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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Fictions of the self : studies in female modernism : Jean Rhys, Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes Groves, Robyn 1987

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F I C T I O N S OF THE S E L F : S T U D I E S " I N F E M A L E MODERNISM J E A N R H Y S , GERTRUDE S T E I N AND DJUNA BARNES b y ROBYN GROVES B . A . , A d e l a i d e , 1975 M . A . , The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1980 A T H E S I S SUBMITTED I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF P H I L O S O P H Y i n THE F A C U L T Y OF GRADUATE S T U D I E S ( P r o g r a m i n C o m p a r a t i v e L i t e r a t u r e ) We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s a s c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H COLUMBIA F e b r u a r y 1987 ( c ^ R o b y n G r o v e s , 1987 In presenting t h i s thesis in p a r t i a l f u l f i l l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t fre e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department of by his representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Program i r i ^ ^ ^ - ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ A V t ! X^/y^e ~7 The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date Abstract This thesis considers elements of autobiography and autobiographical f i c t i o n in the writings of three female Modernists: Jean Rhys, Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes. In chapter 1, after drawing d i s t i n c t i o n s between male and female autobiographical writing, I discuss key male autobiographical f i c t i o n s of the Modernist period by D.H. Lawrence, Marcel Proust and James Joyce, and th e i r debt to the nineteenth century l i t e r a r y forms of the Bildungsroman and the Kunstlerroman. I re l a t e these texts to key European writers, Andre Gide and Colette, and to works by women based on two separate female Modernist aesthetics: f i r s t , the school of " l y r i c a l transcendence"—Dorothy Richardson, Katherine Mansfield and V i r g i n i a W o o l f — i n whose works the s e l f as l i t e r a r y subject dissolves into a renunciatory "female impressionism;" the second group—Rhys, Stein and Barnes--who as late-modernists, o f f e r r a d i c a l l y " o b j e c t i f i e d " s e l f - p o r t r a i t s i n f i c t i o n which act as c r i t i q u e s and revisions of both male and female Modernist f i c t i o n of e a r l i e r decades. In chapter 2, I discuss Jean Rhys' o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n of female self-consciousness through her analysis of a l i e n a t i o n in two d i f f e r e n t settings: the Caribbean and the c i t i e s of Europe. As an outsider in both situations, Rhys presents an unorthodox counter-vision. In her f i c t i o n s of the 1930's, she deliberately revises e a r l i e r Modernist representations, i i i b y b o t h m a l e a n d f e m a l e w r i t e r s , o f f e m a l e s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s . I n t h e p r o c e s s , s h e o f f e r s a s i m u l t a n e o u s c r i t i q u e o f b o t h s o c i a l a n d l i t e r a r y c o n v e n t i o n s . I n c h a p t e r 3 , I c o n s i d e r G e r t r u d e S t e i n ' s c a r e e r - l o n g e x p e r i m e n t s w i t h t h e r e n d e r i n g o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s i n a v a r i e t y o f l i t e r a r y f o r m s , n o t i n g h e r g r o w i n g c o n c e r n t h r o u g h o u t t h e 1 9 2 0 ' s a n d 1 9 3 0 ' s w i t h t h e r o l e o f a u t o b i o g r a p h y i n w r i t i n g . I n a c l o s e r e a d i n g o f The A u t o b i o g r a p h y o f A l i c e B . T o k l a s , I e x a m i n e S t e i n ' s p a r o d y a n d " d e c o n s t r u c t i o n " o f t h e a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l f o r m a n d t h e M o d e r n i s t c o n c e p t i o n o f t h e s e l f b a s e d o n m e m o r y , a s s o c i a t i o n a n d d e s i r e . H e r w i t t y a t t a c k o n t h e c o n v e n t i o n s o f n a r r a t i v e p r o d u c e s a new k i n d o f f i c t i o n a l s e l f - p o r t r a i t u r e , d r a w i n g h e a v i l y o n t h e v i s u a l a r t s t o c r e a t e new p r o s e f o r m s a s w e l l a s t o d i s m a n t l e o l d o n e s . C h a p t e r 4 f o c u s s e s o n D j u n a B a r n e s ' m e t a p h o r i c a l :.. r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s o f t h e s e l f i n p r o s e f i c t i o n , w h i c h r e - i n t e r p r e t t h e M o d e r n i s t n o t i o n o f t h e s e l f , b y means o f a n a n d r o g y n o u s f i c t i o n a l p o e t i c s . I n h e r A m e r i c a n a n d E u r o p e a n f i c t i o n s s h e e x t e n d s t h e n o t i o n o f t h e w o r k o f a r t a s a f o r m a l , s e l f - r e f e r e n t i a l a n d s e l f - c o n t a i n e d " w o r l d " b y s u b v e r t i n g i t w i t h t h e u s e o f a l a t e - m o d e r n , " h i g h camp" i m a g e r y t o c r e a t e new t y p e s o f n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e . T h e s e w o m e n ' s m a j o r w o r k s , a p p e a r i n g i n t h e 1 9 3 0 ' s , mark a s e c o n d wave o f M o d e r n i s m , w h i c h r e v i s e s a n d i n c e r t a i n w a y s s u b v e r t s t h e f i r s t . H e n c e , t h e s e a r e s t u d i e s i n " l a t e M o d e r n i s m " a n d i n my c o n c l u s i o n I w i l l c o n s i d e r t h e i v distinguishing features of t h i s t r a n s i t i o n a l period, the 1930's, and the questions i t provokes about the idea of periodization i n general. TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Chapter One: Autobiography: Self Creation 1 F i c t i o n a l Autobiography 6 The Novel as P o r t r a i t of the Male A r t i s t 7 The A r t i s t as Woman 13 Female Autobiography 2 2 Female Autobiographical F i c t i o n 2 5 The Female A e s t h e t i c i s t s 29 Chapter Two: P o r t r a i t of the A r t i s t in Exile 41 The Caribbean 44 Expatriation 49 Autobiographical F i c t i o n 50 Character 50 Vignette 53 Voyage in the Dark 56 Wide Sargasso Sea 64 Europe 74 Good Morning, Midnight 84 Chapter Three: Self P o r t r a i t and Cubist A r t i f i c e .. 101 Exile or Expatriate 101 Autobiography: Cubist Self Creation 112 Conclusion 145 Endnote 150 v i Chapter Four: Djuna Barnes: The Patterned Self .... 154 Origins 154 Expatriation 159 Nightwood 16 8 The Divided Self 171 The Designing Self: The Self as Design 185 Conclusion 210 Footnotes 230 Bibliography 254 1 Chapter One This thesis deals generally with women's autobiographical f i c t i o n i n the Modernist period and s p e c i f i c a l l y with the autobiographical novels of three female expatriates l i v i n g in Paris in the 1920's and 1930's. I w i l l treat Modernism as the d i s t i n c t s t y l i s t i c phase in l i t e r a t u r e , art and music which dominated England, Europe and America between 1914 and 1939. Modernism i s a collective} name for a number of movements—Impressionism and i t s aftermath, Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Symbolism and Imagism, Vorticism, Dadaism and Surrealism—whose common aim was to subvert the Romanticism and Realism of the nineteenth century and to propel the twentieth century into the abstract."*" Autobiography: Self creation I wish to begin my study with the autobiographical impulse i t s e l f , and changing interpretations of i t . Three major areas for t h e o r e t i c a l consideration emerge. F i r s t , what i s the rel a t i o n s h i p of autobiography to f i c t i o n ? Is i t possible to formulate strategies for turning autobiography into f i c t i o n ? Secondly, can we dist i n g u i s h s p e c i f i c a l l y female strategies for t h i s process? How i s writing sexually d i f f e r e n t i a t e d ? F i n a l l y , what distinguishes Modernist s e l f - p o r t r a i t u r e i n f i c t i o n ? Did styles and methods of l i t e r a r y self-representation a l t e r with the waves of Modernism? Forms of autobiography have altered throughout history in accordance with changing concepts of the s e l f I t i s the self-conscious l i t e r a r y form, o f f e r i n g insight into the modes of consciousness of other men as well as oneself. Despite a certain w i l f u l b l u r r i n g of the di v i s i o n s between l i t e r a r y forms.in the twentieth century, i t remains true that autobiographies are texts i n which authors make themselves the subjects of t h e i r own works. Since the mid-eighteenth century, when David Hume looked "into himself and discovered "only perceptions, no discernible separate s e l f , " and "Identity, capable of unifying disparate perceptions..."merely a qual i t y which we att r i b u t e to them," attempts at self-representation in the arts have undergone 2 r a d i c a l s h i f t s . Contemporary c r i t i c a l theory o f f e r s one possibly unifying perspective on these s h i f t s i n i t s claim that both the psychological s e l f and the l i t e r a r y subject which embodies i t are human constructions: they are f i c t i v e . In the nineteenth century, Nietzsche, echoing Hume's conclusion and extending i t in his provocative c r i t i q u e of the s e l f as subject in The W i l l to Power, said: "the 'subject' i s not something g i v e n . . . i t i s something added 3 and invented and projected behind what there i s . " Nietzsche's b e l i e f that the psychological s e l f i s not a given that exists before we invent or project i t forms the basis for contemporary c r i t i c a l views of autobiographical, and other, writing. The Western t r a d i t i o n of the " s e l f , " 4 deconstructionists conclude, i s a constructed t r a d i t i o n . I t i s not self-generating or s e l f - s u s t a i n i n g . I t i s 3 constructed from pre-existing and continuously changing sets of ideas and assumptions which saturate the language we must 5 use to "think ourselves into being." These c r i t i c s , Nietzsche included, do not wish to undermine the notion of an individuated s e l f ; they simply remind us that "the central fact about s u b j e c t i v i t y i s that i t s previous formulations have the status of a f i c t i o n , " in the history of an i n