Gertrude Stein

Operas & Plays

Stein considered this her definitive statement for the opera and the theater, yet, incredibly, Operas and Plays has remained out of print for half a century and has become so rare that even scholars read it in Xerox…

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Gertrude Stein

Stein considered this her definitive statement for the opera and the theater, yet, incredibly, Operas and Plays has remained out of print for half a century and has become so rare that even scholars read it in Xerox. Now reprinted for the first time since she published it herself in Paris (Plain Editions, 1932), Operas & Plays contains the most important of Gertrude Stein’s extraordinary contribution to the literature of opera and theater. One of America’s most influential writers—and most famous expatriates – she represents the fusion of modernism and postmodernism in these “word plays.” This book contains twenty different pieces virtually all of which have been out of print for decades. It includes the original version of the opera “Four Saints in Three Acts” (1927), set by Virgil Thompson, as well as “A Lyrical Opera Made by Two” (1928), “Saints and Singing” (1922), “Reread Another” (1921), “The Five Georges” (1931), and two movie treatments, among others.


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Useful Knowledge

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Gertrude Stein

Useful Knowledge is pleasant and therefore it is very much to be enjoyed,” writes Gertrude Stein in her “Advertisement for this Book”—an apt characterization of the experience of reading it sixty years after its disappearance from print. Despite her long expatriation, she “always remained” in her words, “firmly born in Allegheny Pennsylvania.” Indeed, physical detachment from her homeland seems only to have deepened her love for the country, a passion very nearly erotic, that blossomed in this private remembrance that is both tender and humorous. War, Woodrow Wilson, Chicago, Sherwood Anderson – such is the range of her intimate concerns. As for the significant questions to which her writings respond: “Wherein Iowa differs from Kansas and Indiana” and “Wherein the South differs from the North,” useful knowledge indeed, when the thought is opened along with the word in these extraordinary prose inventions. Keith Waldrop’s introduction furnishes new insight into the process and development of Stein’s infamous style as always more intricately evolving than is recognized. And Edward Burns provides “useful knowledge about Useful Knowledge,” the kind of information about Stein’s text that we rarely find when we most want it.


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