Pictures from today

I’ll put them all under the cut because there are a LOT, but here are the pictures from class today! It won’t let me post videos because they’re too big (boooo), but if you want to see either of them (there’s one of Katie and Libby and one of SBT and Ian), I can try to email them to you!

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Gynomodola

Crayola color Gynomodola color color source
Apricot Fuckin Apricot I thought of 63 other color names that have to do with our class and this was the last one, what do you want from me
Asparagus All Moss and Eyes -Nightwood
Bittersweet Minnie and her Stupid Fucking Hair -HERmione, basically
Black Nightwood -Nightwood
Blue The Blue Wastes of the Sky – To the Lighthouse
Blue Green How Many Stars in Your Eyes? -HERmione
Blue Violet Lily’s Triangular Purple Shape – To the Lighthouse
Brick Red Oliver’s Ball – Return of the Soldier
Brown A Brown Which is Not Liquid – Tender Buttons
Burnt Orange An Inexplicably Amusing Manx Cat – A Room of One’s Own
Burnt Sienna Sykes’ Killer Penis {Snake} – “Sweat”
Cadet Blue Time Passes – To the Lighthouse
Carnation Pink Suffragette modernist era
Cerulean Every Bit of Blue is Precocious – Tender Buttons
Chestnut Potpourri-Colored Curtains -HERmione
Cornflower Drowning in Nostalgia Modernism
Dandelion Blond Cornfields – My Antonia
Forest Green £500 and a Room of One’s Own – A Room of One’s Own
Gold Shimmer of Gold on the Brown River – My Antonia
Goldenrod Dirty is Yellow – Tender Buttons
Granny Smith Apple Poison Pen Gaudy Night
Gray Nihilism Modernism
Green The World Lies Green and Billowy – My Antonia
Green Yellow The Odd Green on Green -HERmione
Indigo Fleet Sweet Swallow Fayne -HERmione
Lavender Tender Buttons – Tender Buttons
Macaroni and Cheese This is No Authority for the Abuse of Cheese – Tender Buttons
Magenta All This Makes Cherries – Tender Buttons
Mahogany Red as Copper – My Antonia
Mauvelous Salon modernist era
Melon Every Single ‘Effin Melon blog tag
Olive Green The Color Was (Wasn’t It?) Green -HERmione
Orange Orange. Orange. Oranges. Orange In. – Tender Buttons
Orchid Yonic literary studies
Pacific Blue Flooded the Bay With Blue – To the Lighthouse
Peach Probably A Phallic Symbol literary studies
Periwinkle Representing All Masculinity blog tags
Plum Setting in a Purple Cloud – “John Redding Goes to Sea”
Purple Mountain’s Majesty Homoerotic Subtext literary studies
Raw Sienna A Brown Gloom Rich with Garlic – Return of the Soldier
Red Clare Kendry’s Blood – Passing
Red Orange Vaudeville modernist era
Red Violet Almost a Spring Red, Soft Red -HERmione
Robin’s Egg Blue Robin -Nightwood
Salmon Enwombed blog tag
Scarlet Red So Regular and Enthusiastic – Tender Buttons
Sea Green H. D., the “Perfect Bisexual” Freud and H. D. stuff
Sepia Rottenness of No-Man’s Land – Return of the Soldier
Silver Bright Metallic Moonlight -HERmione
Sky Blue Indescribable Blue, Hard as Enamel – My Antonia
Spring Green Flappers modernist era
Tan Brown Paper Parcel – To the Lighthouse
Tickle Me Pink A Pink Cut Pink Stein p26
Timberwolf Bare and Gray as Sheet-Iron – My Antonia
Tumbleweed Passing – Passing
Turquoise Blue Rain Blue, Dark Blue at the Corners -HERmione
Violet Humble Violet Under a Cow Pad -Nightwood
Violet Red Mema’s Single Broken Pawn blog post
White Mother Catherine’s Robes – “Mother Catherine”
Wild Strawberry Out of Kindness Comes Redness – Tender Buttons
Wisteria 4 Stars, More Lesbians Than UMW blog tag
Yellow The Massive Continuity of Ducks Sayers
Yellow Green A Kind of Green a Game in Green – Tender Buttons
Yellow Orange A Sunset of One’s Own A Room of One’s Own, basically

Ian’s Post on Barnes

Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood is a novel undergirded by the theme of submission, which manifests in ways beyond merely religious. From their onset in “Bow Down” to the enigmatic final scene with Robin and the dog, concepts of submission characterize much of how we can read and interpret the text. On page 35, the doctor says, “No man needs curing of his individual sickness; his universal malady is what he should look to.” Submission can be read as one aspect of this “universal malady”—as a part of the cure, and as a part of the malady itself. Various forms of ritualistic submission become epistemological access points for the characters in Nightwood.

