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biography
literature
Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice
 
 
Author
Janet Malcolm.
Publisher Yale  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 8 x 5.5 x 0.85 inches
ISBN 9780300125511
Pages/Publication Date 229/2007
Daedalus Item Code 32362
This item is not available.
Description
"How had the pair of elderly Jewish lesbians survived the Nazis?" Janet Malcolm asks at the beginning of this extraordinary work of literary biography and investigative journalism. The pair, of course, is Gertrude Stein, the modernist master "whose charm was as conspicuous as her fatness," and "thin, plain, tense, sour" Alice B. Toklas, the "worker bee" who ministered to Stein's needs throughout their 40-year expatriate marriage. As Malcolm pursues the truth of the couple's charmed life in a village in Vichy France, her subject becomes the larger question of biographical truth.

"Janet Malcolm, a writer for The New Yorker and an accomplished biographer, recognizes the limitations inherent in her chosen medium: 'The instability of human knowledge is one of our few certainties. Almost everything we know we know incompletely at best.' Malcolm consulted many scholars, literary critics, and journalists while researching this book, and they surface as characters. The very pursuit of information becomes a plotline in itself.... Malcolm examines the sadomasochistic tenor of Stein's and Toklas's relationship, their dealings with the Nazis, and Stein's unreadable, experimental writing with honesty and clarity. Academic but charming, Two Lives isn't so much the biography of individuals as it is the story of a love affair and the extraordinary, sometimes incomprehensible, works it produced."Bookmarks Magazine

 
 
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