This article focuses on Gertrude Stein’s 1927 opera Four Saints in Three Acts, which takes a pair of baroque saints for its protagonists and which debuted in a 1934 production replete with deliberate citations of baroque stage design, gesture, and visual art – details that have gone almost entirely unacknowledged in the past several decades’ scholarship on Stein. It recovers these forgotten production details by juxtaposing a reading of Stein’s text and performance theories with Walter Benjamin’s vision of baroque theatre as articulated in The Origin of German Trauerspiel. Interpreting Stein’s methods within the frame of baroque theatrical allegory, it suggests Stein’s situation within a larger tradition of baroque modernism. It argues that Stein found, within the concept of the baroque, a productive means of challenging norms of representation across a wide array of registers – linguistic, aesthetic, sexual, racial, and historiographic.


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pp. 347-369
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