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Revising 'Nightwood': "a kind of glee of despair." (Djuna Barnes)

The history of Djuna Barnes's Nightwood is complicated. She had spent years writing and revising the novel, submitting it to many publishers, only to face rejection after rejection. As Barnes confronted readers and publishers who were mystified or repelled by what they read, she continued to revise. Writing to Emily Coleman on 20 September 1935, Barnes established her initial conception of the book and its autobiographical nature: "God knows who could have written as much about their blood while it was still running. ... I wrote it you must remember ... when I still did not know Thelma would come back to me or not ...; in that turmoil of Charles and Morocco, sickness, Hayford Hall - everything, then the end here in New York."(1)

It is likely that she refers here to the first break in the relationship with Thelma in June 1927. Thus, the initial writing and revision of the novel spanned the latter half of 1927, through the relationship with Charles Henri Ford (from 1931 to 1932) and through the summer of 1932. After T. R. Smith of Liveright rejected the book in December 1932, she began to rewrite, working through the summer of 1933 at Hayford Hall. In New York in February 1934, she wrote Emily Coleman: "My book is done and at the publishers, but have heard nothing yet." Less than three months later, Barnes wrote Coleman: "I can't get the book accepted anywhere, it is now at the fifth publisher." Still later, in December 1934 she reported more rejections and added "am rewriting parts."

Midway through this process of writing and revising, in November 1930, Barnes had applied for a Guggenheim fellowship. One project was "to research the relationship of the Jew and the court for a book in progress whose chief figure is an Austrian Jew."(2) The application is interesting for its focus on aristocracy and a "chief figure" who was neither Thelma nor herself. And despite not getting the Guggenheim and despite Emily Coleman's rather persistent objections in 1935 that it detracted from the "tragedy of Nora and Robin," Barnes retained Felix's story. She explained: "Robins marriage to Felix is necessary to the book for this reason (which you can not know, not having lived with a woman having loved her and yet circulated in public with the public aware of it) that people always say, |Well of course those two women would never have been in love with each other if they had been normal, if any man had slept with them, if they had been well f_____ and had born a child.' Which is ignorance and utterly false, I married Robin to prove this point, she had married, had had a child yet was still |incurable.'"(3) I While her justification reveals not only her sensitivity to public opinion but also her aim to write truth, here related to sexual identity, it also reflects a curious lack of awareness of, or perhaps lack of attention to, the formal implications of the presence of Felix and the effect of beginning the story with him.

If Barnes's book was based initially on her relationship with Thelma Wood, the Guggenheim application suggests that she had broadened her conception, that she had another agenda as well, one related to Felix though not confined to him. For Felix is haunted by his past - as are all the other characters in Nightwood. His identity as a Jew precludes his inclusion in a society he admires, and his alienation produces longing for acceptance. He lives a perpetual disqualification, that is, with a pervasive sense that something is wrong with him, and I suggest this sense of disqualification is what interested Barnes because it was her story too.

An examination of the production of Nightwood, then, shows Barnes to be an intuitive writer who understood what she did not want to do as a writer, but who came slowly to articulating the design of the work. The form of the novel can be characterized as thematic counterpoint. Throughout the process of revision, Barnes shifted and refined material, combining characters and chapters, sculpting a version considerably shorter than early versions, clarifying the design of the work but compromising very little in terms of the tenor of the work. Such an examination of the production also reveals the very significant role of Emily Coleman; in fact, Nightwood might never have seen print without her. Nevertheless, despite Coleman's role, Barnes realized her vision of the work.

