Gertrude Stein

(1874—1946) American writer

Related Overviews

Ernest Hemingway (1899—1961) American novelist, short-story writer, and journalist

Sherwood Anderson (1876—1941)

William James (1842—1910) American philosopher and psychologist

Henri Matisse (1869—1954) French painter and sculptor

See all related overviews in Oxford Index » »


'Gertrude Stein' can also refer to...

‘A thing not beginning and not ending’: using digital tools to distant-read Gertrude Stein's The Making of Americans

Distant Listening to Gertrude Stein’s ‘Melanctha’: Using Similarity Analysis in a Discovery Paradigm to Analyze Prosody and Author Influence

“Favored Strangers”: Gertrude Stein and Her Family. By Linda Wagner-Martin. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1995. xviii, 346 pp. $34.95, ISBN 0-8135-2169-6.)

Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)

Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)

Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)

Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)

Gertrude Stein (1874–1946)

Gertrude Stein 1874–1946

Gertrude Stein and the Radio

Gertrude Stein, Automatic Writing and the Mechanics of Genius

Gertrude Stein, William James, and Habit in the Shadow of War

Gertrude Stein: Woman without Qualities. By g.f. mitrano.

Gertrude Stein, Wyndham Lewis, and the American Language

Gertrude Stein’s Differential Syntax

A History of Having a Great Many Times Not Continued to Be Friends: The Correspondence between Mabel Dodge and Gertrude Stein, 1911–1934. Ed. by Patricia R. Everett Albuquerque and Utopian Vistas: The Mabel Dodge Luhan House and the American Counterculture. By Lois Palken Rudnick Albuquerque

Home Truths: Gertrude Stein, 27 Rue de Fleurus, and the Place of the Avant-Garde

‘Indeed everybody did come’: Parties, Publicity and Intimacy in Gertrude Stein’s Plays

The Letters of Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson: Composition as Conversation. Ed. by Susan Holbrook and Thomas Dilworth.

Modernist Experiments: Gertrude Stein and Others



Review: Gertrude Stein, Modernism, and the Problem of “Genius”
 Barbara Will

Review: Irresistible Dictation: Gertrude Stein and the Correlations of Writing and Science

Review: The Sublime of Intense Sociability: Emily Dickinson, H.D., and Gertrude Stein

“Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories.”

Stein, Gertrude

Stein, Gertrude


More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • literature


Quick Reference


US writer, who from 1903 lived in Paris, where she became a focus for the American expatriate literary community.

Born in Pennsylvania, Gertrude Stein graduated from Radcliffe College in 1897 where, under the influence of William James (1842–1910), she developed an interest in psychology. She spent several years at Johns Hopkins medical school studying the anatomy of the brain, but eventually grew bored with her studies and, in 1902, decided to follow her brother Leo to Europe. By 1903 she had settled in Paris where she was shortly joined by Alice B. Toklas, who remained her companion for the rest of her life. Apart from lecture tours – to Britain in the 1920s and to America in 1934 – she lived in France until her death. During World War II she withdrew from Paris to the country, where she lived with blithe unconcern at the risk to herself and to others who protected her from the Gestapo. At her Paris flat she presided as a kind of cult figure for the young, especially such young American writers as Ernest Hemingway, whose prose style she influenced. An undeniable talent for self-promotion assured that her image – cropped hair and baggy shapeless clothes – was immediately recognizable everywhere; indeed, this has remained familiar, while her difficult and often tedious writings have never been widely read.

With her brother Leo, who had profited from an acquaintance with Bernard Berenson, Stein very early started buying the paintings of Matisse, Braque, and Picasso before they were generally known, and she liked to take credit for the later growth of cubism. This claim was vehemently contested by most of the artists involved, one of whom noted that her knowledge of French was so poor that she could not have had the slightest inkling of what their concerns were. In any case she amassed a good collection of their pictures and did much to promote modern art.

Most of Stein's writing is experimental, an attempt to create a continual present by means of repetitions with slight variations and by other techniques. Her books include Three Lives (1909), relatively straightforward stories, Tender Buttons (1914), poetry concerned with rendering objects, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933), which is in fact her own autobiography, the libretto for Four Saints in Three Acts (1934), an opera by Virgil Thomson, Matisse, Picasso, and Gertrude Stein (1938), and Lectures in America (1935), on her theory of composition and the influence on it of William James and Bergson.

Subjects: literature.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »