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Three Lives [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 25.87  
Retail Value $ 26.95  
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Item Number 372995  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   184
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.02" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.56"
Weight:   0.91 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2006
Publisher   Aegypan
ISBN  1598183389  
EAN  9781598183382  

Availability  97 units.
Availability accurate as of May 26, 2017 05:16.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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Item Description...
Three Lives (1909) was Gertrude Stein's first published work of fiction. The book is comprised of three tales -- two short stories: "The Good Anna," and "The Gentle Lena"; and the novella. "Melanctha." Each one is a portrait of the title character and all of the women are members of the lower class living in a fictional town called Bridgepoint. Anna is a German immigrant who keeps house for Miss Mathilda and falls in love with another woman, Mrs. Lehntman. Lena is also a German woman who marries badly and dies in childbirth. Melanctha is a mulatto woman with unhappy love affairs. All three, however, face their various disappointments and their lots in life with resignation and acceptance.

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More About Gertrude Stein

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Gertrude Stein was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, on February 3, 1874, to an affluent Jewish family, spent her early childhood in Vienna and Paris, and later grew up in Oakland, California. At Radcliffe College she studied under William James, who remained her lifelong friend, and then went to Johns Hopkins to study medicine. Abandoning her studies, she moved to Paris with her brother Leo in 1903. At 27 rue de Fleurus, Gertrude Stein lived with Alice B. Toklas, who would remain her companion for forty years. Not only was she an innovator in literature and a supporter of modern poetry and art, she was the friend and mentor of those who visited her at her now-famous home: Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, and Guillaume Appollinaire. Her first important book was Three Lives (1909), then Tender Buttons (1914), followed by her magnum opus, The Making of Americans (1925), and the book which became a huge popular success, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). Just before her death at the age of 72 on July 27, 1946, she asked Alice Toklas from her hospital bed, "What is the answer?" Getting no answer, she then asked, "In that case, what is the question?"

Gertrude Stein was born in 1874 and died in 1946.

Gertrude Stein has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Dover Books on Literature & Drama
  2. Signet Classics

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( S ) > Stein, Gertrude   [26  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary   [66754  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary   [255907  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Setting An Intense Mood By Using Blocks of Repitition in the Prose: Not Stream of Consciousness  Mar 4, 2007
This is not a great novella or a set of great short stories but it is a very fascinating use of prose to create drama and intense feelings. Readers expecting to discover another Tolstoy will be very disappointed. Her writing style is very unusual but she does not write great novels. Hemingway and Katherine Porter claim that she influenced their work. She probably did; but, she is a writer's writer presenting unusual structure and prose. She is not a great novelist.

Stein published 26 books starting with this collection of three stories in 1909. This is her first book and she self published only 500 hard copies. She had to fight with the publisher to get it published her way. He wanted to make it more conventional. It was not written as a novel aimed at wide popular sales. She was seeking a smaller and a more critical audience.

When it was written, she had left Baltimore and was living in Paris on money inherited from her father. She had the luxury of being able to do whatever she wanted. As a result, she bought paintings and wrote experimental fiction.

This is a collection of three short stories. This particular book has an excellent introduction by Professor Ann Charters plus it has Q.E.D., which is another very brief collection of short stories and under 50 pages.

What is she doing here? She uses very simple characters, stereotypes really, as a vehicle to try out her experimental prose. It is not stream of consciousness - that was made famous by Joyce a few years later - but rather it is repetition of blocks of prose to create mood. She got the idea of repetition from painters who use repetitive brush strokes to create paintings. It sounds like an odd ball idea but it is original and effective.

There are three short stories here: The Good Anna, Melanctha, and The Gentle Lena. The first and last are about young German immigrant women and their struggle to control and be controlled, either by men or other women.

The most dramatic work and the longest is the over 100 page novella, Melanctha. This describes a very turbulent relationship between a young black doctor and the mixed race, half black, Melanctha, in Bridgeport. They have a conflicted relationship filled with stress. Stein manages to effectively bring the stress to the reader by repeating blocks of their conversations with just slight changes, paragraph to paragraph. After a while the reader feels that they are in the room with the arguing couple.

So, is this a great novel? No. But it is a highly original and interesting use of prose to create the intense mood of the story. It is considered by many as a milestone in American literature. Stein was tempted to follow in the tracks set by Henry James, but in the end struck her own unique chord.

