. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – Gertrude Stein reads Gertrude Stein – 1934 recordings – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.
Realizing this was recorded 80 years ago, and wondering what the reaction was at the time to the poetry of Gertrude Stein, it’s impossible not to imagine how the world felt about this new and revolutionary literary style when it was first heard. From reports of the time, she was both hailed and met with perplexity – but she certainly wasn’t ignored.
But taking into consideration that Stein came into prominence between the World Wars and was part of a movement that literally changed so many aspects of our culture – certainly in the areas of Art, Literature and Music, it would be difficult to read her work and not come away feeling Gertrude Stein was just as important a figure as Ernest Hemingway or Pablo Picasso or Igor Stravinsky in the great wave of creative change that gripped the world in the early years of the 20th Century.
Sadly, not many examples of Gertrude Stein reading her own work exist. These recordings were made in 1934 during her visit and lecture tour of the U.S., the first time she visited the states since moving to Paris in 1903.
But at a little over 19 minutes, it gives a fascinating glimpse into a time of great upheaval and innovation, where writers like Gertrude Stein turned the world on its head and gave it new glasses.