Gertrude Stein

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Gertrude Stein, photograph by Carl Van Vechten , 1935
Autograph by Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein (born February 3, 1874 in Allegheny, now Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania ; died July 27, 1946 in Neuilly-sur-Seine near Paris ) was an American writer , publisher, and art collector .

She settled in Paris in 1903 and shared her famous contemporary art salon at 27 Rue de Fleurus, first with her brother, the art collector and critic Leo Stein , and from 1913 with her partner Alice B. Toklas . At Stein's invitation, unknown personalities of the artistic avant-garde such as Pablo Picasso , Henri Matisse , Georges Braque and Juan Gris , whose works the Stein siblings acquired , met there at the time . After the First World War , from the early 1920s, young American modern writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald , Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway sought out the salon, whose literary work was influenced by Stein's experimental writing style .

Like Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein is one of the first women of classical literary modernism . She wrote experimental novels, short stories, essays, poems, literary portraits, and stage works in which she defied linguistic and literary conventions so that many critics and readers found her work too difficult, were amused by it, or ignored it. It was not until her book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas , published in New York in 1933, which was written in a more conventional style , achieved a high level of fame and made her a literary celebrity. Stein coined the phrase "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose", which is often quoted in modifications, and which comes from the poem Sacred Emily in the 1922 book Geography and Plays .


Youth and education

Gertrude Stein's birthplace in Allegheny, 850 Beech Avenue
Gertrude Stein at the age of three

Gertrude Stein was born on February 3, 1874 in Allegheny as the youngest of five children into a wealthy and "respectable bourgeois family", as she wrote in her autobiography. The paternal grandparents, Michael and Hannah Stein, were Jews who emigrated from Germany , who had left Weickersgrüben near Graefendorf in Bavaria in 1841 with the aim of finding political freedom and economic development opportunities in America that were denied them at home. Gertrude's father, Daniel Stein, who arrived in Baltimore with his parents and three siblings on September 2, 1841, married Amelia Keyser, who was also German-Jewish, in 1864. German and English were spoken in the family. After stays in Vienna and Passy near Paris , Gertrude grew up in California . When his father Daniel Stein also died in 1891, three years after his mother's death in 1888, the eldest brother Michael became the guardian of the younger siblings.

In the autumn of 1893 Gertrude Stein followed her brother Leo to Cambridge (USA) to study . She studied biology and philosophy at Radcliffe College , Harvard's division for women. She attended the lectures and belonged to the inner circle of the psychologist and philosopher William James , whose term stream of consciousness should influence (stream of consciousness) their work. James' brother Henry James made the "stream of consciousness" the narrative principle in his novels. He thus opened up literary design possibilities that shaped the writing style of authors of classical modernism such as Virginia Woolf and James Joyce .

Claribel Cone, Gertrude Stein (center) and Etta Cone in Settignano near Fiesole ( Florence ) in June 1903.

From 1897 he studied psychology and medicine at the Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore , to which Leo Stein had moved to study biology. The siblings moved into a joint apartment in Baltimore and met the siblings Etta and Caribel Cone , with whom Gertrude Stein was lifelong friends. Gertrude Stein got into a society that questioned the aesthetic and moral rules of the Puritan bourgeoisie. She had a long-running affair at university with a fellow student , May Bookstaver, who encouraged Stein to write a short novel, Q. E. D. (Quod erat demonstrandum - What Was To Be Proved) . Written in 1903, it was only published posthumously in 1950 under the title The Things as They Are . Literary critics see the novel, the content of which deals with a lesbian threesome, as autobiographical.

Gertrude Stein began to get bored of studying medicine, and after failing her exams she dropped out after her brother Leo traveled to Europe in 1900 to study art. She spent the summer of 1902 with Leo - after a stay in Fiesole near Florence, where she met Leo's friend, the art theorist Bernard Berenson - in Great Britain , where they both rented an apartment in London at 20 Bloomsbury Square that autumn ; they met members of the Bloomsbury Group there . In December of that year Leo Stein moved to Paris.

As an art collector and patron in Paris

The salon on rue de Fleurus

Gertrude Stein in her salon, 1905. Above left is a version of Paul Cézanne's bathers . The walls filled up to the ceiling after further purchases of paintings.

After a stay in the USA, Stein finally followed her brother to Europe in 1903 . In Paris , the two opened a salon in their shared apartment at 27 Rue de Fleurus, which developed into a center of the literary and pictorial avant-garde . It was in the immediate vicinity of the Jardin du Luxembourg and consisted of a single-storey pavilion in an inner courtyard, which was followed by a studio at a north-facing corner. Michael Stein - he also lived in Paris at 58 Rue Madame with his wife Sarah and ran a salon like his siblings - had invested the family's fortune well. It was enough to acquire many pictures by the then unknown artists such as Cézanne , Monet , Renoir , Daumier and Gauguin from the gallery owner Ambroise Vollard . Gertrude and Leo Stein, who had painted some pictures himself, did not buy the paintings because they saw them as an investment, but because they liked them.

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso, 1904

In 1905 Leo Stein bought a first painting by the young Henri Matisse for 500 francs in the Salon d'Automne , it was the painting Woman with Hat . The painting became the property of the Michael Steins family in 1915, who were very committed to Matisse. It was Sarah Stein who helped found the Académie Matisse . The painters Matisse and Picasso met for the first time in Gertrude and Leo Stein's salon.

Leo Stein had met Picasso in 1905 through the mediation of Henri-Pierre Roché . Although his sister did not like the painting Naked Girl with a Basket of Flowers by Picasso , which he bought from Leo Stein at Clovis Sagot - a former clown who ran a gallery - she became friends with Picasso. In the autumn of 1906, the painter completed the portrait of Gertrude Stein , for which she had sat for months in his studio, the Bateau-Lavoir , as a model. During the long meetings - there were around 80 to 90 - the friendship between Picasso and Stein was strengthened. Stein was convinced that both were creatively ingenious - he as a painter, she as a writer. A view that Picasso did not agree with. Stein wrote literary portraits of him and their correspondence lasted until 1944.

Félix Vallotton: Portrait of Gertrude Stein , 1907

When looking at the portrait, the comment was made that Gertrude Stein did not look like her portrait, to which Picasso replied: "She will". Stein's portrait is now part of the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art ( New York City ).

Around 1906 Gertrude Stein worked on her novel The Making of Americans , wrote prose texts and had started to translate Flaubert's Trois Contes . A year later, in 1907, Félix Vallotton asked to be allowed to portray Gertrude Stein. She felt flattered and said yes; the result - a reference to Picasso's portrait - did not seem to have pleased her, because Vallotton's portrait, unlike Picasso's depiction, was not to be seen in the numerous photographs of the salon over the next few years.

Alice B. Toklas

Toklas and Stone in Venice, 1908

In the spring of 1906 appeared Sex and Character by Otto Weininger in English. Stein was enthusiastic about the book for at least three years and "forced it on many of her friends, almost as if it were a manual for their own views." Weininger's thesis of the bisexual disposition of all people and of equal rights for homosexuality is probably the reason for Stein's fascination, as the male woman is less susceptible to Weininger's pathological misogyny . Gender and character , which Leo also valued, was the foil on which Stein finally managed to live her sexual orientation publicly.

