Barbara Will's Unlikely Collaboration is a beautifully written and engaging work that illuminates the lives and works of Gertrude Stein and Bernard Faÿ, their friendship, and the fascinating and troubled times in which that friendship formed and flourished. Will's book, penetrating in its psychological, literary, and historical insights, will appeal especially to readers interested in literary modernism and its often disturbing political connections.
(Richard J. Golsan, author of French Writers and the Politics of Complicity: Crises of Democracy in the 1940s and 1990s
An unlikely collaboration indeed. One was perhaps America's most celebrated avant-garde writer, living in France; the other a French biographer of Benjamin Franklin turned anti-Masonic zealot and collaborator with the Nazis from 1940 to 1944. Gertrude Stein wanted to persuade Americans that the Vichy collaborationist leader Philippe Pétain was a French George Washington; Bernard Faÿ helped save Stein's art collection, and maybe Stein herself, from the Nazis. Barbara Will brings alive their association and ponders the compatibility of literary modernism with political reaction.
(Robert O. Paxton, author of Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order, 1940--1944
Brilliant and fascinating.... This exceptional study provides new insights into previously hidden corners of Stein's life.
(Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Barbara Will's story is well told...
(Phyllis Gaffney Irish Times
A revealing and absorbing work of scholarship.
(Robert Fulford National Post
...revisited the relationship of Stein and Faÿ, offering the fullest account to date of their professional and personal ties.
(Eric Banks Chronicle Review
[ Unlikely Collaboration] reveals a considerably more complex, and perhaps devious, Gertrude Stein than currently accepted legend would dictate.
(T.L. Ponick Washington Times
A tenacious work of literary detection and analysis
(Jerome Boyd Maunsell Times Literary Supplement
A fine-grained, unflinching, and nuanced history.
(Michal Kimmelman New York Review of Books
Exceptionally well researched and elegantly written, this book is certain to make an important contribution to and beyond Stein studies.... Highly recommended.
Unlikely Collaboration is a fascinating book that explores a sensitive topic with solid documentation.
(The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide
Extremely detailed and erudite.
(Eitan Kensky Jewish Ideas Daily
She has given us a fuller, more realistic picture of a multilayered Stein who was fairly talented, but who also, in Will's own words, was in morally significant ways a 'despicable individual.'
(Gerald Sorin Haaretz
(Yale Alumni Magazine
[An] absorbingly detailed and even-handed book.
(Christopher Benfey The New Republic
Will's most significant contribution is to challenge the assumption that an individual with a liberal personal lifestyle and/or creative interests will inherently be someone with liberal political views.
(Miriam Intrator French History
Her study is a valuable and well-informed portrait of a troubled and troubling literary and political relationship.
(Angela Kershaw French Studies
A brilliant, disturbing, even shocking historical saga about modernist icon Gertrude Stein.
(Phillipe Mora WeHo News