“Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice”– looking at Stein and Alice B.

Malcolm, Janet.” Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice”, Yale University Press, 2007.

Looking at Stein and Alice B.

Amos Lassen

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas are two of the first lesbian heroes we have. They were out long before being gay was even considered anything but a mental disease. In Janet Malcolm’s “Two Lives”, we get an in depth look at the two icons.

It’s a short book but filled with a lot of information and the two women come across in an entirely new way.

We learn of Stein’s fling with fascism and that she was a Republican. However, we also learn that she did not fully understand all that she did. Stein was very sexual while Toklas was a bit more subdued. We also learn that both women were Jewish but did not talk about it much and one of the questions I have always had about Stein is still unanswered and that is if her Jewish roots had any effect on her writing.

The book is beautifully written and holds interest—so much so, that I read it in one sitting.

Questions are asked but not completely answered—the pondering is left to the reader.

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