Three Lives: And, Q.E.D. : Authoritative Texts, Contexts, Criticism

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W.W. Norton, 2006 - Fiction - 542 pages
7 Reviews
Three Lives is comprised of the stories "The Good Anna," "Melanchtha," and "The Gentle Lena."  "Melanchtha" is an adaptation of Q.E.D., Stein's first completed novel, which remained unpublished until four years after her death.

"Contexts" is divided into two sections-"Biography" and "Intellectual Backgrounds"-that highlight the inspirations for and evolutions of Three Lives and discuss the difficult reception Stein's experimental writing met with in the publishing world.

"Criticism" collects 19 chronologically arranged essays on Stein's life and work, from pieces written during the decades in which her work was regarded as important primarily for its influence on writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Sherwood Anderson to the more laudatory scholarship of recent years.  Feminism and form, queer studies, interrelations of race and sexuality, African American studies, and primitivism and eugenics are all represented.  Among the critical pieces are William Carlos Williams's commentary on Stein's complexity and originality, Richard Bridgman's study of Stein's work as a possible compensation and camouflage for her lesbianism, and Lisa Ruddick's essay connecting feminist analysis to theories of consciousness.

A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

Great, very accessible way to get introduced to Stein who can be difficult (or at least obscure) at times. One has to realize that Stein was trying to do for writing what the Cubists were doing for painting. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fuzzy_patters - LibraryThing

Stein writes about the lives of three women, hence the title. The first and third section worked for me. I thought that the use of repetition added emphasis and a certain cadence to the writing that ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Famous writer Gertrude Stein was born on February 3, 1874 in Allegheny, PA and was educated at Radcliffe College and Johns Hopkins medical school. Stein wrote Three Lives, The Making of Americans, and Tender Buttons, all of which were considered difficult for the average reader. She is most famous for her opera Four Saints in Three Acts and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which was actually an autobiography of Stein herself. With her companion Alice B. Toklas, Stein received the French government's Medaille de la Reconnaissance Francaise for theory work with the American fund for French Wounded in World War I. Gertrude Stein died in Neuilly-ser-Seine, France on July 27, 1946.

Marianne DeKoven is Professor of English at Rutgers University. She is the author of A Different Language: Gertrude Stein's Experimental Writing, Rich and Strange: Gender, History, and Modernism, and Utopia Limited: The Sixties and the Emergence of the Postmodern. She is the editor of Feminist Locations: Global and Local, and Theory, Practice, and Agency: Working Papers from the Women in the Public Sphere Seminar 1997-1998.

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