Two of Barnes's letters to Coleman, written nearly five years apart, suggest her sense of what she was about. On 20 April 1934, Barnes noted that publishers were not interested in the book because "they all say it is not a novel; that there is no continuity of life in it, only high spots and poetry - that I do not give anyone an idea what the persons wore, ate or how they opened and closed doors, how they earned a living or how they took off their shoes and put on their hats. God knows I don't." In the second, written in January 1939, nearly three years after the novel's publication, Barnes distinguished between two kinds of writers: the poet and the "plain home variety": "With the correct artist we contemplate life, with the poetic artist we make a new one. ... Realistic values sit before one, to interpret or not, as the eye is good or off focus with the spiritual life the critic (or novelist) has to more than record, he has to understand with a sixth sense that is almost a kind of collusion, not an appraisal, the one is safe, the other is danger."

Both letters show that Barnes had no interest in the realistic novel or in what she labeled the "safety" of the realistic novelist; she wrote of her life with Thelma with a "sixth sense," aiming at what she referred to as the life of the spirit. But how to achieve this imaginative recovery, this recognition and transformation - of this she was initially less sure. In this process, though, Emily Coleman served her well, for her support of Barnes and scrutiny of "Bow Down," the initial working title of the book, seemed to enable Barnes to tell her version of the truth about love, women's love, sexual identity, and the disqualifications that affected the lives of her characters.

Given the frustration that rejections of her manuscript caused, Barnes found revision difficult. After an April visit by Coleman, Barnes wrote her on 5 May 1935: "If you imagine there was just a little work to do in it, you are mad my love, the whole damned floor is a mess of it, no table big enough to spread it all out on, so I crawl about on the floor. ... I still do not think La Somnabule the perfect title - Night Beast would be better except for the debased meaning now put on that nice word beast." Responding to Coleman's question about who should share dialogue with the Doctor in "Watchman, What of the Night?" Barnes answered, "No, how can my doctor have the Watchman Chapter with Nora or Catherine? He has about half the book with her now, he'd better talk a word or two to someone else." But in pencil she wrote, "I'll think it over." This exchange indicates that early parts of the book included conversations between the Doctor and Nora and/or Catherine.

On 17 May she wrote again to Coleman: "It lies here on the floor, and I circle around it like the murderess about the body, but do nothing. I seem to have no will power, only an awful despair. And after all the trouble you took with my book, it is really bastardly." But by 23 June, she had "rearranged" (her word) up to chapter 3: "And what a nice bit that's going to be. How to bring Nora in, her American home, what she is like, to whom talking and then her meeting with Robin, the Paris home, etc. etc." At this juncture, she broached the idea of "Nightwood" for the book's title, apparently for the first time: "|Nightwood,' like that, one word, it makes it sound like night-shade, poison and night and forest, and tough, in the meaty sense and simple yet singular, ... Do you like it?" Coleman didn't.

By her 28 June letter to Coleman, she had revised up to the middle of chapter 4, which was originally "Watchman, What of the Night," not "Squatter." According to Barnes, the first chapter is "as was"; "the second, La Somnabule,' ... leaves off pretty nearly as it does now, with Robin leaving Felix, and reappearing with Nora." Barnes changed chapter 3 from a working title of "Beast of the Waste Wood" to "Night Watch." The chapter began, as it does now, with "Nora's country home, herself, then how she goes to the circus in America and how there she finds Robin." Most interesting is what she has cut: "All of the people of her salon cut out with children, lovers, Altamonte etc." Characterized in this letter is a substantial shortening of the narrative and also a practice of shifting parts from one place to another: Altamonte, for example, is taken from Nora's salon in America and transferred to Germany where he is portrayed as a count at a party where O'Connor, Nora, and Felix meet several years before Robin enters the story.

The 28 June letter continues, Barnes describing "how Robin becomes restless and wants to go back to Paris, where Nora buys the house in the rue Barbe de Jouy, then the rest of it as you recall, the night, the departure into it of Robin, Nora's anxiety, her dream, the scene of Robin and the statue and the final paragraph where Nora falls to her knees by the window." By this time she had accepted Coleman's suggestion that the Doctor talk to Nora: "Of course to bring that lovely part about Matthew in bed into this chapter, and take it out of |Where the Tree Falls' and away from Felix is pretty bloody. ..." Very interesting, in terms of what Barnes saw as the center of the book at this point, is her conclusion that all of these changes make it "still more the Doctors and Noras book."

