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- DescriptionNightwood, Djuna Barnes' strange and sinuous tour de force, belongs to that small class of books that somehow reflect a time or an epoch (Times Literary Supplement). That time is the period between the two World Wars, and Barnes' vel unfolds in the decadent shadows of Europe's great cities, Paris, Berlin, and Vienna-a world in which the boundaries of class, religion, and sexuality are bold but surprisingly porous. The outsized characters who inhabit this world are some of the most memorable in all of fiction-there is Guido Volkbein, the Wandering Jew and son of a self-proclaimed baron; Robin Vote, the American expatriate who marries him and then engages in a series of affairs, first with Nora Flood and then with Jenny Petherbridge, driving all of her lovers to distraction with her passion for wandering alone in the night; and there is Dr. Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O'Conr, a transvestite and ostensible gynecologist, whose digressive speeches brim with fury, keen insights, and surprising allusions. Barnes' depiction of these characters and their relationships (Nora says, A man is ather persona woman is yourself, caught as you turn in panic; on her mouth you kiss your own ) has made the vel a landmark of feminist and lesbian literature. Most striking of all is Barnes' unparalleled stylistic invation, which led T. S. Eliot to proclaim the book so good a vel that only sensibilities trained on poetry can wholly appreciate it. Now with a new preface by Jeanette Winterson, Nightwood still crackles with the same electric charge it had on its first publication in 1936.
- Author BiographyDjuna Barnes (1892-1982) was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, and worked as a journalist in New York before leaving the country to spend many years in Paris and London. She returned to New York in 1941, and lived in Greenwich Village until her death. Jeanette Winterson is the author of nine novels, including Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (which won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel), Lighthousekeeping, Sexing the Cherry, and Weight. T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) was one of the fathers of modernism and a defining voice in English-language poetry. He is the author of some of the best known poems in the English language, including The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets. The leading poet of the modernist avant-garde, Eliot radically reimagined the possibilities for literature in the twentieth century and beyond, and was also renowned as a playwright and as a literary and social critic. Eliot's books of criticism include The Sacred Wood, while his theatrical works include Murder in the Cathedral. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1948.
- Author(s)Djuna Barnes
- PublisherNew Directions Publishing Corporation
- Date of Publication06/09/2006
- SubjectGeneral & Literary Fiction
- Place of PublicationNew York
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintNew Directions Publishing Corporation
- Weight210 g
- Width134 mm
- Height203 mm
- Spine15 mm
- Introduction byT. S. Eliot
- Edition StatementNew edition
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