d i v i d u a l l i f e . The idea that a writer can create a s e l f as he creates a text--out of a l l previous systems of creation, most es p e c i a l l y language--is brought up to date by Paul de Man in r e l a t i o n to autobiographical l i t e r a t u r e : We assume that l i f e produces the autobiography as an act produces consequences, but can we not suggest with equal j u s t i c e , that the autobiographical project may i t s e l f produce and determine the l i f e and that whatever the writer does i s in fact governed by the technical demands of s e l f - p o r t r a i t u r e and thus determined, in a l l i t s respects, by the resources of the medium.7 The writer creates his image or idea of himself, and the imaginary construction of his l i f e based on i t , in and through his text. I do not mean to d i s c r e d i t the factual component in autobiographical writing; to underestimate the power of " l i v e d experience" in a writer's work can i n h i b i t an informed reading of the text. Before one i s able to consider those q u a l i t i e s which have been, as Nietzsche put i t , "added and invented and projected," one must be well aware of "what there i s " in the foreground to begin with; and i t i s with the l i v e s of the women whose 4 autobiographical f i c t i o n I explore, that I w i l l always begin. A f i c t i o n a l autobiography i s a narrative in which the subject, that i s the author and his l i f e , i s given the status of f i c t i o n , and acts as a s t a r t i n g point for narrative. Examples are D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers and James Joyce's g P o r t r a i t of the A r t i s t as a Young Man. In such works, the a r t i s t i c representation of "facts," the process of selecting, ordering and transmuting i f not t r a n s l a t i n g them, has necessarily altered them in r a d i c a l , imaginative ways. F i l t e r e d through the writer's memory and an awareness of the autobiographical t r a d i t i o n in l i t e r a t u r e , they have ceased to be only the facts of a l i f e . As Northrop Frye has put i t , "Autobiography transforms empirical facts into a r t i f a c t s : 9 i t i s definable as a form of prose f i c t i o n . " On the other hand, as John Sturrock points out, "the untruths i t t e l l s may be as r i c h , or riche r in s i g n i f i c a n c e , than the truths."^^ One way of looking at autobiographical writing, then, sees a " f i c t i v e " s e l f producing an imaginatively constructed l i f e ; l o g i c a l l y such works must draw on the conventions of both autobiography and f i c t i o n . Nevertheless, in the Modernist period metaphor reigned over metonymy. Modernist f i c t i o n , with i t s clear ancestry in Symbolist poetry, i s always e s s e n t i a l l y metaphorical writing, however r i c h l y a Proust or Lawrence w i l l use metonymic d e t a i l . Both writers c l e a r l y valued "authenticity" of d e t a i l , but not an authenticity based s o l e l y on resemblance. David Lodge has said that "the central assertion of the modern novel [is 5 that] nothing i s simply one thing....an assertion for which metaphor i s the natural means of expression." 1"' - Even the s e l f - p o r t r a i t of the a r t i s t cannot be seen simply as "one thing," one s e l f . To describe various kinds of s e l f - p o r t r a i t s by a r t i s t s i n f i c t i o n , I w i l l use James Olney's term "metaphors of the s e l f , " to describe what he has c a l l e d " s i g n i f i c a n t complexes c h a r a c t e r i s t i c both of a l i f e and a 12 work." I believe that i t i s possible to i d e n t i f y and evaluate imaginative configurations which l i n k the i . biographical and the textual s e l f . If language represents being in autobiographical f i c t i o n , as i t must, the s e l f expresses and represents i t s e l f further by "the metaphors i t creates and projects, and we know i t by these metaphors ....[The a r t i s t ] in....perceiving formal patterns.... transforms a myriad passing sensations into the single 13 apprehensible and meaningful a r t i f a c t . " The f i n a l pattern to emerge in the case of autobiographical novels, i s narrative pattern, based on metaphor, rather than chronological and metonymic pattern as i t would appear i n s t r i c t autobiography. The s e l f i s revealed in the pattern of metaphor, and in the objects perceived and seized upon to make up the metaphors. "We become, in our creative act, a l l the objects we behold, and more importantly, the order of these 14 objects." (emphasis added). Therefore i t i s t h e i r narrative or textual arrangements with which I s h a l l be concerned, rather than with the changing epistemology of 6 of the subject. This thesis w i l l focus on the idea of a depersonalized o b j e c t i f i e d sense of i d e n t i t y as the key to "metaphors of the s e l f . " I w i l l examine the metaphorical s e l f - p o r t r a i t s in narrative by a number of male and more esp e c i a l l y female writers i n the period between 1914 and 1939. F i c t i o n a l Autobiography I have said that a l l autobiographical writing i s , to some degree, f i c t i v e or imaginative. Self-representation i s already a form of s e l f - f i c t i o n a l i z a t i o n . But when a writer s i t s down s p e c i f i c a l l y to write f i c t i o n , and at the same time to use his l i f e as the basis for the metaphors he creates, then new strategies for transforming fact into f i c t i o n must be devised. One assumes that t h i s impulse to combine the two originates with a desire to understand one's l i f e as a story, to explore the kinds of explanations provided by the imaginative process of s t o r y - t e l l i n g and to order events in a way that only art allows. This implies an ambiguous reading of the work, one which draws on both genres—the novel and autobiography. Philippe Lejeune would see i n t e r e s t i n g tensions created in the writer's "contract de lecture" with the reader s p e c i f i c a l l y for the autobiographical novel; between the "pacte autobiographique" 15 on the one hand and the novelist i c pact'on the other. Lejeune distinguishes between "pure f i c t i o n s , " that i s autobiographical novels based on a n o v e l i s t i c pact and " f i c t i v e f i c t i o n s " in which there there i s a f i c t i o n a l 7 attempt to introduce another perspective on one's own 16 autobiography by creating a character in a novel." The Novel as P o r t r a i t of the Male A r t i s t "As we, or mother Dana, weave and unweave our bodies," Stephen said, "from day to day, t h e i r molecules shuttled to and f r o , so does the a r t i s t weave and unweave his image....In the intense instant of imagination... that which I was i s that which I am and that which in p o s s i b i l i t y I may come to be. So in the future, the s i s t e r of the past, I may see myself as I s i t here now but by the r e f l e c t i o n from that which then I s h a l l be." In the f i r s t twenty-five years of t h i s century, cert a i n autobiographical f i c t i o n s by men, narratives generated i n discernible ways by the a r t i s t s ' l i v e s , became v i r t u a l paradigms of modern f i c t i o n . I think here of Joyce's P o r t r a i t of the A r t i s t as a Young Man and Ulysses, of Lawrence's Sons and Lovers and Women in Love and Proust's ^ 18 A l a Recherche de temps perdu. So paradigmatic have they become, that we often overlook the fact that they are personal s t o r i e s . These writers sought to o b j e c t i f y a e s t h e t i c a l l y , through images, f i c t i o n a l c o r r e l a t i v e s and narrative structures, t h e i r r e a l experience of the world and s p e c i f i c a l l y , i n a number of them, t h e i r development as a r t i s t s . Their experiments with f i c t i o n a l strategies for the narration of l i v e d experience took place against a background of philosophical unrest. The sense of s e l f i n history and in time was being r a d i c a l l y revised. This was r e f l e c t e d in the writings of T.E. Hulme, William James and 19 Henri Bergson. Out of these works emerged a b e l i e f that 8 d i s c o n t i n u i t y was t h e o n l y c o n s t a n t i n s c i e n c e , h i s t o r y a n d a r t . T h e s e l f h a d become a s h i f t i n g c o n c e p t , q u i t e a l o n g way f r o m t h e d o m i n a t i n g n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y i d e a o f s e l f a n d w o r l d a s r e a l i s t i c a l l y p r e s e n t a b l e i n f i c t i o n . R e l a t i v i s m a n d a r t i f i c e become t h e new r u l e s , a n d t h e s e l f c o u l d b e e x p l o r e d i n r a d i c a l new w a y s i n f i c t i o n . I n a n i r o n i c , m u l t i p l e - p e r s p e c t i v e s e l f - p o r t r a i t , f o r e x a m p l e , t h e a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l n o v e l i s t i s f r e e t o w o r k w i t h q u i t e p e r s o n a l s e t s o f t e x t u a l c o n v e n t i o n s w i t h w h i c h t o o b j e c t i f y a e s t h e t i c a l l y h i s s e n s e o f s e l f , h i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s a n d h i s w o r l d , t o c r e a t e a " f i g u r a t i v e " v e r s i o n o f h i m s e l f , t h e "sum 20 o f n a r r a t o r , p r o t a g o n i s t a n d o t h e r f i c t i o n a l a r t i f a c t s . " I n i m p o r t a n t r e s p e c t s , t h e n , t h e n a r r a t i v e i s d e - c e n t r e d . T h e f i g u r a t i v e s e l f we s e e i n t h e n a r r a t i v e c a n n o t a l w a y s b e t a k e n a s t h e " t r u e " i d e n t i t y o f t h e a u t h o r . " A v e r b a l a r t i f a c t i s a n d i s n o t c o m m e n s u r a t e w i t h i t s a u t h o r ; a s a s y n b o l i t i s b o t h a d y n a m i c e q u i v a l e n t o f t h e s e l f a n d a s h a b b y s u b s t i t u t e f o r t h e r i c h n e s s o f t h e e x p e r i e n c i n g 21 l i f e . " T h i s " f i g u r a t i v e " v e r s i o n o f t h e s e l f i s M o d e r n i s m ' s d i s r u p t i v e a n s w e r t o w h a t o n e c r i t i c d e s c r i b e d a s n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y r e a l i s m ' s " e m p l o y m e n t o f t h e s e l f a s t h e p r i n c i p l e 22 o f