When she received the typescript in August 1935, Coleman suggested that Barnes eliminate some of the Doctor's stories, and she objected that the book lacked an emotional center because Barnes had "not concentrated on the tragedy of Robin and Nora" but had shifted the "center of emotion from Felix - to start with - to the Doctor - to Robin - to Norato Felix (Guido) - to the Doctor - to Nora."(4) But just as Barnes had consistently defended the role of Felix, she resisted Coleman's efforts to prune the Doctor's stories. Coleman asserted that the Doctor slowed the narrative and would inevitably bore the listener. She accused Barnes of forgetting Nora. Barnes's defense of him as a character points to her admiration for his loquacious raving. Beyond that, of course, because of his homosexuality and his Catholicism, he reiterates the theme of disqualification and longing for inclusion established in Felix, though the focus of their hopes speak to different spheres and values.

Though initially revision had been difficult, when Barnes was finally able to work in June and July of 1935, she declared the process "a kind of glee of despair": "Now its rather fun to cut the book up and hurl chapter after chapter into the fireplace, like a puzzle, all of the rest of it all over the floor, and me crawling after lines like a fly after honey. Everyone thinks I'm crazy to change it, suddenly, when everyone before thought I was crazy to write it, and then crazy to send it out, and then crazy not to throw it away, and then madder still not to keep on mailing it out, etc etc, if you know what I mean!!"

By 11 July, she had written "The Possessed." She felt there was nothing more she could do about the book "probably because it seems so long ago, and is already set, as you say, and has become its own classic, good or bad." She summarized the action when Robin returns to Nora's home and Nora finds her in the chapel: "when they see each other Robin goes down with the dog, and thats the end. What do you think? I do not go any further than this into the psychology of the |animal' in Robin because it seems to me that the very act with the dog is pointed enough, and anything more than that would spoil the scene anyway; as for what the end promises (?) let the reader make up his own mind, if hes not an idiot he'll know."

By July, then, Barnes had a final typescript and two carbons: the ribbon typescript went to Clifton Fadiman of Simon and Schuster, who responded on 15 July that "no standard publishing house could take it." The first carbon went to Emily Coleman, and one, of course, was for herself: "I meant to keep the first, pig that I am, for myself, but decided that no one but myself could read the third. ..." The first carbon Coleman submitted to Huebsch, who rejected it, referring to it as "derivative." Then Coleman sent it to Edwin Muir for his advice. Between August and October, Coleman and Barnes discussed by letter numerous small, but significant changes, many of them identified in Coleman's 27 August letter.

By 25 October, Coleman had sent Eliot a letter and, after rereading the work, on 5 November she sent it with her second letter to Eliot. Discouraged by Eliot's objections that the excerpts did not seem to lend themselves to a novel, she wrote of private publication. She informed Barnes that she had marked out some of the Doctor's stories, and suggested to Eliot that if he "thought the book would be improved by the omission of chapters I and Where the Tree Falls,' it might possibly be done." She characterized her suggestions as a way to "give it unity" and added "the excellent parts in these two chapters (Duchess Broadback, etc) could be incorporated elsewhere in the book." She speculated that "he might take it as it is, since I have impressed on him so much that it is a hodge-podge" - hardly the words to warm a writer's heart, or an editor's either, for that matter.

She continued that "the chapter on the Jew could always be kept and used as a short story - or, at any rate, kept, since it is invaluable. Thank God, thank God you agreed to combining Nora and Catherine, to removing the two sons of Nora - and to having the Doctor talk to Nora-at that important point - and not to Felix. The Jenny chapter I put in ahead of |Watchman What of the Night.' (If you don't agree, it can be changed later.)"

