This essay argues that Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood is a complex meditation on the queer power of the sacraments. Engaging the Foucauldian account of how the regime of sexuality emerges from the confessional, Nightwood proffers the sacraments lost in this transmission as ways out of scientia sexualis. Primary to Barnes’s vision are the Baptism, the laying on of hands, and the Eucharist, which she opens toward their queer possibilities for affiliation, transmission, and historiography. Her project enables a queer hypersociality, a counterpoint to the antisocial thesis that, in the end, is more wrapped up in the rites of confession and penance than not.
Elizabeth Freeman; Sacra/Mentality in Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood. American Literature 1 December 2014; 86 (4): 737–765. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-2811730
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