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529   Gertrude Stein  $200 $347 $382 7 You must login to place a bid.
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#529 - Gertrude Stein Estimate: $1,000+

Lengthy letter from Stein to her publisher, Bennett Cerf—"It might be a universal bed-side book, that is what it ought to be"

ALS signed “Gtde,” eight pages, 5.5 x 8.5, Bilignin letterhead, [October 26, 1936]. Lengthy letter to her famous publisher Bennett Cerf, in part: "No sooner had my last letter gone than the books came they came this morning and what books I cannot tell begin how delightful how perfect how enchanting and how complete they are, everything is just right. First your blurb, which made us giggle and be so pleased, it was just right and just you, it was just that new thing in blurbs that blurbs needed, it's just as sweet as you are, and that is mighty sweet, then Alice was touched to the heart in the nice way that the Plain Edition was mentioned, and I think the way the title is printed down inside and out is one of the best things ever been done, then the binding is charming and the book…soft and pleasant…Please tell everybody in the office that I think they have made quite a wonderful thing in book-making and please thank them all for me, then I liked your notice of the new book, I am at present wandering from Chinese servants in France to my youth in California…I do think that Thornton Wilder wrote you the right introduction and last my text, which I do not like and which if only they all will feel that way about it might be a universal bed-side book, that is what it ought to be and I would have it to be…As long as the sun shines here and it is shining we will stay on but once it starts to rain and it will start to rain we will quit for Paris, and so much love to you Bennett and so much thanks and once again thanks and thanks to all always." In fine condition.

The book Stein refers to is The Geographical History of America or the Relation of Human Nature to the Human Mind, which features an introduction by Thornton Wilder. The work consists of prose pieces, dialogues, philosophical meditations, and playlets by Stein, who explores the differences between the human mind and human nature, while also elaborating on concepts of identity, landscape, presence, and composition. The French hamlet of Bilignin, located in Belley, Ain, served as a summer home for Stein and her life partner Alice B. Toklas, and then, with the outbreak of World War II, a safe haven for the couple as they escaped persecution.

Stein’s mention of her “youth in California” is also significant; upon returning to her hometown of Oakland, Stein discovered that her neighborhood had been razed and replaced with an industrial park. In the 1937 book Everybody's Autobiography, Stein voiced her home’s lack of recognition with the famous line, ‘There is no there there.’ Two years before the release of her highly successful The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Stein and Toklas undertook their own publishing venture entitled The Plain Edition, which was ‘an Edition of first Editions of all the work not yet published of Gertrude Stein.’ This is the lengthiest letter from Stein we have offered, with its notable recipient and host of personal associations making it all the more rare and desirable. Accompanied by a 1936 hardcover copy of The Geographical History of America by Random House.

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