From the time of her arrival in Paris in 1903 until her death in 1946, Stein strove to be a central figure in modern literature. She directed a movement that broke with the past and sought fresh forms of literary expression. A bold explorer of prose, she broke away from the nineteenth century’s reliance on plot, character, and conventional description to demonstrate how awareness and identity could be evoked through simple words. She deliberately chose an unliterary style and emphasized the power of words by arranging them in unusual ways.
Although her autobiographical works about France are best remembered, Stein left her mark on modern literature through her influence on writers such as Hemingway and Anderson. The cadence and artlessness of much contemporary writing echoes her early experiments in modern prose.