Djuna: The Life and Work of Djuna Barnes

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9780140178425: Djuna: The Life and Work of Djuna Barnes

An in-depth biography of Djuna Barnes (1892-1992), a familiar figure in Greenwich Village and Left Bank literary and lesbian circles during the 1920s and 1930s. Mostly remembered for her novel "Nightwood", she wrote many poems, plays and stories now all but forgotten, as are her drawings and paintings. The book explores Djuna Barnes's family life, including her possibly erotic relationship with her feminist and spiritualist grandmother, and her relationship with her bigamist father (who, some critics claim, may have sexually abused her). There are also chapters on her years as a journalist, and on the writing and publication of "Nightwood".

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From 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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review:

The life and work of Djuna Barnes is reviewed in a literary coverage which is anything but dry: her bizarre life, beginning with a lecherous father and a spiritualist grandmother and moving through affairs with both men and women, served as a backdrop for many of her works. Enjoy a strong account of one woman's genius and discoveries in a title which links biography with literary evolution. --Midwest Book Review

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Herring, Phillip
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