In 1907 Gertrude Stein met the American Alice B. Toklas ; like herself, Toklas came from a middle-class Jewish family. A year later, in 1908, Stein hired her as a secretary; Toklas was tasked with reading the proofs of Three Lives and typing Stein's handwritten texts. The next year, Toklas moved into their shared apartment on Rue de Fleurus. Toklas became Stein's partner and muse , at the same time she was secretary, editor and cook. She always stayed in the background.

Both women and Leo Stein took part in 1908 in the art-historically interesting “ Banquet for Rousseau ” that Picasso gave in 1908 in his studio in the Bateau-Lavoir on Montmartre on the occasion of his purchase of the painting by Henri Rousseau , the Yadwigha .

Guests at the meetings in the salon included Pablo Picasso with Fernande Olivier , Max Jacob , Alfred Jarry , Guillaume Apollinaire with Marie Laurencin , André Salmon and Georges Braque . The salon was one of the most important meeting places for the Parisian art scene, and there was a lively exchange between painters and writers. The visitors also included the Russian collectors Ivan Morozov and Sergei Shchukin , the American art collector Albert C. Barnes and the British art critics Roger Fry and Clive Bell . Gertrude's friends, Claribel and Etta Cone, often traveled to Europe to buy works of art. On a visit to Paris they met many artists in Stein's salon; this is how Etta Cone met Matisse, and her first purchases marked the beginning of a lifelong passion for his art.

Stein's first literary publication

In 1909, Stein published her first book, Three Lives, at her own expense because she could not find a publisher interested in her work. It contained three short stories , including Melanctha , one of Stein's most famous texts. A portrait of Cézanne, showing his wife Hortense, hung on the wall right in front of her desk. It had inspired her when writing Three Lives through its repetitive brushstrokes, so that she also built her characters from repetitive sentences.

In August 1912, Alfred Stieglitz 's photo magazine Camera Work published Stein's verbal cubist “word portraits” about Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso as the first publication in the USA . The essays were later included in the book Portraits and Prayers published by Random House in 1934 .

Separation from Leo Stein

Leo Stein, 1937. Photograph by Carl Van Vechten

Leo Stein left the joint apartment in 1913 because he no longer wanted to tolerate living with Alice B. Toklas and did not share Gertrude's preference for Cubism . His aversion to Picasso's paintings began when he examined Les Demoiselles d'Avignon , and he found his sister's writing inferior and unconvincing. Alice's jealousy or Leo's affair with Nina Auzias, with whom he had been friends since 1908 and who had been his model , were named as further reasons for the separation of the siblings . He moved to Settignano near Florence . The household effects and the art collection were split up. Leo Stein chose the Renoirs and Matisse ' Le Bonheur de Vivre as well as many Cézannes, while Gertrude Stein kept the Cubist pictures of Picasso, Cézanne's portrait of Mme Cézanne and Matisse's wife in a hat . There was no reconciliation. Gertrude no longer answered her brother's mail and showed no reaction to any offers of reconciliation. In her long prose text Two: Gertrude Stein and Her Brother , published posthumously in 1951, Stein freed herself from her brother by analyzing: “She was successful” while her brother “became one who no longer listened”.

Self-portrait Carl Van Vechten, April 3, 1934

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas now continued the invitations to the salon as jour fixe on Saturday evenings. The daily routine changed from then on: in the afternoon Stein received visitors or visited friends, after dinner she wrote her texts until the early hours of the morning. Janet Flanner described the "Stein / Toklas Parties" in her book Legendary Women and a Man ; she pointed out that the gentlemen surrounded Gertrude Stein - the "man" in the relationship - while the ladies gathered around the tea table that Alice B. Toklas sat in front of.

In the same year, Gertrude Stein met the music and art critic and photographer Carl Van Vechten in Paris. He became her sponsor by reviewing her works in the trade press and trying to find a publisher for her unpublished works. A lifelong friendship and extensive correspondence developed between them. Van Vechten referred to Gertrude Stein in his letters with the invented name "Baby Woojums", Toklas as "Mama Woojums" and himself as "Papa Woojums".

Participation in the Armory Show

On the advice of her friend Mabel Dodge Luhan, Stein had attended the Armory Show , which took place in New York in 1913 and in which European modern artists such as Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Duchamp and Kandinsky were shown for the first time. The two artists Marsden Hartley and Alfred Maurer , whom she knew from Paris, were under Stein's patronage . Stein's portrait of Mabel Dodge at the Villa Curonia , written in 1912, was distributed during the exhibition; it was the only literary contribution. Leo Stein, who did not visit the exhibition himself because he shied away from the public, had loaned Matisse's painting Blauer Akt (Memory of Biskra) from 1907 and two paintings by Picasso.

The Armory Show caused an increase in the number of American visitors to Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas's Paris art salon, as they could discover other paintings by modern European artists such as Cézanne and Picasso there.

First World War

Shortly before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Gertrude Stein bought the first paintings by Juan Gris in Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler's gallery , including Roses . She valued Gris' cubist style of painting as much as Picasso's. In the same year, Stein's text collection Tender Buttons , with which she had increasingly turned to experimental literature by trying to transfer the Cubist style of painting to language as a literary equivalent, was published by New York publisher Claire Marie. Example: Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose ; German "A rose is a rose is a rose".

In July, Stein and Toklas traveled to London to sign a deal to release Three Lives . After signing the contract they went to Cambridge and met the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead , who invited them to his country estate in Lockeridge, Wiltshire . There they met Bertrand Russell and Lytton Strachey , with whom they debated the political situation. That weekend she received news of the German invasion of Belgium . When England declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914, Stein and Toklas traveled back to London, but were only able to return to Paris in October 1914. They spent the spring of 1915 until the summer of 1916 in Palma .

From 1917 Stein and Toklas were working for the American aid organization American Fund for French Wounded with their first Ford automobile, called "Auntie". They were used in Perpignan , Nîmes and Mulhouse to deliver medicines and medical supplies to hospitals .

New beginning as a writer

Friendship with Hemingway

Hemingway's passport photo, 1923

After the war there were new visitors to Stein's salon. Many friends and acquaintances had died in the war or no longer visited them. New artists came to Paris. Gertrude Stein explained the popularity of the city, especially the area around the Rive Gauche, for the Americans living in Paris as expatriates : "The reason is simply that they live their own life and they let you have your own life ..." literary circles were based at Edith Wharton's at 52 rue de Varenne and Natalie Barney at 20 rue Jacob . In literary publications you were counted among the "women from the left bank".

Gertrude Stein with Ernest Hemingway's son John, called Jack, in Paris in 1924

During this time, Stein coined the term “lost generation ”. How it came about is described in retrospect by Ernest Hemingway in his novel A Moveable Feast ( Paris - A Festival for Life ) . He met Gertrude Stein in Paris in 1922, where he worked as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Star newspaper. In this work Hemingway describes Gertrude Stein as very fat, not tall, and heavily built like a farmer's wife. She had beautiful eyes, a coarse German-Jewish face, beautiful, thick, living hair "which she wore in the same way as she probably wore it in college." When Stein wore an extremely short hairstyle from 1926, he wrote mockingly , she looks like a "Roman emperor".

