2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the original publication of Gertrude Stein’s groundbreaking modernist classic, Tender Buttons. This centennial edition is the first and only version to incorporate Stein’s own handwritten corrections?found in a first-edition copy at the University of Colorado?as well as corrections discovered among her papers at the Beinecke Library at Yale University. Editor Seth Perlow has assembled a text with over one hundred emendations, resulting in the first version of Tender Buttons that truly reflects its author’s intentions. These changes are detailed in Perlow’s “Note on the Text,” which describes the editorial process and lists the specific variants for the benefit of future scholars. The book includes facsimile images of some of Stein’s handwritten edits and lists of corrections, as well as an afterword by noted contemporary poet and scholar Juliana Spahr. A compact, attractive edition suitable for general readers as well as scholars, Tender Buttons: The Corrected Centennial Edition is unique among the available versions of this classic text and is destined to become the standard.
Gertrude Stein (1874?1946) was one of the most important and innovative American writers of literary modernism, as well as one of the great art collectors and salon hosts of the period. A pioneering lesbian writer, Stein lived most of her life in Paris but became a celebrity in the United States with the publication of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933).
Seth Perlow teaches English at Oklahoma State University.
Juliana Spahr teaches writing at Mills College.
“Tender Buttons was recently reissued by City Lights Books, to mark the centennial of a volume that broke language barriers, acknowledging hungers to see more. It challenged with inspired daring.”–Barbara Berman, The Rumpus
“For the centennial of this masterpiece, Seth Perlow has given us much the best edition of the poem, based on Stein’s manuscript and corrections she made to the first edition. Punctuation, spelling, format, and a few phrases are affected and most especially the change in the capitalization of the section titles. ‘The difference is spreading.'”–Charles Bernstein, University of Pennsylvania, author of Attack of the Difficult Poems: Essays and Inventions
“Happy 100th birthday, TENDER BUTTONS. You are as explosive, tantalizing, and delicious as you were on the day you were born. Your birthday gift from Seth Perlow and Juliana Spahr is a beautiful new edition that will carry you into your next century, the best edition ever. Your birthday gift from all of us who love literature and culture is to buy this edition for ourselves and all our friends. Congratulations to all.”–Catharine R. Stimpson, Professor, New York University, and co-editor of the two-volume Gertrude Stein: Writings published by the Library of America
?The publication of an authoritative edition of Tender Buttons, with Stein’s hitherto unpublished corrections and editions, is a splendid way to celebrate the centennial of this influential modernist work. Scholars will benefit from the full documentation, and readers will appreciate its convenient format, which resembles the original publication.?–Jonathan Culler, Cornell University
“This radical multi-dimensional generative cubist text with the simplest words imaginable continues to alter and shape poetics into the post post modernist future. We have Gertrude Stein’s ‘mind grammar’ operating at full tilt, with unpredictability, wit and sensory prevarication. Look to the ‘minutes particulars,’ Blake admonished, and here she does just that: ‘it is a winning cake.’ Salvos to the editor and salient ‘afterword’ that give belletristic notes and political perspective as well. A unique edition.”–Anne Waldman, The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics