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Stein, Gertrude

Born: 1874 AD
Died: 1946 AD
4.8 (96.19%) 21 votes

1874 – Born on February 3rd in Allegheny City (now in Pittsburgh), Panama. An avant-garde American writer, eccentric, and self-styled genius whose Paris home was a salon for the leading artists and writers of the period between World Wars I and II.

1898 – She entered the Society for the Collegiate Instruction of Women (renamed Radcliffe College), where she studied psychology with the philosopher William James, and received her degree.

1897-1902 – She studied at Johns Hopkins Medical School and then, with her older brother Leo, moved first to London and then to Paris, where she was able to live by private means.

1909 – She lived with Leo, who became an accomplished art critic; thereafter she lived with her lifelong companion Alice B. Toklas.

         – Her first published book, "Three Lives", the stories of three working-class women, has been called a minor masterpiece.

1914 – Among her work that was most thoroughly influenced by Cubism is "Tender Buttons", which carries fragmentation and abstraction to an extreme.

1926 – The best explanation of her theory of writing is found in the essay Composition and Explanation, which is based on lectures that she gave at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and was issued as a book.

1925 – Published "The Making of Americans", a long composition, was too convoluted and obscure for general readers, for whom she remained essentially the author of such lines as “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”.

1933 – Her only book to reach a wide public was "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas", actually Stein’s own autobiography.

1934 – The performance in the United States of her "Four Saints in Three Acts", which the composer Virgil Thomson had made into an opera, led to a triumphal American lecture tour.

1947 – Thomson also wrote the music for her second opera, "The Mother of Us All", based on the life of feminist Susan B. Anthony.
1950 – One of Stein’s early short stories, “Q.E.D.,” was first published in "Things as They Are".

1946 – The eccentric Stein was not modest in her self-estimation: “Einstein was the creative philosophic mind of the century, and I have been the creative literary mind of the century”. She became a legend in Paris, especially after surviving the German occupation of France and befriending the many young American servicemen who visited her. She wrote about these soldiers in "Brewsie and Willie".

         – Died on July 27th in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.

4.8 (96.19%) 21 votes