Advanced Search

Barnes, Djuna.

Selected Works; corrected proofs.


Barnes, Djuna. Selected Works. New York: Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1961.
Two sets of long galleys, 140 leaves and 122 leaves respectively, printed on proofing paper; all leaves folded. Housed together in a cloth slipcase.
Barnes's heavily corrected sets of two successive states of long galleys for Selected Works, an idiosyncratic collection she culled from her writings, in which she chose to reprint only Spillway, The Antiphon and Nightwood. The textual changes to the earlier proofs are incorporated into the later galleys; the changes to that proof were made before publication. The long gestation period between galley sets-the earlier galley is press-dated July 10, 1961; the later, December 15, 1961-was caused by Barnes's copious alterations. In addition to emending punctuation, spelling, and grammar, she made significant textual changes to both states of the proofs, often redrafting entire sections on separate leaves and then stapling those "inserts" over the rejected texts. Her emendations are particularly dense in The Antiphon-in both sets Barnes makes lengthy, meaningful changes on nearly every page. Barnes also altered the order of the stories in Spillway, and deleted one: "A Boy Asks a Question." These alterations and basic design changes resulted in differing pagination. Both sets of galleys also bear copy-editing notations.
Barnes painstakingly revised much of the material for Selected Works, a process graphically reflected in these galleys. Her tinkering was a cause of considerable distress to her editor Robert Giroux, who "would go on red battle stations whenever Barnes rang" and who, according to biographer Andrew Field, developed headaches from the acrimonious exchanges (239). Apparently, Giroux and Barnes never fully achieved an agreeable relationship; after the book's publication, Hank O'Neal relates that "Giroux called on Barnes with an armful of books for her to autograph. She was incensed and asked him to leave. [Barnes] claims he departed in such a hurry that the books were left behind, whereupon she gathered them up and threw them down the stairs after him" (Life is Painful, Nasty, & Short…Djuna Barnes 1978-1981: NY: Paragon House, 1990, p. 126).
Insomuch as Selected Writings was Barnes's last major publication, her emendations on these galleys represent her final meaningful confrontation with her own work. A remarkable set of survivals.

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