Advanced Search

Barnes, Djuna.

Antiphon, The; uncorrected Proof and first ed.


Inscribed To Anita Loos
Barnes, Djuna. The Antiphon. London: Faber and Faber, 1957.
8vo.; brown printed wrappers, glued; spine hand-lettered; barely worn.
Boxed together with:
Barnes, Djuna. The Antiphon: A Play. London: Faber and Faber, (1958).
8vo.; maroon cloth boards, spine stamped in white and gilt; a virtually untouched copy, internally fresh; pale blue dust-jacket, spine lightly darkened, one small chip, else fine.
Uncorrected proof of Barnes's play, her first book after Nightwood, together with a hand-corrected presentation copy of the first edition, inscribed: To Anita Loos, With Regards Djuna Barnes. New York 1958, with Loos's library stamp and four emendations by Barnes including the addition of an entire line of text on page 24. The Antiphon was published in January 1958, 22 years after Nightwood appeared: Messerli 7 (citing the first edition only). The proof copy contains numerous minor textual variances from the first published version of the play, which was released one year later.
The Antiphon, like much of Barnes's work, met with decidedly mixed reviews. In one of the play's kinder write-ups, the Times Literary Supplement reviewer opined:
Because of its uncompromising bitterness and its equally uncompromising language, [The Antiphon] is even less likely than Nightwood to prove popular, but it is probable that there will always be one or two eccentrics who think that it gives its author the first place among women who have written verse in the English language." (April 4, 1958)
It would be difficult to imagine a less likely literary pairing than the morose and reclusive Barnes and Loos, the prominent screenwriter, novelist, and social butterfly best remembered for her witty "femme fatale" novel of the '20s, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Indeed, despite a thorough perusal of biographical material about Barnes, Loos, and their respective social circles, we have yet to unearth any reference to a meeting between them; further, the formal tone of the inscription suggests that they were probably not well acquainted. Quite possibly Barnes inscribed this copy to Loos as a favor to a mutual friend. In any case, it makes for an intriguing association between two notorious expatriate literary figures.

© 2011-2018 Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. All Rights Reserved.