Djuna Barnes Nightwood (New Edition)

ISBN 13: 9780811216715

Nightwood (New Edition)

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9780811216715: Nightwood (New Edition)
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The fiery and enigmatic masterpiece―one of the greatest novels of the Modernist era.

Nightwood, 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' novel 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'Connor, 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 another persona woman is yourself, caught as you turn in panic; on her mouth you kiss your own") has made the novel a landmark of feminist and lesbian literature.

Most striking of all is Barnes' unparalleled stylistic innovation, which led T. S. Eliot to proclaim the book "so good a novel 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.

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Review:

Nightwood is not only a classic of lesbian literature, but was also acknowledged by no less than T. S. Eliot as one of the great novels of the 20th century. Eliot admired Djuna Barnes' rich, evocative language. Lesbian readers will admire the exquisite craftsmanship and Barnes' penetrating insights into obsessive passion. Barnes told a friend that Nightwood was written with her own blood "while it was still running." That flowing wound was the breakup of an eight-year relationship with the lesbian love of her life.

From the Inside Flap:

Admired by T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Graham Greene, and Dylan Thomas, Djuna Barnes was the most influential and prolific female writer in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s. The Modern Library is proud to include--for the first time--her most critically acclaimed novel, Nightwood, which was praised by The Washington Post Book World as "a masterpiece of modernism." Dorothy Allison, author of the National Book Award-nominated novel Bastard Out of Carolina, has written an Introduction especially for this edition, in which she defends Nightwood as a lesbian classic.
        
First published in the United States in 1937, Nightwood is a novel of bold imagining and passionate, lyrical prose. Described by the author as the soliloquy of "a soul talking to itself in the heart of the night," the novel creates a dreamlike world in which time ceases to exist and in which human beings transform into animals. At Nightwood's center are the love affairs of Robin Vote--a character based on Barnes's lover, Thelma Wood. Robin marries Felix Volkbein, an eccentric aristocrat, whom she meets in Paris, and whom she abandons years later for the American Nora Flood. But Nora cannot contain Robin, either, and Robin in turn deserts her for the larcenous Jenny Petherbridge. Rich in irony and symbolism, Nightwood brilliantly depicts the all-consuming power of erotic obsession in language that twists and turns, drawing the reader into a labyrinth of meaning and revelation. This edition also includes T. S. Eliot's Introduction to the 1937 American edition.
        
Elizabeth Hardwick wrote, "Djuna Barnes is a writer of wild and original gifts. . . .To her name there is always to be attached the splendor of Nightwood, a lasting achievement of her great gifts and eccentricities---her passionate prose and, in this case, a genuineness of human passions."

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780571235285: Nightwood

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ISBN 10:  057123528X ISBN 13:  9780571235285
Publisher: Faber and Faber, 2007
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9780679640240: Nightwood (Modern Library)

Modern..., 2000
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9780571322862: Nightwood: Faber Modern Classics

FABER ..., 2015
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9780811200059: Nightwood

New Di..., 1961
Softcover

9780571209286: Nightwood (Faber Classics) (Faber Fiction Classics)

Faber ..., 2001
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