Printer Friendly

"A love from back of the heart": the story Djuna wrote for Charles Henri.

Bats when they fly have of necessity their wings woven completely with a membrane, because the creatures of the night on which they feed seek to escape by means of confused revolutions and this confusion is enhanced by their various twists and turns. As to the bats it is necessary sometimes that they follow their prey upside down, sometimes in a slanting position, and so in various different ways, which they could not do without causing their own destruction if their wings were feathers that let the air pass through them.

Ford goes on to annotate this entry: "To me the above passage is . . . a scientific detachment that is not without humanity: under the seemingly cold and objective observation there is the understanding of necessity - which makes for pathos. The art of tragedy."(2) The passage was by no means Charles Henri's last word on bats. Ford dedicated "The Jeweled Bat," the most startling sonnet in his first volume of poems, Pamphlet of Sonnets,(3) to Djuna Barnes.

These revealing discourses on bats - their powerfully snaring membranes, the "confused revolutions" of predator with prey, the imprisonment within knowledge, and the necessity of "scientific detachment" - are not unrelated to "Behind the Heart," the story Djuna Barnes wrote for Charles Henri Ford in 1931-32, during the months when he lived in her blue attic room at #9 rue St.-Romain. "Behind the Heart" is both a testament to, yet a caveat about, erotic intimacy.(4) A brilliantly complex study in the clash of different sexual economies, as well as in conflicting notions of "safety," the story resonates with significance for the lives of both Djuna Barnes and Charles Henri Ford, maverick, poet, novelist, editor (Blues, 1929-30; View, 1940-47), and avant-gardist. As we will see, the story's central emendation - Barnes's revision of "Boy" into "Groom" - is dramatically inflected by the contextual liaisons and events in the lives of Djuna and Charles within a period of just a few months in 1931-32.

A young girl tells a story to the older "Madame," at once linking "Behind the Heart" with the three erotically charged "little girl" stories published several years earlier. These seduction narratives, as Carolyn Allen reveals, are shadowed with a "forbidden atmosphere" of age dis-symmetry, lesbianism, and incest. The stories not only recount seductions, but, with the final dramatic shift in power, "are themselves a fictional seduction of the older |madame' by the younger narrator."(35) Here, too, the narrator keeps before the reader the structure of "fable," reserving for herself knowledge, power, and the interpretive control to make intrusions and asides: "Twenty years are given to a child in the beginning . . . that he may come upon his fate with twenty years to find safety in . . . . And that is how it was, Madame, that she came upon her week that was without fate."

What complicates the framing of the tale and contributes to the ambiguities that circulate around "safety" is the story's intimate and over-determined description of both boy and woman. Does the boy find "safety" in the "common danger" of Paris rain? By age twenty? Before he encounters the older woman of the story? Or is "safety," linked in some way to the inevitability of her painful fate, something he yields to at twenty by being scripted into her story as "Groom"? For the forty-year-old woman, what terrible fragility describes a "safety" that can free one from such a painful "fate" for only a week? In addition to questions about safety, the story foregrounds the practices of vision and visuality - how we see, how we are enabled, allowed, or made to see. Brilliant feats and feasts of visual detail throughout the story reveal far more than they conceal. From the scrupulous, even cinematic, portrait of Ford's precise wraparound blue eyes that "lay in the side of his head . . . the eyes of beasts," double lip structure, to the thin hands, long, oval chin, and characteristic walk ("like an Indian his feet went"), his identity and "difference" are marked by the specular details. Such vivid details invite the shrewd reader to challenge the narrative nonchalance ("And that is how it was, Madame") and play a decoding game, to multiply discoveries, and thereby privilege a kind of politics of subjectivity.

