Ryder

Front Cover
Dalkey Archive Press, 1990 - Fiction - 250 pages
5 Reviews
When it was first published in 1928, Djuna Barnes's Ryder, a bawdy mock- Elizabethan chronicle of a family very much like her own, was described in the Saturday Review as “the most amazing book ever written by a woman.” One of modern literature's first and best denunciations of patriarchal repression, Ryder employs an exuberant prose by which narrator Julie Ryder derides her hated father, polygamous Wendell Ryder. Barnes satirizes masculinity and domesticity by way of parable, poem, and play, and a prose style that echoes Chaucer, Shakespeare, the Bible, and Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. For this edition, several of Barnes's previously suppressed illustrations have been restored.
  

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Review: Ryder

User Review  - Jason Kinn - Goodreads

This book is very difficult to make it through. I'm not smart enough to understand what the hell the author is doing. Read full review

Review: Ryder

User Review  - EC McCarthy - Goodreads

"at the fertile pitch of genius." Barnes says it best herself. Read full review

Contents

Jesus Mundane
3
Those TwainSophias Parents
6
Sophia and the Five Fine Chamberpots
9
Wendell Is Born
17
Rape and Repining
21
Portrait of Amelias Beginning
30
Sophia Tells Wendell How He Was Conceived
36
Pro and Con or the Sisters Louise
39
The Beast Thingumbob
117
If Some Strong Woman
123
The Psychology of Nicknames
125
The Cat Comes Out of the Well
128
No Greater Love Hath Any Man
133
The Soliloquy of Dr Matthew OConnor Family Physician to the Ryders on the Way to and from the Confessional of Father Lucas
135
Be She What She May
141
They Do Not Much Agree
145

Tears Idle Tears
43
The Occupations of Wendell
53
However for the Readers Benefit
69
Amelia Hears from Her Sister in re Hisodalgus That Fine Horse
71
Midwives Lament or the Horrid Outcome of Wendells First Infidelity
77
Sophias Last Will and Testament
78
Who Was the Girl?
81
The Coming of KateCare less a Rude Chapter
86
What Kate Was Not
88
Yet for Vindication of Wendell
93
Amelia and Kate Taken to Bed
95
Amelia Dreams of the Ox of a Black Beauty
98
Wendell Dresses His Child
100
And Amelia Sings a Lullaby
103
Wendell Tells the Mystery to Julie and to Timothy
105
Julie Becomes What She Had Read
106
Amelia Hears from Her Sister in Regard to a Pasty
111
Kate and Amelia Go ADunging
114
Amelia Hears from Her Sister in Regard to Timothy
152
Amelia Tells a Bedtime Story
155
Sweetly Told
157
Dr Matthew OConnor and the Children
161
Wendell Discusses Himself with His Mother
164
Old Wives Tale or the Knit Codpieces
173
Wherein Sophia Goes ABegging
176
Amelia Hears from Her Sister on the Misfortunes of Women
180
Timothy Strives Greatly with a Whore
184
Fine Bitches All and Molly Dance
191
Dr Matthew OConnor Talks to Wendell on Holy Inspiration
200
Ladies Almanack 1928
205
Going To and Coming From
213
Elisha in Love with the Maiden
221
Three Great Moments of History
227
Whom Should He Disappoint Now?
237
Afterword by Paul West
243
Copyright

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About the author (1990)

Although Djuna Barnes was a New Yorker who spent much of her long life in Greenwich Village, where she died a virtual recluse in 1982, she resided for extended periods of time in France and England. Her writings are representative modernist works in that they seem to transcend all national boundaries to take place in a land peculiarly her own. Deeply influenced by the French symbolists of the late nineteenth century and by the surrealists of the 1930s, she also wrote as a liberated woman, whose unconventional way of life is reflected in the uncompromising individuality of her literary style. Barnes's dreamlike and haunted writings have never found a wide popular audience, but they have strongly influenced such writers as Rebecca West, Nelson Algren, Dahlberg, Lowry, Miller, and especially Nin, in whose works a semifictional character named Djuna sometimes appears. In 1915 Barnes anonymously published The Book of Repulsive Women. Not long after she moved to Paris and became associated with the colony of writers and artists who made that city the international center of culture during the 1920s and early 1930s. Her Ladies Almanack was privately printed in Paris in 1928, the same year that Liveright in the United States published Ryder, her first novel. The book on which Barnes's fame largely rests is Nightwood (1936), a surrealistic story set in Paris and the United States, dealing with the complex relationships among a group of strangely obsessed characters, most of them homosexuals and lesbians. Barnes wrote little after Nightwood. In 1952, she professed to Malcolm Lowry that the experience of writing that searing work so frightened her that she was unable to write anything after it. Fortunately, her literary talents revived with The Antiphon, a verse-drama originally published in 1958, which is now available in Selected Works (1962).

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