Djuna: The Life and Work of Djuna Barnes

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She was a familiar figure in Greenwich Village and Left Bank literary and lesbian circles during the teens, twenties, and thirties. Admired by her contemporaries for her wickedly incisive wit as well as for her great beauty and style, Djuna Barnes 1892-1982 consorted with the likes of Berenice Abbott, Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl, Natalie Barney, Mina Loy, James Joyce, Peggy Guggenheim, Kay Boyle, Emily Coleman, Ezra Pound, and Dag Hammarskjold. T. S. Eliot, who was among her greatest admirers, sponsored the ...
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Hardcover New 0670849693 As new condition, hardcover 1995, FIRST EDITION, slt rubbing to clean dust jacket in brodart, no wear to cloth cover, text tight and crisp without ... marks. Read more Show Less

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Overview

She was a familiar figure in Greenwich Village and Left Bank literary and lesbian circles during the teens, twenties, and thirties. Admired by her contemporaries for her wickedly incisive wit as well as for her great beauty and style, Djuna Barnes 1892-1982 consorted with the likes of Berenice Abbott, Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl, Natalie Barney, Mina Loy, James Joyce, Peggy Guggenheim, Kay Boyle, Emily Coleman, Ezra Pound, and Dag Hammarskjold. T. S. Eliot, who was among her greatest admirers, sponsored the publication of Barnes's most famous work, the novel Nightwood. Yet even in her lifetime Djuna Barnes's fanatic privacy made her the most elusive of modern writers. At last, Joyce scholar Phillip Herring has written a sensitive and lively in-depth portrait of the woman Dylan Thomas considered one of our greatest female novelists.

A familiar figure in Greenwich Village and Left Bank literary and lesbian circles during the teens, '20s, and '30s, Djuna Barnes was a witty and beautiful writer befriended by James Joyce and sponsored by T.S. Eliot. Yet even in her lifetime, her fanatic privacy made her the most elusive of modern writers. Herring writes the first biography in more than ten years of this "Garbo of letters." of photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This critical biography illuminates Barnes's brilliant but often enigmatic writings with a wealth of information culled from new interviews with her brother and from her personal papers. A professor of modernist literature at the University of Wisconsin, Herring traces her creative influences to gain a greater understanding of her writing, elucidating the ways in which her unusual life shaped her literary genius. Herring's portrait of the artist as a young woman focuses on the close and sexualized relationship Barnes had with her grandmother Zadel, a poet and an exuberant proponent of free love. Zadel has alternately been seen by other biographers as Barnes's corrupter and as her feminist protector against patriarchal authority, but Herring avoids such unequivocal judgments by interpreting Zadel's ideas and character primarily as fodder for the fictions. While this method of biographical criticism fosters occasionally presumptuous speculations about the relationship between the life and work, Djuna is a fascinating study of this elusive author whose admirers included T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Following close on the heels of the publication of a recently restored edition of Barnes's classic Nightwood, Djuna is a valuable contribution to the growing body of Barnes scholarship. Nov.
Library Journal
Frustrated by his futile attempts to understand Barnes's complex, poetic, satirical novel Nightwood 1936 and by the lack of a sufficient biography on the author, literary scholar Herring explored private papers and manuscripts and contacted family and acquaintances of Barnes to provide this in-depth intimate portrait of the individual and her work. It is the first comprehensive biography of American modernist Barnes 1892-1982, poet, journalist, dramatist, fiction writer, and artist. Delving into the details of Barnes's bizarre, tumultuous life, Herring portrays her family, who believed in sexual freedom; her passionate love affairs with men and women; and her depression, alcoholism, and poverty. He also relates Barnes's professional relationships with publishers and writers, such as T.S. Eliot, and their responses to the works of this ingenious writer. Readers will feel they know the character and person of Barnes intimately and will come to a better understanding of her writings.-Jeris Cassel, Rutgers Univ. Libs., New Brunswick, N.J.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670849697
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/28/1995
  • Pages: 386
  • Product dimensions: 6.33 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.33 (d)

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