Coleman's letters of 27 August and 5 November 1935 both convey her concern about the book's lack of unity: she observes that Barnes needs to think more before she writes. Her letters reveal that she has read the work as the story of Nora and Robin's love, primarily Nora's story, for she comments that even Robin is secondary; thus, she objects that Felix detracts from the story as do the stories of the Doctor. She fumes that Eliot will object to the work's lack of unity.

Barnes's response on 20 September is fascinating, for it reveals much about the method of her writing. She acknowledges that "a great deal of my writing is intuition, remembrance of time and pain," but she exclaims that thought has been part of the book. If Coleman means "thought" in terms of not having plot and structure, Barnes admits that Coleman is right: "Perhaps its all right for others, but for me it seems so queer to write a synopsis of chapter and plot and all that sort of thing, and then hang your feelings on it." By 26 January 1936, Eliot had communicated to Coleman his approval of the book, and she reported his comments to Barnes. Initially, he had read the book as the Doctor's story and suggested "strongly" the omission of the last chapter, "which is not only superfluous, but really an anticlimax. The doctor is so central a character and so vital, that I think the book ends superbly with his last remarks." Coleman agreed that the book could end this way because "that is the way it ended in the first place."

At the most significant level, Emily Coleman's support and criticism seemed to make it possible for Barnes to continue at all during 1934 and 1935, through months of disappointment, family hostility, and a frustrating love affair with Peter Neagoe. When Barnes's mother criticized Coleman for carrying on too long about the book for a normal woman, Barnes snapped, "Why insult her?"(5) She needed Coleman's approval and knew it. Yet throughout this process, Barnes maintained her independence and her vision of the work, refusing to give in to Coleman's effort to get rid of the Felix element, refusing to introduce more dialogue, refusing to reduce the Doctor's role, and refusing to give in to Eliot's objections to "The Possessed." When on 27 August 1935 Coleman advised that "the part about the dog ... is definitely sexual" and urged Barnes to make some changes-not because of publishers, but because "it reads something that you did not consciously intend," Barnes eliminated some suggestive phrases.

Coleman's comment about the dog is interesting, for she clarifies that this section was not the original conclusion, and her phrase, "the dog, much better, with Robin," seems to imply that the incident with the dog may not have belonged to Robin. Barnes's 20 September 1935 letter confirms this speculation, for her response to an editing suggestion by Coleman indicates that an earlier version included the phrase "when the dog and Nora were Fitzie." This comment suggests that in this version the action with the dog may have been attributed to Nora and not Robin. In the final version, then, the "animalism" has been shifted from Nora to Robin, a change that suggests that Nora is depicted in a more positive way in Nightwood than she may have been in an earlier version.

The most thorough revisions appear to have been accomplished after Coleman's April visit, in June and July of 1935, when Barnes commented: "you can see where my once one hundred and ninety thousand word book has gone." One hundred and ninety thousand words, at 280 words a page, a figure Barnes used, is equivalent to approximately 670 pages. No fragments exist with page numbers anywhere near 600. The typescript is 212 pages. And there is Coleman's response: "I can't believe your book can only be 65-66,000, then it never was 100,000." Is this a typographical error on Coleman's part? Or, perhaps, Barnes and Coleman are referring to different revision stages? Whatever the reason for the discrepancy, the correspondence documents considerable cutting, and the seventy pages from earlier versions of the novel in the Barnes Archive prompt speculation about what the deletions reveal about previous versions.

