Djuna Barnes

(1892-1982 / Storm King Mountain, New York)

Biography of Djuna Barnes

Djuna Barnes poet

Djuna Barnes (June 12, 1892 – June 18, 1982) was an American writer who played an important part in the development of 20th century English language modernist writing and was one of the key figures in 1920s and 30s bohemian Paris after filling a similar role in the Greenwich Village of the teens. Her novel Nightwood became a cult work of modern fiction, helped by an introduction by T. S. Eliot. It stands out today for its portrayal of lesbian themes and its distinctive writing style. As a roman à clef, the novel features a thinly veiled portrait of Barnes in the character of Nora Flood, whereas Nora’s lover Robin Vote is a composite of Thelma Wood and the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. Since Barnes' death, interest in her work has grown and many of her books are back in print.

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In General

What altar cloth, what rag of worth
Unpriced?
What turn of card, what trick of game
Undiced?
And you we valued still a little
More than Christ.

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