The Making of Americans is a modernist novel that traces the genealogy, history, and psychological development of members of the fictional Hersland and Dehning families. Being ostensibly a history of three generations of and everyone they knew or knew them, the novel is a philosophical and poetic meditation on identity, on what it means to be human living an everyday, mundane life. Gertrude Stein (1874–1946) was an American novelist, poet, playwright and art collector, best known for Three Lives, The Making of Americans and Tender Buttons. Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life. Picasso and Cubism were an important influence on Stein's writing. Her works are compared to James Joyce's Ulysses and to Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.