gertrude Stein's Composition Linda Voris Chapter 8. Radio Free Stein: Rendering Queen and Country Adam Frank Chapter 9. "A Spare American Emotion" E. L. McCallum Chapter 10. "More light!-Electric Light." Stein in Dialogue with the Romantic Paradigm in Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights Sarah Posman Chapter 11. Gertrude Stein's Geographical History of Literature Janet Boyd Chapter 12. Modernist and Future Ex-Modernist: Postwar Stein Kristin Bergen Chapter 13. History, Narrative, and "Daily Living" in Wars I Have Seen Phoebe Stein Chapter 14. Mrs. Reynolds: Stein's Anti-Nazi Novel Steven Gould Axelrod Appendix A: A Note on the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers in the Twenty-First Century Nancy Kuhl Appendix B: "The Gertrude Stein Collection" reprinted from The Yale Gazette 22.2 (October 1947) Donald Gallup Index Notes on contributorsshow more