Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Nightwood

Djuna Barnes's Nightwood is a book I keep coming across at various places but have never picked up. This week's Guardian review has a brief appreciation by Jeanette Winterson:

Certain texts work in homeopathic dilutions; that is, nano-amounts effect significant change over long periods of time. Djuna Barnes's Nightwood is not much more than a couple of hundred pages long, and more people have heard about it than have read it. Reading it is mainly the preserve of academics and students. Others have a vague sense that it is a modernist text, that TS Eliot adored it, that Dylan Thomas called it "one of the three major prose works by a woman" (accept the compliment to Barnes, ignore the insult directed elsewhere), that the work is an important milestone on any map of gay literature - even though, like all the best books, its power makes a nonsense of any categorisation, especially of gender or sexuality.
I have put it on my next to-read list now. Will fit in with my "more women-writers reading program" too. And I have got Ingeborg Bachmann's The Book of Franza and Requiem for Fanny Goldman too. Will try to get into it over the weekend.

8 comments:

antonia said...

it's an extraordinary wonderful intense book, the review is good too and Dr. O'Connor is one of the greatest characters in literature. it's one of my all time favourites.

Alok said...

wow, I am going to locate a copy as soon as possible now.

nico said...

How wonderful. It is also one of my favorites. Remeber Dr. O'Connor hiding beneath the sheets trying to conceal his night-gown! And the dialogues? How great that you're including these on your list. I also got Bachmann's, that's the only one I haven't read. About J. Winterson, I have read all her books and enjoy them a lot, but to tell you the truth, I don't consider her very literary. That's for another discussion! Good luck kiddos!

Alok said...

I did read Winterson's written on the body a few years back but I was somehow bored stiff with it. It has some quirky musings but the whole thing looked and felt lightweight and shallow.

antonia said...

yes dr O'Connor and his nightgown..but much more I love his johnnywalker-wisdom...the dialogues are great...found somehting similar only and then only on occasions in Lowry's vulcano again
I like Winterson too, butprefer Bachmann and Barnes

antonia said...

http://www.studiocleo.com/librarie/barnes/djunabarnes.html

http://www.leftbankreview.com/profiles/DjunaBarnes.html

Antonia said...

I am rubbish with inserting links,tellme when they dont work and i mail them to you.

Alok said...

hey, thanks for the links! I have got the book too from the library.