Djuna Barnes, Nightwood, London: Faber and Faber, 1936; New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1937

  1. Christopher MacGowan

Published Online: 24 FEB 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch47

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook

How to Cite

MacGowan, C. (2011) Djuna Barnes, Nightwood, London: Faber and Faber, 1936; New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1937, in The Twentieth-Century American Fiction Handbook, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444393675.ch47

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 FEB 2012
  2. Published Print: 21 JAN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405160230

Online ISBN: 9781444393675

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Keywords:

  • Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (1937);
  • Nightwood, published in second half of 1930s - its story set in the 1920s, Paris and Berlin of the American expatriates;
  • Nightwood's complexly told narrative - of a lesbian love triangle, rejected by every publisher in the United States;
  • Eliot, struck by Doctor O'Connor's - furious and despairing monologues;
  • revival of interest in Barnes's work - in the 1970s, firmly establishing Nightwood, among the most important American novels of the century;
  • younger version of Doctor O'Connor, in Barnes's 1928 novel Ryder - in Nightwood, capable of much deeper feeling and suffering;
  • part of appeal to Robin of each of the three lovers - sympathy for the transformations of identity and performance that might match her own;
  • doctor's account of the night, what the Americans find unfulfilling - about the country that they leave behind in order to live in Paris;
  • emotions of loss, associated with degrees of obsession about the past;
  • each character's response to loss and despair - itself a performance, one played out amidst the artifice of false titles, aristocratic and medical and fluid gender identities

Summary

This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Bibliography