A Vocabulary of Thinking

Gertrude Stein and Contemporary
North American Women's
Innovative Writing

Copyright 2007 University of Iowa Press

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Using experimental style as a framework for close readings produced by late twentieth-century North American women, Dr. Mix places Gertrude Stein at the center of a feminist and multicultural account of twentieth-century innovative writing. Her meticulously argued work maps literary affiliations that connect Stein to the work of Harryette Mulle, Daphne Marlatt, Betsy Warland, Lyn Hejinian, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. By distinguishing a vocabulary - which is flexible, evolving, and simultaneously individual and communal - from a lexicon which is recorded, fixed, and carries the burden of masculine authority - Dr. Mix argues that Stein's experimentalism both enables and demands the complex responses of these authors.

Arguing that these authors have received relatively little attention because of the difficulty in categorizing them, Mix brings the writing of women of color, lesbians, and collaborative writers into the discussion of experimental writing. Thus, rather than exploring conventional lines of influence, Dr. Mix departs from earlier scholarship by using Stein and her work as a lens through which to read the ways these authors have renegotiated tradition, authority, and innovation.