Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



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


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

Date of Defense



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.





Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).