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Djuna Barnes

Her life, and who's talking about her!
by

Samuel Protich

on 14 April 2010

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Transcript of Djuna Barnes

Zadel Barnes----Henry Budington Elizabeth Barnes----Henry "Wald Barnes----Fanny Barnes Thurn (1890)
Djuna (1892)
Zendon (1900)
Saxon (1902)
Shangar (1904) Muriel (1899)
Duane (1902)
Buan (1904)
Sheila (1906) Djuna Has Two Mommies Preoccupation its own Predicament
Log cabin, polygamy, sexual abuse, and gaudy letters
1910: Percy Faulkner: First “Husband”
1912: The Pratt Institute
July: Elizabeth leaves Wald
November: Wald marries Fanny Subject/Object of Interest
1913: Free lance journalism and interviews
1914-1916: affair and engagement to Ernst “Putzi” Hanfstaengl
1915-1916: Art Students League of New York
1915: Moves to Greenwich Village
November: "A Book of Repulsive Women"
1917-1919: “Common law” marriage with Courtenay Lemon La Somnambule
1921: McCall’s sends Djuna to Paris
Meets Thelma Woods
1922: James Joyce interview, Vanity Fair
1923: "A Book" published
Lives with Thelma and meets Mina Loy
1928: "Ryder" and "Ladies Almanac"
1929: Djuna and Thelma separate
1931: Charles Henri Ford
1933-1936: Lives in New York
1936: "Nightwood" Barnes' Aesthetic and Themes
Journalism and visual art as novelistic tools
Peculiarity of the everyday
Banality alongside seediness
Frozen motion, eternal irresolution
"Infected with the past"--geneaology, autobiography
"Nightwood": Thelma as Robin;
Barnes as Nora, Robin;
Charles as hybrid of Felix and Robin? Sexuality and Long-Term Affairs
“I was never a lesbian—I only loved Thelma Wood”
Thelma Wood
Twenty- one and poor when she met Djuna
Reminded Djuna of Zadel
Drank too much
1924 hospitalization
Infidelities
Affair with Henriette Metcalf
Charles Henri Ford
Twenty-one when he met Djuna
"The Young and the Evil"
Loved Gertrude Stein
Supported Djuna through appendectomy
Traveled to Munich, Vienna, and Budapest
Djuna’s pregnancy

Contemporary Reception
Readers' reaction to Barnes' impenetrability
T.S. Eliot bestows "Nightwood's" title, reputation
Barnes' creative insecurities, relationship
with Eliot as mentor
Dylan Thomas: identifies both the text's luridness and its lyricism as critical preoccupations
Alcoholism and Obscurity
1933-1936: Lives in New York
1938: Alcoholism gets very serious
1939: Peggy Guggenheim takes Djuna to a nursing home for treatment
1940: Lives with Emily Coleman in Arizona
In September returns to Greenwich Village
1959: Elected to National Institute of Arts and Letters
1968: Double hernia operation
1970: Part of large intestine and gallbladder removed
1982: Dies on June 19 Barnes' "Reclamation"
Consequences of Eliot's Introduction:
Barnes as "one-book writer"
Frequent exclusion from discussion of
20th-cent. novel
1970s "reclamation" effected by male writers,
placing her in context with High Modernists
(Joyce, Eliot) DJUNA BARNES
Full transcript