Djuna Barnes

(1879 words)
  • Deborah Parsons (University of Birmingham)

Djuna Barnes was born on June 12th 1892 in Cornwall-on-Hudson. Her father, Wald Barnes, was a dilettante artist and polygamist, whose wife, mistress and their children all lived in the same household, supported by his indulgent and equally free-thinking mother Zadel. As a child Djuna adored Zadel, who, as a journalist herself, undoubtedly influenced her granddaughter's interest in art and literature. Her unconventional upbringing was otherwise, however, disturbing and abusive, and she later hinted at family incest, revealing that her father, with her mother and grandmother's acquiescence, had humiliatingly arranged her sexual initiation. The emotional repercussions of this experience remained with Djuna throughout her life …

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Parsons, Deborah. "Djuna Barnes". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 July 2001
[, accessed 30 June 2015.]