Sister Brother

Sister Brother

Gertrude and Leo Stein

Brenda Wineapple

536 pages
68 illustrations

Paperback

March 2008

978-0-8032-1753-9

$25.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Devoted, eccentric, and compelling, Gertrude and Leo Stein were constant companions, from childhood to adulthood, until, finally, they spoke no more. Americans, expatriates, and virtually orphans, they lived together for almost forty years, collaborating in one of the great artistic and literary adventures of the twentieth century. Sister Brother tells the story of that adventure and relationship. With a personality that drew people toward her—regardless of what they thought of her inventive, hermetic prose—Gertrude Stein dazzled and perplexed. Enigmatic, intelligent, and self-absorbed, Leo also dazzled but in his own way. One of the crucial figures in Gertrude’s early years, he was the original guiding spirit of the famed salon at 27 rue de Fleurus, which continued for almost two decades. From her early days as a medical student to her first days in Paris, Gertrude was passionately driven toward the career in which she distinguished herself, demanding appreciation as an exceptional writer who knew precisely what she intended. This book shows how Gertrude slowly struggled with what became a unique voice—and why her brother spurned it.
 
With its wealth of new and rare material, its reconstruction of Leo’s famed art collection, and its array of characters—from Bernard Berenson to Pablo Picasso—this biography offers the first glimpse into the smoldering sibling relationship that helped form two of the twentieth century’s most unusual figures.

Author Bio

Brenda Wineapple is the author of Genêt: A Biography of Janet Flanner and Hawthorne: A Life, which received the English-Speaking Union's Ambassador Award for the Best Biography of 2003 and the Boston Book Club’s Julia Ward Howe Award. She has a forthcoming book on Emily Dickinson and teaches writing in the School of the Arts at Columbia University and the MFA program at the New School University in New York.

Praise

“A luminous, harrowing achievement for which all students of literature and art, as well as of families, are in Brenda Wineapple's debt.”—Richard Howard

“Brenda Wineapple brilliantly disentwines the record of Stein's life from the image of it that Stein and her allies created. . . . Wineapple's narrative is fluent and clear . . . fascinating.”—San Francisco Chronicle

“Wineapple illuminates the distinct and tremendously influential personalities of Gertrude and Leo Stein as well as the intricate nature of their intense but doomed relationship.”—Booklist

“Wineapple tells a dramatically compelling story; her analysis is insightful, her meticulous documentation unobtrusive. She has written an absorbing account of two extraordinary siblings.”—Washington Post Book World

“Ms. Wineapple does an impressive job of setting down the facts of the Steins' eventful lives. . . . [An] ambitious biography.”—New York Times Book Review

“Drawing on rich archival sources, and interpreting them judiciously and sensitively, Wineapple gives us a fresh picture of Stein, many of her relatives, and especially the sibling to whom she was closest: her brilliant, intense brother Leo.”—Linda Simon, Boston Globe

“Sister Brother is a beautifully even-handed and penetrating treatment. This biography is indispensable for students of Gertrude Stein and of modernism, and will be a delight to lovers of art and to all those interested in what Wineapple calls ‘the romance of families.’”—Toronto Globe and Mail

“A riveting joint profile of Gertrude and Leo Stein. . . . A wild, Fauve-like canvas of a time before emotional color was muted by Prozac.”—M. G. Lord, Elle

“Wineapple’s book explores their partnership with humour and panache. Not the least of its virtues is that, while paying ample homage to Gertrude, it does justice perhaps for the first time at length and in detail, to Leo. . . . Scrupulous, sensitive, marvellous.”—Daily Telegraph

“Eloquent”—Forward

“A rewarding read.”—Guardian

“Brenda Wineapple could have called this book ‘Scenes from a Marriage’. . . . An absorbing picture.”—Chicago Tribune

“Brenda Wineapple’s meticulous, scholarly, and affectionate double biography of Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo gives us the fascinating story of two glorious animals.”—Patricia Bosworth

Table of Contents

Prologue: And They Were Not Wrong
ONE - DISORDER AND EARLY SORROW
1. Bes Almon
2. Tempers We Are Born With
3. Too Darn Anxious to Be Safe
TWO - BOTH ONES THAT QUITE ENOUGH ARE KNOWING
4. To Know Thyself
5. The Feminine Half
6. Evolution
7. Respectability
8. New Americans
THREE - SPEECH IS THE TWIN OF MY VISION
9. Gilded Cages
10. Brother Singular
11. Quod Erat Demonstrandum
12. Toward a More Quintessential Method, 1903-1905
13. In the Thick of It
FOUR - AN ALARM HAS NO BUTTON
14. Quarreling
15. Banquets
16. I Could Be So Happy
17. A Fine Frenzy
18. Myself and Strangers, or The Inevitable Character of My Art
FIVE - RIPENESS IS ALL
19. Two
20. The Disaggregation
21. Of Having a Great Many Times Not Continued to Be Friends: A Finale
Epilogue: A Family Romance
Appendix
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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