Submission is presented in Nightwood as a universal process through which all people must go. The doctor supports this notion when he says, “The people love their church and know it, as a dog knows where he was made to conform, and there he returns by his instinct. But to the graver permission, the king, the tsar, the emperor, who may relieve themselves on high heaven—to them they bow down—only” (43). We enter the novel with ideas of religious submission as we learn about Felix’s parents and origins. Felix apparently favors the idea that submission is a form of acquisition; “He felt that the great past might mend a little bit if he bowed low enough, if he succumbed and gave homage” (12).

Indeed, the idea of blind submission appears again at the end of the novel, when Robin follows the dog; “She could see nothing… She no longer heard the dog, but she kept on” (178). Her commitment despite having no senses with which to follow the dog is a textbook representation of the faith required in religion. She submits to the path of the dog to the point that she becomes animalistic herself, as she begins “crawling after him—barking in a fit of laughter, obscene and touching” (179). This transition into the primordial feels cleansing, especially if we consider it in conjunction with the doctor’s comment: “Ah… to be an animal, born at the opening of the eye, going only forward, and, at the end of the day, shutting out memory with the dropping of the lid” (143). There is a way in which the text privileges and fetishizes the idea of the primitive; Robin is often described in an animalistic way, beautiful and alluring with her “temples like those of young beasts cutting horns” (143). Her act of submission to animal instinct feels like a moment of self-actualization, a reconfiguration of identity and a new way of knowing herself.

After the doctor gives his little lecture on medical science, closing with the observation that the “universal malady” is what man should look to cure, Felix says that it “sounded like dogma” (35). Acts of submission cannot be separated from their dogmatic centers; the idea behind submission, of course, is that one gives oneself in to a system that is greater than the person, be it a religion or a social contract or a return to primal roots. In some ways, I think that the text suggests submission as a way of coping with realities of being in the world, especially a world where identity is so universally uncertain. It allows for a convergence of different people upon the shared values of a fixed dogmatic system. In other ways, I think that the text frames the human instinct, the need to submit, as the malady itself. Regardless, moments and representations of submission certainly characterize much of how we can read Nightwood.

Jordanne’s Post on Barnes

The pervasive sense of discomfort concerning everything to do with fertility, childbirth, children, and anything related to subjects of that nature is easy to pick out in all parts of Djuna Barnes’s, “Nightwood”. Perhaps because the connection between sexuality and fecundity is blurry, questioned, and awkwardly portrayed—we only get the slightest sense of the entangled web of female identity surrounding both.

At certain points, Robin, Nora, and Jenny are all likened to children or described as having childish features: “Leaning her childish face and full chin on the shelf of the prie-dieu, her eyes fixed, she laughed…” (Robin, p. 51), “She was broad and tall…though her skin was the skin of a child…Looking at her, foreigners remembered stories they had heard of…children’s heads…looking in fright out of small windows…” (Nora, p. 55-56), “…being one of those panicky little women who, no matter what they put on, look like a child under penance,” (Jenny, p. 72). The sexualities of all three women, as well as the relations between them, exist at the plot’s center or at the very least, surrounding and circling (enwombing?) it. Despite Robin’s flightiness and slipperiness, she is the one who conceives and gives birth. However, she remains “unclaimed”, even by her own child. At one point, her feelings concerning her pregnancy are described thus, “she was…strangely aware of some lost land in herself,” (p. 49). It is interesting that Robin is likened in this instance to land (and the child as taking up some of the land inside her—losing ground to a child within?), due to her propensity for wandering the land of her surrounding world like a lost traveler. She is also compared or described as a creature or entwined with the theme of beasts or creatures of the night (especially in the end with the dog). Anything she is related to, both Nora and Jenny somehow act out upon (Jenny’s bestial outburst on the train, p. 83), but they are not entirely included as participants in the themes either. For example, Robin has some sort of ineffable relationship with the church and religion, and in the end Nora finds her in the chapel. Yet Nora then proceeds to collapse and appears to pass out (or die) (p. 178-179). Neither Nora nor Jenny can fully participate in anything having to do with Robin. The only land she loses is during her pregnancy, and she eventually gains it back by giving birth. Perhaps the descriptions and relations of all three to being children themselves is the only true concrete connection between their characters.

