Barnes, Djuna

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Noted journalist and avant-garde author Djuna Barnes was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, on June 12, 1892, the second child and only daughter of Wald and Elizabeth Chappell Barnes. Barnes studied art at the Pratt Institute (1912-1913) and at the Art Student's League of New York (1915-1916).

In 1913, she began working as a freelance journalist and illustrator for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and was soon writing and illustrating features and interviews for the New York Morning Telegraph, the New York Press, and the New York Sun, among other publications. During this period, she became involved in the bohemian artistic milieu of Greenwich Village. She wrote poetry ( The Book of Repulsive Women, published in 1915) and several short plays ("Three From the Earth,"? "Kurzy of the Sea," and "An Irish Triangle"), which were produced by the Provincetown Players in 1919 and 1920.

In 1921, Barnes travelled to Europe, then spent almost all of the next twenty years in England and France. She wrote features and interviews for Vanity Fair, McCall's, Charm, and Smart Set, a regular column for Theatre Guild Magazine, and poems and stories for literary magazines such as Dial, transition, and Transatlantic Review . Her book-length writings in this period consist of a collection of her short stories, plays, and poems, A Book (1923), which was revised and republished in 1929 as A Night Among the Horses, the satirical Ladies Almanack (1928), and two novels, Ryder (1928) and Nightwood (1936). Regarded by most critics as her masterpiece, Nightwood was influenced by Barnes's affair with Thelma Wood. The novel was written under the patronage of Peggy Guggenheim and championed by T. S. Eliot, Barnes's editor at Faber and Faber.

In October 1939, Barnes returned to the United States, and, in September 1940, she moved into an apartment at 5 Patchin Place in Greenwich Village, where she resided for the remainder of her life. She wrote the verse play The Antiphon (1958), which was produced in Sweden in 1961 in a version co-translated by United Nations' secretary Dag Hammarskjöld. Another collection of her short stories, Spillway, was published in 1962, the year in which Selected Works ( Spillway, The Antiphon, and Nightwood ), appeared. During the 1960s and 1970s, Barnes also wrote much poetry, though little was published. Her final work was the verse menagerie Creatures In an Alphabet (1982). Barnes died in New York City on June 18, 1982, at the age of ninety.

From the guide to the Djuna Barnes papers, 1820-1982, 1910-1975, (Literature and Rare Books)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Robert McAlmon papers, 1916-1980, 1930-1952 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Gore Vidal papers, 1850-2020 (inclusive), 1936-2008 (bulk) Houghton Library.
referencedIn Manuscripts and proofs of New Directions books, 1937-1997. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Saxon Barnes papers, 1889-1990, 1889-1990 Literature and Rare Books
referencedIn Houghton Library printed book provenance file, A-D. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Charles Reznikoff Papers, 1912-1976 Mandeville Special Collections Library
referencedIn Kenneth Burke collection of papers, 1922-1983, 1922-1973 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
referencedIn New Yorker records, ca.1924-1984 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Chester Page Collection, 1933-1992, 1970-1973 Literature and Rare Books
referencedIn Peter Neagoe Papers, 1928-1967 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Barnes Family Papers, 1880-1985, null Literature and Rare Books
referencedIn Kathryn Hulme papers, 1846-1981, 1945-1981 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Irwin Cohen Collection, 1896-1995, null Literature and Rare Books
referencedIn James Stern papers, 1940-1986, 1940-1986 Literature and Rare Books
referencedIn Records of, Sojourner, (inclusive), (bulk), 1920-2004, 1975-2002 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven papers, 1917-1933, null Literature and Rare Books
referencedIn Sun & Moon Press Archive, 1976-2002 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn Berenice Abbott papers, 1927-1992, 1960-1992 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Papers, 1897-1930. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Janet Flanner and Solita Solano Papers, 1870-1976, (bulk 1955-1975) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Djuna Barnes papers, 1820-1982, 1910-1975 Literature and Rare Books
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, ca. 1933-1997. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Andrew Field papers, 1916-1989, 1976-1982 Literature and Rare Books
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Abbott, Berenice, 1898-1991 person
associatedWith Barnes Family family
associatedWith Barnes, Saxon, 1902-1991 person
associatedWith Barney, Natalie Clifford person
associatedWith Beckett, Samuel, 1906- person
associatedWith Boyle, Kay, 1902- person
correspondedWith Braithwaite, William Stanley, 1878-1962 person
associatedWith Burke, Kenneth, 1897-1993 person
associatedWith Cohen, Irwin, 1947- person
associatedWith Coleman, Emily Holmes, 1899-1974 person
associatedWith Cummings, E. E. (Edward Estlin), 1894-1962 person
associatedWith Eliot, T. S. (Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965 person
associatedWith Ferlinghetti, Lawrence person
correspondedWith Field, Andrew, 1938- person
associatedWith Flanner, Janet, 1892-1978 person
associatedWith Freytag-Loringhoven, Elsa von, 1874-1927 person
associatedWith Glossop, Silas person
associatedWith Guggenheim, Peggy, 1898- person
associatedWith Hammarskjöld, Dag, 1905-1961 person
associatedWith Hoare, Samuel Peter person
associatedWith Houghton Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Hulme, Kathryn, 1900-1981 person
associatedWith Joyce, James, 1882-1941 person
associatedWith Macdougall, Allan Ross, 1893- person
associatedWith McAlmon, Robert, 1895-1956 person
associatedWith McAlmon, Robert, 1896-1956 person
associatedWith Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972 person
associatedWith Neagoe, Peter. person
correspondedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
correspondedWith New Yorker Magazine, Inc corporateBody
associatedWith O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953 person
associatedWith Page, Chester, 1929- person
correspondedWith Reznikoff, Charles, 1894-1976 person
associatedWith Sojourner (Cambridge, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Solano, Solita, 1888-1975 person
correspondedWith Stern, James, 1904-1993 person
correspondedWith Sun & Moon Press corporateBody
associatedWith Tate, Allen, 1899- person
associatedWith Vail, Laurence, 1891- person
associatedWith Van Doren, Carl, 1885-1950 person
associatedWith Vidal, Gore, 1925- person
associatedWith Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963 person
associatedWith Wood, Thelma person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Authors, American--History--Sources




Ark ID: w6d91cn3

SNAC ID: 52127371