Because of differences in the style of typed headings, these segments of unused text suggest at least three major revisions and, more important, the character of some of the early "Bow Down." With a heading characteristic of her early style, one fragment of ten pages carries the title of "Bow Down and Run, Girls, Run." On this fragment Barnes has written, "Early mss of |Nightwood.'" These pages tell of Nancy, Nell, and Hazel, representing a line of descent through history. Each story tells of a young woman's ruin: incest and child birth, seduction and suicide, jealousy and murder. The tone, a kind of humorous, ironic consternation, similar to that of "Rape and Repining" in Ryder, prevents a reader from feeling the horror of the narration. These pages invite speculation: when were they part of the "Nightwood" manuscript, and did Barnes reconsider and append them to a later version? Certainly, she was working with them during the summer of 1935, for in December 1935 she wrote Coleman that she had given Charles a part that she had put in Nightwood and taken out again. "Run, Girls, Run" appeared in Caravel in March 1936.

And Coleman's comments in her letter of 1 August 1935 may imply that these pages may have been appended in some way to the version she received in June 1935. In this letter she conveyed her dislike for the opening: "it is of course the Ryder world, and not in the same streets of the imagination as the rest of the work." What she meant by the Ryder world is not clear. She may have referred either to tone or to the use of generational history. The tone of humorous, ironic consternation typical of Ryder is characteristic of the "Run, Girls, Run" fragment. Thus, the tone reinforces the speculation that Barnes may have included "Run, Girls, Run" with the final typescript, though it was not part of that typescript, and later separated it, perhaps as a result of Coleman's objections.

However, evidence in the same letter also indicates what Coleman objected to as "not in the same streets of the imagination," may have been the use of generational history in the opening of Ryder. Specifically, in her letter of 19 August Barnes questions how Coleman cannot like the first chapter and cites numerous points of the chapter, all alluding to the first chapter as we know it. This letter seems to confirm that Nightwood begins, as we know it, with the story of Felix.

It is likely, then, that "Run, Girls, Run," was written during the early stages of composition, as the style and the similarity of its tone to "Rape and Repining" suggest. It is also probably an early deletion that Barnes rejected because its tone was inconsistent with that of Nightwood. Neither did Barnes need this mock tragic narration to present a theme of familial influence, for in the story of Felix she had represented how perceived identity shaped generations. Perhaps, then, what drew Coleman's objection was the story of Felix's family because she saw this narration as similar to the opening of Ryder where Sophia's family history is traced.

Though Barnes chose not to include this section in the final transcript of Nightwood, she retained the fragment during the process of revisions beginning in 1932 and sent it to Charles in December 1935, perhaps because as she observed in May 1935 it was "so long since anything of mine has appeared."

Another fragment from the Barnes Archive in Maryland, one page from "La Somnabule," suggests by the style of its page numbering that at some point Barnes changed from numbering chapters separately to consecutive numbering. This fragment indicates that a version of "La Somnabule" was at least fifty-five pages; in the July 1935 typescript it is only twenty-two pages. The fragment contains a dialogue between Felix and Robin, focusing on his interest in nobility and her interest in animals.

Because of its dialogue, this page seems to indicate that Barnes's early version had more fully developed characters, that is, developed using dramatic presentation. But Barnes chose to limit Robin's dialogue. In her 8 November 1935 letter to Coleman, she explained, "I do not want to connect her in any way with the present temporal world as we know it, it is why I did not let her say more than two words for herself in the book." In this way, Barnes encourages readers to see Robin as a timeless being who carries the mythic theme of female ruin of the original "Run, Girls, Run" although she did not appear in that early chapter.

Other fragments fill in the backgrounds of other characters. One fragment tells stories motivated by MacClusky's fears (the original name for O'Connor) about how a "young boy who should have been a girl" will conduct himself in war. In one sequence, confronted by a German patrol, MacClusky, acting out of fear, drives off the German soldiers, winning a medal as a result. He comments that "being queer is suddenly made all right in the general upheaval." Probably based on a story of his own experience that John Holms told Barnes in the summer of 1932 or 1933, the passage focuses on the problematic public view of the homosexual.(6) The longest fragment, from "Go Down, Matthew," contains a discussion between MacClusky and Catherine, in which she recounts her early life: her "marriage," her rejection of the husband, her life in New York, her lovers, and her love for a woman. The passage, bearing parallels to Barnes's life, breaks off recounting the relationship between the women.

