Paris: Plain Edition, . First Edition. One of 500 copies in this limited release printing from the press run by Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas. A Fine, clean and unworn copy in original tan paper wrappers. Housed in the original slipcase of the same material, which shows minimal shelfwear. An exceptionally pleasing copy of a book that tends to show its age.
"Where oh where is the man to publish me in series?" Gertrude Stein reportedly asked in 1916, after the release of her first book. Frustrated that her reputation as an art collector preceeded her rank as an author, Stein founded Plain Edition in 1930 to reconfigure her role among the Modernists. "The Plain Edition Books were the first over which she could exercise significant control. Stein self-published by necessity, but gaining power over the physical production of her books had a significant by-product...as the publisher of the Plain Edition, Stein could make creative decisions about what her books would look like, how many copies to print, and where to distribute them" (Stone). Of the five books Plain Edition released, Operas and Plays was the penultimate; and it provided Stein a space to practice "a new dramaturgy, beginning with the pictorial conception of a play as a landscape...She made punctuation and typography part of her compositional style and chose words for their joyful impact as sound and wordplay" (Marranca). Such experimentation was only possible because Stein had the ability to check and revise her own work at Plain Edition, taking on the roles of author, editor, and publisher. An important literary and physical document of Modernism. Fine (Item #2224)