Stein had encouraged Hemingway to give up journalism and use his talent as a writer. His unadorned sentences and narrative attest to their influence. Hemingway, in turn, corrected her work The Making of Americans and advocated a preprint. Stein and Toklas became godmothers of his first son John in 1923. The friendship broke up in 1926, among other things, when Hemingway parodied a work by their mutual friend Sherwood Anderson - also a parody of their novel The Making of Americans . Stein retaliated by making him unflattering in her first autobiography, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). Hemingway responded by giving her his book Death in the Afternoon ( Death in the Afternoon ) sent with the dedication: " A bitch is a bitch is a bitch is a bitch " by which he on her famous phrase " A rose is a rose ... " alluded to.

Sylvia Beach - Plain Edition founded

Plaque in the Rue de l'Odéon 12 in which Sylvia Beach in 1922 as publisher of James Joyce ' Ulysses had published

Through the mediation of Sylvia Beach , who opened the bookshop and lending library Shakespeare and Company in Paris in 1919 at 12 Rue de l'Odéon, the young writers of the "Lost Generation" also came to the Salon von Stein: alongside Ernest Hemingway and Sherwood Anderson came John Dos Passos , Ezra Pound , John Reed , Thornton Wilder , TS Eliot , F. Scott Fitzgerald , Louis Bromfield , Edith Sitwell , Paul Bowles , Allen Tate and Léonie Adams as well as the French Jean Cocteau , Valery Larbaud and the Romanian Tristan Tzara .

Stein's main work, The Making of Americans , it comprises around 1000 printed pages, written between 1903 and 1911, was published in 1925 by Contact Editions , a small publishing house owned by Bryher and Robert McAlmon in Paris. Some parts of the work had already been reprinted in 1924 in the Transatlantic Review by the writer and publisher Ford Madox Ford on the basis of Hemingway's suggestion . In 1926 she lectured on her work in Cambridge , London and Oxford . The Cambridge lecture entitled Composition As Explanation was published in the same year by Virginia and Leonard Woolf by the London publisher Hogarth Press .

A meeting with William Carlos Williams during his extensive trip to Europe in 1927 does not seem to have gone very well. Gertrude Stein first reported that Marcel Proust had demolished a chair while trying to plop into it. Then she talked to Williams about manuscripts. Williams is said to have advised her to market the good manuscripts and to throw the less good ones to the fire. This statement was not well received by Stein, and the encounter ended embarrassingly - so Williams. Because she had replied to him: "But writing is not your profession either!"

Alice B. Toklas 1949, photograph by Carl Van Vechten

In 1931, Alice Toklas founded Plain Edition to market Stein's work; For example, How to Write , an introduction to Stein's writings , appeared in the same year . The foundation was financed by the sale of a painting, Toklas recalls in her memoir: “When Gertrude could not find a publisher, she sold Picasso's beautiful painting of the girl holding up a fan. It almost broke my heart. [...]. But that's how the Plain Edition started ”.

Successful years

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas - Four Saints in Three Acts

Stein's most successful work, the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas , in which she reports from her life, from her friendships with now famous artists such as Picasso and Matisse and writers such as Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald as well as musicians such as George Gershwin , was published in 1933 in America Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York. Alice, her partner, is supposedly the narrator, but remains in the background as a fictional character. The work ends with the information that Gertrude Stein wrote it. On September 11th of that year the news magazine Time had Gertrude Stein on the front page.

Stein's opera Four Saints in Three Acts , set to music by Virgil Thomson , premiered on February 8, 1934 at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford ; additional performances took place on Broadway from February 20 . Like the Autobiography , the opera became a huge success, prompting Thomson to dedicate a piano sonata to Stein , For Gertrude to Improvise on the Piano . One critic called her "The Mama of Dada", a term that has long been quoted.

On May 6th of that year, the New York Times Magazine published Gertrude Stein's paradoxical statement that " Hitler should receive the Nobel Peace Prize because he was removing all Jews, democrats and leftists from Germany who stand for activity, struggle and competition - what peace means" . Ulla E. Dydo rated the statement as "clearly ironic", but it was often misinterpreted.

Lecture tour through the USA

Gertrude Stein, 1934, photograph by Carl Van Vechten
Plaque on the house at 27 Rue de Fleurus where Gertrude Stein lived until 1938

From October 1934, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas went on a long and successful lecture tour of the United States that lasted until May 1935 . Her ship, the Champlain , docked in New York Harbor on October 17th . When asked by a journalist: “Why don't you speak the way you write?” She replied loosely, “Why don't you read the way I write?” You stayed in New York for a month and flew across America, from the east to the west coast . For example, Stein spoke in universities and private clubs about modern literature, its relationship to modern art, and the differences between America and Britain. The couple rented a car in Los Angeles , visited attractions and drove to Oakland , where Stein grew up , among other places . On their travels, they met Charlie Chaplin , George Gershwin, Alfred Stieglitz and Thornton Wilder, for example , and they were received for tea at the White House by President Roosevelt's wife, Eleanor Roosevelt . In 1937 the sequel to her Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas appeared at Random House in New York under the title Everybody's Autobiography , in which she reports on the success of the previous volume and on her extensive trip to America.

In 1938, Stein and Toklas moved to 5 rue Christine because the lease for their apartment at 27 rue de Fleurus had been terminated.

World War II, the last few years

Stay in Billignin and Culoz

Badge on the house in Billignin
Gertrude Stein with her dog Pepe in Billignin
The house in Billignin (2019)

The outbreak of the Second World War surprised Stein and Toklas in their holiday home in Billignin (sometimes written as Bilignin), near Belley in the Ain department , where they had been on vacation since 1929. With passports specially issued for the return to Paris, they returned to the capital for two days and packed winter clothes. They had to give up the plan to remove the valuable pictures from the walls in order to protect them from being shaken by bombs, as there was not enough space on the floor. Stein's lack of realism with regard to the war was evident in the fact that in 1941 she translated Marshal Pétain's speeches Paroles aux Français and wrote a foreword in which she described him as a courageous politician who wanted to save France and who was wrongly viewed in a bad light by the United States . However, there was no publication. In the following year their enthusiasm waned. It was possibly connected with the deportation of around 13,000 French Jews in the summer of 1942, and the urgent advice to Stein and Toklas that they should leave the country to avoid a similar fate. Stein never mentioned what her Jewish ancestry had meant to her and Toklas in those years, nor did she comment on the plight of European Jewry. When Stein and Toklas received their notice of resignation from the house in Billignin in 1943, they moved to the Le Colombier house in Culoz , as they rejected a return to the USA. When they reported to Culoz City Hall to register, Justin Hey , the mayor , declined on the grounds that they were too old to endure the rigors of concentration camps.

Protection from Bernard Faÿ

Despite their Jewish origins, the couple maintained good relations with the Vichy regime during the occupation of France in World War II and thus survived the German occupation largely unmolested. This was partly thanks to Bernard Faÿ , Stein's longtime friend, who had translated several of her texts, including The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, into French and was the editor of the anti-Semitic journal La Gerbe, which was paid for by the Germans . He was also director of the National Library in Paris, was considered the intimate of the Vichy government and had ties to the Paris Gestapo . Nearly a thousand Freemasons have been arrested at his instigation; as a result 520 people were deported to concentration camps, 117 perished.

