Celebrating the republished photobiography of Gertrude Stein

“Who was Gertrude Stein? The social and artistic dominatrix of the lost generation? The literary founder of modernism? The sensual companion of Alice B. Toklas? A ‘dictator of art’ or an ‘infant prodigy’? Stein, whose freedom with the written word ‘liberated language from the nineteenth century,’ remains a heroine hard to grasp.

Now Renate Stendhal’s Gertrude Stein: In Words and Pictures (Algonquin) takes a good look at the slippery genius. After an astonishing, playful essay, the book opens into a revelatory combination of quotes, clips, and 360 photos of Stein and her wildly brilliant circle. The subtle minimalism of Stein’s cool face, repeating page to page like her own rhythmic sentences, brings a nuanced embodiment to our imcomplete sense of her. From a serious, chin-in-air profile of ‘Gertie’ at age three to a chin-in-hands portrait taken at age seventy-two, the woman is ‘a rose is a rose is a rose.’” ELLE Magazine

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