Full text: The little review (8 (1922), 2)

30 
managed to attract attention to herself, get herself discussed in 
the newspapers, become for a time a figure in our hurried, har 
ried lives. 
My brother, as it turned out, had not been satisfied with the 
explanation of Miss Stein’s work then current in America and 
so he bought “Tender Buttons” and brought it to me and we sat 
for a time reading the strange sentences. “It gives words an 
oddly new intimate flavor and at the same time makes familiar 
words seem almost like strangers, doesn’t it,” he said. What my 
brother did, you see, was to set my mind going on the book and 
then, leaving it on my table, he went away. 
And now, after these years, and after having sat with Miss 
Stein by her own fire in the rue de Fleurus in Paris, I am asked 
to write something by way of introduction to a new book she is 
about to issue. 
As there is in America an impression of Miss Stein’s person 
ality, not at all true and rather foolishly romantic, I would like 
first of all to brush that aside. I had myself heard stories of a 
long dark room with a languid woman lying on a couch, smoking 
cigarettes, sipping absinthe perhaps and looking out upon the 
world with tired disdainful eyes. Now and then she rolled her 
head slowly to one side and uttered a few words, taken down by 
a secretary who approached the couch with trembling eagerness 
to catch the falling pearls. 
You will perhaps understand something of my own surprise 
and delight when, after having been fed up on such tales and 
rather Tom Sawyerishly hoping they might be true, I was taken 
to her to find instead of this languid impossibility a woman of 
striking vigour, a subtle and powerful mind, a discrimination 
in the arts such as I have found in no other American born man 
or woman and a charmingly brilliant conversationalist. 
‘Surprise and delight,’ did I say. Well, you see, my feeling is 
something like this. Since Miss Stein’s work was first brought 
to my attention I have been thinking of it as the most important 
pioneer work done in the field of letters in my time. The loud 
guffaws of the general that must inevitably follow the bringing 
forward of more of her work do not irritate me but I would 
like it if writers, and particularly younger writers, would come
	        

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