Newly famous in the wake of the publication of her groundbreaking Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Gertrude Stein delivered her Narration lectures to packed audiences at the University of Chicago in 1935. Stein had not been back to her home country since departing for France in 1903, and her remarks reflect on the changes in American culture after thirty years abroad.
In Stein’s trademark experimental prose, Narration reveals the legendary writer’s thoughts about the energy and mobility of the American people, the effect of modernism on literary form, the nature of history and its recording, and the inventiveness of the English language—in particular, its American variant. Stein also discusses her ambivalence toward her own literary fame as well as the destabilizing effect that notoriety had on her daily life. Restored to print for a new generation of readers to discover, these vital lectures will delight students and scholars of modernism and twentieth-century literature.
“Narration is a treasure waiting to be rediscovered and to be pirated by jolly marauders of sparkling texts.”—Catharine Stimpson, NYU
INTRODUCTION BY THORNTON WILDER (1935)