The implication of all these changes extends beyond length to the novel's tone, structure, and meaning. By eliminating the "Run, Girls" section, Barnes diminished an overtly mythic context, and, more important, she infused this mythic element with more subtlety in the character of Robin by presenting her as one not at home in the present. By limiting dialogue and dramatic presentation that would allow Robin to appear directly to readers rather than to be filtered through the impressions of other characters, Barnes created distance between readers and Robin. Combining Nora and Catherine brought a tighter focus. In cutting narrative sequence, backgrounds of characters, and dramatic presentation, Barnes relied instead on scenes that characterize, revealing Nora, Felix, and O'Connor grappling with their lives in searching dialogues that center on Robin - Robin, because her lack of consciousness of her own past attracts others, promising the possibility that each character can repair the wound left by his or her past.

Undoubtedly, when Coleman was in New York in April 1935, she must have urged on Barnes the unity that she called for in her 27 August and 5 November letters. But Coleman's concept of unity focused on "the tragedy of Nora and Robin," primarily the tragedy of Nora. Her comments probably moved Barnes to attempt to clarify her own vision, but it was not the same vision as Coleman's, for her steadfast resistance to eliminating Felix or reducing O'Connor's role suggests that she saw the book not just as Nora's tragedy, but more broadly as human tragedy with Nora and Robin and Felix and the Doctor as facets of the same tragedy, though she was apparently unable to articulate this design.

As we attempt to grasp the implications of Barnes's revisions of the novel, an important key to our understanding of Barnes's meaning and technique is her angry response to Peter Neagoe's assessment of the subjectivity of the novel. She quoted a portion of this response to Coleman in October 1935: "Well, I went into a lather! I wrote him twelve solid impassioned pages ... and got floundering along until suddenly I gave myself light through his one remark |raises it above the reader' - I saw as in a vision, Blakes drawing, you remember, of the dead, the bodies so beautiful lying straight like sculpture, and above the spirit, the soul flying away, and like a clap of thunder I got what both you and he must have been meaning." She explained that in her writing she had "striven to give that soul, that essence, but without the bodies below it." She conceded that "in that omission, evidently I have been wrong." She acknowledged, "I have gone on fighting over terms, as over the idea that for me plot, structure etc, seem wrong. They did seem wrong, because I was aiming at the soul as in Blakes picture, not realizing that in leaving out the body of the death [Blake's figures] I was bewildering the onlooker." She suggested that "I was indifferent to the place from whence my spirit arose, being interested in the resurrection." She wrote that this insight was "the most illumined point so far on myself." She suggested that for the same reason she had fought the "dramatic" (referring to dramatic presentation) that Coleman had urged her to use more in the book. She aimed, she wrote, just to write the essence of the thing."

The "essence of the thing" she compared to "eating a bouillon cube without the hot water - and I kept thinking that I must make the cube stronger and must take the water further and further away. What an idiot! It may serve in time, in years to come, when people know more about the place from which the cube is compiled, but now, because it is such a new kind of writing, it makes the reader crazy, I have seen people suffer headache and nose bleed over that book, Muffin for one, become tired, collapse, sleep. An overdose - and so a poison."

