Nobody knows what I am trying to do but I do and I know when I succeed,"" wrote Stein in the Twenties. And much of the really purest Stein--the most investigatory plays and poems and essays and novelettes (in which, true enough, nobody knew what she was doing)--is collected here, in an edition that draws from the eight, long-out-of-print volumes of Steiniana published by Yale back in the Fifties. Richard Kostelanetz, in a pedestrian introduction, provides some bearings, but most of the work stands quite well on its own. Highlights include: the famous, long lesbian poem, ""Lifting Belly"" (""I cannot disguise nice./ Don't you need to./ I think not./ Lifting belly exactly""); the charmingly horoscopic ""A Birthday Book"" (""June the eight upper eat upper and ate upper and on finding and likely to be very well arranged.""); the nco-Romantic ""Men"" (""The three of them had been loving. Two of them were loving. One of them was not loving and was remembering everything and was filling something. One of them was loving and had knocked down one and was needing that the other one was not filling anything.""); and the heroic rhetorical engines of the enormous ""Stanzas in Meditation."" For Stein specialists and the above-averagely curious--a looming, necessary anthology.