The centrality of Robin’s character, coupled with the resistance other characters and readers are faced with during attempts to define her, culminates in a presentation of a much more fluid identity and character. Her gender identity, sexual identity, intellectual identity, and identity as a wife/mother/lover (in other words, relationship identity) are all fragmented as opposed to being represented as coherent parts of an individual identity. Again, Nora and Jenny’s identities mimic this but do not fully participate in it. The child descriptions serve as a recognizable and grounding element to all of their characters.

Djuna Barnes Presentation Post

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Djuna Barnes was born, raised and died in New York. She wrote many influential works—most of which (the novels, anyways) were published during her lifetime. She produced works in several different genres, including novels, short stories, poems, drawings, and plays (the latter four were the ones actually published posthumously).

She was a stunt-journalist, meaning she participated in her journalism through experiencing corporeally what she was writing about. The most notable example of this is her story on the force-feeding that suffragettes were subject to during imprisonment.

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As an artist, she often drew accompanying pictures or portraits for her stories. There are compilations of these drawings now—or at least one, published in 1996 as “Poe’s Mother: Selected Drawings.” It contains over a hundred of her sketches.

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She lived from 1892 until 1982, and was born in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY into a rather fascinating family. Her grandmother was Zadel Turner Barnes, her father was born Henry Aaron Budington—but was also known as Wald Barnes, Brian Eglington Barnes, and several other names—her mother was Elizabeth, and her father’s mistress was Fanny Clark. If she had any formal schooling, it was only for a small period of time after age ten and was very inconsistent. Barnes was the second oldest child in a family of 8 children—5 between Elizabeth and Wald, and 3 between Fanny and Wald. Her full siblings’ names were: Thurn, Zandon, Saxon, and Shangar. Djuna Barnes was sexually mistreated in a variety of ways. It’s said that her grandmother wrote inappropriate/ sexually explicit letters to her, she was raped by either her father or her father’s friend, and she was married off to Fanny Clark’s brother when she was not yet 18 and he was 52. Luckily that marriage didn’t even last two months.

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She met Thelma Wood when she lived in Paris for 10 years (1920-30). They ended the relationship after Wood said she disliked how she was portrayed in “Nightwood” and left Barnes. Djuna moved back to NY and lived at 5 Patchin Place, Greenwich Village from 1940 until her death.

Some of her most notable works include: “Ryder,” “Ladies Almanack,” “Nightwood,” and “Antiphon.” The last she called her most important work.

DB5

One of her more famous quotes is, “I’m not a lesbian, I just loved Thelma.” There is a lot of speculation now about whether or not she was bisexual. She had relationships with both men and women, but did not like labels.

BONUS: The beautiful Thelma–

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Works Cited

Djuna Barnes. Digital image. Barcelona Review. Barcelona Review, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://www.barcelonareview.com/49/s_db.htm>.

Djuna Barnes. Digital image. BBC. BBC, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/02/2006_33_thu.shtml>.

“Djuna Barnes.” Extravagant Crowd: Carl Van Vechten’s Portraits of Women. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://brbl-archive.library.yale.edu/exhibitions/cvvpw/gallery/barnes1.html>.

“Djuna Barnes.” New World Encyclopedia. MediaWiki, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Djuna_Barnes>.

Djuna Barnes Papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries. Digital image. Npr. Npr, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://www.npr.org/books/titles/138022909/nightwood>.

Djuna Barnes’s Passport Photo, 1929. Digital image. Nothing Is Lost. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <https://katewebb.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/christina-stead-5-im-dying-laughing-historys-inescapable-reckoning/>.

“Embracing The Quirkiness Of Djuna Barnes.” NPR. NPR, 16 June 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://www.npr.org/2012/06/16/154846844/embracing-the-quirkiness-of-djuna-barnes>.

Fuchs, Miriam. “Djuna Barnes and T. S. Eliot: Authority, Resistance, and Acquiescence.” Tusla Studies in Women’s Literature 12.2 (Autumn 1993): 288-313. JSTOR. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Gerstenberger, Donna. “Modern (post) Modern: Djuna Barnes among the Others.” The Review of Contemporary Fiction 13.3 (Fall 1993): 33. EBSCO. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Giroux, Robert. “‘THE MOST FAMOUS UNKNOWN IN THE WORLD’ — REMEMBERING DJUNA BARNES.” The New York Times 1 Dec. 1985: 30. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/1985/12/01/books/the-most-famous-unknown-in-the-world-remembering-djuna-barnes.html?pagewanted=all>.

Green, Barbara. “Spectacular Confessions: ‘How It Feels to Be Forcibly Fed.’ (essay) (Djuna Barnes).” The Review of Contemporary Fiction 13.3 (Fall 1993): 70. EBSCO. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

“Interviews and Illustrations by and with Barnes.” Modernism: American Salons. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. <http://www.cwru.edu/artsci/engl/VSALM/mod/brandelmcdaniel/index/interviews.htm>.