Exactly what Barnes meant by "leaving out the body of the death" is not altogether clear. Perhaps she means that the narrative has been made more difficult, or obscure, for readers because she has focused on the dialogues of Nora, Felix, and O'Connor (a secondary level) which are the result of the love of Nora and Robin and Felix (the primary level) - or the action itself (that is, the body of the death). There is, however, a second element to the "death" she refers to. In a letter of 8 November 1935, she returns to Neagoe's criticism of the novel. She cites Proust's view of subjectivity and his thought "that he recaptured his life only when something in the past was caught by some likeness in the present." The concept seems to connect her relationship with Thelma to the abuse and betrayal Barnes suffered in her childhood. She wrote to Coleman from Paris in May 1936: "I am up to my neck here in my lost life - Thelma & Thelma only - & my youth - way back in the beginning when she had no part in it & yet she is the cause of my remembrance of it." The betrayal and abuse in childhood that had been suppressed is recaptured in Robin, for Robin also embodies the story of Barnes's childhood - a hidden theme echoed in two haunting questions in the unprocessed notebooks: "Did your grandmother ever try to make love to you," which Barnes labeled "monstrous family questioning," and the plaintive question, "I have yet to be forgiven for being abused?"(7) In an entry in her diary for I June 1936, Coleman reported that Djuna had told her about her childhood, including an attack by her father.(8) In this sense, then, there are two deaths beyond the resurrection of writing.

Barnes's encounter with Thelma provided a framework for understanding the "horror" of her childhood - "two horrors joined suddenly give you the significance of the one," as she expressed Proust's thought in an earlier letter. Examining the context of Nightwood, the story of the text, its evolution, and Barnes's interest in the text as conveyed in the letters between her and Coleman suggests that Nightwood is above all about "meeting the past." If the book is about Robin and Nora's love and the death of that love and if the past is to be more than recovered, then the victim Robin/Djuna has to be rejected for the recognition and triumph over her victimization that Nora/Djuna represents as she confronts Robin in the deserted chapel. Nora's victory, important yet painful and abdication to animal innocence; such "innocence" Barnes suggests is, for a human, degrading.

Writing the story is the final act that will estrange Thelma forever, and the final chapter, "The Possessed," predicts that estrangement, perhaps by its power ensures it. Through O'Connor she voices both her recognition and despair that knowing destroys the love and the loved one. "Had a letter from Thelma, possibly the last in my life if the book does get printed," Barnes wrote to Coleman. "She will hate me so. It's awful - God almighty what a price one pays for 200 pages."

Examining the production of Nightwood allows us to see the complexity of its autobiographical threads and to appreciate what Barnes sees as the aim of her writing: truth. For Barnes this truth includes knowing the truth of one's past and sexuality. In response to Peter Neagoe's criticism that the book offered no "hope and cheer," Barnes exclaimed, "What has hope and cheer got to do with it? It is far beyond these meager necessities, it seems to me. Wisdom is hope and cheer. There's hope and cheer in the fact that a human being can find these things out. Discovery of whatever kind is hope, the word cheer I will mark out, as I think its pretty silly anyway. Who wants cheer of any kind except truth."(9)

And for Barnes writing is the recompense, the resurrection: "I come to love my invention more - so I am able - perhaps only so able - to put Thelma aside - because now she is not Robin."(10)


(1) The unpublished correspondence of Barnes to Coleman is housed in the Emily Holmes Coleman Papers, Special Collections, University of Delaware, Newark. (2) Djuna Barnes, Guggenheim Application, 4 November 1930, Djuna Barnes Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland at College Park Libraries, College Park, Maryland. (3) Barnes to Coleman, 8 November 1935, Coleman Papers. Throughout her letters Barnes uses abbreviations and consistently neglects to use an apostrophe to indicate the possessive. Her practice will be followed in quoting from her letters. (4) Coleman to Barnes, 27 August 1935. The unpublished correspondence of Coleman to Barnes is housed in the Barnes Papers. (5) Barnes to Coleman, 8 November 1935, Coleman Papers. (6) The story is reported by Lance Sieveking in a 31 January 1957 Listener review of an edition of John Holms's correspondence. (7) Barnes, "Unprocessed Notebooks," Barnes Papers. (8) My thanks to Peter Mailloux for this information. Coleman's diary is in the Coleman Papers. (9) Barnes to Coleman, 8 November 1935. (10) Barnes to Coleman, 22 July 1936.
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Author:Plumb, Cheryl
Publication:The Review of Contemporary Fiction
Date:Sep 22, 1993
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