Similarly, "scopophilia," a mutual pleasure in looking, weaves throughout the correspondence between Barnes and Ford.(6) "Really, one of your letters is to reel," Barnes wrote to Ford in April of 1934. Visually keen, both Barnes and Ford shared the delight of mutual gazing, each relying on the acutely perceptive other to accomplish the total perception of self. Ford had spent much of his boarding-school youth before the silver screen, charmed by divas such as Pola Negri and Norma Talmadge, "Arrow collar" men like Wallace Reid and Emil Jannings. Charles was first attracted to Djuna by hearing Parker Tyler's description of her on Fifth Avenue: "red pompadour, Marcel, suntan, vermillion lips." The Ford/Barnes letters invariably enclose a snapshot or photograph: Cecil Beaton of Ford; the several that Man Ray took of Djuna. Ford is chided for the visible makeup rag in Tchelitchew's painting. Barnes grumbles about a newly permed head "like a sheep's rump." Ford is clad in a scant loincloth, flinging a towel at the gods. Barnes is rouged to the hilt and in black lace, red nails.

Likewise, for the reader who has glimpsed Pavel Tchelitchew's paintings of the gamin-eyed worldly naif or seen Charles cosseted by Djuna's twin-cherub mirror in the Paris flat or noted the Cartier-Bresson photo of Charles, outside a pissoir, zipping his pants next to the eager tongue of a "Krema" ad, certainly more is revealed than concealed in this story. Unmistakable, too, is the tour de force insider's laugh about Barnes, the "Northerner" whom "introspection hurried" and who "liked to think of death." And the memoirs of Montparnasse contemporaries, such as Jane Heap or Margaret Anderson, or the late letters to Emily Coleman or to Natalie Barney, Peter Hoare, or Robert McAlmon, enable us to place the dour laughter. Canny, too, is the age difference of nearly twenty years, and the information that "Madame's" name is Hess, who later became "Catherine" and finally "Nora" in the version of Nightwood that Ford helped Barnes punctuate and type in Morocco during the following year.

The intrigue of unlocking such encoded details requires constant negotiation between life and legend, between the text that scripts a cultural tale of romantic closure (the walk in the Bois, the carriage ride, boats on the Seine, Vienna, and Budapest) and the anxiety and lack of "safety" evident in the intimate, even fetishistic, detail. The lure, of course, is that somehow the cumulative decoding lets us grasp the complexities of the relationship where sexual economies and safeties are at odds: the iconography of the statues in the Luxembourg Gardens; Ruth, the dark singing sister whom Charles tried to lure to Paris to perform at the Boeuf sur le Toit, or the gold ankle bracelet that Charles claimed was the only thing of Djuna's not eaten by rats in Morocco. The task that Barnes presents us with, however, is not so easy.

While the emphasis on vision and specularity is compelling, it is also tempting to judge the story in more contemporary theoretical terms, as a tale that extends our limits of reflexivity in thinking about the dichotomy of sex and gender. It might prove productive to examine Barnes's seduction tale in this way: the slick postmodern Nietzschean man, having put to death the subject, history, and metaphysics, meets the Enlightenment woman, weaving her genealogy of bitter childhood into romantic fable: "what was terrible and ugly and painful she made funny for his sake; made legend, and folklore, and story, made it large with sleep in her voice, because he could not know it." As the language of her story strains toward relation and closure, toward the conflation of brother/ sister ("as if they were kinspeople, brother and sister . . . but something happening apart") and finally culminates in that central Barnes emendation ("Boy" is crossed out; "Groom" is written in), so the young man's calculated words, his "language positions," revise and check the woman's desire for romantic closure. Hers remains "a story and a plan that would never be."

