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by Gertrude Stein
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"Three Lives" - three short stories by Gertrude Stein - has had a curious history. First published in 1909 by the Grafton Press, this book of short stories has consistently maintained a striking underground reputation. "Three Lives" is an astonishing masterpiece when one considers that it was its author's first book. Reasonably enough, considering Gertrude Stein's subsequent association with painters, the book is imbued with the influence of Cézanne more than with that of any literary forerunner. The subject matter, two servant girls and an unhappy afro-american girl, is similar to the subject matter of the realists, Zola and Flaubert, but so different is the treatment that any question of influence may be immediately dismissed. Nothing in this writing is extraneous: every detail represents the whole and is essential to it. If we cannot look back of Miss Stein and find a literary ancestor, it is easy to look forward: a vast sea of writers seems to be swimming in the inspiration derived from this prose. (Carl Van Vechten)
It was not now any longer that she wanted to stay near Mrs. Lehntman. There was no one now that made anything important, but Anna was certain that she did not want to take a place where she would be under some new people. No one could ever be for Anna as had been her cherished Miss Mathilda. No one could ever again so freely let her do it all.
Inside Flap Copy
Consists of three character studies of women; "The Good Anna"--a kind but domineering German servingwoman; "Melanctha"--an uneducated but sensitive black girl; "The Gentle Lena"--a pathetically feebleminded young German maid.
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