Self-published in 1914, Tender Buttons is one of the volumes that solidified Gertrude Stein's reputation as a writer. Dividing the book into the three sections of Objects, Food, and Rooms, Stein attempts to form images using repetition and disjointed words. As the average person will find that it makes no sense at all, Stein's exercise in automatic writing remains in the realm of the literati. Though Tender Buttons might result in frustration at first glance, readers who come to understand her methods and the purpose behind these poetic morsels will enjoy Stein's spare style, which inspired a generation of writers is one of her most personal attempts at minimalist writing. It conflates the visual medium of writing with rhythmic and rhyming aural sensations. Give it time. Pick it up. Put it down. Pick it up again. You'll be glad that you did.
About the Author
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was an American-Jewish writer, poet and art collector who spent most of her life in France. While living in Paris, Gertrude began writing for publication. Her earliest writings were mainly retellings of her college experiences. Her first critically acclaimed publication was Three Lives. Sherwood Anderson in his public introduction to Stein's 1922 publication of Geography and Plays wrote: "For me the work of Gertrude Stein consists in a rebuilding, an entirely new recasting of life, in the city of words. Here is one artist who has been able to accept ridicule, who has even forgone the privilege of writing the great American novel, uplifting our English speaking stage, and wearing the bays of the great poets to go live among the little housekeeping words, the swaggering bullying street-corner words, the honest working, money saving words and all the other forgotten and neglected citizens of the sacred and half forgotten city.