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Sister Brother


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Offers the first glimpse into the smoldering sibling relationship that helped form two of the twentieth century's most unusual figures

Table of Contents

Prologue: And They Were Not WrongONE - DISORDER AND EARLY SORROW1. Bes Almon2. Tempers We Are Born With3. Too Darn Anxious to Be SafeTWO - BOTH ONES THAT QUITE ENOUGH ARE KNOWING4. To Know Thyself5. The Feminine Half6. Evolution7. Respectability8. New AmericansTHREE - SPEECH IS THE TWIN OF MY VISION9. Gilded Cages10. Brother Singular11. Quod Erat Demonstrandum12. Toward a More Quintessential Method, 1903-190513. In the Thick of ItFOUR - AN ALARM HAS NO BUTTON14. Quarreling15. Banquets16. I Could Be So Happy17. A Fine Frenzy18. Myself and Strangers, or The Inevitable Character of My ArtFIVE - RIPENESS IS ALL19. Two20. The Disaggregation21. Of Having a Great Many Times Not Continued to Be Friends: A FinaleEpilogue: A Family RomanceAppendixAcknowledgmentsNotes BibliographyIndex

About the Author

Brenda Wineapple is the author of Genet: A Biography of Janet Flanner and Hawthorne: A Life, which received the English-Speaking Union's Ambassador Award for the Best Biography of 2003 and the Boston Book Club's Julia Ward Howe Award. She has a forthcoming book on Emily Dickinson and teaches writing in the School of the Arts at Columbia University and the MFA program at the New School University in New York.


Despite the interwoven lives of Gertrude and Leo Stein, this biography by Wineapple (literature, Union Coll., Schenectady) is the first to use the sister-brother relationship as the central focus. Wineapple chronicles the symbiotic lives, personalities, intellects, and temperaments of Gertrude and Leo from childhood through death. She explores the siblings' idiosyncrasies and speculations about their relationship while offering details of their educational pursuits and college lives. In the process, Wineapple reveals the era's prejudices against Jews and women and specifics about Leo's relationship with Nina Auzias. While Linda Wagner-Martin's recent biography, Favored Strangers: Gertrude Stein and Her Family (Rutgers Univ., 1995), offers a more generally appealing, anecdotal writing style and emphasizes the Stein family experience, Wineapple provides a more detailed, authoritative account of the personal and intellectual lives of Gertrude and Leo. Her work is a good scholarly companion to James Mellow's standard biography, Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein & Company (1974). For literature collections.-Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J.

"A rewarding read." Guardian "Wineapple's book explores their partnership with humour and panache. Not the least of its virtues is that, while paying ample homage to Gertrude, it does justice perhaps for the first time at length and in detail, to Leo... Scrupulous, sensitive, marvellous." Daily Telegraph "Ms. Wineapple does an impressive job of setting down the facts of the Steins' eventful lives... [An] ambitious biography." New York Times Book Review "Wineapple tells a dramatically compelling story; her analysis is insightful, her meticulous documentation unobtrusive. She has written an absorbing account of two extraordinary siblings." Washington Post Book World "Brenda Wineapple brilliantly disentwines the record of Stein's life from the image of it that Stein and her allies created... Wineapple's narrative is fluent and clear ... fascinating." San Francisco Chronicle "Wineapple illuminates the distinct and tremendously influential personalities of Gertrude and Leo Stein as well as the intricate nature of their intense but doomed relationship." Booklist "Drawing on rich archival sources, and interpreting them judiciously and sensitively, Wineapple gives us a fresh picture of Stein, many of her relatives, and especially the sibling to whom she was closest: her brilliant, intense brother Leo." Linda Simon Boston Globe "Sister Brother is a beautifully even-handed and penetrating treatment. This biography is indispensable for students of Gertrude Stein and of modernism, and will be a delight to lovers of art and to all those interested in what Wineapple calls 'the romance of families.'" Toronto Globe and Mail "A riveting joint profile of Gertrude and Leo Stein... A wild, Fauve-like canvas of a time before emotional color was muted by Prozac." M. G. Lord Elle "Eloquent" Forward "Brenda Wineapple could have called this book 'Scenes from a Marriage'... An absorbing picture." Chicago Tribune "A luminous, harrowing achievement for which all students of literature and art, as well as of families, are in Brenda Wineapple's debt." Richard Howard "Brenda Wineapple's meticulous, scholarly, and affectionate double biography of Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo gives us the fascinating story of two glorious animals." Patricia Bosworth

Just before WW I, the suffocating brother-sister relationship of the Steins ended in Paris. They never again spoke to each other. Gertrude Stein's gift for self-promotion has largely created her image. Now Wineapple (the biographer of Janet Flanner‘Genêt) looks behind it. "It was I who was the genius," Gertrude claimed, "there was no reason for it, but I was, and he was not." Siblings of German-Jewish ancestry with inherited incomes, Gertrude and Leo Stein showed little motivation to succeed at anything. Leo would drop out of law schol, Gertrude out of medical school. From their teens in Cambridge and Baltimore into their late 30s on the Continent, they remained close, often living together. In France, they collected bohemian friends and avant-garde art while trying to find themselves. Gertrude grew fat and sloppy while bullying her lesbian set; Leo became neurotic and anorexic, his sense of inadequacy growing in proportion to his sister's success. By 1913, her experimental prose built upon repetition and rhythm was already being parodied. Going nowhere when Alice Toklas moved in, Leo moved out of the already famous Paris flat hung with Picassos, Matisses and Renoirs to a cottage in Italy, taking half the pictures. Leo's loyal‘but desperate‘mistress would follow him. Finally, just before his death in 1947, Leo published the single book on aesthetics by which he would be remembered. The year before, he had heard about Gertrude's death only from a newspaper. Their years together are not inspiring reading, but Wineapple's account evokes their lives as never before. (Apr.)

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