Celebrating the instabilities of language, as he elaborates the dichotomies of sex and gender, the young man quite literally does, as the original title for The Young and the Evil suggests, "love . . . and jump back." He choreographs an exit through a series of performances. In a series of rhetorical maneuvers that bring together the visual with the corporeal, he appropriates her language, suggesting in the process that the "gendered self' doesn't really exist at all, but may be no more than a series of maneuvers by which one might shed the "doer behind the deed."(7) What at first may have seemed a sexual initiation, where all power and knowledge are held by the senior, worldly wise woman, is challenged and contested by his actions which show him complicit both in worldliness and in performance. First he rejects the mutuality of her gaze, checking her romantic imagination with his steely refusal of intimacy. He reforms, as he repeats, her words: " |Do you love me as a lover loves.' And he looked at her with those luminous apprehensive eyes, and they went past her, and he said, |What you wish is yours' " (emphasis mine). Sexual desire is neutralized, depersonalized, disembodied - a wry comment on "safety."

Second, he intervenes in her postcoital lecture ("Where is that other little boy? He is gone now and lost now") with a classic, oedipally driven scenario. If a woman's - particularly the mother's - body has evoked anxiety, representing it in such a way as to check that anxiety enables the boy to master the threat: " |I lay here and I was you. My head was your head and my body was your body, and way down my legs were your legs, and on the left foot was your bracelet.' " Presumably, the gold ankle bracelet becomes an icon, a fetish for the woman's body which he has just seen naked. At the same time, the bracelet itself is a powerful image of ensnarement and bondage, yet also suggests the freedom of sport.

Third, as she tries to script him into her fictions, he seizes a fragment of her narrative to make his escape. When asked "What will you do when I die," he offers the following: " |One word beneath the name.' " ("What word," she asks.) " |Lover.' " Whether essential or performative "lover," the ambiguities inherent in the term revise, as they refuse, her romantic coupling. In a startling example of emotional and rhetorical vampirism, he assigns "fate" and the painful narrative of her life to merely another position in language-literally a word on a stone-enabling his own escape.

Next, in the mirror scene just before his departure, he tries to enlist her gaze into his own scopic economy, "turning his head this way and that, and over his shoulder looking at her, and away slowly, and back again quickly . . . his eyes looking at her."

A final ploy for escape menaces, as it mimics, the instability of her language, overtaking her emotional economy. He appropriates her fears of age and death and that ugly "fate" her childhood when he says: " |I am going now so I will know what it will be like when you go away forever.' " In such a way, he remains "safe," as removed as that iconography of three boys running in the Luxembourg Gardens. Seizing and reforming her question, he makes his escape.(8) For this postmodern boy, it seems that there is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender. Keen about the idea that the already sexed body and "gendered self" may not exist at all, his behavior demonstrates that they are merely available through a series of performances.

A detailed awareness of the contextual events that inflect the Barnes and Ford relationship at this time provides another lens for the textual interpretation of "Behind the Heart," extending it into the first vivid commentary on one of modernism's most complex sexual liaisons. Again, "safety" gathers new dimensions of meaning.

The Barnes/Ford relationship, always an intricate one, was at this point in time as much a liaison of convenience and mutual "scopophilia," as what Steven Watson claims was "a shared pursuit of aesthetic and personal liberty."(9) Ford, who had arrived in Paris in the summer of 1931 with a badly swollen testicle and a case of gonorrhea, had worn out his welcome at Richard Thoma's, and was looking at a country house or a $12-a-week flat in Montmartre. Vulnerable from what she had not yet accepted as the end of a nine-year affair with alcoholic silverpoint artist Thelma Wood, Barnes was admitted to the American Hospital for an appendectomy three weeks after her arrival in Paris in the fall of 1931. He was fleeing boarding schools, the family hotel circuit, and "partners" (traveling salesmen at the hotels); she, a decade of failed domesticity with Thelma Wood. Ford was recruited to care for her, given housing in her flat. For more than a year before, Barnes had written a number of arch notes to "My Dear Mr. Ford," regarding her stories "Don Juan Baroque" and "Frankie and Johnny," which she had submitted to Blues: "in regard to manuscripts, I should first like to know if contributions are paid for and at what rate - as I no longer - since the death of The Little Review - give them away" (23 August 1930).

