The first publisher of Tender Buttons described the book's effect on readers as "something like terror, there are no known precedents to cling to." Written in pencil in a small notebook and barely revised after its first composition, the text caused a sensation and was widely reviewed and discussed on its publication. This edition of Gertrude Stein's transformative work immerses the text in its cultural context. The most opaque of modernist texts, Tender Buttons also had modernism's most voluminous and varied response.
This Broadview Edition uses the response to Tender Buttons as a way of understanding this spectacular moment in publishing history. Stein's text is published alongside its parodies, defenses, publicity brochure, and selections from the hundreds of responses to it in American daily newspapers, which placed it in the context of Cubism, fashion shows, and celebrity culture.