TO DO by Gertrude Stein


A Book of Alphabets and Birthdays
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Some things never change: the first posthumous publication of this typically eccentric Stein work elicited from Kirkus (August 15, 1957, p. 619) the recognition of "a Stein clique." That clique has grown enough to garner Stein two volumes in the Library of America. But the jury remains out, and this inconsequential piece will do nothing to enhance her reputation. Though it began as a book for children, no publisher considered its odd meanderings suitable for kids. Finally resurrected by Yale University Press in the 1950s, the editor at least padded it out with other Stein ephemera. Here, we get, as Kirkus noted, a "plodding" narrative "in a Time-centered world of dates and numbers and months and letters," peopled with "animals, feelings, activities, typewriters, horses and hills." "The foggy and repetitious style," we decided, "obscures the alleged meaning." With a Stein-like flourish, we added: "and that is that."

Pub Date: April 5th, 2001
ISBN: 0300170971
Page count: 148pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2001


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