Of her 26 works, this is the first and one of her four most important works. The other three are Tender Buttons (1914), The Making of Americans (1925), and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). The last was a best seller and brought her widespread fame.

For a good selection of her works, there is a 736 page collection by Vintage, March 17, 1990, ISBN-10: 0679724648 or ISBN-13: 978-0679724643 which contains all the good Stein works including Melanctha.
An amazing little volume  Jan 31, 2007
If you like experimental language and can still be surprised by linguistic expressions you thought to be impossible, you have come to the right place - get this book and read "Three Lives". It is a wonderful collection of short stories about three different women who struggle with life each in their own way, and Gertrude Stein's descriptions express linguistically, what the souls of these girls go through: Torture, boredom, helplessness, violence, love, sexual desire. Has there ever before been such an emotional language? I doubt it. The edition by Mondial (ISBN 978-1595690425 or 1595690425) includes an introduction by "enfant terrible" Carl Van Vechten, an essayist and photographer, who knew Gertrude Stein very well and delivers an interesting insight into her way of writing (and living) and the history of this book.
Overrated book by overrated Genius  Jun 1, 2006
This book is highly overrated. I am sure I will get blown away for saying this but it has nothing to do with my appreciation of modern writing. I enjoy Joyce, and many avant garde writers. Stein has an ego as big as a house. Witness her constant comments about herself as a genius in the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. The literary equivalent of Picasso she is not. The book is slow and boring, filled with failed, in my opinion, rhetorical tricks. If you want stream of consciousness avant garde writing there are many better writers, Joyce being the best. Jack Kerouac is a newer author who is great also. I found it difficult to finish this book. It did not keep my attention. I basically find all the praise for her as both a writer and an individual vastly out of proportion to her talent. It would be helpful if those writers and academicians who are full of praise for her would perhaps write some articles that are readable saying exactly why she is a genius.
Not an easy book to read...or to like  Aug 1, 2004
In "3 Lives," Gertrude Stein recounts the life stories of three very different women living and dying in the city Bridgepoint. With "The Good Anna," we learn the story of a German maid, who maintains the homes of various grand ladies throughout her life. She loves taking care of stray dogs and scolding young ladies into what she deems to be their proper stations. She also cultivates a strong friendship with the widow Mrs. Lehntman, the great "romance" of her life. (Though, it's never entirely clear what is meant by "romance:' either a very strong friendship or an actual intimate relationship.)

In "Melanctha," we are related the history of a young black woman, bright and intelligent, who wants to learn more about life and love. She develops relationships with many different men but learns most of what she needs during her "wanderings" with Jane Harden. After a time, she finally decides to settle down and to get "really married" to the right man. She thinks she finds that in Dr. Jeff Campbell, but neither one knows exactly what he/she really wants.

In the final story, "The Gentle Lena," Lena is a young German girl, brought to the States by a cousin. She is considered ugly and dimwitted so no one in her new family really takes to her. All the girls taunt and tease her. Finally, she is et up in an arranged marriage to a man who doesn't really like women (though it's never said flat out whether or not he is gay). They have children, and the husband falls for the children, ignoring Lena completely.

All three women wind up alone, forgotten and eventually dead. But, that's not what I really didn't like about this book. Stein's use of language tended to get in the way, so much so that I could never really understand what characters were saying and could never empathize with them. In fact, with "Melanctha," their constant repetition of names and long-winded sentences that turn around on themselves to regurgitate what was said in the preceding sentences, made the characters seem simple-minded. I never liked any of the characters because I never felt that I was given anything to like. And, if I was, I had trouble discerning it through the tangle of words. I re-read passages many times simply to try to understand what was happening or what a character was feeling/thinking and never really understood. They came across very two-dimensional.

I forced myself to finish the book but still would have trouble recommending it, mostly due to the use of language.
I saw myself in these women  Jun 10, 2004
I derived a great deal of pleasure from reading this book. I "became" each of these women. I wanted to live their lives and experience what they were going through. I identified mostly with Lena. I don't think she was as stupid as everyone said - she's a much deeper character that doesn't quite know how to express herself.

I wonder if women tend to identify with these characters more? I would love to see these made into a movie.

The language was difficult to follow at times. The patterns and rhythms were in the way sometimes, but if you allow yourself to "give in" to it - you'll be fine.


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