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The fiery and enigmatic masterpiece—one of the greatest novels of the Modernist era.
The outsized characters who inhabit this world are some of the most memorable in all of fiction—there is Guido Volkbein, the Wandering Jew and son of a self-proclaimed baron; Robin Vote, the American expatriate who marries him and then engages in a series of affairs, first with Nora Flood and then with Jenny Petherbridge, driving all of her lovers to distraction with her passion for wandering alone in the night; and there is Dr. Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O'Connor, a transvestite and ostensible gynecologist, whose digressive speeches brim with fury, keen insights, and surprising allusions. Barnes' depiction of these characters and their relationships (Nora says, "A man is another persona woman is yourself, caught as you turn in panic; on her mouth you kiss your own") has made the novel a landmark of feminist and lesbian literature.
Most striking of all is Barnes' unparalleled stylistic innovation, which led T. S. Eliot to proclaim the book "so good a novel that only sensibilities trained on poetry can wholly appreciate it." Now with a new preface by Jeanette Winterson, Nightwood still crackles with the same electric charge it had on its first publication in 1936.
“A novel of extraordinary and appalling force...a kind of symbol of sinister magnificence.” — The New York Times
“One of the great masterworks of twentieth-century fiction.” — Vogue
“Nightwood is itself. It is its own created world, exotic and strange, and reading it is like drinking wine with a pearl dissolving in the glass. You have taken in more than you know, and it will go on doing its work. From now on a part of your is pearl-lined.” — Jeanette Winterson
“What I would leave the reader prepared to find is the great achievement of of a style, the beauty of phrasing, the brilliant of wit and characterization and a quality of horror and doom very nearly related to that of Elizabethan tragedy.” — T. S. Eliot
“One of the greatest books of the twentieth century.” — William S. Burroughs
“Djuna Barnes is a writer of wild and original gifts. . . .To her name there is always to be attached the splendor of Nightwood, a lasting achievement of her great gifts and eccentricities---her passionate prose and, in this case, a genuineness of human passions.” — Elizabeth Hardwick
“A masterpiece of modernism.” — The Washington Post Book World
“To have been madly and disastrously in love is a kind of glory that can only be made intelligible in a sublime poetry—the revelatory and layered poetry of Djuna Barnes's masterpiece, Nightwood.” — Dorothy Allison, author of the National Book Award-nominated novel Bastard Out of Carolina