Recent scholarly trends and controversies in Gertrude Stein scholarship have focused on her politics and her friendships as well as on Stein the collector, the celebrity, the visual icon. Clearly, these recent examinations not only deepen our understanding of Stein but also attest to her staying power. Yet Stein’s writing itself too often remains secondary. The central premise of Primary Stein is that an extraordinary amount of textual scholarship remains to be done on Stein’s work, whether the well-known, the little-known, or yet unpublished. The essays in Primary Stein draw on recent interdisciplinary examinations, using cultural and historical contexts to enrich and complicate how we might read, understand, and teach Stein’s writing. Following Stein’s own efforts throughout her lifetime to shift the focus from her personality to her writing, these innovative essays turn the lens back to a wide range of her texts, including novels, plays, lectures and poetry. Each essay takes Stein’s primary works as its core interpretive focus, returning scholarly conversations to the challenges and pleasures of working with Stein’s texts.
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