i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y " i n t h e t e x t . P a r a d o x i c a l l y , i n a n u m b e r o f M o d e r n i s m ' s k e y a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l n a r r a t i v e s w r i t t e n b y m e n , t h e " f i g u r a t i v e " s e l f i s b a s e d o n t w o n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y l i t e r a r y f o r m s . One i s t h e B i l d u n g s r o m a n , t h e s t o r y o f t h e p r o t a g o n i s t ' s e d u c a t i o n i n l i f e , a s e x e m p l i f i e d b y F l a u b e r t ' s a n d B a l z a c ' s 9 young men from the provincies t r a v e l l i n g to the centres of culture. The other i s the Kunstlerroman, the p o r t r a i t of the a r t i s t novel, i n which the true s e l f of the protagonist emerges from the education process as an a r t i s t . The quest for selfhood i s dominant i n both forms. Frequently that s e l f i s in c o n f l i c t with society, church or current morality. An opposition between art and l i f e i s implied. Lawrence, Proust and Joyce are primarily concerned, in Sons and Lovers, A l a Recherche du temps perdu and P o r t r a i t of the A r t i s t as a' Young Man, with t e l l i n g us the story of how they became a r t i s t s . In these texts, the psychological s e l f becomes not only the l i t e r a r y subject, but the subject as a r t i s t and creator of such transformations, those Yeats 23 would c a l l , " A r t i f i c e r s of the Great Moments." Notions of the s e l f may be s h i f t i n g , and c e r t a i n l y those altered notions are absorbed into these self-consciously aesthetic texts. But, curiously, these writers premise t h e i r self-representations on the fixed concept of the unchanging power and supremacy of the a r t i s t figure to command whatever material his period y i e l d s . Certainly, i n Sons and Lovers, D.H. Lawrence i s very concerned with the representativeness of his l i f e . "It's the tragedy of thousands of young men i n England," he wrote 24 to Edward Garnett. In the novel, he s i m p l i f i e s the facts of h i s own l i f e . He reduces his actual family, invents some situations and leaves out others, including, curiously, many of his most avid i n t e l l e c t u a l concerns in youth. He . 10 writes of his protagonist, Paul Morel, in the t h i r d person, to single out, with attempted o b j e c t i v i t y , the s i g n i f i c a n t , the representative events of his l i f e i n s o c i a l and ideologica terms. But the point of his autobiographical format i s to 25 "uncover his uniqueness." Of course that uniqueness i s representative i n a way, too, of a l l emerging a r t i s t s in ali e n a t i n g s o c i a l climates. Paul Morel's unique "emotional nexus" i s , as Roy Pascal notes, his alone, and the novel's f i n a l scene makes clear that we are being shown a "process of s e l f - c r e a t i o n in which the in d i v i d u a l emerges quite 2 6 d i s t i n c t from the forces which go into his making." Proust's A l a Recherche du temps perdu i s also a se l f - c r e a t i v e work, one which the a r t i s t regards as redemptive i t has subsumed him, t r a n s l a t i n g the transit o r y d e t a i l s of his l i f e into an "eternal" work of a r t . Proust's whole career was an attempt to fi n d a style and a structure adequate to the treatment of his own growth and development as a writer, from his early piece, Jean Santeuil (1895) to 27 his death in 1922. Alors, moins eclatante san doute que c e l l e qui m'avait f a i t apercevoir que l'oeuvre d'art e t a i t le seul moyen de retrouver le Temps perdu, une nouvelle lumiere se f i t en moi. Et je compris que tous ces materiaux de l'oeuvre l i t t e r a i r e , c ' e t a i t ma vie passee; je compris q u ' i l s etaient venus a moi, dans les p l a i s i r s f r i v o l e s , dans l a paresse, dans l a tendresse, dans le douleur, emmagasines par moi, sans que je de^inasse plus leur destination, leur survivance meme, que l a graine mettant en reserve tous les aliments qui nourriront l a plante. Comme l a graine, je pourrais mourir quand l a plante se se r a i t developpee, et je me trouvais avoir vecu pour e l l e sans le savoir sans que ma vie me parut devoir entrer jamais en contact avec ces l i v r e s que j'aurais voulu e c r i r e et pour lesquels, quand je me mettais autrefois a ma table, je ne trouvais pas de sujet. A i n s i toute ma vie jusqu'a ce jour aurait pu et n 'aurait pas pu etre resumee sous ce t i t r e : Une vocation.27 Marcel i s free to die once his text has been completed. He i s i n a sense, then, born into the text. Proust's Marcel i s a f i c t i o n a l version of himself. Joyce, i n Stephen Hero, began with quite a detailed and l i t e r a l p o r t r a i t of :himself in an almost nineteenth century 2 8 r e a l i s t i c s t y l e . In subsequent drafts he became, l i k e Proust, more and more concerned with f i c t i o n a l i z i n g these d e t a i l s into consciously aesthetic designs. This process of moving away from the l i t e r a l p a r a l l e l s on a thematic l e v e l , Stephen's own breaking away from the past in order to free himself to be an a r t i s t . The ultimate emergence of his e s s e n t i a l s e l f as an a r t i s t depends on the very creative 29 process that w i l l "forge" i t . This "forging" involves the creation of a new and f i c t i o n a l i z e d s e l f as an a r t i s t . Joyce c l e a r l y believed that by writing about his growth as an a r t i s t , he would become one. In order to focus on the idea that the freer Stephen i s of his past, the freer he i s to express himself as an a r t i s t , Joyce structures Stephen's l i b e r a t i o n around his 30 s h i f t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p with language. He flees the language of moribund Anglo-Irish culture and the dogma of the Romanc Catholic church ^ the language of authority, in favour of the rhetoric of a r t , where words are free to take on new meanings which only he as an a r t i s t can impose: I w i l l not serve that in which I no longer believe whether i t c a l l i t s e l f my home, my fatherland or my church: and I w i l l t r y to express myself i n some mode of l i f e or art as f r e e l y as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence and the only arms I allow myself to use — silence , e x i l e and cunning.31 Just as Marcel i s ready to die as his text i s about to be born, P o r t r a i t of the A r t i s t concludes as Stephen Dedalus ' career i s about to begin. In depicting Stephen, Joyce draws not only his own character and experience, s e l e c t i v e l y and economically arranged, but also on other a r t i s t heroes both in l i f e and art. In doing so he constructs an archetypal image of the a r t i s t figure -- the symbolic Daedalus — and in the process " c a r e f u l l y removed any t r a i t s of his own character 32 which c o n f l i c t e d with the stereotype." This i n t e r - t e x t u a l i t y reminds us that these three male writers, in t h e i r self-representations as a r t i s t s , continue to base t h e i r p o r t r a i t s on e s s e n t i a l l y Romantic notions of the a r t i s t , as either the soaring metaphysical creator, transcending l i f e i n a r t , or the s e l f - a n n i h i l a t i n g a r t i s t who "extinguishes" himself into his text. Either way, the t r a d i t i o n a l rhetoric of the a r t i s t and his vocation i s preserved. A writer who did a l l that he could to disrupt that t r a d i t i o n a l , r hetoric in his f i c t i o n a l s e l f - p o r t r a i t u r e was Andre Gide. In t h i s respect, I suggest, Gide acts as a l i n k i n g figure between the modern and the post-modern in 33 autobiographical f i c t i o n . The three women writers at the 13 heart of t h i s t h e s i s , Rhys, Stein and Barnes are also l i n k i n g figures and t r a n s i t i o n a l writers in a similar sense. Gide was the most self-conscious of writers, acutely aware of writing against the r e a l i s t i c t r a d i t i o n . In his n o v e l i s t i c writings he was always careful to make the reader aware that he was presenting the f i c t i o n a l world not as r e a l i t y but as an authorial construct, a f i c t i o n of the s e l f . He was acutely aware of the problems of autobiography and the novel. Gide was writing his "confessions" (Si le Grain ne meurt...) at the same time that he was embroiled in the theory and practice of the novel. The f u l l text of t h i s " o f f i c i a l " autobiography was published in 1936, the same year as his f i c t i o n a l s e l f - p o r t r a i t , Les Faux Monnayeurs, but the 34 autobiography had been finished e a r l i e r . Gide had written that he required of autobiographical writing that i t must "presente comme successifs des etats de simultaneite . . 35 confuse." Here he i s r e f f e r i n g to the kind of c e n t r i f u g a l i t y and m u l t i p l i c i t y of the s e l f which he discerned and imitated in Montaigne, Baudelaire and Dostoevsky. Gide chose the novel as the genre best suited to "succession." Autobiography he saw as limit e d , as a prisoner of the " r e a l " where truthfulness i s equated with veracity and i t s correspondence to "what r e a l l y happened." It i s a d i f f e r e n t kind of truthfulness he has in mind when he describes in h i s journal the novelist's prime purpose as being to express his s e l f , therefore making him "le seul 14 garant de l a v e r i t e q u 1 i l revele, le seul juge.""