Gertrude Stein wanted Ida to be known in two ways: as a novel about a woman in the age of celebrity culture and as a text with its own story to tell. With the publication of this workshop edition of Ida, we have the novel exactly as it was published in 1941, and we also have the full record of its creation. Logan Esdale offers informative critical commentary and judiciously selected archival materials to illuminate Stein’s experience of authorship from the novel’s beginning in early summer 1937, through the various drafts and negotiations with her publisher, to the reviews that greeted the book’s publication. Stein’s careful and systematic preservation of all Ida-related materials for her archive at the Yale University Library was a conscious decision, and an invitation for us to study the complexity of her creative process.
Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) was born in Allegheny, PA, of German-Jewish immigrants. She moved to Paris in 1903 and lived in France for the rest of her life. She published Ida: A Novel in 1941, eight years after she became famous for her best-selling Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. Logan Esdale teaches at California State University, Long Beach.