Nightwood Background

Nightwood Background

One of the first noted lesbian literature novels, Nightwood is a book written by Djuna Barnes published in 1936. It was one of the first books to explore explicit themes of homosexuality between women, and is also known for its intense, gothic, and metaphysical tone.

Nightwood's protagonist is Robin Vote, a woman who is searching for "secure torment" in the form of whether it be a relationship or just another person. She marries a wealthy baron named Felix and has a child with him; however, she remains wholly dissatisfied with their life together and runs away to America, where she meets and begins to date a woman named Nora Flood. They move to Paris together, but Robin's solicitous nature causes them to break up. Robin dates a string of other women, including Jenny Petherbridge, a four-times married widow, but finds them boring and useless. The novel then moves into the future, when Robin and Nora are both back in America, and their strange encounter there.

Nightwood is an undeniably unique endeavor. Perhaps because of its eccentric storyline, it became one of the most well-known LGBT novels of the 1900's. It is considered by scholars and critics today to be an extremely notable novel of the time, with "The Publishing Triangle" ranking it #12 on a list of the top 100 Gay/Lesbian novels of all time.

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