^ We are reminded again in the male autobiographical f i c t i o n t r a d i t i o n of the a r t i s t seeing himself as a God-like creator, Yeats' " a r t i f i c e r of the great moments," even when he i s showing us hi s methodology as Gide does. Any such n o v e l i s t i c p o r t r a i t of the a r t i s t can only be complete for Gide i f succession and simultaneity are i t s s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e s . The "authentic" and "subjective" novelist Gide wishes to be, wrestling with the problem of s e l f - c r e a t i o n through language, uses every one of his characters to represent some Gidean impulse, and never more completely than i n Les Faux Monnayeurs. The character of Edouard i s the most s t r i k i n g r e f l e x i v e device of t h i s novel. He i s a Gide-like figure engaged, and sometimes non-engaged in writing a novel c a l l e d Les  Faux Monnayeurs. Edouard i s more than Gide's representative, however. He i s the genuine incarnation of the a r t i s t i c consciousness. Even his inadequacies and shortcomings as a writer are part of Gide's d e f i n i t i o n of the a r t i s t which i s one of the bookls central concerns. Neither Edouard the writer, nor Gide the writer, portrays himself i n his novel; each creates himself as he creates his work. Identity i s protean, a matter of "successions." S e l f - a c t u a l i z a t i o n for Gide must be dynamic. But there i s a vast range of other characters and other stories than Edouard's, though many of them overlap, to make up one large, v i t a l i s t i c p o r t r a i t of the a r t i s t in f i c t i o n . Gide believed that the s e l f was too " r i c h " to express i t s e l f t o t a l l y as one person; i t must grow into a f i c t i o n a l world. Therefore Gide, the author, appears not only as Edouard, but also as Boris, the l i t t l e boy who i s b u l l i e d into suicide. At a s t r u c t u r a l l e v e l , the author i s recognizable both as the occasionally omniscient narrator, and as the s t o r y - t e l l i n g "je" whose voice can deceptively blur into a character's voice and disappear for a moment or a chapter. Behind a l l of these manifestations of the author, the f i r s t person narration serves to remind us that the story i t s e l f i s very much the product of a s t o r y - t e l l i n g . .. consciousness. But Gide also believed that " l a creation de nouveaux personnages ne devient un besoin naturel que chez ceux qu'une imperieuse complexite interieure tourmente et que leur propre s 3 "7 geste n'epuise pas." Gide infuses himself into the host of characters in Les Faux Monnayeurs, male and female, homosexual and heterosexual, c h i l d and adult, the object of desire and the one who desires. They are enclosed by his consciousness while appearing, i n a pastiche of nineteenth century realism, to l i v e . This technique of having his characters impersonate his myriad q u a l i t i e s , thoughts and ideas, culminates i n a point of complete depersonalization in the novel. In projecting himself so thoroughly into his characters, catharsis and s e l f - c r e a t i o n are possible for Gide, whose aesthetic i s e s s e n t i a l l y negative otherwise. He compares t h i s goal of his to the accomplishment of Dostoevsky, "tout 16 e p a r p i l l e dan ses heros, sans, serassembler pourtant jamais 3 8 dans un seul." In t h i s , Gide made sophisticated advances on the more t r a d i t i o n a l " p o r t r a i t of the a r t i s t " of early-Modernism as created by Joyce, Lawrence and Proust. Nevertheless, the lineage of the male Romantic God-like a r t i s t figure in f u l l control of his f i c t i o n a l world and f i c t i o n a l s e l f , i s di s c e r n i b l e i n Gide's 1930's n o v e l i s t i c s e l f - p o r t r a i t u r e , however much the author enjoys p l a y f u l i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y with his heritage.. This, I would argue, i s a male t r a d i t i o n . Women writers from the same period have, on the whole, stories other than "how I became an a r t i s t " to t e l l us. The A r t i s t as Woman Before going on to discuss these s t o r i e s , i t i s necessary to consider ways in which gender informs a writer's work. Early in the history of feminist l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m , female c r i t i c s made strong e f f o r t s to prove that there were no disce r n i b l e differences between male and female writing, and based t h e i r claim for sexual equality on t h i s premise. This c r i t i c i s m focused largely on male writing, on pinpointing female stereotypes and general inadequacies in the a r t i s t i c representation of women by men. A subsequent s h i f t i n focus has seen a new concentration on texts written by women themselves. The quali t y of female experience i t s e l f , rather than male views of i t , now comes under scrutiny. C r i t i c s now discuss the d i s t i n c t i v e features of a female text and the lineage of women writers; they 17 consider the i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y of women's writing within a semi-autonomous t r a d i t i o n . This allows for discussion of the differences between women writers as well as of t h e i r common q u a l i t i e s , as they are d i f f e r e n t from male writers. If the t r a d i t i o n of male writing i s the dominant t r a d i t i o n i n English l i t e r a t u r e , then a study of women's writing must see i t as a reactive t r a d i t i o n , one which operates at almost every l e v e l within the context of male l i t e r a r y h i s t o r y , language and conventions. Therefore i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g and important to see the kinds of deliberate appropriations, revisions and subversions of male texts undertaken by women writers. As Cora Kaplan puts., i t , "The analysis of female talent grappling with a male t r a d i t i o n translates sexual difference into l i t e r a r y differences of genre, structure, 39 voice and p l o t . " We analyse the ways in which women writers revise and subvert p r e v a i l i n g themes and styles with a range of approaches: psychoanalytic, deconstructive, h i s t o r i c a l , 40 formalist, generic and b i o l o g i c a l . Different n a t i o n a l i t i e s of female c r i t i c s have handled the nature of sexual difference in writing within these categories in d i f f e r e n t ways. French feminist c r i t i c i s m has based i t s e l f on.the b i o l o g i c a l notion of "ecriture feminine," the i n s c r i p t i o n of the female body 41 and womanhood in the language of the text. English feminists have, on the whole, been more t r a d i t i o n a l in t h e i r c r i t i c a l approach, choosing to concentrate s p e c i f i c a l l y on textual i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y using Marxist and 18 42 psychoanalytic approaches. American feminist c r i t i c s have also focussed on textual analysis but with the emphasis on 4 3 language and expression. In each of these c r i t i c a l approaches the emphasis i s on the woman writer and the female text. Elaine Showalter has c a l l e d t h i s "Gynocriticism" as opposed to the e a r l i e r "feminist c r i t i q u e " of male art which represented-44 women. Within d i f f e r i n g national approaches, c r i t i c s have considered four models of difference, as to exactly what makes the woman writer and her text d i f f e r e n t from her male counterparts. F i r s t , the b i o l o g i c a l difference i s seen by some to inform a woman's text. Talk of p h a l l i c and ovarian theories of a r t i s t i c production, metaphors of l i t e r a r y paternity and maternity, the body functions as sources of imagery at a primal l e v e l , may a l l be considered crude and pr e s c r i p t i v e , but become more viable when mediated, as they must be by l i n g u i s t i c , s o c i a l and l i t e r a r y structures. The second model, then, concerns these l i n g u i s t i c and textual theories of women's writing, which ask the basic question of whether men and women use language d i f f e r e n t l y . Does gender in fact determine styles of speaking, reading and writing? We have already noted that the l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n i n English i s predominantly masculine in discourse. When women speak or write, they are doing so in reaction to masculine norms and t h e i r implied'ideologies. Women write as outsiders. The English c r i t i c Mary Jacobus has suggested that women's writing which works within the "male" discourse, necessarily 19 works "ceasely to deconstruct i t : to write what cannot be written." "The problem," she goes on, "has not been that language has been i n s u f f i c i e n t to express women's consciousness, but that p a t r i a r c h a l c u l t u r a l norms have forced women into a position where they must use s t y l i s t i c camouflage, euphemism, 4 5 obliqueness and circumlocution." A t h i r d model of sexual difference, the psychoanalytic, locates difference i n the author's psyche in r e l a t i n g gender to the creative process. A theory of the female psyche sees the s e l f as shaped by the body, and by the development of language as well as by s o c i a l and sexual t r a i n i n g . A major stumbling block i s the Freudian model which needs constant updating to make i t comprehensible in g y n o c r i t i c a l terms. With i t s central concerns of penis envy, the castration complex and the oedipal phase, women's relationship to language, fantasy and culture seem to be explained away. Jacques Lacan has extended castration to a t o t a l metaphor 46 for female l i t e r a r y and l i n g u i s t i c disadvantage. Lacan theorizes that the ac q u i s i t i o n of language and the entry into i t s symbolic order occur at the oedipal phase, in which the c h i l d accepts his/her gender i d e n t i t y . This stage requires an acceptance of the phallus as a pr i v i l e g e d s i g n i f i c a t i o n and consequent female displacement, p a r t i c u l a r l y in l i n g u i s t i c terms as Cora Kaplan explains: The phallus as a s i g n i f i e r has a central c r u c i a l p o s i t i o n in language, for i f language embodies the p a t r i a r c h a l law of culture, i t s basic meanings refer to the recurring process by which sexual difference and su b j e c t i v i t y are acquired 20 . . . . T h u s the l i t t l e . g i r l s ' a c c e s s to the s y m b o l i c , t h a t i s , to language and i t s law, i s a lways n e g a t i v e and o r mediated by i n t r o d u c i n g a s u b j e c t i v e r e l a t i o n to a t h i r d t e r m , f o r i t i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i th l a c k . 