Djuna Barnes once said that there is always more surface to a shattered object than a whole object, and the statement is provocative when considering her own writing and art. Arriving as an accomplished writer and journalist in 1920s Paris, Barnes produced an eclectic body of work whose objects and surfaces continue to fascinate readers. In this volume, a series of internationally renowned scholars reassess both Barnes and modernism through a close examination of her prose, poetry, journalism, visual art, and drama.
From the modernist classic Nightwood to the late verse play The Antiphon, Barnes's distinctive voice has long resisted any easy assimilation into specific groupings of authors or texts. Responding to expansions of canons and critical questions that have shaped modernist studies since the late twentieth century, the chapters in this volume bring new thinking to her full oeuvre and collectively demonstrate that the study of modernism necessarily includes the study of Barnes. The contributors show Barnes's significant contributions to twenty-first-century discourses on topics such as the politics of print culture, the representation of animals and the human, queer aesthetics, modernist criticism, authorship, style, affect, and translation between media.
Featuring an afterword by Peter Nicholls and a comprehensive bibliography, Shattered Objects provides a timely assessment of Barnes and considers the implications of reading her critically as an important modernist writer and artist. It will be welcomed by scholars of literature, art history, and the modernist era.
In addition to the editors, contributors to this volume are Daniela Caselli, Bruce Gardiner, Alex Goody, Melissa Jane Hardie, Tyrus Miller, Drew Milne, Peter Nicholls, Rachel Potter, Julie Taylor, and Joanne Winning.
List of Illustrations
Elizabeth Pender and Cathryn Setz
Part 1: Modernism in Print
1 Djuna Barnes on the Page
2 Djuna Barnes’s Short Stories in A Night Among the Horses (1929) and Spillway (1962)
Part 2: Human and Beast
3 Nightwood ’s Humans
4 Djuna Barnes’s Creatures in an Alphabet: From A for Anecdotage to Z for Zoomancy
5 Djuna Barnes, Thelma Wood, and the Making of the Lesbian Modernist Grotesque
Part 3: Barnesean Style
6 The Critique of Modernist Wit: Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood
7 “Trees of Heaven”: Djuna Barnes’s Late Metaphysical Verse
8 “If Some Strong Woman”: Djuna Barnes’s Great Capacity for All Things Uncertain
9 “The Havoc of Nicety”: Djuna Barnes’s Ryder and the Catastrophe of Epochal Change
Part 4: Modernist Afterlives
10 Djuna Barnes: The Flower of Her Secret
Melissa Jane Hardie
11 Making Contact: Affect, Queer Historiography, and “Our Djuna”
Notes on Contributors