1874 – 1946
Who was Gertrude Stein?
Gertrude Stein was an American writer of novels, poetry and plays that eschewed the narrative, linear, and temporal conventions of 19th-century literature, and a fervent collector of Modernist art. She was born in West Allegheny, Pennsylvania, raised in Oakland, California, and moved to Paris in 1903, making France her home for the remainder of her life.
For some forty years, the Stein home at 27 Rue de Fleurus on the Left Bank of Paris was a renowned Saturday evening gathering place for both expatriate American artists and writers and others noteworthy in the world of vanguard arts and letters, most notably Pablo Picasso. Entrée into the Stein salon was a sought-after validation, and Stein became combination mentor, critic, and guru to those who gathered around her, including Ernest Hemingway, who described the salon in A Moveable Feast.
In 1933, Stein published a kind of memoir of her Paris years, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, written in the voice of Toklas, her life partner. The book became a literary bestseller and vaulted Stein from the relative obscurity of cult literary figure into the light of mainstream attention.
- There is no there there.
- Americans are very friendly and very suspicious, that is what Americans are and that is what always upsets the foreigner, who deals with them, they are so friendly how can they be so suspicious they are so suspicious how can they be so friendly but they just are.
- Everybody gets so much common information all day long that they lose their common sense.
- The minute you or anybody else knows what you are you are not it, you are what you or anybody else knows you are and as everything in living is made up of finding out what you are it is extraordinarily difficult really not to know what you are and yet to be that thing.
- What is the answer? she asked, and when no answer came she laughed and said: Then, what is the question?
- The United States is just now the oldest country in the world, there always is an oldest country and she is it, it is she who is the mother of the twentieth century civilization. She began to feel herself as it just after the Civil War. And so it is a country the right age to have been born in and the wrong age to live in.
- Money is always there but the pockets change.
- I simply contend that the middle-class ideal which demands that people be affectionate, respectable, honest and content, that they avoid excitements and cultivate serenity is the ideal that appeals to me, it is in short the ideal of affectionate family life, of honorable business methods.
- Communists are people who fancied that they had an unhappy childhood.
- It is funny the two things most men are proudest of is the thing that any man can do and doing does in the same way, that is being drunk and being the father of their son.
Use the citation below to add to a bibliography:
"Gertrude Stein." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 10 May 2021. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/gertrude_stein>.
We need you!
Help us build the largest biographies collection on the web!
- Feb 3, 1874
- Also known as
- Stein, Gertrude
- Jewish people
- German American
- United States of America
- Radcliffe College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Harvard University
- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
- Lived in
- Jul 27, 1946
- Resting place
- Père Lachaise Cemetery
on July 23, 2013