A Primer for the General Understanding of Gertrude Stein (ed. by Robert Bartlett Haas)
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If Gertrude Stein is “The Mother of Us All,” this introduction to her writing edited by Robert Bartlett Haas is a way way back in modern poetry to the body of language it was borne of, to something close to an origin. Stein’s central role in literary history made her the social nexus for the creators in her generation; but this text takes Stein at her word––her treatment of language as raw material, as floating attachments, as a technology of sound and image and memory that is combinatory, cumulative, an archive of available discursive collisions. In her work’s simultaneous ambivalence and sensitivity for language–its intuitive music of rhythm, staccato, and chimes; it’s bricolage of images––in the end made the text in Stein’s work into outlines, all vacant. Awaiting activation from the reader, anticipating being filled, but in wait––”a landscape that goes away but stays.”
Ed. by Robert Bartlett Haas
Cover Photograph courtesy of The Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.