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Two Lives : Gertrude and Alice (07 Edition)by Janet Malcolm
Synopses & ReviewsPlease note that used books may not include additional media (study guides, CDs, DVDs, solutions manuals, etc.) as described in the publisher comments.
"How had the pair of elderly Jewish lesbians survived the Nazis?and#8221; 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 and#147;whose charm was as conspicuous as her fatnessand#8221; and and#147;thin, plain, tense, sourand#8221; Alice B. Toklas, the and#147;worker beeand#8221; who ministered to Steinand#8217;s needs throughout their forty-year expatriate and#147;marriage.and#8221; As Malcolm pursues the truth of the coupleand#8217;s charmed life in a village in Vichy France, her subject becomes the larger question of biographical truth. and#147;The instability of human knowledge is one of our few certainties,and#8221; she writes.and#160;
The portrait of the legendary couple that emerges from this work is unexpectedly charged. The two world wars Stein and Toklasand#160; lived through together are paralleled by the private war that went on between them. This war, as Malcolm learned, sometimes flared into bitter combat.
Two Lives is also a work of literary criticism. and#147;Even the most hermetic of [Steinand#8217;s] writings are works of submerged autobiography,and#8221; Malcolm writes. and#147;The key ofand#160; 'I' will not unlock the door to their meaningand#151;you need a crowbar for thatand#151;but will sometimes admit you to a kind of anteroom of suggestion.and#8221; Whether unpacking the accessible Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, in which Stein and#147;solves the koan of autobiography,and#8221; or wrestling with The Making of Americans, a masterwork of and#147;magisterial disorder,and#8221; Malcolm is stunningly perceptive.
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About the Author
Janet Malcolm is the author of The Journalist and the Murderer, The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, and Reading Chekhov, among other books. She writes for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books and lives in New York City.
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