4 7 The p s y c h o a n a l y t i c model d e f i n e s the woman a r t i s t b a s i c a l l y as d i s p l a c e d , d i s i n h e r i t e d and e x c l u d e d . T h e r e f o r e the " d i f f e r e n c e " i n women's w r i t i n g i s n e g a t i v e i n i t s t r o u b l e d r e l a t i o n s h i p to female i d e n t i t y . The woman w r i t e r e x p e r i e n c e s her own gender as p a i n f u l and as a d e b i l i t a t i n g o b s t a c l e or i n a d e q u a c y . Recent developments i n f e m i n i s t p s y c h o a n a l y s i s which do not f o c u s on r e v i s i n g Freud have been somewhat more e n c o u r a g i n g . Nancy Chodorow's The R e p r o d u c t i o n o f M o t h e r i n g : P s y c h o a n a l y s i s and the S o c i o l o g y o f Gender (1978) emphasizes the development and c o n s t r u c t i o n o f gender i d e n t i t i e s and f o c u s e s p o s i t i v e l y on the p r e - O e d i p a l p r o c e s s of p s y c h o - s e x u a l 48 d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n . F i n a l l y , a c u l t u r a l a n a l y s i s o f s e x u a l d i f f e r e n c e d i s c e r n s a female c u l t u r e w i t h i n the g e n e r a l c u l t u r e , a k i n d o f c u l t u r a l c o l o n y . At tempts to l o c a t e p r e c i s e l y the c u l t u r a l l o c u s o f female l i t e r a r y i d e n t i t y must d e s c r i b e the f o r c e s t h a t i n t e r s e c t w i t h an i n d i v i d u a l w r i t e r ' s c u l t u r a l f i e l d . Such an approach r a i s e s i n t e r e s t i n g q u e s t i o n s about the n a t u r e o f p e r i d d i z a t i o n so p r e v a l e n t i n l i t e r a r y s t u d i e s . I f l i t e r a r y p e r i o d i z a t i o n - - t h e s tudy of supposed ly s e l f -c o n t a i n e d e r a s - - t h e R e n a i s s a n c e , the Modern p e r i o d , the P o s t - m o d e r n , are based on men's w r i t i n g , then women's w r i t i n g must have been subsumed or f o r c i b l y a s s i m i l a t e d . Was the Rena issance a r e n a i s s a n c e f o r women? Were male 21 a n d f e m a l e w r i t e r s i n t h e M o d e r n i s t p e r i o d , M o d e r n i s t s i n t h e same s e n s e ? A s a c r i t i c who i s i n t e r e s t e d i n e x p l o r i n g a t r a d i t i o n o f women w r i t e r s a n d a f e m a l e c u l t u r a l c o n t i n u u m w i t h i n t h e g e n e r a l c u l t u r e , E l a i n e S h o w a l t e r i n A L i t e r a t u r e o f T h e i r Own a r g u e s f o r a f e m a l e s u b - c u l t u r e , e m e r g i n g i n l i t e r a t u r e a s a n " i m a g i n a t i v e c o n t i n u u m , t h e r e c u r r e n c e o f c e r t a i n p a t t e r n s , t h e m e s , p r o b l e m s a n d i m a g e s f r o m g e n e r a t i o n t o g e n e r a t i o n . . . . a l i t e r a r y s u b c u l t u r e . . . . u n i f i e d b y v a l u e s , c o n v e n t i o n s , e x p e r i e n c e s a n d b e h a v i o u r s i m p i n g i n g o n e a c h 4 9 i n d i v i d u a l . " T h i s i s a c o h e r e n t a p p r o a c h t o w o m e n ' s w r i t i n g , a n d o n e w h i c h a s s i m i l a t e s many o f t h e p o i n t s r a i s e d b y o t h e r n a r r o w e r c r i t i c a l c a t e g o r i e s . I t a v o i d s s l i p p e r y a n d n e b u l o u s n o t i o n s l i k e " f e m a l e s e n s i b i l i t y " a n d " f e m a l e i m a g i n a t i o n " w h i l e a c k n o w l e d g i n g t h a t f u n d a m e n t a l l y , w o m e n ' s l i f e e x p e r i e n c e i s q u i t e d i f f e r e n t f r o m t h a t o f m e n , a n d i t m u s t i n f l u e n c e t h e i r w r i t i n g a n d a p p e a r i n t h e i r t e x t s i n d i s c e r n i b l e w a y s . S h o w a l t e r c o n c l u d e s t h a t " a s p e c i a l f e m a l e s e l f - a w a r e n e s s e m e r g e s t h r o u g h l i t e r a t u r e i n e v e r y p e r i o d . W h i l e i t i s e f f e c t i v e i n c e r t a i n r e s p e c t s , S h o w a l t e r ' s s c h e m a d o e s , h o w e v e r , p r o v i d e t h e i l l u s i o n t h a t t h e t r a d i t i o n o f w o m e n ' s l i t e r a t u r e i s a s e a m l e s s w h o l e . I t d o e s n o t a l l o w f o r t h e k i n d o f c u l t u r a l p l u r a l i s m o f o u t l o o k we r e c o g n i z e t o d a y a s r e l e v a n t t o u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n women w r i t e r s ; d i f f e r e n c e s o f r a c e , c l a s s , w e a l t h , g e o g r a p h y a n d s e x u a l p r e f e r e n c e w i l l m a t t e r e v e r y b i t a s much to the a r t i s t as gender. Showalter's focus i s on the "ways in which the self-awareness of the woman writer has translated i t s e l f into 51 a l i t e r a r y form in a s p e c i f i c place and time span." I propose i n t h i s thesis to extend t h i s idea considerably to consider women writers who may occupy positions and record experience of even more problematical subcultures than that of "woman writer;" I think here of the e x i l e , the demi-mondaine or the lesbian. Female Autobiography The ihistory of female autobiography indicates that women have most often approached the issue of s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n 50 evasively, i f not obliquely. Only in s p i r i t u a l confessions have-they been prepared to take centre stage l i k e t h e i r male 53 counterparts. This has been the case up to and including some sur p r i s i n g l y recent autobiographies by L i l l i a n Hellman, 54 Golda Meir and Emma Goldman for example. As documented by P a t r i c i a Meyer Spacks i n her a r t i c l e "Women's Stories: Women's Selves," the overwhelming tendency has been for women to define, themselves i n terms of th e i r r e l a t i o n s with others; and to use those r e l a t i o n s as methods of, and 55 metaphors f o r , s e l f - r e v e l a t i o n . Spacks comments on the remarkably "hidden," ego-less q u a l i t y of autobiographies by even quite prepossessing women l i k e Goldman and Meir who make much more accurate records of "the times" than "the l i f e . " This, seems to be one recurring difference between male and female autobiographies. 23 There are ce r t a i n formal differences in women's 56 autobiography as well, as documented by E s t e l l e Jelinek. She sees women using discontinuous forms—often fragmentary but self-contained units of discourse, and t h e i r approach as fundamentally personal rather than professional and h i s t o r i c a l . Even with successful women's accounts of th e i r l i v e s , t h i s leads to an emphasis away from t h e i r work to focus on family and personal r e l a t i o n s . This contrasts with the prototypical male autobiography as outlined by Mary Mason. It usually involves "a dramatic presentation of unfolding s e l f discovery where characters and events are l i t t l e more than aspects of 57 the author's evolving consciousness." In other words, men and women distance themselves from t h e i r material i n very d i f f e r e n t ways. In male texts, the s e l f i s prominent. The woman writer, on the other hand, reveals herself obliquely, through r e l a t i o n or i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with some other. Self-consciousness i n women's autobiographical writing emerges, then, only in t h i s kind of context, which involves s i f t i n g and sorting through l i v e d experience for explanation and understanding rather than in any desire to impose dramatic ordering structures upon i t . In a more p o s i t i v e l i g h t , t h i s kind of speculation connects with updated psychological concepts of the female i d e n t i t y as processive and thus a very d i f f e r e n t personality structure from the. male. Nancy Chodorow's psychoanalytic theory sees t h i s female i d e n t i t y "process" as leading the female a r t i s t to defy much more r e a d i l y , for example, 24 conventional generic boundaries and t r a d i t i o n a l characterization. A second theory relevant here to the nature of women's self-representation sees female i d e n t i t y which presents "the hero [as] her author's daughter," a b a s i c a l l y maternal metaphor of female authorship, which c l a r i f i e s the woman writer's d i s t i n c t i v e engagement with her characters and which indicates an analagous rel a t i o n s h i p between narrator, author and reader, and the representation of memory. Chodorow sees that throughout women's l i v e s , the s e l f i s defined, as Jelinek observed, through s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s ; issues of fusion and the merger of the s e l f with others are s i g n i f i c a n t . The female personality i s then r a t i o n a l , f l u i d l y defined and c y c l i c a l as well as progressive rather than simply passive or evasive when compared with male autobiographical models. Twentieth century women writers have often communicated a consciousness of the i r i d e n t i t y through paradoxes of sameness and d i f f e r e n c e — f r o m other women, es p e c i a l l y t h e i r mothers, and here I think p a r t i c u l a r l y 59 of the French writer, Colette; from men; and from s o c i a l injunctions for what women should be, including those inscribed in the l i t e r a r y canon. This a l t e r n a t i v e formulation of female i d e n t i t y as processive stresses f l u i d and f l e x i b l e aspects of women's primary i d e n t i t i e s . One r e f l e c t i o n of t h i s f l u i d i t y i s that women's writing does not conform to the generic prescriptions of the male canon. As E s t e l l e Jelinek t y p i f i e s , recent scholars have concluded that autobiographies by women tend to be less l i n e a r , u n i f i e d and chronological than men's autobiographies. Women's novels are often c a l l e d autobiographical and t h e i r autobiographies, n o v e l i s t i c . Mary McCarthy's Memories of a Catholic Girlhood and Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a  Girlhood among Ghosts are examples of th i s generic crossover w r i t i n g . ^ Because of the continual crossing of s e l f and other, women's writing may blur the public and private and defy completion. Thus we have writers l i k e Dorothy Richardson, Colette and Anals Nin whose l i v e s , l e t t e r s , journals and f i c t i o n become almost co-terminous. Female Autobiographical F i c t i o n Does i t follow, then, that female autobiographical f i c t i o n w i l l r e f l e c t these differences i n characterization, distance from material and angle of observation? F i c t i o n a l autobiography involves a p a r t i c u l a r kind of s e l f - c r e a t i o n , we have said, one