Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor's Name

Ana Luszczynska

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Phillip L. Marcus

Third Advisor's Name

Maneck Daruwala

Keywords

Djuna Barnes, androgyny, Derrida, Deconstruction, Modernism, Nightwood, sex, gender, feminism, queer theory

Date of Defense

11-6-2012

Abstract

Modern writers like Djuna Barnes allow for the post-modern fluidity and explosion of sex and gender without finalizing either in a fixed form. Whereas the classical, archetypal androgyne is made up of two halves, one man and one woman; the deconstructed androgynous figure is not constituted of oppositional terms which would reflect an essential and unimpeachable truth. I reveal the way Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood not only thematizes the fluid androgyne, but also cleverly verbalizes David Wood’s perpetual and un-dischargable “debt” to extra-discursivity while poetically critiquing gender “appropriateness,” societal constraints, and the constitution of identity. Barnes presents a decentralized, ungrounded and non-prescribed world in Nightwood not only through her cross-dressing and androgynous characters, but also in her poetics, her assertion of the open-ended quality of language, and a strong imperative to negotiate our physical existence in a world of fluid gender and sexual boundaries.

Identifier

FI12112802

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