Gertrude Stein

"If I Told Him"

By Salon Staff

Published October 5, 2000 11:14PM (EDT)

Gertrude Stein was born in Pennsylvania on Feb. 3, 1874. She was educated briefly in Europe and then at Radcliffe, studying psychology under William James, whose influence runs through her work. Later she moved to Paris, where she created much of her experimental work and befriended such American expatriates as Sherwood Anderson and Ernest Hemingway.

Heavily influenced by the Cubists, Stein's writing parallels the theories of Cubism, such as illumination of the present moment, the use of repetition, simplification and fragmentation. These techniques are employed in her book Tender Buttons, which uses abstraction and fragmentation to such an extent that the text is considered by some to be unintelligible.

Perhaps her most well known work, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1932) records her relationship with Alice, Stein's lifelong companion. Gertrude Stein Died in 1946.

Listen now to her poem "If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso," from the release Gertrude Stein Reads, provided by HarperAudio.

Salon Staff

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