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Nightwood (Faber Fiction Classics) Paperback – 9 Apr 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Export ed edition (9 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571209289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571209286
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.2 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 538,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Djuna Barnes was born in 1892 in Cornwall-on-Hudson in New York State. In 1912 she enrolled as a student at Pratt Institute and then at the Art Students' League, and while she was there she started to work as a reporter and illustrator for the Brooklyn Eagle. In 1921 she moved to Paris, where she lived for almost twenty years and wrote for such publications as Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. Nightwood, written in 1936, was her second novel. It is now considered a masterpiece, praised by T. S. Eliot for its 'great achievement of a style, the beauty of phrasing, the brilliance of wit and characterization, and a quality of horror and doom very nearly related to that of Elizabethan tragedy'. Her other works include A Book, a collection of short stories, poems and one-act plays; a satirical novel, Ladies Almanack; and a verse play, The Antiphon. She died in New York in 1982.

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First Sentence
Early in 1880, in spite of a well-founded suspicion as to the advisability of perpetuating that race which has the sanction of the Lord and the disapproval of the people, Hedvig Volkbein-a Viennese woman of great strength and military beauty, lying upon a canopied bed of a rich spectacular crimson, the valance stamped with the bifurcated wings of the House of Hapsburg, the feather coverlet an envelope of satin on which, in massive and tarnished gold threads, stood the Volkbein arms-gave birth, at the age of forty-five, to an only child, a son, seven days after her physician predicted that she would be taken. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By nestingdoll on 7 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
Having just finished it, I completely loved Nightwood, being the type of reader that goes heavily for imagery and metaphor, and found it one of the most exciting, fascinating books I've ever read, like the warped love-child of Virginia Woolf and Charlotte Brontë. Challenging, yes, but I found it much more accessible than, say, Ulysses, which I never could get on with. I just let it wash over me. Vital, visual, unique; can only say that I found it breathtaking. I have read modernist writers before, so might be accustomed to oddities, but do not be scared off; it's writing that's alive and wild, and good grief, it's brilliant. I liked the way it takes the imagination into new and strange places, with such energy. This is what I read for.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Creelan on 23 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a remarkable read, for so many reasons; the language, the characters and the journey. Yes it is about three women and their sexual and emotional relationships and the men that circle around them, but about a deal more. The narrator of sorts is the Dr, happy as he is a charlatan of his own creation provides telling insights and amazing turns of phrase. Definetly one to make you think and want to re-read.
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20 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Jan. 2001
Format: Hardcover
In Nightwood there is a purposeful distortion of biographical facts. The past is based on self-deception and self-forgetfulness. The characters speak about their identity as if it were something they are trying to lose by constantly forgetting and reformulating who they are. Felix begins the novel with a past that is admitted to be one based upon deceit. Instead of trying to clarify it, he is compelled to associate with men and women of the theatre who have assumed titles that are equally false. By absorbing himself in this community of carnival freaks, he is able to relieve himself of the need to technically defend the presentation of his identity and he is able to more fully believe in the illusion himself. It is apparent that his assumed identity is no less true than the one that has been given to him through inheritance. An implied assertion is made through his actions that an understanding of identity cannot be achieved by either historical or self-evaluative means. The reaction, then, is to cast the notion of one's own identity out away from oneself as something to be created externally. This effect is illuminated upon in Dr. O'Connor's speech about the continual process of the night: Let a man lay himself down in the Great Bed and his ' identity' is no longer his own, his 'trust' is not with him, and his 'willingness' is turned over and is of another permission. His distress is wild and anonymous. He sleeps in a Town of Darkness, member of a secret brotherhood. He neither knows himself nor his outriders; he berserks a fearful dimension and dismounts, miraculously, in bed! By giving oneself over to the "Night", you dispel with the responsibility for your own identity.Read more ›
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