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May 20 , 2009

Tender Buttons


Stein began composition of the book in 1912 with multiple short prose poems in an effort to “create a word relationship between the word and the things seen” using a “realist” perspective. She then published it in three sections as her second book in 1914.
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The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

For Gertrude Stein and her companion Alice B. Toklas, life in Paris was based upon the rue de Fleurus and the Saturday evenings and �it was like a kaleidoscope slowly turning�. Picasso was there with �his high whinnying spanish giggle�, as were Cezanne and Matisse, Hemingway and Fitzgerald. As Toklas put it � �The geniuses came and talked to…

Tender Buttons is renowned for its Modernist approach to portraying the everyday object and is lauded as a “masterpiece of verbal Cubism”. Its first poem, “A Carafe, That Is a Blind Glass”, is arguable its most famous and is usually cited as one of the quintessential pieces of Cubist literature. While it has been praised for its avant-garde approach at portraying the mundane, it has also been criticized as “a modernist triumph, a spectacular failure, a collection of confusing gibberish, and an intentional hoax”.

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