Featured Book Review

Nightwood by Djuna Barnes (1937) – a Review

From the original review of Nightwood by Djuna Barnes in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 1937: This is a rare and tempting book, because it might be easily underestimated and just as easily overrated. The introductory praise by T.S. Eliot, which is meant to attract serious readers, will perhaps lead to a few of them to contradict his opinion; and certainly Mr. Eliot’s advice is the best way to understand a rather perplexing the book:

“I have read Nightwood a number of times, in manuscript, in proof, and after publication … for it took me some time to come to an appreciation of its meaning as a whole.”

It benefits from rereading
Having read it twice myself, in some parts even the third time, I can support Mr. Eliot’s claim that the book becomes more impressive with each rereading. Whether continued reading would increase one’s admiration still more, and whether Mr. Eliot’s numerous readings entitle him to a sounder judgment then someone less initiated, I am hardly able to say. But for the moment it seems to me the kind of book that would make an intense personal appeal to those, like Mr. Eliot,  whose view of life it corroborates.
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