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

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  •  I welcome opposing viewpoints, however inane. (4+ / 0-)
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    RiveroftheWest, Youffraita, suka, micsimov

    Hey, you hit me first.

    It almost seems like the diary is trying to put people off from reading the book with all the "this is hard!" stuff.
    I have better things to do with my time than write reviews convincing people not to read books they've never heard of. There is a consensus: this book is notoriously difficult. The first thing wikipedia says about the style of the book:
    Nightwood is notable . . . for its intense, gothic prose style. Regarding the difficulty of reading the novel's dense prose, T.S. Eliot writes in his introduction, "only sensibilities trained on poetry can wholly appreciate it."
    Then there's the link I gave in the diary, to a Guardian article where Nightwood is listed first, among the 10 most difficult books of all.

    That doesn't make your opinion inane; but it is a very subjective one. I've found that, if I get intensely absorbed in a book, there's nothing forbidding about it. I can well imagine someone picking up Nightwood, being smitten by the first pages, and reading all night until they finished the book. It does have its own strange magic, as I emphasized in my review.

    Who should I compare Nightwood to, if not James Joyce?

    Barnes arrived in Paris with a letter of introduction to James Joyce, whom she interviewed for Vanity Fair and who became a friend. The headline of her Vanity Fair interview billed him as "the man who is, at present, one of the more significant figures in literature," but her personal reaction to Ulysses was less guarded: "I shall never write another line.... Who has the nerve to after that?" It may have been reading Joyce that led Barnes to turn away from the late 19th century Decadent and Aesthetic influences of The Book of Repulsive Women toward the modernist experimentation of her later work. . . . Her autobiographical first novel Ryder would not only present readers with the difficulty of deciphering its shifting literary styles—a technique inspired by Ulysses . . .
    This comment is not intended to attack you personally - I just enjoy a good argument. If you're really committed to introducing more readers to Djuna Barnes, I hope you'll write your own review of Nightwood, or another work of hers that you love. I completely agree with your
    If you like vicious and outrageous satire, if you enjoy elegant sentences . . . then you're going to love Nightwood, because this book is remarkable. There is absolutely nothing like it in the English language.

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

    by Brecht on Sat Dec 07, 2013 at 03:34:51 PM PST

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