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The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Summary
Gertrude Stein

Everything you need to understand or teach The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein.

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The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Summary

Introduction

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, published in 1933, is Gertrude Stein's best-selling work and her most accessible. Consisting of seven chapters covering the first three decades of the twentieth century, the book is only incidentally about Toklas's life. Its real subject, and narrator, is Stein herself, who reportedly had asked Toklas, her lifelong companion, for years to write her autobiography. When Toklas did not, Stein did. Stein published excerpts of the work in the Atlantic, which occasioned a response from behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner whose essay, "Has Gertrude Stein a Secret?" connected the style Stein employed in the book with her work on automatic writing in Harvard's psychology laboratories a few decades before. Automatic writing, popularized by the surrealists in the 1920s, was writing that follows unconscious as well as conscious thought of the author. Stein's writing certainly has some of that element in the Autobiography but on...

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