Reading Gertrude Stein traces the evolution of the mind and art of Gertrude Stein from Three Lives through The Making of Americans to Tender Buttons. In a series of close readings, Lisa Ruddick shows how Stein, whom she regards as the first truly modern writer in English, absorbed the influence of several of the major thinkers of her day (particularly William James and Freud), and then developed unique perspectives of her own original language and culture.
"Lisa Ruddick has written a superb book on Gertrude Stein that will appeal to readers interested in the beginnings of twentieth-century American literature, in women's writing, and in psychoanalytic criticism. I highly recommend it."
John T. Irwin, The Johns Hopkins University
"Ruddick's interpretative study of Gertrude Stein breaks new ground in both Stein studies and poststructural theory, remaining accessible while rejecting neither indeterminate polysemy nor the thematic unity of 'idea.'... Through valuable interpretations of the major early Stein texts ('Melanctha,' The Making of Americans, G.M.P., and Tender Buttons), Ruddick details the 'serial acts of self-definition' of the modernist self in relation to William James, Freud, and the Bible.... Ruddick is authoritative in dealing with Stein's work, feminist theory, and the cultural phenomenon of modernism."