in which the writer may in a sense, "invent" himself i n the f i c t i o n a l i z i n g process. The a r t i s t fashions an image for himself i n his art work. As one of Djuna Barnes' characters puts i t : "One's l i f e i s never so much one's own as when one invents i t . " 6 " * " One aspect of the dilemma women face, when they come to write f i c t i o n a l versions of some aspects of t h e i r l i v e s , i s that p a t r i a r c h a l society has t r a d i t i o n a l l y regarded women as already e x i s t i n g works of art themselves. John Berger, the art c r i t i c , r e f l e c t e d on t h i s phenomenon in more general representational terms i n Ways of Seeing: 26 Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most rel a t i o n s between men and women but also the r e l a t i o n of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself i s male; the surveyed female. Thus : she turns herself into an object--and most p a r t i c u l a r l y an object of v i s i o n ; a sight.... Her own sense of being in herself i s supplanted by being appreciated as herself by another. In George E l i o t ' s Middlemarch, W i l l Ladislaw comforts Dorothea Brooke when she despairs over her a b i l i t y to - become 6 3 a poet: "You are a poem." In E l i o t ' s works as a whole, as Gilbe r t and Gubar r i g h t l y observe, a number of women characters deform t h e i r c r e a t i v i t y "in t h e i r e f f o r t s to reconstruct t h e i r own images;" Dorothea Brooke c e r t a i n l y among them. In the process, they become less autonomous individuals than "character(s) i n search of an author of V, * » 6 4 a page in search of a pen." As W i l l Ladislaw's metaphor indicates, female sexuality i s often i d e n t i f i e d with t e x t u a l i t y . There i s a discernible element of fear of the female body's power to a r t i c u l a t e i t s e l f . I t i s far less f e a r f u l to think of the author/ creator as male and of the art object/creation as female. The c r i t i c Susan Gubar takes as a text which emblematizes the female sense of s e l f as text and a r t i f a c t , Isak Dinesen's short story, "The Blank Page."^ B r i e f l y the story t e l l s of an order of Carmelite nuns in a remote community of Portugal who grow f l a x to make fine l i n e n . The linen i s used by royal households for b r i d a l bed-sheets when princesses marry. After each wedding night the sheet i s displayed to 27 a t t e s t t h e b r i d e ' s v i r g i n i t y . T h e n t h e n u n s r e c l a i m i t , r e m o v e t h e c e n t r a l s t a i n e d a r e a o f t h e s h e e t , w h i c h t h e y t h e n f r a m e a n d h a n g i n a l o n g g a l l e r y , a l o n g w i t h name p l a t e s i d e n t i f y i n g t h e p r i n c e s s . Y o u n g women make p i l g r i m a g e s t o t h e c o n v e n t t o s e e t h e s e " f a d e d m a r k i n g s , " f o r " e a c h s e p a r a t e c a n v a s w i t h i t s c o r o n e t e d name p l a t e h a s a s t o r y t o t e l l , a n d 6 6 e a c h h a s b e e n s e t up i n l o y a l t y t o t h e s t o r y , " The m o s t f a s c i n a t i n g c a n v a s o f a l l h o w e v e r , i s t h e p u r e ' w h i t e , b l a n k s h e e t a f t e r w h i c h D i n e s e n names h e r s t o r y . The a r t o b j e c t s . i n "The B l a n k P a g e " h a v e l i t e r a l l y b e e n c r e a t e d b y t h e b o d i e s o f t h e r o y a l women , o u t o f t h e i r p r i v a t e l i v e s a n d t h e i r o t h e r w i s e mu te e x i s t e n c e s . The " d e c o r a t i v e i m p e r a t i v e " w h i c h c o m p e l s s o many women t o t u r n t h e m s e l v e s i n t o a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t s , h a s h e r e o b l i t e r a t e d a n y d i s t a n c e b e t w e e n l i f e a n d a r t . T h i s p o i n t s a g a i n t o t h e w o r k o f w r i t e r s l i k e C o l e t t e a n d A n a ' i s N i n w h o s e f o r m s o f e x p r e s s i o n a r e a l w a y s h i g h l y p e r s o n a l — t h e d i a r y , t h e l e t t e r , a n d a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l f i c t i o n — a n d who c l e a r l y r e g a r d e d t h e i r l i v e s a s a r t f o r m s a n d t h e i r a r t a s l i f e f o r m s . When women do come t o r e p r e s e n t t h e m s e l v e s i n f i c t i o n a l f o r m s , t h e y h a v e r a r e l y d o n e so i n t h e f o r m o f a K i i n s t l e r r o m a n o r a r t i s t n o v e l . T h e r e a r e v e r y f e w f e m a l e e q u i v a l e n t s i n M o d e r n i s m o f P o r t r a i t o f t h e A r t i s t a s a Y o u n g M a n , a l t h o u g h t h e r e a l i s t i c A u s t r a l i a n w r i t e r s H e n r y H a n d e l R i c h a r d s o n a n d M i l e s F r a n k l i n , t h e A m e r i c a n W i l l a C a t h e r a n d t h e F r e n c h w r i t e r , C o l e t t e , h a v e a l l w r i t t e n n o v e l s w h i c h i n c o r p o r a t e 6 7 t h i s i d e a . I t h a s more o f t e n b e e n t h e c a s e , a s S h a r o n 28 S p e n c e r p o i n t s o u t , t h a t women " h a v e t u r n e d away f r o m t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i n f i c t i o n o f women l i k e t h e m s e l v e s , women w h o s e d e s i r e f o r s e l f - e x p r e s s i o n i s s o s t r o n g a n d s o 6 8 c o n s i s t e n t t h a t t h e y d e f i n e t h e m s e l v e s a s a r t i s t s . " I h a v e a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d i n r e l a t i o n t o d i r e c t a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l f o r m s , t h e p o s s i b l i t y t h a t w o m e n ' s a t t i t u d e s t o s e l f - d r a m a t i z a t i o n a n d s e l f - r e v e l a t i o n may be q u i t e d i f f e r e n t t o t h o s e o f m a l e w r i t e r s . We h a v e s e e n , t o o , t h a t t h e woman w r i t e r may a l r e a d y s e e h e r s e l f a s a n a e s t h e t i c o b j e c t i n a m a l e t e x t , s o u n d e r m i n i n g h e r a u t h o r i t y t o c r e a t e h e r o w n . S o c i a l s t e r e o t y p e s w o u l d h a v e h e r a s s e l f - l e s s r a t h e r t h a n a s s e l f - e x p r e s s i v e . I do n o t w i s h t o f a l l i n t o t h e t r a p , h o w e v e r , o f c r e a t i n g a n y f a l s e d i s t i n c t i o n s b e t w e e n m a l e a n d f e m a l e w r i t e r s . I am more c o n c e r n e d t o e x p l o r e a r a n g e o f l i t e r a r y s t r a t e g i e s f o r s e l f - r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i n f i c t i o n d u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d b y b o t h men a n d women i n E n g l a n d a n d o n t h e C o n t i n e n t . My f o c u s w i l l be n e v e r t h e l e s s o n t h r e e women: J e a n R h y s , G e r t r u d e S t e i n a n d D j u n a B a r n e s , f o r t w o r e a s o n s . P r i m a r i l y , I b e l i e v e t h a t t h e i n t e r e s t i n g w o r k d o n e i n a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l f i c t i o n b y t h e s e t h r e e i n t h e 1 9 2 0 ' s a n d 1 9 3 0 . ' s h a s y e t t o be p r o p e r l y e v a l u a t e d . B e c a u s e t h e y w e r e women , a n d b e c a u s e M o d e r n i s m was d o m i n a t e d b y m a l e l u m i n a r i e s , t h e i r w o r k seems t o h a v e e l u d e d t h e c r i t i c a l s c r u t i n y d e v o t e d t o w o r k s e s t a b l i s h e d a s t h e M o d e r n i s t c a n o n , h o w e v e r u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y , b y t h e l i k e s o f Edmund W i l s o n i n 69 h i s p i o n e e r i n g s t u d y , A x e l ' s C a s t l e . B u t t h e r e i s a n o t h e r r e a s o n , a s i d e f r o m t h e i r b e i n g women , f o r t h e i r o m i s s i o n from the canon, and t h i s i s my second reason for taking them up. As I plan to show, Rhys, Stein and Barnes were writing autobiographical f i c t i o n s that were quite d i f f e r e n t from those being written by either men or women i n Modernism's f i r s t phase. The reasons for t h i s I have already alluded to: that each of them was writing from within a sub-culture at an even greater remove from mainstream, masculine, establishment Modernism than that of the "woman writer." Rhys l i v e d the h a l f - l i f e of the impoverished fringe a r t i s t , Gertrude Stein wrote from a pos i t i o n of i n t e l l e c t u a l and imaginative androgyny and Barnes as a lesbian. A l l three l i v e d , during t h e i r most productive years, as writers and expatriates distanced from t h e i r native cultures and points of o r i g i n . From time to time each of them f e l t more an ex i l e than an expatriate. These factors w i l l have influenced what they wrote every b i t as much as the i r womanhood. The Female A e s t h e t i c i s t s To assess properly the work of Rhys, Stein and Barnes, and the d i f f e r e n t kinds of f i c t i o n a l s e l f - p o r t r a i t s they were to o f f e r , l e t us f i r s t consider the woman who are usually discussed by c r i t i c s as "female Modernists." One strand of female Modernism—and many take i t to be the only one because of the significance of the writers i h v o l v e d — E l a i n e Showalter has r i g h t l y grouped under the t i t l e — f e m a l e a e s t h e t i c i s t s : they key figures here are 70 Dorothy Richardson, Katherine Mansfield and V i r g i n i a Woolf. What i s the status of the female s e l f as a r t i s t , or simply 30 as person i n th e i r works? Their f i c t i o n , Showalter argues "created a deliberate .female aesthetic, which transformed the feminine code of s e l f - s a c r i f i c e into an ann i h i l a t i o n of the narrative s e l f . . . . T h e i r version of Modernism was a determined response to the material culture of male Edwardian novelists l i k e Arnold Bennett and H.G. Wells, but, l i k e D.H. Lawrence, the female a e s t h e t i c i s t s saw the world as mystically and t o t a l l y polarized by sex. For them, female s e n s i b i l i t y took on a sacred q u a l i t y , and i t s exercise became a holy, 71 exhausting and ultimately self-destructive r i t e . " (emphasis added) In t h e i r works women are rendered as inevitable victims because of t h e i r agonizing perceptiveness and s e l f doubt. This aesthetic v i s i o n i s at once impersonal