Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes

Djuna 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.


Fiction by Djuna Barnes

With a contribution by T. S. Eliot Jeanette Winterson

Nightwood, Djuna Barnes’ strange and sinuous tour de force, “belongs to that small class of books that somehow reflect a time or an epoch” (TLS). 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.…
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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.
—Elizabeth Hardwick
A novel of extraordinary and appalling force, a study of moral degeneration recited in a rhetoric so intensely wrought, so violent and so artificial, that it… became a kind of symbol of sinister magnificence.
New York Times
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