Two years earlier (1929), Ford had begun the little magazine Blues, with $100 from a sexual trick and a great deal of tutoring from William Carlos Williams and Kathleen Tankersley Young. Blues lasted less than nine issues and two years, prompting Parker Tyler to comment that it was not only "aesthetically and intellectually radical" - after all, it published Harold Rosenberg, the nineteen-year-old University of Chicago student, James Farrell, and Erksine Caldwell - but "internationally as well as nationally angled." Coeditor of the magazine was Kathleen Tankersley Young, clever administrator, great beauty, and skilled poet.(10) in love with Ford and his nineteen-year-old's "youthful, indomitable sureness," she spent long summer evenings with him, listening to blues and jazz records, arguing books and authors, and tutoring him in marketing his magazine and his poems: "I would teach him of life . . . the philosophy of art . . . the things I have learned and can never live to use." An intense correspondence over six years shows her lyrical, if exaggerated, involvement with Ford during and after the production of various issues of Blues (1929-30). He would bring her poems and photos, mark places in Swinburne, call her "Salome." Yet trying to love him, she said, was like "crawling on one's knees on stone . . . to an empty temple" (4 May 1928). "I could never believe in you . . . after you were so cold. . . . I think that you are a child who toys with a delicate machine until it is broken" (9 June 1928). In the years following, the correspondence details and repeats references to the fact that she expected to join Charles in Paris in the summer or fall of 1931.

Yet in late March of that same year, Barnes was still writing to MY Dear Mr. Ford" about the status of her manuscripts. Within four months and through the spring of 1932, Djuna and Charles had become intimates. They were considered a couple. As Ford wrote his sister, they did "light things, and lots of things" together, had photos made by Gilles Pax, barhopped through Montmartre, and danced at the Boeuf sur le Toit. It was after a particularly heavy night of drinking - "four demi-blondes apiece," several "graves," gin fizzes, and whiskey and sodas - that Djuna bought Charles a large, dark coral ring set in silver. About the same time, several sources cite Djuna and Charles in the constant company of Tylia Perlmutter, source of the "little girl" stories. According to Jose Albanese, Tylia had a fierce crush on Charles and actively pursued him, yet Raymond Radiguet fancied her, and he was lover of the jealous Jean Cocteau.(11) All the while, Ford was making elaborate plans to have his mother and beloved sister come to Paris as early as fall 1931.

These multiple emotional and erotic liaisons are startling in their simultaneity. In place were all the "safety" nets that might diffuse, as they deferred, commitment. "Love," Ford wrote in "Record," "is not only what you make, but what you break." Love, as genius, seemed to be a matter of multiplying numbers of possibilities!

Significantly, Charles never responded to Kathleen Tankersley Young's final postcards of March 1933, never gave any reason, but clearly broke off their plans to be together in Paris in the same fall that he and Djuna were "a thing" on the boulevards and in the clubs. Kathleen moved to Mexico to start a new publishing venture, the Modern Editions Press, a series of pamphlets, still clinging to the hope that she would soon join Charles in Paris. In 1933, she was found dead, presumed a suicide (no obituary), in Torreon, Mexico.

The number of Ford's relationships constellated around Djuna only continued to grow. In November 1931, it was through Djuna that Ford first met Pavel Tchelitchew at Gene McCown's, only to see him again in January at Gertrude Stein's. By 1 June 1932 Ford and "Pavlik" were seen together at the Salvador Dali show. (By 1934, Ford would replace Alan Tanner as Tchelitchew's lifetime companion until the brilliant painter's death in 1957.) Further complicating matters, Jacques Broussard had invited Ford to lunch, begging him to go on a house party to his father's chateau in Brittany. In early spring of 1932, Parker Tyler introduced Ford to Carmen Marino, a wealthy Cuban heiress with whom he left almost immediately for a jaunt through Italy. Posing as brother and sister, they "sacked" Roman hotels, leaving in the middle of the night with lavish bills paid only by their suitcases of clothes left behind.