and renunciatory: either way, self-denying. Dorothy Richardson, i t i s true, attempted a version of the "p o r t r a i t of the a r t i s t " novel i n her thirteen-volume sequence, Pilgrimage, whose f i r s t volume, Pointed Roofs, 72 appeared in 1915. Despite the c l a r i t y of her intention, to write a f i c t i o n a l study of the female a r t i s t ' s consciousness, I believe that she i s undermined by unclear and self-defeating ideas: f i r s t that women l i v e on a di f f e r e n t plane of r e a l i t y from men; and secondly, that "shapelessness" i s woman's natural form of expression; "pattern," that i s , any adequate sense of narrative of other design i s suffocatingly masculine. Consequently the se l f as represented in her work i s frequently paralyzed by "feminine impressionism," and constantly r i s k s "ego death 31 73 from the state of pure s e n s i b i l i t y . " This makes her se l f p o r t r a i t as oblique and as "hidden" as any of the d i r e c t l y autobiographical women's writings discussed e a r l i e r . We fi n d t h i s to be the case as well in works by the other two "female a e s t h e t i c i s t s " as designated by Showalter. Katherine Mansfield, who at one stage pledged herself to recreating i n f i c t i o n the d i s t i l l e d essence of her New Zealand childhood, displays in her short s t o r i e s a sim i l a r f a i l u r e of nerve when i t comes to representing her adult 74 a r t i s t s e l f in f i c t i o n . She sees women as either myth-makers, dealing in essence and yearning for unity of s e l f through a kind of dis s o l v i n g into nature, or as crippled observers of l i f e ' s i ncidental b r u t a l i t i e s ; frequently both. When one of the female characters approaches any new, transforming knowledge of herself, however, or any state approaching transcendence, she i s cut down. Beneath the dreamy aesthetic surface of domestic transfigurations which p r i n c i p a l l y occupy these characters, there i s a certain sense of b i t t e r i n e v i t a b i l i t y and the same tendency as Richardson's text showed for the authorial s e l f to disappear into the work. V i r g i n i a Woolf i s perhaps the quintessential case of the woman a r t i s t writing herself out of existence i n her work. This formula i s an echo of Joyce's at the end of Po r t r a i t of the A r t i s t as a Young Man, where he talks about the a r t i s t " r e f i n i n g " himself out of existence i n his text; in Joyce's case, however, t h i s i s bla t a n t l y untrue. L i l y 32 B r i s c o e i n To t h e L i g h t h o u s e , i s , i t i s t r u e , a f u n c t i o n i n g a r t i s t . S h e d o e s n o t , we a r e l e d t o b e l i e v e p a i n t v e r y w e l l , h o w e v e r , a n d s h e y e a r n s n o t s i m p l y t o c a p t u r e M r s . Ramsay o n c a n v a s , b u t t o be_ M r s . Ramsay w h o , l i k e M r s . D a l l o w a y b e f o r e h e r , u s e s a l l h e r c r e a t i v e p o w e r s t o t r a n s f o r m d o m e s t i c i t y i n t o a r t — m e a l s , g e s t u r e s a n d a r r a n g e m e n t s o f f l o w e r s a n d p e o p l e . What o f t h e " s e l f " i n t h e s e w o r k s ? C o n s c i o u s n e s s i n W o o l f ' s n o v e l s o p e r a t e s a t a l e v e l o f " m u l t i - p e r s o n a l s u b j e c t i v i t y " a s t h e c r i t i c J a m e s N a r e m o r e p u t s i t . The t e x t e m b o d i e s n o t o n e p e r s o n ' s e m o t i o n a l l i f e , b u t a t o t a l i t y o f t h e f e e l i n g s o f d i f f e r e n t c h a r a c t e r s . I t i s a c o m p o s i t e c o n s c i o u s n e s s , i n w h i c h t h e c h a r a c t e r s y e a r n f o r t h e d i s s o l v i n g , i f n o t e x t i n c t i o n o f p e r s o n a l i t y ; t o b e — a s o n e o f To t h e L i g h t h o u s e ' s m o s t f a m o u s i m a g e s h a s i t — " s h r u n k , w i t h a s e n s e o f s o l e m n i t y , t o b e i n g o n e s e l f , a w e d g e - s h a p e d c o r e o f d a r k n e s s , s o m e t h i n g i n v i s i b l e t o o t h e r s . . . . The s e l f w i s h e s p a s s i o n a t e l y t o d i s s o l v e i n t o t h e " a n d r o g y n o u s m i n d , " t h e c o m m u n i t y o f f e e l i n g s , n a t u r e , o r a n y o n e o f n u m b e r s o f w a t e r i m a g e s W o o l f summons t o embody t h i s s t a t e . A t i t s m o s t e x t r e m e , i n The W a v e s , t h e o n l y c l e a r l y d i s c e r n i b l e v o i c e ( t h e s i x c h a r a c t e r s a r e a l m o s t i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e e m a n a t i o n s r a t h e r t h a n i n d i v i d u a t e d s e l v e s ) a c t u a l l y b e l o n g s t o t h e w a v e s . J a m e s N a r e m o r e h a s c a l l e d t h e w o r l d o f V i r g i n i a W o o l f ' s f i c t i o n " A W o r l d W i t h o u t 77 A S e l f . " I t i s n o t e n t i r e l y t r u e t o s a y t h a t s h e i s n o t d i s c e r n i b l e i n h e r t e x t s ; b u t h e r p r e s e n c e i s h a u n t i n g , rather than c o n t r o l l i n g or focusing, as the "central consciousness" i n a novel by Henry James would be. V i r g i n i a Woolf's e s s e n t i a l s e l f , as embodied in her set of works, can only be defined n e g a t i v e l y — a s that shared dark realm which she believes we a l l have in common, and to which she admits her characters only in moments of hypnotic revelation. Hers i s an art based not only on the delicate recording of sensations and states of mind, but more fundamentally, on the tenuousnessof the recording s e l f , of i d e n t i t y and existence. Despite the great beauties and accomplishments of works by the "female a e s t h e t i c i s t s " , they unfortunately reinforce a number of c r i p p l i n g l i t e r a r y stereotypes for women: a mystical p a s s i v i t y , agonized perceptiveness leading to s u i c i d a l v u l n e r a b i l i t y and f l i g h t from the harsh material world. I t becomes clear why these women, at l e a s t , did not write themselves into t h e i r texts as a r t i s t figures in f u l l control of t h e i r l i v e s and t h e i r a r t . One woman who did was the French writer, Colette. She stands.vin r e l a t i o n to the female a e s t h e t i c i s t s of the English t r a d i t i o n much as Gide, in my e a r l i e r comments, did to Joyce and Lawrence. She was c e n t r a l l y concerned with the idea of self-representation i n f i c t i o n , but unlike Woolf, Richardson and Mansfield, expressed the power and pleasure of female consciousness with great confidence. Like Gide, she addressed e a r l i e r eras i n French l i t e r a t u r e , while ' u. simulataneously taking the novel, and the autobiographical novel in p a r t i c u l a r , onto new ground, beyond Modernism. It would be d i f f i c u l t and even undesirable to s l o t Colette neatly into a continuum of women writers such as Showalter's, not so much because of the French writer's subject matter, making her an exemplar of feminine s e n s i b i l i t y and perception, but because she wrote when she did, and at such a successful and independent tangent to mainstream l i t e r a r y culture in France. She l i v e d and wrote on the boundaries of s o c i a l and a r t i s t i c r e s p e c t a b i l i t y ; yet a time when the best-known of women writers in England portrayed themselves only in the most oblique fashion, Colette placed her own search for i d e n t i t y , the m u l t i p l i c i t y of ways t h i s might be captured in f i c t i o n , her sexuality and her profession as a writer, firmly at the centre of a l l she wrote. La Vagabonde of 1911 i s the study of a woman's discovery and affirmation of herse l f , largely through an awakened sense of v o c a t i o n — w r i t i n g and stage performance—which provides her with an autonomy which love can only compromise or 7 8 destroy. Throughout the novel are images of s e l f - r e v e l a t i o n and self-representation, notably the mirror. When Renee, the protagonist, at the end of a t h e a t r i c a l performance i s l e f t alone to face the dressing room mirror, ...je vais me trouver seule avec moi-meme, en face de cette c o n s e i l l e r e maquillee qui me regarde, de 1'autre cote de l a glace....J'ai devant moi, de 1'autre cote du mi r r o i r , dans l a mysterieuse chambre des r e f l e t s , 1'image 'd'une femme de l e t t r e s qui a mal tournee.'79 F o r R e n e e a s a w r i t e r , t h a t same "femme de l e t t r e s , " t h e w r i t i n g o n t h e p a g e c a n a l s o a c t a s a m i r r o r . . . . e c r i r e , c ' e s t se f a c i l e ! . . . l a n c e r a t r a v e r s d e s p a g e s b l a n c h e s l ' e c r i t u r e r a p i d e , i r e g a l e q u ' i l c o m p a r e a mon v i s a g e m o b i l e , s u r m e n e p a r l ' e x c e s d ' e x p r e s s i o n . J ' e n e s p e r e u n s o u l a g e m e n t , c e t t e s o r t e de s i l e n c e i n t e r i e u r q u i s u i t u n c r i , u n a v e u . . . 8 0 T h e s e i m a g i s t i c r e f l e c t i o n s o f t h e h e r o i n e r e m i n d u s o f L a c a n ' s d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e " m i r r o r s t a g e " i n t h e p r o c e s s o f s e l f d i s c o v e r y a n d t h e " i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f t h e s e l f t h r o u g h t h e 81 o t h e r n e s s o f t h e i m a g e . " F o r L a c a n , t h e r e f l e c t i o n i s t h e p a r a d o x i c a l s e l f / o t h e r a l i e n a t e d a t t h e moment o f i n c e p t i o n . I n t h e l a s t p a g e s o f L a V a g a b o n d e , when R e n e e N e r e e d e c i d e s t h a t s h e w i l l r e f u s e t o s e e t h e w o r l d a n d h e r s e l f a s r e f l e c t i o n s i n h e r l o v e r ' s e y e s , s h e f o c u s s e s o n a n e p h e m e r a l a r r a n g e m e n t o f o b j e c t s , i n c l u d i n g a c h e v a l m i r r o r o n h e r w r i t i n g t a b l e . L a c a n w o u l d w e l l u n d e r s t a n d t h e p r i m o r d i a l r e l a t i o n C o l e t t e s e t s up a t t h i s moment b e t w e e n t h e m i r r o r , t h e p o s s e s s i o n s w h i c h o b j e c t i f y t h e s e l f , t h e woman w r i t e r h e r s e l f , a n d t h e l e t t e r s h e c o m p a r e s r e j e c t i n g h e r l o v e r a n d r e s t o r i n g h e r s e l f t o h e r s e l f . L a c a n w o u l d d e s c r i b e t h i s c o n f i g u r a t i o n o f e l e m e n t s a s one b a s e d o n l a n g u a g e r e s t o r i n g t h e " I " i t s f u n c t i o n as" s u b j e c t , h e r e a n a u t o n o m o u s f e m a l e 8 2 s u b j e c t , t h e "woman w r i t e r . " L a N a i s s a n c e d u J o u r i s C o l e t t e ' s m o s t c o m p l e t e a n d y e t m o s t e l u s i v e s e l f - p o r t r a i t , a n e n i g m a t i c m i x t u r e o f 8 3 a u t o b i o g r a p h y a n d f i c t i o n . A r o u n d a f i c t i o n a l l o v e s t o r y a r e a r r a n g e d c o u n t l e s s a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l d e t a i l s o f h e r r e a l l i f e i n t h e s o u t h o f F r a n c e i n t h e 1 9 2 0 ' s . A t t h e c e n t r e o f 36 the novel i s "Colette," a successful and professional writer in her middle years. Despite the d e l i c a t e l y manipulated elements of "tabulation" in the text, i t i s nevertheless primarily an exercise in s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n , as La Vagabonde had been seventeen years e a r l i e r . The novel's epigram i s Imaginez-vous, a* me l i r e , que je f a i s mon po r t r a i t ? Patience: c'est seulement mon module. 