In the last days of the occupation , Picasso informed Bernard Faÿ about the occupation of Stein's apartment on Rue Christine. Faÿ achieved that the valuable paintings were not removed, possibly the German bureaucrats were deceived about their value. After the end of the war, Faÿ was sentenced to life imprisonment as a collaborator . In a letter, Stein advocated Faÿ's release. In 1951 he was able to flee to Switzerland - allegedly with Toklas' financial support. In his memoir, Les Précieux , published in 1966 , he reported on his activities in providing the Stein / Toklas couple with protection, food cards and heating material. Neither Stein nor Toklas ever mentioned his protection in writing, only Stein confirmed the rescue of the paintings in their letter to the court. However, your biographers assume he was telling the truth.

Return to Paris

When the first American soldiers arrived in Culoz on September 1, 1944, Stein invited them to dinner and debated with them. In December the couple returned to Paris. After Stein had written her book Wars I Have Seen , her third biography, based on diary entries from 1943/1944, she accepted an invitation from Life magazine in June 1945 and visited the American bases in Germany, Belgium and Austria. A year later she wrote Brewsie and Willie on the conversation with the soldiers. In the same year, Stein wrote another libretto for Virgil Thomson, The Mother of Us All , in which she thematized the life of the American feminist Susan B. Anthony . The opera premiered posthumously in 1947 at Columbia University in New York .

Among Stein's last texts was the foreword to the catalog of an exhibition by the Spanish painter Francisco Riba-Rovira (1913–2002) in May 1945 in the Roquépine Gallery in Paris. In it she described her view of the art of Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse, Juan Gris and Riba-Rovira. Stein bought works by the artist who also portrayed them.

Death in July 1946

Stein's tombstone on the Cimetière du Père Lachaise

Gertrude Stein died of gastric cancer on July 27, 1946 in Neuilly-sur-Seine in the American Hospital , her grave is in the Cimetière du Père Lachaise cemetery . Many friends and their brother Leo Stein only found out about her death from the newspaper. She was mentioned as a public figure in the obituaries of French and American newspapers, and her literary experiments were described and discussed. Alice B. Toklas, who had been appointed as heiress and together with Allan Stein (Michael Stein's son) as administrator of the estate, looked after her literary estate and saw her main task in having all unpublished manuscripts printed.

Stein's friend, the photographer Carl Van Vechten , also tried to get more publications from Stein . Several volumes of posthumous writings and a “reader”, a representative selection of her works, were published. Toklas died on March 7, 1967 and was buried in the grave of Gertrude Stein as requested. Your name is on the back of the tombstone.


entity and identity

“I am writing for myself and strangers. This is the only way that I can do it. "

“I write for myself and for strangers. That's the only way I can do it. "

- Gertrude Stein : The Making of Americans

Gertrude Stein's literary concern includes works that, according to her, belong either to her group of entity or identity . The entity's works were written for itself, in their own opinion, aesthetic headbirths, written without consideration for the reading public, such as Three Lives and The Making of Americans . Works belonging to the identity such as the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas or Picasso from 1938 wanted to communicate in an understandable way and to achieve success with the readers, whereby the transitions in texts can be quite fluid. It was primarily the works of their entity style that influenced and shaped an entire generation of American writers, including William Faulkner , Ernest Hemingway , Thornton Wilder and Tennessee Williams .

Early work

William James, 1906

Gertrude Stein's development as a writer began in her college essays in 1895; they were already shaped by the theory of the stream of consciousness of their psychology professor William James . Her first work was QED ( Quod erat demonstrandum - What was to be proven ) from 1903; it was found among her unpublished manuscripts and first published in 1950 under the title Things As They Are . Thematically, it deals with her experiences at Radcliffe College and the love affair with May Bookstaver.

The first - from Flaubert inspired - let 1909 Print at his own expense published book that Stone was Three Lives ( Three Lives ) , it contains the stories The good Anna , Melanctha and The Gentle Lena . While Anna and Lena reflect the housekeeper Lena Lebender from the shared household with Leo Stein in Baltimore, Melanctha tells of a young black woman's search for herself. The love story, described as naturalistic , is the first description by a white American author which plays exclusively within a black, poverty-stricken community. Both early works are influenced by the style of James. Referring to Three Lives , literary critic Edmund Wilson looked at the design of her female characters: “It is remarkable how the author identifies with her characters. In a style that apparently doesn't owe anything to any other novelist, she captures the rhythms and accents of the heroines. […] Miss Stein is not interested in the point of view of social circumstances in her characters, but in what could be described as 'representative' of basic types of women. […] Behind the clear and somewhat monotonous simplicity of Gertrude Stein's sentences one becomes aware of her masterly understanding of organisms, which are contradictory and indissoluble like human individuals ”.

Between 1903 and 1911 she wrote the approximately thousand-page novel The Making of Americans Being The History of a Family's Progress ( The Making of Americans. Story of the career of a family ) , the late for a preprint 1924 next year in the publishing Contact Editions, Paris , has been published. The subtitle promises a family novel; in fact, the individual lives of the Hersland family are linked to national history; a family history becomes the history of the nation. The most striking stylistic peculiarity is the extensive use of the present participle for both the progressive form and the gerund . The novel contains few dialogues , is conceived as epic rather than dramatic throughout , and depicts static psychological characters. The syntax is often paratactic . The text alternates between historical narration in the simple past and extended, general considerations that work strongly with repetition in the simple or continuous present . He replaces the traditional narrative form with monologue-like narration, but does not merge into a stream of consciousness like the inner monologue at the end of Ulysses by James Joyce . Since 1906, the author has classified the characters of her protagonists according to the model of gender and character of Otto Weininger, who was highly regarded by her .

Tender buttons ("delicate buttons" or "delicate buds") brought about a change in style. It was published in 1914 by Claire Marie, New York. The work contains three prose pieces of equal length: Objects , Food and Rooms . The texts deal with everyday things, food, spaces and landscapes; they are an experimental mixture of essay , description and free association and mark Stein's change of subject from people to things. As in the fine arts, there was a transition to the non-figurative. In spite of its abstractness, the work is not completely closed to autobiographical interpretation; especially the love affair with Alice B. Toklas and the differences with Leo are likely to have left their mark on it.

Later works

Stein's most famous phrase, "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose," a tautology written in 1913 as part of the poem Sacred Emily , appeared in the 1922 book Geography and Plays . In the poem, the first “rose” mentioned is a person's name. Stein later varied the sentence in other works, for example, in 1935 she wrote "A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" in Lectures in America . It is often interpreted as "things are what they are". For Stein the sentence expressed that the name of a thing embodies its image and the feelings associated with it. With this interpretation, Stein seamlessly ties in with the universality controversy in which " the name of the rose " was used by Petrus Abelardus and others as an example of the connection between concept and object.