Swirling around this elaborate social membrane of several months' time was another event of particular significance to Djuna's story "Behind the Heart." On 1 February 1932, Charles wrote to his Mama Cato that he had asked Djuna to marry him, stating: "Djuna can't see herself as a Mrs., but there'd be no point, since she didn't want a child anyway." Charles, on the other hand, did want a child with Djuna, as Parker Tyler confirms in The Divine Comedy of Pavel Tchelitchew.(12) Yet Djuna said she was "set back ten years" by Ford's proposal, and announced to him, "If you want routine housekeeping, I'll have no part of it" (interview with Ford, 29 January 1993). Ford confirms Andrew Field's claim that Djuna thought him "loose as a cut jockstrap," yet he details a range of their erotic practices from the Paris months that belies that claim. They had a quaint nighttime ritual: Ford would kiss one breast, then the other, then retire to his attic room. Ford revealingly told me of other sexual play: "The first time I went down on her, Djuna said |I didn't know you loved me that much' " (interview, 4 April 1989).

Just how different Barnes and Ford may have been in their emotional economies and sexual practices gathers force in the letters they exchanged after Paris and Morocco.(13) What becomes clear from the correspondence is that, at least in terms of the holograph emendation, Barnes chose "boy" over "groom." "Forty," she wrote to Ford, "is a good time of life if you come on it wise and alone" (December 1932), a claim reinforced in the letters by details of his extreme youth and slender size. Increasingly, he is "Baby Charles," the "little little fellow," and always a "boy" with "small bones." Revealingly, she tries for months to swathe him in her beloved brother Saxon's large gray overcoat, but it proves too large. In November 1933, wondering about the black-papered room of this young man who is still writing his "Life of a Child," she asks, exasperated: "When does age set in?" (22 November 1933). Although both Ford and Barnes had long- and short-term relations with both men and women, their relationship retains considerable ambiguity, and it remained something of a puzzle to Djuna: "What is your idea of love? Have you chosen men only?" (23 November 1933). When Ford had caught the attention of Carl Van Vechten and was en route to New York, she sniped to Natalie Barney, "Well, pederastic New York [is] waiting."(14) Perhaps the most puzzling and poignant question she asked of Ford, however, was simply this: "Am I your Friend? Friend - define friendship - does my heart, etc. - naturally, Pavlik will give you my compliments" (16 December 1933).

Returning to the story, as the distance collapses between the "fable" of "Behind the Heart" and the intimacy of encoded description, the forty-year-old woman becomes frighteningly familiar to the reader who has penetrated the codes to identify Djuna Barnes, survivor of a complex pattern of childhood incest that, eighty years later, still defies the most liberal of cultural norms, as it baffles sophisticated theorists.(15) Like the boy in the story who once saw death and couldn't cry, could Ford not bear the imprint of Barnes's childhood violence, her "fate," inscribed in her adult liaisons? Did he perhaps recognize the self-sabotage, the pattern of designedly "impossible" relationships of her adult life? Is this the "fate" that Ford could not bear without the "safety" membrane of other liaisons? Was the only acceptable kind of "safety" the detachment and the necessity to "love . . . and jump back?" Given twenty years in which to find "safety," the boy understandably resists reinscription as "groom" into that narrative of capes and cloaks, Budapest and the Bois, of "lost" little boy and the "found" groom. Likewise Ford could only read Ryder backwards so as to capture the "newness" and "surprise" in that familiar family document. Was "safety" perhaps a matter of the boy as "boy," clever enough to remain an eternal and impudent naif, an "adult stamped with permanent boyishness?" Ford was known to his friends as "Hot," to his family as "Bubu," and to Parker Tyler, friend and collaborator, as someone who managed to retain throughout his life, "untarnished, an audacious gift: he always appeared to be an inveterate naif despite the worldliest initiation."(16)

Behind the heart is nothing, a vacuum, an empty cavity of muscle lodged between the vital lungs. Was "safety" for Barnes the sheer brevity of an "alien and strange" love so bereft of empathy, so very performative, that it became a comment on, if not a check against, its own fragility? Might the story be a cautionary pre-reading of the marriage proposal?

