Copywriting Gertrude Stein: advertising, anonymity, autobiography

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article traces the parallel, though in some ways inverted, early careers of Gertrude Stein and Helen Woodward: one a celebrated but little-read modernist author and the other a widely-read but largely anonymous copywriter. The first section draws comparisons between early twentieth-century changes in advertising copy and Stein’s literary innovations, focusing on the techniques used by Stein and copywriters like Woodward to direct attention to ordinary objects or promote branded products by appealing to the individual reader’s experience and subjectivity. The second section goes on to consider the contrasting definitions and public expectations of the author within the contexts of high modernism and modern advertising, respectively. The article concludes with brief analysis of the techniques of attribution, promotion and anonymity within the autobiographies of these two writers, suggesting that the contrast in approaches to life writing were largely due to how creative and corporate authors held highly contrasting public positions in early twentieth-century America.
Original languageEnglish
JournalModernist Cultures
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2016

Fingerprint

Anonymity
Gertrude Stein
Autobiography
Copywriter
Life-writing
Writer
Attribution
High Modernism
Innovation
Reader
Modernist
Subjectivity

Keywords

  • Popular culture
  • celebrity
  • Modernism
  • life writing
  • Helen Woodward
  • Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas

Cite this

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title = "Copywriting Gertrude Stein: advertising, anonymity, autobiography",
abstract = "This article traces the parallel, though in some ways inverted, early careers of Gertrude Stein and Helen Woodward: one a celebrated but little-read modernist author and the other a widely-read but largely anonymous copywriter. The first section draws comparisons between early twentieth-century changes in advertising copy and Stein’s literary innovations, focusing on the techniques used by Stein and copywriters like Woodward to direct attention to ordinary objects or promote branded products by appealing to the individual reader’s experience and subjectivity. The second section goes on to consider the contrasting definitions and public expectations of the author within the contexts of high modernism and modern advertising, respectively. The article concludes with brief analysis of the techniques of attribution, promotion and anonymity within the autobiographies of these two writers, suggesting that the contrast in approaches to life writing were largely due to how creative and corporate authors held highly contrasting public positions in early twentieth-century America.",
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Copywriting Gertrude Stein: advertising, anonymity, autobiography. / Rosenquist, Rod.

In: Modernist Cultures, Vol. 11, No. 3, 26.10.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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