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Three Lives and Tender Buttons (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – February 4, 2003
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About the Author
Gertrude Stein was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, on February 3, 1874, to an affluent Jewish family, spent her early childhood in Vienna and Paris, and later grew up in Oakland, California. At Radcliffe College she studied under William James, who remained her lifelong friend, and then went to Johns Hopkins to study medicine. Abandoning her studies, she moved to Paris with her brother Leo in 1903. At 27 rue de Fleurus, Gertrude Stein lived with Alice B. Toklas, who would remain her companion for forty years. Not only was she an innovator in literature and a supporter of modern poetry and art, she was the friend and mentor of those who visited her at her now-famous home: Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, and Guillaume Appollinaire. Her first important book was Three Lives (1909), then Tender Buttons (1914), followed by her magnum opus, The Making of Americans (1925), and the book which became a huge popular success, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). Just before her death at the age of 72 on July 27, 1946, she asked Alice Toklas from her hospital bed, “What is the answer?” Getting no answer, she then asked, “In that case, what is the question?”
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Then, if you must, listen to this Flo Gibson set. Possibly you won't listen to much of it. I disliked it intensely. The reader appears neither to understand nor to like the material and reads with unremitting dullness of diction and unrelentingly pedestrian rhythm. In an apparent attempt to give some workaday meaning to Stein's rippling, dancing phrases, many words are heavily overemphasized, like an extremely bad and condescending reading of a children's book. But do remember --you may not react as I did.
The reading is not helped by pops and hissings, especially noticeable and intrusive on the beginning consonants of most syllables.