On the original dust jacket of The Young and the Evil, the "hands-on" homosexual novel that Charles finished during these months with Djuna, Barnes offers a curious comment about the book's chief characters. Chiding as well as forgiving, her words fix something about Ford, the book's co-author, as they illuminate the curious intimacy with him during that fall and winter 1931 in Paris:

"Their [Karel and Julian, the protagonists] utter lack of emotional values - so entire that it is frightening; their loss of all Victorian victories, manners, custom, remorse, taste, dignity; their unresolved acceptance of any happening is both evil and |pure' in the sense that it is unconscious."

Ford and Barnes were bound by their mutual critique of each other's works, as they were seized by a participatory delight in the pleasures of looking. Another language - a fabric of literary references in the letters - provides an additional code for discerning differences in the Barnes/Ford sexual economies. If Ford touted to Barnes the excessively bisexual "Queen Christina" or the misogyny of Huysmans, Barnes, in contrast, recommended to Ford Luther, William James's Varieties of Religious Experience, the disciplined eugenics of Alex Carrell (Man the Unknown), Proust's definition of writing, and the unabridged Chaucer. Except for a few lines, she never liked his poetry or verse plays well enough to recommend them to Eliot with her endorsement. On 2 September 1936 she wrote to Charles: "Charm - my dear - is all over you. Sooner or later I'll have as many pictures of you as if you were my hero."

Still, Barnes was uncompromising about her "Victorian heart." During these months in Paris and New York, she waited for word from Thelma, who was still with Henrietta Metcalf. In the months following their liaisons in Paris and Morocco, Barnes shared a few wry words about "Charles the Impossible" with such friends as Natalie Barney, but wrote to Ford: "As for glamour my dear - you seem to have enough - unless she [Gertrude Stein] means what I meant - love, but none of its gestures" (16 December 1933).