Gertrude Stein, 1934, photograph by Carl Van Vechten

In September 1933 stone known work, published The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas ( Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas ) in New York. After twenty years of writing, the simplified syntax , repetitions, the present participle and linguistic associations were gone. Stein chose a language based on spoken English. Alice B. Toklas is the narrator who reports on Stein's life. The book does not contain a generic name and thus promoted confusion about the identity of the people. It ends with the information that Gertrude Stein is the author. Fiction and truth mix; Stein reconstructs her previous life on the basis of a few real events: The discontinued studies in Baltimore become an anecdote, life with Leo in Paris when she was in his shadow is described as an intellectual awakening, and unsuccessful writing stylizes her as an artistic passion. Gertrude Stein created her own legend, which was so convincing that - also because of the linguistic intelligibility - the autobiography became a great success in the USA. And Stein managed to boast of himself through the voice of Alice B. Toklas. This stated in the first chapter: “I can say that I have only met a genius three times in my life […] The three geniuses I would like to talk about are Gertrude Stein, Pablo Picasso and Alfred Whitehead.” The work initiated the psychologist B. F. Skinner on the essay published in the Atlantic Monthly in January 1934 , Has Gertrude Stein a Secret? , in which he combined the writing style used in this book with her philosophical studies of automatic writing at Harvard. In February 1935, in response to Stein's memoirs, Eugene Jolas ' literary magazine transition published an article entitled The Testimony against Gertrude Stein , in which her former friends Georges Braque , Eugene and Marie Jolas, Henri Matisse , André Salmon and Tristan Tzara were untrue Representation and accused of megalomania . Leo Stein responded indignantly in a letter to Mabel Weeks: “ My God, what a liar she is! ”(German:“ My God, what a liar is she! ”)

After the trip to America in 1934/35 processed stone her experiences in the US in her second autobiography from 1937, Everybody's Autobiography ( Everybody's Autobiography ) , which could not build on the success of the first plant.

1938 appeared a essay about Picasso, and the following year the children's book was The World is Round (The world is round) of one of the first children's book publishers, Young Scott Books , published in New York. The World Is Round tells the story of Rose, a girl who tries to find out if the world is round. The girl scratches her name, rose, around a tree . The lettering, in turn, takes up Stein's best-known sentence "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose". In Paris France (Paris France) , published in the same year, Stone turns to her adopted country and compares them to their country of origin.

Stein processed the diary entries from the war years 1943 and 1944 in Wars I Have Seen ( Wars I Have Seen ) published in 1945 . The American soldiers are stylized as heroes; in the story of Brewsie and Willie, on the other hand, they appear as infantile show-offs. This story arose after conversations with soldiers; American slang and various dialects were adopted for the first time .

Stage works

Virgil Thomson, photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1947

In addition to novels, short stories, essays, text portraits and poems, Gertrude Stein wrote libretti and plays. In 1928 Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler published Steins A Village. Are You Ready Yet, Not Yet. A Play in Four Acts (written 1923) with illustrations by Elie Lasceaux. In 1938 the libretto Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights , based on the legend of Faust from Charles Gounod's opera .

Virgil Thomson set to music the opera (libretto by Stein 1927/28 written) Four Saints in Three Acts (Four Saints in Three Acts) , which in 1934 a big Broadway success was. The protagonists among a total of 20 saints are Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa of Ávila . Characteristic stations from the life of figures of saints are formed into a libretto with a surrealistic touch. The opera was performed sixty times on Broadway in the 1980s.

According to Stein's text They Must. Be Wedded. To Their Wife. the ballet A Wedding Bouquet was created , choreographed by Frederick Ashton , which premiered on April 4, 1937 in Sadler's Wells, London . The stars of the performance were Margot Fonteyn and Robert Helpmann .

The Mother of Us All , also set to music by Thomson based on the text written shortly before Stein's death in 1946, premiered in May 1947 at Columbia University , New York. The opera deals with the life of the American suffragette Susan B. Anthony. In 1972, the stage adaptation of the novel The Making of Americans by Leon Katz was premiered at the Judson Poets Theater in New York.

Literary portraits

Gertrude Stein's work Ada from 1910, which Alice B. Toklas described, was the first of the literary portraits that she wrote of many friends and acquaintances until the end of her life. They included Mabel Dodge Luhan, Raoul Dufy , Marcel Duchamp , Isadora Duncan , Francis Picabia, Ernest Hemingway, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray and Edith Sitwell. In their partly alienated form, the portraits were based on the Cubist works of their artist friends, Picasso in particular inspired them.


A large part of Stein and Toklas' literary legacy is in the Beincke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.In addition to manuscripts, letters, photographs and personal papers, it contains objects relating to the life and work of the couple up to and including Document the year 1946, the year Stein died. The archive material was acquired through Stein's friendship with Carl Van Vechten and Thornton Wilder, who both had good relations with Yale University and who encouraged Stein to donate material to the Yale Collection of American Literature.


Stein as a writer

With her extroverted manner, Gertrude Stein was one of the cult figures in the art and literature scene of her time. With her writings she belongs to the avant-garde of the 20th century. According to her own admission, she wanted to translate the cubism of abstract painting into literature by means of a style characterized by constant repetition of words ( tautology ) . Critics accused her of wanting to avoid the trouble of thoroughly revising her texts and trying to exaggerate this literarily afterwards.

Gertrude Stein pushed boundaries with her style. She was the first modern writer to write without commas, dashes, semicolons and colon and often used the continuous present as a narrative tense. In doing so, she adopted for her experimental work what she liked about abstract painting . Word for word she lined up her thoughts. She left it to the readers to let themselves be carried away by her word chains. And she was sure of its meaning: "Think of the Bible and Homer, think of Shakespeare and think of me."

According to Stein's novel The Making of Americans, alongside James Joyce 's Ulysses and Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu ( In search of lost time ), one of the most important works of literary modernism . Critics and readers did not share their assessment, the work remained largely unknown due to its hermeticism . The literary critic Edmund Wilson wrote in Axel's Castle in 1931 : “I have n't fully read [ The Making of Americans ], and I don't know if that's even possible. [...] With sentences that have such a uniform rhythm, are so rolled out, are repeated so many times and so often end in participles, the reader is only too soon in a position to no longer watch the slow progress of the action follow, but just fall asleep. "

The autobiography of Alice B. Toklas , which developed into a longseller , had more success because she largely renounced her experimental writing style in this work. Gertrude Stein is better known for her influence on modern literature than for her work.

Gertrude and Leo Stein as art collectors

27, Rue de Fleurus, photo from 2011
Leo, Gertrude and Michael Stein, around 1906
Gertrude Stein in her salon, surrounded by paintings, on the right her portrait, painted by Picasso. Photo from 1930

Leo and Gertrude Stein's joint collection of pictures began at the end of 1904, when Michael Stein, the family's “financial advisor”, announced an investment surplus of 8,000 francs. According to Gertrude, the siblings often bought two paintings at once because their priorities rarely coincided, which Leo Stein denied. The paintings by as yet unknown modern painters in the Rue de Fleurus filled the walls to the ceiling and were constantly rearranged after being sold and bought. Leo Stein began giving lectures on modern art to friends and artists . He recalled: “Over time our collection became one of the sights of Paris”, but emphasized that it was “not an exemplary collection”. There were not only admirers of this private museum. British art critic Clive Bell said: "As far as I could tell, neither of them had a real feel for visual art." He accused both of sober intellectuality and concluded that Leo had the higher intelligence and Gertrude the stronger character. For them, paintings are “just hooks on which to hang up their intelligence”. Many artists who visited the salon believed Leo, not Gertrude Stein, to be the one who understood their work best. Gabrielle Picabia , Francis Picabia's wife , is said to have said: “Of course, Gertrude had no idea about painting,” while the art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler stated that Gertrude's taste was personal and came from the heart, not from the head. In 1913, after Leo Stein moved out of the shared apartment, the art collection was divided.

