Nominated for a Lambda literary award, this incisive biography draws on memoirs, letters, published writings, and other sources to examine the relationship between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Reprint.
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"Twentieth century literature is Gertrude Stein," or at least so thought Gertrude Stein. The sentiment was shared by Alice B. Toklas--her longtime companion--and few others. Stein and Toklas met in 1907 in Paris and famously shared their lives from that day forth, souls in perfect complement--two magnificently eccentric and idiosyncratic women who became a legendary entity. They were photographed by Man Ray and Cecil Beaton, painted and feted by Picasso, and visited by writers such as Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Eliot. Theirs is a fascinating story, and they have found a wonderful and oddly sympathetic chronicler in Diana Souhami, whose book The Trials of Radclyffe Hall met with critical acclaim, and who proves the perfect foil to the "Steins." Her own touch of genius is to barely consider Gertrude's grand oeuvre, sparing the rod to an already spoilt child and freeing her readership from the unpalatable fare she generally served up (by contrast, Alice was a dedicated and talented cook).
Literary success came late to Stein: she was 57 when The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was published. After Stein's death in 1946, Toklas became the classic devoted author's widow, until her own death, just short of her 90th birthday. She was buried alongside Stein in Paris's Père Lachaise cemetery, though her inscription is on the back of the tombstone, as ever behind her lover. Souhami's two lives, refreshingly stripped of biographical dead wood, positively crackle with high-powered gossip and bristle with bitchy anecdotes, though her laconic touch is never asleep to touching cadences and wonderful absurdities. As a writer, a "literary cubist" who once tried to give up nouns, Stein is more to be admired than respected. As a life force, a mover and shaker, and as a partner to Toklas, she was massively successful. Their couple's life together was their greatest creation, and it's done justice by the talented Souhami's glorious account. Gertrude and Alice would have hated it. --David Vincent, Amazon.co.ukAbout the Author:
Diana Souhami is the author of Selkirk's Island, for which she won the Whitbread Biography Award, The Trials of Radclyffe Hall, for which she won the Lambda Literary Award, Coconut Chaos, Mrs Keppel and Her Daughter, Greta and Cecil, and Gluck: Her Biography. She lives in London.
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Book Description Rivers Oram Pr, 1993. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX004440848X