Michel, Frann. “‘I Just Loved Thelma’: Djuna Barnes and the Construction of Bisexuality.” The Review of Contemporary Fiction 13.3 (Fall 1993): 53. EBSCO. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Norris, Margot. “Djuna: The Life and Works of Djuna Barnes.” Studies in the Novel 28.4 (Winter 1996): 581. GALE Literature Resource Center. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Smorul, Kate Ridinger. “Of Marionettes, Boxers, and Suffragettes: Djuna Barnes’s Performative Journalism.” Journal of Modern Literature 39.1 (Fall 2015): 55. EBSCO. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

Yesenia’s Post on Hurston

The first short story we read for Hurston was “John Redding Goes to Sea” and that really set the tone for the rest of the short stories. I had difficulty seeing happiness or hope in the ending. When we saw John floating down the river on logs, all I could see in my mind’s eye was the younger John throwing debris into the river to watch it float down so it could one day meet the sea but the debris would get caught up and stuck and end up not going anywhere. In class we talked about the last image of John with his arms outstretched and laying on the logs with the wound in his chest as a Christ figure, and how that implies a sacrifice has been made; “Sure enough there was a man floating on a piece of timber. He lay prone upon his back. His arms were outstretched, and the water washed over his brogans but his feet were lifed out of the water whenever the timber was buoyed up by the stream. His blue overalls were nearly torn from his body. A heavy piece of steel or timber had struck him in falling for his left side was laid open by the thrust. A great jagged hole wherein the double fists of a man might be thrust, could plainly be seen from the shore” (16).” I feel that John as Christ sacrificed his freedom. He sacrificed his freedom so his family could continue live in their comfort zone and not worry about him traveling far and wide. Another interesting point to note in this passage is the two concise sentences that help paint the picture. The purpose of these sentences seems to be shock value, when the description is read, those are the two sentences that make him seem the most vulnerable as he is “prone” and his overalls are torn which in its passive form just adds to the idea of proneness. The longer sentences are stronger, and even though they continue to depict his Christ figure, the language is more traditionally masculine. Although I dislike the gendering of words, it is generally accepted that verbs such as “struck” or “thrust” are very male. I’m also interested in the juxtaposition of violence and sexuality as his wound is described as “[a] great jagged hole wherein the double fists of a man might be thrust” and that is further complicated by his status as both a dead body and a Christ figure.

The situation that surrounds John’s death is another point of interest. The only white man in the novel asks John for his help in finishing the bridge. John jumps on his request. With this action he makes his own decision and does something for himself, something that he hasn’t really been able to do throughout he short story because he has his parents or his wife protesting his true desire. Although he takes the job of his own volition and knows full well what risk a job of this nature entails, it is still of note that he died working a job for a white man. I definitely think that Zora Neale Hurston created the white man’s character to illustrate a point. That point may be protesting white people’s use of black bodies, or even the concept that a job is a job. She may be commenting on the principle of working for a white man.

Another interesting point in this short story is the use of superstition. John’s mom believes in superstition and magic, which is not taken seriously for the majority of the story. Many people relate such beliefs to a lack of education, and the short story begins seemingly promoting this as seen in the exchange between John’s mom and dad; “Alf, it’s too bad our boy’s got a spell on ‘im.’ The father always met the lament with indifference, if not impatience. ‘Aw, woman, stop dat talk ‘bout conjure. Tain’t so nohow. Ah doan want Jawn tuh git dat foolishness in him’” (1). The mom is proven to be not so ridiculous during the huge storm when a screech owl cries; “And now a new element of terror was added. A screech-owl alighted on the roof and shivered forth his doleful cry. Possibly he had been blown out of his nest by the wind. Matty started up at the sound but fell back in her chair, pale and trembling: ‘My Gawd!’ she gasped, ‘dat’s a sho’ sing uh death’” (13). The screech owl’s call is seen again and again in literature as a sign of impending death, and Hurston incorporates it in her folktale as a truth. This is an interesting consideration she made, and validates the beliefs of both many of her readers and the people these folktales are about.

 

[Word Count 802]

Meredith’s Post on Barnes

In class we mentioned the comparison of Robin and Nora’s empty center, which I found to be intriguing, but I would like to include Dr. Matthew’s and Jenny’s empty center.  I would argue that most of the characters are empty in some aspect which contributes to Nightwood being a nihilist text.  The pessimism clearly seen through all the characters and the fact that nothing matters except for the one thing they cannot attain or obtain makes it nihilistic.  I do not count Felix, even though he does not have an authentic heritage, because I think he is fulfilled by having Guido.