In contrast to her literary success, Gertrude Stein's reputation as an art collector faded in artistic circles in the 1930s. She had not followed the developments of contemporary art towards Dadaism , Surrealism and Futurism , so that her collection consisted of works from the now defeated Classical Modernism . In public, however, she appeared for the first time as a juror for the art exhibition on the occasion of the Paris World Exhibition in 1937 in the Petit Palais ; According to her suggestion, two paintings by Francis Picabia were included.

At the time of her death, Stein's remaining collection consisted mainly of works by Pablo Picasso and Juan Gris, as she had sold a large number of paintings.

Stein's relationship to feminism

During the 1970s, Stein was occasionally referred to as a forerunner of the feminist movement because of her life and work , and her biographical books were reprinted. A special issue of the literary magazine Twentieth Century Literature in 1978 sparked a stone renaissance in academic circles in the United States that produced many articles and studies. Stein's violation of literary norms - the experimental use of language and form - has been viewed by feminist-minded critics as a deliberate rejection of the patriarchal literary tradition, and they praised Stein's treatment of gender roles in their work.

Bettina L. Knapp, however, spoke of Stein's contradicting relationship to feminism, whose theories she did not share. But their anger against the patriarchal Judeo-Christian society is obvious. Stone essay degeneration in American Women (degeneration of American women ), written in 1901 or 1902, which was analyzed by Brenda Wineapple, made her contradictory relation to the rights of women clear. According to Stein, "the only serious business in life in which [the woman] cannot be completely surpassed by the man is that of child-bed," although she allowed a limited number of exceptions, including herself. Janice L. Doane made on the discrepancy between stone essay of 1898, The Value Of A College Education For Women ( "The value of a college education for women") and their polemical novel Fernhurst from 1904 (1971 posthumously published) carefully. In the novel, Stein rejects what she “wholeheartedly” supported in the essay. According to Doane, Stein had insisted on significant differences between men and women but placed himself in the difficult position of an exceptional role; she is a woman who speaks as a man. Claudia Roth Pierpont agreed and reported that Stein had been persuaded by a friend to write the essay on the education of women; For Stein herself, however, preoccupation with women's rights is "the last thing that interests her."


Sculpture in Bryant Park , New York, installed in 1992, after a model by Jo Davidson , made in Paris in 1923
Marsden Hartley : One Portrait of One Woman , 1916, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis
Charles Demuth : Love, Love, Love. Homage to Gertrude Stein , 1928, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum , Madrid.

Testimonies from writers and artists

“In her books, life is an awfully clear business. It replaces the feeling of the immensity of things, the fantastic, with the enchantment of the quiet flow, in the sense in which a rose is a rose is a rose. "

- Cesare Pavese : Foreword to Three Lives

Man Ray recalled his first meeting with Gertrude Stein in the Rue de Fleurus in his autobiography: “Miss Stein introduced me to her friend Alice Toklas, who I had taken for a maid, although she was decorated with white lace Dress was too carefully made up. ”Man Ray's portrait photographs of Gertrude Stein were the first to be published. One of the pictures showing Stein while she sat as a model for American sculptor Jo Davidson was published in Vanity Fair in February 1923 . In evocation of the “transatlantic” that united the two - Man Ray was like Stein a native American - she dedicated the lines “Sometime, Man Ray, sometime. Someday, Man Ray, someday. Someday, Man Ray, someday. At some point, at some point. "

Besides Man Ray, it was mainly the photographers Carl Van Vechten and Cecil Beaton who portrayed Gertrude Stein in later years. After the paintings by Picasso and Vallotton from 1906 and 1907, 1933 by Francis Picabia and Francisco Riba-Rovira around 1945, the pop art artist Andy Warhol created a picture as part of his portrait series from 1980, Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century by Gertrude Stein as screen print . When asked "Did you use all these different colored areas to show the different facets of Gertrude Stein's personality?", Warhol replied "Yes."

In 1921, the cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz created a sculpture portrait of the writer, although she did not appreciate sculptures , as she later wrote in her autobiography.

Marsden Hartley created abstract portraits related to stone with One Portrait of One Woman in 1916 and Charles Demuth with Love, Love, Love. Homage to Gertrude Stein 1928.

Ernest Hemingway wrote in his novel Paris - A Feast for Life in retrospect: “She was such a personality that no one could resist her whom she wanted to win over, and critics who met her and saw her pictures took work of her, which you did not understand, in good faith, out of enthusiasm for you as a person and in trust in your judgment. "

Thornton Wilder called her the "mother of modernity". His 1938 play Our Little Town was inspired by Stein's novel The Making of Americans .

Sinclair Lewis wrote disparagingly in the July issue of Esquire in 1945 : “If the exhibitionist purposely makes his rites as confusing as possible, he will be allowed to continue because so many people are afraid of exclaiming, 'I don't know what it means! ' For the same reason, Gertrude Stein, the abbess of all this false magic, is still widely admired, although she is also far and wide unread. "

The journalist and writer James Lord , one of the GIs who visited Stein in liberated Paris, and whom she criticized in her last tale Brewsie and Willie , characterized her as follows: “One source of her charm, in my opinion, was her naive, almost childlike immersion in oneself. The world was to her just as she saw it, and she passed this comforting conviction on to others. She had something schoolmasterly about her, looked like a homely, somewhat arrogant teacher. "

Influence on American literature

In the 1920s, American writers living in Paris such as Hemingway, Sherwood Anderson and F. Scott Fitzgerald visited Stein's salon, whose works she influenced and which she first referred to as the " Lost Generation ". The poet Wallace Stevens , Jack Kerouac , a protagonist of the Beat Generation , and Kurt Vonnegut were also influenced by her style .

Jörg Drews saw Stein's language in The Making of Americans as "artificial and highly stylized, but in the vocabulary almost reduced to a kind of basic English , from which all phonetic stimuli and semantic possibilities are won through the endless variations of sentences and recurrent sentence patterns." Drews said that the "epic", as Stein himself described the novel, "only had a direct influence on Hemingway's early works, whereby the latter did not take over the stylistic innovations of the book in all their radicality, but weakened them to make them more consumable."

Late reception in Germany

In Germany it was Helmut Heißenbüttel who first dealt with Stein's work in 1955. Max Bense had asked him to contribute to the newly founded magazine augenblick . Heißenbüttel's contribution to the October issue was entitled Reduced Language. About a piece by Gertrude Stein . Stein's influence can be seen in his early work. Heißenbüttel belonged to the Stuttgart school around Max Bense and Reinhard Döhl , which from the late 1950s endeavored to promote experimental literature and art, including Stein's work. Stein's experimental style also influenced Oskar Pastior's anagrammatic poetry. Pastior was a member of the mainly French group Oulipo .

Homage to Gertrude Stein

Robert Bartlett Haas , a long-time pen pal and Stein specialist, headed the Gertrude Stein Conferences and symposia for American, French and German artists and students in Bilignin, the vacation and refuge of Stein and Toklas during the Second, from 1986 to 1988 World War. In 1990 these led to the study project Hommage à Gertrude Stein , organized by the State University for Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart . The project was completed in 1996 with the comprehensive event IMPULSE / Word Art Music Image Art 1990–1996 / Hommage à Gertrude Stein .

