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Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Company Paperback – May 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805073515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805073515
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“A rich and compelling portrait of an extraordinary personage and a mural of the people in her life. She has been given a biographer worthy of her.” —Los Angeles Times

“Entertaining and comprehensive . . . a delightful book.” —The New Yorker

About the Author

James R. Mellow was the author of two other highly acclaimed biographies, Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Times, which won the American Book Award for biography in 1983, and Invented Lives: F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, as well as Walker Evans, an unfinished biography that was published posthumously. A regular reviewer for The New York Times, he died in 1997.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book gives one of the best overviews of Gertrude Stein and her crowd! When it first came out almost 30 years ago, I read it and have been hooked on Stein and Alice and Picasso and Hemingway and Anderson and Wilder and on and on. Mellow provides very detailed information about the lives of all these greats and some have criticized him for his almost gossipy, "Entertainment Tonight" style. But what better way to feel a part of this circle of extraordinary people? Had more high school and college English and Art teachers used this book, there would be more readers and fans for this amazing artistic period! Hats off to the publisher for re-issuing this book!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By F. Schultz on November 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Following a recent trip to Paris, I was inspired to learn more about the Americans who lived there in the early twentieth century. Some got their first taste of Paris at Gertrude Stein's Saturday night salon at 27, rue de Fleurus; others by being members of Sylvia Beach's lending library and bookstore, Shakespeare and Company. James Mellow in his Acknowledgements to Charmed Circle, says he wants to counter the legend of Stein and present her as an honest woman. I believe that he has achieved his goal. There is a tender side to Stein, being supportive and helpful to young writers and artists; but no doubt she could be arbitrary, rude and mean-spirited to others--sometimes those she had helped earlier. It is fascinating that her best-selling books: The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and Wars I Have Seen were also her most accessible books, and not the abstruse, repetitive, strangely punctuated books that publishers avoided for years. She and Picasso had a friendship that blew hot and cold over the years and she generally avoided friendships with successful American or English writers. Mellow doesn't spare presenting her warts, but it's clear that she has a creative spark and a hugely independent spirit. The human side of her seems to come out during the two world wars she lived through, especially during World War II when she and Alice lived in the countryside with ordinary French people.

A long book: 570 pages of small print in my paperback edition, plus 70 pages of notes and index, but well-written and informative. Also consider: Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation by Noel Riley Fitch; Paris Was Yesterday by Janet Flanner; Memoirs of Montparnasse by John Glassco; and, of course, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am adding this paragraph to thank Henry Holt/Avon profusely for releasing a Kindle version of this book, which I snapped up instantly. I won't claim to have had anything to do directly with the digital version's release, but it's been only a few months since I made the appeal below. I would, of course, love to have a newly republished on-paper copy, too, but for now, I'll be happy with what I can get, without paying the jaw-dropping sum of $100.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Please, please, please -- Henry Holt/Avon, reprint this book again, and end the ridiculous profit-taking that's being perpetrated here where allegedly new copies of this book are concerned!!!

I read this book for a Lost Generation lit class in the late '70s (and loved it!), lost my copy and wanted to replace it and re-read it.

I was (and still am) horrified that allegedly new-quality PAPERBACK copies of the 2003 reprint edition of this book are being offered with a straight face for $99.99. When the first paperback edition sold for $2.49? What the ... ??? When last paperback reprint is less than 10 years old? Really?? REALLY???

I ordered (from an affiliate bookseller, but I'm not here to dish on them) what I thought would be a "like new" copy of this book. I'm sorry, but a copy from the first paperback edition (©1974), with heavily yellowed (closer to brown) page edges (and in some places, entire pages on the verge of turning the same acid-eaten brown) is NOT "like new." It is, regrettably, being returned -- I don't do "like new," especially if this is an example of "like new."

And the $99.99 price tag on allegedly "new" copies is patently ridiculous!!!

So please, Henry Holt -- this book is a classic on the subject it covers, and should be on the reading list of every lit class that addresses the Lost Generation. Please do readers like me, who don't have the requisite deep pockets to buy a new-quality copy of this book, a favor and reissue this book.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By "doridorijjang" on September 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
for anyone who loves to be introduced
from one book to another
from one writer to another
from one artist to another
from one person to another.
it's one big ball of yarn that was carefully untangled to present the reader with two ends of the string.
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