NOTES

(1) Since my first correspondence with Charles Henri Ford in 1984, we have exchanged numerous postcards and letters. I have been his guest at least ten times at the Dakota in New York City and, the summer of 1992, on Shelter Island. In recent months, I have worked closely with him on two manuscripts of memoirs, the first, I Will Be What I Am, to appear in 1994. A generous selection of letters from Barnes to Ford will appear in Cold Comfort, my forthcoming biographical portrait of Djuna Barnes in letters. In January 1990 I discovered "Behind the Heart" among the Ford papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (HRHRC), University of Texas-Austin. (Permission to quote from the manuscript should be obtained from The Authors League Fund, Djuna Barnes's executors, and from Mary Lynn Broe, literary executor for Charles Henri Ford.) (2) The unpublished "Record of Myself' can be found in the Ford papers, HRHRC, University of Texas-Austin. A chapbook of sorts, written for the most part in the early fifties when Charles and Pavel Tchelitchew were in Italy, "Record" contains a medley of hit-and-run aphorisms on genius, destiny ("we are inspired by the intuition of our destiny"), and the art of playwriting, as well as numerous quotes from Tchelitchew, J. K. Huysmans, Baudelaire, Jung, and others. "Record" should prove to be a particularly useful document for understanding the collaborative genius of the twenty-three-year Ford/Tchelitchew liaison. (3) The Jeweled Bat" was included in a sequence of three poems in this volume (Majorca: Caravel Press, 1936). Ford offered a revision of the sonnet in "The World of Women," a later unpublished manuscript of seven poems (Ford Archive, HRHRC). (4) In a 28 October 1931 letter to his sister Ruth, written shortly after Djuna arrived in Paris, Charles Henri discusses this story and narrative details of this and other "little girl" stories in A Night among the Horses: "the story djuna has written about me is written in that same style." Ford reveals that the referent for the little girl narrator of the stories such as "Cassation," "Dusie," and "Grande Malade" is Tylia Perlmutter, who often visited Ford and Barnes during these Paris months. My sincere thanks to Indra Tamang, Ruth Ford, and Charles Henri Ford for making these letters available to me. (5) See Carolyn Allen, "Writing Toward Nightwood: Djuna Barnes' Seduction Stories," in Silence and Power: A Reevaluation of Djuna Barnes, ed. Mary Lynn Broe (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991), 54-65. Like "Cassation" and "Grande Malade," the plot is minimal in this story about an erotic encounter and its consequences; a dramatic shift in power marks language and narrative. (6) For a full reading of the correspondence between Barnes and Ford from the mid-thirties through the forties, see my forthcoming book of letters, Cold Comfort. (7) In Situating the Self: Gender Community and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics (New York: Routledge, 1992), Seyla Benhabib discusses Judith Butler's ideas about gender performativity drawn from her recent book, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (New York: Routledge, 1990). (8) Judith Butler claims that one's identity is constituted performatively by the very "expressions" that are said to be its results. The "I" of the woman's narrative here, distanced as it is, and cast into "legend, and folklore, and story," is dissolved into "another position in language," and with it, all her intentionality, accountability, self-reflexivity and autonomy. As Seyla Benhabib explains, "For Butler the myth of the already sexed body is the epistemological equivalent of the myth of the given: just as the given can only be identified within a discursive framework, so too it is the culturally available codes of gender that |sexualize' a body and that construct the directionality of that body's desire" (215). (9) Steven Watson, "Introduction," Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler, The Young and Evil (New York: Gay Presses of New York, 1988), xxii. (10) After the sellout of Ten Poems, her volume The Dark Land was published by Angel Flores (Ithaca, NY: The Dragon Press, 1932). A substantial volume of letters to Ford from before 1928 through 1933, just before her puzzling death, offers an incisive commentary on a number of her contemporaries and on the vagaries of the little magazine and press industry of the Village during the twenties. (11) Tylia and Bronia were sisters who came to Paris from Holland, wore picture hats, short dresses, and blackened eyelashes, "and nobody did but them, but they were pure withal," wrote Ford. Both were models for Djuna's story "When the Models Come to Town" (Charm 3, no. 4, November 1924). According to Charles's letter to Ruth, "it happened that radiguet the boy that cocteau was in love with fell in love with bronya and had to see her every day and cocteau had to see radiguet every day and tylia wouldn't let bronia out of her sight so the four of them were together always until one day radiguet died when he was twenty. all of it was made into a brilliant story by djuna called a little girl continues (tylia having told it to her as well as the other one about berlin). . ." (1 December 1931). (12) In a 29 January 1993 interview at the Dakota, Ford said that Djuna was only one of two women with whom he wanted a child. The other was "the Greek woman" from the time of the filming of Minotaur. (13) See the Ford papers, HRHRC, University of Texas-Austin, for letters from 1933-49. (14) See Djuna Barnes to Natalie Barney, 5 December 1933. (15) Anne Dalton has brilliantly demonstrated the rich extent of Barnes's encoding in a work as early as The Book of Repulsive Women (1915). Barnes's use of dreams in Julie and Nora, as well as the elements of structural syntax in Nightwood and Ryder, work to conceal incidents of incest. See Dalton's work in this issue and her forthcoming book, The Book of Repulsive Women. (16) See Parker Tyler's unpublished manuscript "From Poet to Graphi-Poet," in the Ford papers, HRHRC.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Review of Contemporary Fiction
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Djuna Barnes; Charles Henri Ford
Author:Broe, Mary Lynn
Publication:The Review of Contemporary Fiction
Date:Sep 22, 1993
Words:5145
Previous Article:Behind the heart.
Next Article:Modern (post) modern: Djuna Barnes among the others.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters