OPERAS & PLAYS
"Well before Beckett or Pinter," writes James R. Mellow in his new introduction here, "Stein immobilized her characters in talk, talk, talk." Whether or not the average reader will want to embark upon the particularly whimsical yet radically demanding journey of Stein's Operas and Plays may not be the real question; but if the desire were there, its fulfillment would now once again be possible. Stein self-published the Operas and Plays in 1932 in Paris (in the famous Plain Edition), and the extreme rarity of that book has until now made it very nearly inaccessible to readers. Here once again are the dramatic works of Stein from the well-known 1927 "Four Saints In Three Acts" (done with music by Virgil Thomson) on through 20 other pieces including, for example, "Saints And Singing" (1922), "Civilization" (1931) and "Say It With Flowers" (1931) and "A Movie" (1920). A welcome republication whether for the curious browser, the common reader, or the scholar of this stubborn, resilient, controversial, influential and often wonderfully amusing American genius: "Can you love all of the painting, can you love a little Christ. Can you love the roar of weasels can you love the little wife. I do see what makes me thunder when the words are not repressed. I do love the little Jesus I do really love him best. You mean of all the pictures. Yes I mean of all the pictures." ("Reread Another," 1921).