Props to Joan Retallack and Lyn Hejinian for their recent work on Gertrude Stein. If you keep finding reasons to avoid picking up Stein again, these essays will inspire you to go for it.
In The Poethical Wager (2003) Retallack offers “The difficulties on Gertrude Stein, I & II,” in which she posits that the kind of ‘positive feedback loop’ that generates fractal self-similarities and variations might be an illuminating way to think about Stein’s writing process. Retallack suggests that “to compose authentically out of one’s contemporary situation is to live in the new time that one is taking part in making through the at of composition.”
In The Language of Inquiry (2000), Lyn Hejinian offers “Two Stein Talks.” In “Language and Realism” she points out that Stein’s “Tender Buttons” provides three vantage points from which one can triangulate a reading: linguistic, psychological, and philosophical. In “Grammar and Landscape” Hejinian observes that landscape and grammar were “what Stein herself was simultaneously writing and thinking about (the two for her are almost inseparable) during the twenties and early thirties…”
Let me know if you have some favorite Gertrude apologists.