Happily and in a timely way, Janet Boyd and Sharon J. Kirsch’s edited collection Primary Stein: Returning to the Writing of Gertrude Stein accomplishes just what it sets out to do, which is to shift attention away from Stein’s life and the spurious allegations surrounding it and back to her writing as work that can be, and demands to be, read for its literary, historical, and linguistic value. A much-needed antidote to a very tired debate surrounding Stein’s politics and position in history, Primary Stein assembles critical essays by leading and up-and-coming scholars in Stein studies and modernism that, in the main, focus on individual works in a variety of critical and historical contexts. Arranged such that they trace the arc of Stein’s career, the essays address Stein’s and Toklas’s early publishing efforts (Gabrielle Dean); the influence of Stein’s experimental writing upon that of Virginia...

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