Exhibitions on the 65th anniversary of his death from 2011

In October 2011, an exhibition dedicated to the art collectors Gertrude, Leo, Michael and Sarah Stein opened at the Grand Palais in Paris, which previously ran at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art . Until January 16, 2012, it showed around 200 exhibits under the title Matisse, Cézanne, Picasso… L'aventure des Stein , which were owned by the family of collectors. These included, for example, Cézanne's portrait of Mme Cézanne , Picasso's portrait of Gertrude Stein and Matisse's wife in a hat . The exhibition was then shown from February to June 2012 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Vallotton's portrait of Gertrude Stein, along with other exhibits depicting Stein's life, was exhibited at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco from May to September 1911 and in the Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Lives exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington from October to January 2012 DC issued. However, there was criticism that a chapter in Stein's life was almost omitted from the exhibition. It is about the time when she had to leave her Paris apartment during the Second World War and hid with Alice B. Toklas under the protection of the anti-Semite and fascist Bernard Faÿ in Bilignin.

Examples of references to stone in film and on stage

Stein's most famous line “ A rose is a rose… ” is sung in the musical Singin 'in the Rain (1952) by Gene Kelly together with Donald O'Connor .

Waiting for the Moon is a 1987 Twentieth Century Fox film about Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, played by Linda Bassett and Linda Hunt . In the movie Corrina, Corrina (1994) Whoopi Goldberg quotes the phrase “There is no there there” from Gertrude Stein's autobiography Everybody's Autobiography , Goldberg referring to a romantic relationship, while Stein referred to her hometown in Oakland, California . The Devil Wears Prada , a movie from 2006, contains a passage in which the protagonist Christian Thompson, played by Simon Baker , Stein with “ America is my country, but Paris is my hometown ” (German: “America is my country , but Paris my home ” ) quoted from An American and France (1936). In 2008, a musical entitled 27, rue de Fleurus by Ted Sod and Lisa Koch premiered at Urban Stages in New York. The plot revolves around Gertrude Stein from the perspective of Alice B. Toklas.

The film Midnight in Paris , 2011, by Woody Allen is partly set in Gertrude Stein's re-enacted salon at 27 Rue de Fleurus. The main character meets Gertrude Stein (played by Kathy Bates ), Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso, among others .

Works (selection)

Cover illustration of Three Lives , first edition 1909
  • 1909: Three Lives . The Grafton Press, New York (1,500 copies published at own expense); John Lane the Bodley Head, London 1915; The Modern Library, New York 1933; Peter Owen London 1970.
    • Three lives . Stories. German by Marlis Pörtner. Arche, Zurich 1960.
    • New translation: three lives . Stories, foreword by Cesare Pavese , German by Brigitte Gerlinghoff. Arche, Zurich 1985, ISBN 3-7160-2012-5 .
  • 1914: Tender Buttons: Objects, Food, Rooms , Claire Marie, New York.
  • 1922: Geography and Plays . The Four Seas Company, Boston. Introduction by Sherwood Anderson ; Something Else Press , New York 1968.
  • 1925: The Making of Americans. Being a History of a Family's Progress (written 1903-1911). Contact Editions, Paris 1925; Harcourt, Brace, New York 1934, repr. 1966 (abridged edition); Something Else Press, New York 1966; Peter Owen, London 1969 (copy of the 1925 edition published by Robert McAlmon); Dalkey Archive Press Reprint 1995, ISBN 1-56478-088-0 .
    • The Making of Americans. Story of the career of a family , German by Liliane Faschinger and Thomas Priebsch, Ritter, Klagenfurt 1985, ISBN 3-85415-071-7 .
  • 1926: A Book Concluding with As a Boy Has a Cow, a Love Story. Orné de lithographies by Juan Gris . Editions de la Galerie Simon, Paris 1926. Repr. Something Else Press, Barton, Vt., 1974; Ultramarine Publishing Co., Hastings-On-Hudson, New York, 1992.
  • 1926: Composition As Explanation . The Hogarth Press , London; Doubleday, Doran & Co., New York 1928.
  • 1927: Lucy Church Amiably . Plain Edition, Paris 1930; Something Else Press, New York 1969.
  • 1928: Useful Knowledge . Payson and Clarke, New York; John Lane the Bodley Head, Lonson 1929.
  • 1929: An Acquaintance with Description . Seizin Press, London 1929.
  • 1931: How to Write . Plain Edition, Paris; Something Else Press, Barton, Vt., 1973.
  • 1931: Before the Flowers of Friendship Faded Friendship Faded . Plain Edition, Paris.
  • 1932: Operas and Plays . Plain Edition, Paris.
  • 1933: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas . Harcourt, Brace, New York.
    • Autobiography by Alice B. Toklas , German by Elisabeth Schnack . Origo-Verlag 1956.
    • New translation: autobiography by Alice B. Toklas , German by Roseli Bontjes van Beek and Saskia Bontjes van Beek. Arche, Hamburg 2006, ISBN 978-3-7160-2348-8 .
  • 1933: Matisse, Picasso and Gertrude Stein with Two Shorter Pieces . Plain Edition, Paris; Something Else Press, 1972.
  • 1934: Four Saints in Three Acts, an Opera to Be Sung ( libretto , written 1927/28). Random House, New York.
  • 1934: Portraits and Prayers . Random House, New York.
  • 1935: Lectures in America . Random House, New York; Beacon Press, Boston 1957.
    • What is English Literature and Other Lectures in America , by Marie-Anne Stiebel. Arche, Zurich 1964, ISBN 3-7160-2023-0 .
  • 1935: Narration. Four lectures . University of Chicago Press;
  • 1936: The Geographical History of America or the Relation of Human Nature to the Human Mind , Random House, New York.
    • The geographic history of America or the relationship between human nature and the human spirit , by Marie-Anne Stiebel. Introduction by Thornton Wilder. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1988, ISBN 978-3-518-40139-2 .
  • 1937: Everybody's Autobiography , Random House, New York.
    • Jedermanns autobiography , German by Marie-Anne Stiebel. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 978-3-518-39098-6 .
  • 1938: Picasso . Libraire Floury, Paris; Batsford, London 1938; Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1940.
    • Picasso. All texts 1908–1938 , German by Roseli Bontjes van Beek and Saskia Bontjes van Beek. Arche, Hamburg 2003, ISBN 978-3-7160-2314-3 .
  • 1939: The World Is Round . William R. Scott, Inc., 1939.
    • The world is round . Franz E. Walther (illustrator), German by Michael Mundhenk. Ritter, Klagenfurt 2001, ISBN 978-3-85415-117-3 .
  • 1940: Paris France . Charles Scribner's Sons, New York; Batsford, London 1940.
    • Paris, France. Personal memories , German from Marie-Anne Stiebel. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1975, ISBN 978-3-518-01452-3 .
  • 1940: What Are Masterpieces? Conference Press, Los Angeles.
    • What are masterpieces? , German by Marie-Anne Stiebel. Introduction by Thornton Wilder. Arche, Zurich 1962, ISBN 3-7160-2024-9 .
  • 1941: Ida. A novel . Random House, New York.
    • Ida. A novel by Marie-Anne Stiebel. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1984, ISBN 3-518-01695-4 .
  • 1944: Wars I Have Seen . Random House, New York; Batsford, London 1945.
    • Wars I have seen , German by Marie-Anne Stiebel. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1984, ISBN 978-3-518-01598-8 .
  • 1946: Brewsie and Willie . Random House, New York.

