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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   Djuna Barnes's 'Nightwood' (86 comments)

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  •  I'm glad my gnashing of teeth made someone smile. (4+ / 0-)
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    RiveroftheWest, Youffraita, suka, micsimov

    What can I do? Life lashes me, puts lime and salt in the wound - I make margaritas.

    As T. S. Eliot put it:

    To say that Nightwood will appeal primarily to readers of poetry does not mean that it is not a novel, but that it is so good a novel that only sensibilities trained on poetry can wholly appreciate it.
    The root DNA of most novels is story, then characters; here the roots are pattern, allusion, reflection, and especially the poetry in the language. So it helps to be trained in poetry or literature; failing that, to have the patience for multiple readings, and sinking into the text.
    Robin Vote remains elusive but, I think, by design.
    Absolutely. Perhaps there's a way that Nora + Robin + Jenny add up to a whole, some trinity of tragic love?

    The passage you quote struck me when I read it, so vivid and charged. Nightwood wore me out (partly because I'd planned to read it twice, and disappointed myself by not managing to), but left many phrases and images echoing in my mind. A very sticky book.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 02:50:35 PM PST

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    •  "A very sticky book" -- (5+ / 0-)

      a perfect capsule summation.

    •  'The poetry in the language' (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, RiveroftheWest, suka, Youffraita

      pitch perfect - the poetics of the novel; there certainly is a story, a story bound up in Barnes own sense of the way to tell it, a woman, an artist, a person who has found her own (poetic) way of telling it.

      Robin, Nora, Jenny; Robin's husband Felix --I've read that Nightwood is the tale of Robin Vote and those she destroys.  Tragic indeed, and comic --so your gnashing of teeth, perfect; frustratingly funny.

      And Matthew, the good doctor, Barnes' marvelous and absurd creation, his musings and ramblings, Barnes mastery of dialogue.  
      I just retrieved the other day from the library Barnes At the Roots of the Stars: The Short Plays

      One critic of her 1919 play Three From the Earth noted:

      [The play] is enormously interesting, and the greatest indoor sport this week is guessing what it means.

      The Democrats care about you after you're born. --Ed Schultz

      by micsimov on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 07:44:49 AM PST

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