04 August 2011

A rose is a rose is a rose... loveliness extreme.

Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein & Company by James R. Mellow (Praeger: 1974)

On almost every Saturday of the first half of the twentieth century, Gertrude Stein would open her door to the likes of Picasso and Matisse, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Cocteau and Apollinaire, welcoming them into a Parisian salon alive with vivid avant-garde paintings and sparkling intellectual conversation.

In Charmed Circle, James R. Mellow has re-created this fascinating world and the complex woman who dominated it. His engaging narrative illuminates Stein’s writing—now celebrated along with the work of such literary giants as Joyce and Woolf—including her difficult early periods, which adapted cubism and abstraction to the written word.

Rich with detail and insight, it conveys both the serene rhythms of daily life with her devoted partner, Alice B. Toklas, and the radical pulse and dramatic upheavals of her exciting era.

Spanning the years from 1903, when Stein first arrived in Paris, to her final days at the end of the Second World War, Charmed Circle is a penetrating and lively account of a writer at the heart of modernity.

Avant-garde Paris comes to life in this “meticulous and loving reconstruction of the period” 

[The New York Times Book Review]
I'd nearly forgotten about this book until a conversation with a friend today provoked the memory in me.  A wonderful -and colorful- view of life, art and eccentricity in fin de siecle Paris.


No comments:

Post a Comment