Posthumous publications

  • 1946: Reflections on the Atom Bomb . (First published in Yale Poetry Review , December 1947).
  • 1947: Four in America . Yale University Press, New Haven. Thornton Wilder.
  • 1947: The Mother of Us All ( libretto , 1946: music by Virgil Thompson, 1947).
  • 1948: Blood on the Dining-Room Floor . Banyan Press, Pawlett, Vt. (Vermont).
    • none none. A detective novel by Renate Stendhal. Arche, Zurich 1985, ISBN 3-7160-2021-4 .
  • 1949: Last Operas and Plays . Rinehart & Co., New York.
  • 1950: The Things as They Are . Banyan Press, Pawlett, Vt. (originally written under the title QED in 1903, published in 1950).
    • QED , German by Marie-Anne Stiebel and Ursula Michels-Wenz. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1990, ISBN 3-518-22055-1 .
  • 1951: Two: Gertrude Stein and Her Brother and Other Early Portraits , Yale University Press, New Haven.
  • 1952: Mrs. Reynolds , Random House, New York.
    • Mrs. Reinelt , German by Klaus Schmirler. Achilla Presse, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-928398-49-0 .
  • 1953: Patriarchal Poetry .
  • 1953: Bee Time Vine and Other Pieces (written from 1913 to 1927), Ed. Carl Van Vechten . Yale University Press, New Haven. ISBN 978-0-8369-5162-2 .
  • 1957: Alphabets and Birthdays . Yale University Press, New Haven.
    • Do things. A book of ABCs and birthdays , German by Klaus Schmirler, illustrations by Nina Pagalies. Achilla Presse, Bremen 2001, ISBN 978-3-928398-69-5 .
  • 1971: Fernhurst, QED and Other Early Writings by Gertrude Stein . Ed., Introduction by Leon Katz. Liverlight, New York 1971, ISBN 0-87140-532-6 .


  • Sherwood Anderson / Gertrude Stein: Correspondence and selected essays . Edited by Ray Lewis White. German by Jürgen Dierking . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1985, ISBN 3-518-01874-4 .
  • Correspondence: Pablo Picasso and Gertrude Stein . Edited by Laurence Madeline. Seagull Books, Calcutta 2008, ISBN 978-1-905422-91-3 .
  • Dear Sammy: letters from Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas / edited with a memoir by Samuel M. Steward . Houghton Mifflin, Boston 1977 ISBN 0-395-25340-3 .
  • The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Carl Van Vechten. 1913–1946 , two volumes, ed. by Edward Burns. Columbia University Press, New York 1986.
  • The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Thornton Wilder , ed. with Ulla E. Dydo. Yale University Press, New Haven 1996, ISBN 0-300-06774-7 .

Secondary literature

  • John Malcolm Brinnin : The Third Rose. Gertrude Stein and her world. Transferred from Maria Wolff. Henry Goverts Verlag, Stuttgart 1960.
  • Sarah Bay-Cheng: Mama Dada: Gertrude Stein's Avant-Garde Theater (Studies in Modern Drama) . New edition, Routledge, Florence, (Kentucky) 2005, ISBN 978-0-415-97723-4 .
  • Ulla E. Dydo / William Rice: Gertrude Stein: The Language That Rises: 1923-1934 (Avant-Garde & Modernism Studies) . Northwestern University Press, Evanston (Illinois) 2008, ISBN 978-0-8101-2526-1 .
  • Ulla E. Dydo (Ed. And Preface): A Stein Reader . Northwestern Press, Evanston (Illinois) 1993, ISBN 0-8101-1083-0 .
  • Janice L. Doane: Silence and Narrative: The Early Novels of Gertrude Stein . Greenwood Press, Westport (Conn.) 1986.
  • Vincent Andre Giroud: Picasso and Gertrude Stein . Yale University Press 2007, ISBN 978-0-300-12099-8 .
  • A Primer for The Gradual Understanding of Gertrude Stein . Ed. Robert Bartlett Haas . Black Sparrow Press, Los Angeles 1971; Basis for the reader to gradually get to know Gertrude Stein , edited and commented by Robert Bartlett Haas, foreword by Bruce Kellner, from the American by Klaus Schmirler and Ursula Michels-Wenz. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1994, ISBN 978-3-518-38814-3 .
  • Ernest Hemingway : Paris - a festival for life . New translation by Werner Schmitz . Rowohlt, Reinbek 2011, ISBN 978-3-498-03008-7 ; as paperback 2012: ISBN 978-3-499-22702-8 .
  • Bettina L. Knapp: Gertrude Stein. Literature and Life . Continuum International Publishing Group, London 1990, ISBN 978-0-8264-0458-9 .
  • Janet Malcolm : Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice . Translation of Chris Hirte. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2008, ISBN 978-3-518-42034-8 .
  • James R. Mellow: Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein & Company . Praeger Publishers, New York 1974, ISBN 0-395-47982-7 .
  • Stefana Sabin : Gertrude Stein . Rowohlt, Reinbek 1996, ISBN 3-499-50530-4 .
  • Renate Stendhal: Gertrude Stein. A life in pictures and texts , Arche, Zurich 1989, ISBN 3-7160-2088-5 . English edition: Gertrude Stein. In Words and Pictures , Algquin Books, Chapel Hill 1994, ISBN 0-945575-99-8 .
  • Diana Souhami: Gertrude and Alice. Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Two lives - one biography , translated from the English by Ulrike Budde. Knesebeck 1994, ISBN 3-926901-71-3 .
  • Alice B. Toklas: What Is Remembered . North Point Pr, Hooton, Ellesmere Port 1985, ISBN 978-0-86547-180-1 .
  • Linda Wagner-Martin: Favored Strangers. Gertrude Stein and Her Family . Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ 1995, ISBN 0-8135-2169-6 .
  • Andrea Weiss : Paris was a woman. The women from the Left Bank. Djuna Barnes, Janet Flanner, Gertrude Stein & Co. From the American by Susanne Goerdt. New edition, Rowohlt, Reinbek 2006, ISBN 978-3-499-24224-3 .
  • Barbara Will: Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ, and the Vichy Dilemma . Columbia University Press, New York 2011, ISBN 978-0-231-15262-4 .
  • Brenda Wineapple: sister brother. Gertrude and Leo Stein . From the American by Roseli Bontjes van Beek and Saskia Bontjes van Beek. Arche, Zurich 1998, ISBN 978-3-7160-2233-7 .

Web links

Commons : Gertrude Stein  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Weickersgrueben., accessed on March 31, 2010 .
  2. Brenda Wineapple: Sister Brother Gertrude and Leo Stein , p. 24 f.
  3. ^ Roland Flade: Lower Franconian America emigrants in the middle of the 19th century. In: Tempora mutantur et nos? Festschrift for Walter M. Brod on his 95th birthday. With contributions from friends, companions and contemporaries. Edited by Andreas Mettenleiter , Akamedon, Pfaffenhofen 2007 (= From Würzburg's City and University History , 2), ISBN 3-940072-01-X , pp. 207–212, here: pp. 210 f.
  4. Giroud, Vincent. Miller, Eric. Picasso and Gertrude Stein . New York: MET, 2005.
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This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on March 21, 2010 .