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THE BOOK OF REPULSIVE WOMEN

DJUNA CHAPPELL BARNES was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson in 1892. She grew up in an eccentric, polygamous household, and was educated at home by her suffragist grandmother. She moved to New York in 1911, where she briefly studied at the Pratt Institute of Art, and where she made her living as a writer, penning feature articles, short stories, one-act dramas and poetry. Barnes was a talented artist who illustrated her own work throughout her life. In the 1920s she moved to Paris, where she lived and worked amongst the literary expatriate community until the late 1930s, when she moved back to New York. Barnes is most famous for her 1936 novel Nightwood but her three other major works, Ryder (1928), Ladies Almanack (1928) and The Antiphon (1958), are arguably as important. In her later years Barnes became reclusive, refusing public attention and attempts to republish her work. She died in 1982 at the age of ninety.

REBECCA LONCRAINE wrote her doctoral thesis on Djuna Barnes’ New York writing. From 2002 to 2003 she was a research fellow at the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford, where she worked on early twentiethcentury American literature and film.

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