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the Complete Review
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Everybody's Autobiography

Gertrude Stein

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To purchase Everybody's Autobiography

Title: Everybody's Autobiography
Author: Gertrude Stein
Genre: Autobiography
Written: 1937
Length: 318 pages
Availability: Everybody's Autobiography - US
Everybody's Autobiography - UK
Everybody's Autobiography - Canada
Autobiographie de tout le monde - France
Jedermanns Autobiographie - Deutschland
  • Everybody's Autobiography is a continuation of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (see our review).

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Our Assessment:

B+ : entertaining account of Stein's success and return to America

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Time . 6/12/1937 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "(T)he book strongly suggests a fireside monologue delivered by a strong-minded, original lady who is unfortunately unable to keep on the subject, who nods and dozes, forgets where she left off, but drops enough unexpected observations to hold the attention of her audience." - Time

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       "Alice B. Toklas did hers and now everybody will do theirs," Gertrude Stein famously begins her sequel The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Of course, it was Stein that penned Toklas' "autobiography", and it is also Stein that here pens everybody's. But in fact both books are very much autobiographies of a single person: Gertrude Stein.
       Basking in the success of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Stein cheerfully continues her saga here. The style is much the same as in the earlier work, perhaps a bit more carefree (and with a little less sniping), and covering a much shorter span of time Stein goes about it a bit more leisurely.
       The name-dropping and the gossip from the first volume continue apace, though there is also more time for her to reflect on questions such as: "What is a genius" ? "Picasso and I used to talk about that a lot," she assures us -- and we don't doubt it.
       Stein manages to reduce much of her description and writing to a succinct essence, and many of her small asides are marvelous. So for example the one mention of the painter Balthus:

I took some interest in a new man, he was Pole named Balthus. I found him the day I was leaving for the summer but when I came back at the end of the summer I did not bother.
       The scene shifts with Stein's return to America. No longer able to preside over her Parisian salon, she still manages to encounter a wide range of the fascinating and the famous, as well as enjoying her own success. A fair amount of background material about Stein is also woven in, as she cites examples of her changed circumstances and of her past.
       An enjoyable account, not quite as fresh as its predecessor but in some ways less encumbered, this book can certainly be recommended. Set apart from her more radical experimental writing, it is approachable and a good read. Recommended -- though we also recommend that The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (see our review) be read first.

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Reviews: Gertrude Stein:
  • Other works by Gertrude Stein under review: Other books of interest under review:

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    About the Author:

           American author Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) is best known for works such as The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and Three Lives. She was an influential literary figure who spent much of her life in Europe.

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