Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, as most everyone knows, and as we might know The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas or even "Patriarchal Poetry." But Gertrude Stein is far more than her best known words and works, and this monumental study gives us for the first time a finely detailed, deeply felt understanding of both the music and the mechanics of this great modernist master throughout one of her most productive periods. With The Language that Rises, Ulla Dydo, a reader of Stein without equal, makes apt readers of Stein of us all, and shows us why this unduly neglected and famously difficult writer merits our close attention and appreciation.
Taking up all of Stein's works between the publication of "The Making of Americans" and "Lectures in America," Dydo examines the process of their making and remaking as they move from notepad to notebook to manuscript-from an idea to its ultimate refinement as the author's intentions and concerns assert themselves. Though not a biographical study, The Language the Rises sets each text in the context of Stein's daily life and work, showing how the elements of her immediate world enter her writing to be enlarged upon, deleted, transformed, or combined with other elements of reading or remembering. The result is an unprecedented view of the development of Stein's work, word by word, text by text, and over time.
The product of over twenty years of intense examination of Stein's notebooks, manuscripts, and letters, this book is the most extensive and detailed study of Stein's way of writing ever written, and as such, suggests answers to the fundamental questions raised by this author's brilliantly opaque works: what kind of writing was Gertrude Stein writing, and what kind of reading does this writing demand?