In Robin’s case, the reader has very little insight as to what she is thinking and feeling.  For the most part we only know Robin from the perspective of other characters and inferences we make about her actions.   There are a few exceptions where we see things from Robin’s view.  For instance, when she informs Felix that she “didn’t want him!” when referring to her son, Guido.  Soon afterwards, Robin abandons Felix for Nora.  I inferred that Robin was not satisfied with marriage in general and her child; which are life accomplishments that women are supposed to be fulfilled by but domesticity was not for Robin.  Eventually Robin becomes unsatisfied with Nora and traveling around the world.  Robin then leaves Nora for Jenny.  We see Robin jumping from relationship to relationship and wandering the streets like a homeless person in search of something stable.  Yet, Robin seems unaware that she’s looking for stability.  Each time Robin becomes unsatisfied, she resorts to disappearing into the night and is not see or heard from in days.  This leads me to believe that Robin is not fulfilled by her relationships or its benefits and does not find stability in them.  She’s empty by not being able to find stability – even within herself.

For Nora her emptiness resides in not being able to fully know or have Robin.  Before meeting Robin, we are told that “By temperament Nora was an early Christian; she believed the word” (56).  But after meeting Robin and she abandons Nora; Nora cannot even be fulfilled by faith which according to Christians is the only thing one needs to survive.  Even Nora’s dreams are haunted by the fact that she does not have Robin in the flesh.  It seems the only way Nora has or can love Robin is in her dreams.  But it’s not the real Robin – only her shadow projected into the dream by Nora.  Additionally, Nora’s quest, more mental than physical, to understand Robin leaves her with more questions than answers.  Nora’s desire to know more about the mysterious Robin reminds me of the saying “curiosity killed the cat” because Nora never finds an answer which kills her emotionally.  Nora admits “this is another love – it goes everywhere; there is no place for it to stop – it rots me away” (161).  Even the doctor explains that Nora’s state of being after losing Robin resembles “the demolishing of a great ruin [that] is always a fine and terrifying spectacle” (151).  So Nora is left to ponder “How much of our life do we put into a life that we may be damned” (149).  By not finding an answer leaves Nora to be empty.

Regarding Dr. Matthew’s, I believe his emptiness stems from the in between world he inhabits.  Although I am not completely sure how to name this world, living in it definitely crushes his mind and maybe even his spirit by the end.  He has the ability to see and understand what others do not.  He claims to have “known everyone [and] everything’s over, and nobody knows it but me” (175).  In this situation I feel that too much knowledge is a bad thing only because others do not accept or understand it.  Because of that the doctor is essentially burdened by knowing everything and not being able to use his knowledge to fix the problems in the world.  Dr. Matthew reminds of the titan, Atlas, in that they both are burdened by carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders alone especially when he says “If you don’t want suffer you should tear yourself apart” (174).  Atlas tries to pass the burden onto someone else but the doctor follows his own advice.  I see his mental breakdown or going mad as a way for him to destroy himself and end the suffering that living in this between world has caused.  By living in this world and not having any peace or rest leaves Dr. Matthew with an empty center.

For Jenny, I think her emptiness comes from needing to have other people’s possessions and history in addition to being remembered.  No matter how much of other peoples stuff or history that she claims it is never enough because it is not actually hers.  Even “The words that fell from her mouth seemed to have been lent to her” (73).  Since nothing about her is authentic she will not be remembered.  The narrator’s description of her states “She wanted to be the reason for everything and so was the cause of nothing” (74).  Jenny did not contribute anything to society that was worth being remembered for.  Dr. Matthew’s describes Jenny to Nora as being an aged woman that has nothing to show for herself.  But, if Jenny could have Robin then Jenny might stand a chance of getting “a flower named for her” (109) or being remembered.  Since Robin abandons Jenny to return to Nora, Jenny will not be remembered and continues to be empty.

The quest for something or someone that is unattainable is never-ending.  Because of that, Robin, Jenny, Dr. Matthew, and Nora will be perpetually empty.

 

End Note: I hate to end in such a pessimistic way so I just wanted to say that I think there is beauty in literature, like we discussed in class. And that Barnes has a unique way of sharing that beauty with her readers.  I absolutely loved the language she used to describe the characters and settings and appreciated her metaphors.

 

Word Count: 1016

Maya Mendoza

So I found this quote from Maya Mendoza that I thought really related to some aspects and novels we’ve talked about in Gynomod.

She says ” No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.” 

I just wanted to share it and see what your opinions were about it.