8 4 The text i s a " s e l f - r e f e r e n t i a l f i c t i o n , " autobiographical 8 5 in tone and content but not in form. In t h i s novel Colette acknowledges that she defines herself more and more in l i f e by remembering and imitating her mother. For t h i s woman writer then, the creation of the s e l f and the creation of the text merge in images of motherhood and creation, a r t i s t and text. Letters from the mother, Sido, to the daughter, Colette, reminding her of her origin s and her legacy, frequently are the text, and they are r e a l l e t t e r s . As Colette shares them with us, we are to understand that she i s showing us what she has become as the r e s u l t of Sido's nurturing and s e n s i b i l i t y . Helene Cixous has spoken of the woman writer's need l i t e r a l l y to "write herself," and t h i s i s what Colette i s doing h e r e . ^ In the character of Colette who i s also the daughter of the re a l Sido, she i s inventing a f i g u r a t i v e textual s e l f , a l i v i n g f i c t i o n , and a projection of the r e a l s e l f i n writing, simultaneously a metaphor of the sel f and an actual s e l f - p o r t r a i t . Thus, as her epigram indicated, she can use herself as a model, a metaphor for an exploration of female i d e n t i t y . This she does with a number of r e f l e x i v e forms t r a d i t i o n a l l y regarded as feminine: l e t t e r s , journals, the 8 7 e p i s t o l a r y novel and the inner dialogue. She put these conventions to work for her in quite u n t r a d i t i o n a l ways, however, using them for her characters' self-expression rather than the repression, the si l e n c i n g and the s e l f -abnegating of women characters in the hands of the English female a e s t h e t i c i s t s . And t h i s i s the li n k I wish to draw between Colette and the women I go on to discuss—Rhys, Stein and Barnes. Just as Gide has shown with his hybrid forms in l i t e r a r y self-representation where the autobiographical novel w i l l go aft e r Modernism, a f t e r the t r a d i t i o n a l " p o r t r a i t of the a r t i s t , " so Colette shows where female self-representation i n f i c t i o n can go after female aestheticism. Rhys, Stein and Barnes are examples in the English t r a d i t i o n of the woman writer, more common i n the 1930's than the 1920's, who i s newly empowered to go beyond the search for the "woman's sentence," to remake the language and structures of f i c t i o n so that i t might more adequately r e f l e c t t h e i r female experience, i f not that of a l l women, "while r e v i s i n g conventions so that female a r t i s t s might, as Stein put i t , 'Reject' what was oppressive in t r a d i t i o n , [both female and male traditions] 'Rejoice' in what was possible for the 8 8 future, and 'Rejuvenate' what was stale in the present." Rhys, Stein and Barnes are such newly empowered women of the 1930's writing in ways that could not receive mainstream 38 recognition, because they were r e j e c t i n g the touchstones of Modernism as i t flourished in the '20 's as inappropriate to t h e i r i d i o s y n c r a t i c needs. They rejected e s p e c i a l l y the precious and d e f e a t i s t works of the female a e s t h e t i c i s t s of the e a r l i e r decade. What did they do instead? Jean Rhys, in her urban European novels, takes up the female victim, but uses her J as the basis for a damning c r i t i q u e of the s o c i a l and sexual forces that made her a victim. She o f f e r s a Kafka-like expose from the female perspective of expatriate l i f e and of the bourgeois infrastructure beneath bohemian appearances. As an outsider, an expatriate from the Caribbean, both to Europe and and to the l i t e r a r y and moneyed e l i t e s of the day, she i s able to present a counter-vision: f i r s t , to the male Modernist mainstream, whose p o r t r a i t s of female consciousness she obviously considered misconceived and misrepresentative; and secondly, to the female a e s t h e t i c i s t t r a d i t i o n , which genuinely embraced female s e l f - a n n i h i l a t i o n as a f i c t i o n a l structure. One sees in her works, l i k e those of the t h i r t i e s ' male writers, the grim d e t a i l of survival on the fringes of the s o c i a l order, providing a c y n i c a l response to the female " l y r i c a l transcendence" writers l i k e Mansfield and Woolf. A l l was not f l u i d and b e a u t i f u l , she said. Much was ugly, uncontrollable and unignorable. She was concerned always with the horror behind the beauty, in a way in which the female aesthetics would not, or could not be. She i s a r a d i c a l and unique voice in the Modernist t r a d i t i o n , 39 pointing the way with her "ahead of i t s time" psycho-social s t y l e , to Nathalie Sarraute, Marguerite Duras, Renata Adler 89 and other contemporary Post-Modern writers. Gertrude Stein frequently declared herself one of the founders of the modern. During her l i f e - l o n g experiments with prose, she established new rules for the rendering of consciousness and the representation of s e l f . She sought to eliminate the psyche, the memory and the past and future tenses from a r t . She declared narrative meaningless, while continuing to turn fact into f i c t i o n . In her autobiography of 1934 she set about to w i l f u l l y "deconstruct" (her term) the form, providing herself with a cubist s e l f - p o r t r a i t , a multi-faceted, imaginative, unreliable record of her own "continuous present." In the process she reinterpreted the conventions of autobiography, turning herself into a work of art and her l i f e into a f i c t i o n . Underlying her s e l f - p o r t r a i t however, i s a f i e r c e l y androgynous consciousness, one which sought, paradoxically, the kind of ego-dominated a r t i s t i c control of a Proust, Joyce or Lawrence. In recording the d e t a i l s of her l i f e as a lesbian, she was forced to "do i t a l l with mirrors," or s h i f t i n g cubist planes; such information was not for public consumption in 1934. Therefore i t must become a cerebral joke. Metaphors must be found. The central comic metaphor i s of course that her autobiography masquerades as that of her lover, A l i c e B. Toklas. Nevertheless, the s e l f - p r o t e c t i v e exercise suited her a r t i s t i c p r i n c i p l e s 40 well. She wrote the only kind of autobiography she believed i s possible to write, and i n so doing, transformed the genre. In her late-modernist masterpiece, Nightwood, Djuna Barnes journeys metaphorically into the dark spaces of the female mind, s p e c i f i c a l l y , the lesbian mind. She i s concerned with the expressive p o s s i b i l i t i e s of poetic language as i t s i g n i f i e s for a woman at odds with her world. This woman i s , l i k e Rhys's protagonists, marginalized by poverty. Like . Stein, she i s a member of a sexual sub-culture which has no o f f i c i a l l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n . The narrative of the sel f which she creates out of these l i f e circumstances explores with layers of r i c h night-world imagery, the s p i r i t u a l and aesthetic i d e a l of androgyny, and the f i n a l irrelevance of gender. P o r t r a i t Chapter Two of the A r t i s t in E x i l e When Jean Rhys came to write an autobiography acknowledged as such, her main problem, according to her f r i e n d and editor, Diana A t h i l l , was that most of her l i f e had been "used up" in her novels. "They were not autobiographical i n every detail...but autobiographical they were, and t h i s therapeutic function was the purging of unhappiness....Once something had been written out, she said, i t was done with and one should st a r t again at the i „1 beginning. A solution to her problem was to adapt, as an autobiographical form, the style with which she had begun her writing c a r e e r — t h e vignette. In Smile Please: an unfinished autobiography, she attempts to "catch the past here and there, at points where i t happened to c r y s t a l l i s e l i n k i n g them i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c a l l y to form a kind of 2 "fragmentary continuation," an i n s t i n c t i v e whole. As Rhys commented herself i n an interview with the c r i t i c Thomas Staley on her methods as an a r t i s t , the autobiographical impulse in her writing was strong. "I always s t a r t with something I f e e l or something that happened and then i n the middle i t becomes something else. 3 I add and subtract." Her f i r s t concern as a writer, A t h i l l confirms, was to get experience down as accurately as possible. But "I l i k e shape very much," she said. So an i n s t i n c t i v e leaning towards the truth i n what she chose to write about was tempered by a highly developed sense of form. " . . . . I f the novel was going to work, then i t would soon s t a r t 4 to have i t s own shape." In her novels neither textual d e t a i l nor the often i n t r i c a t e arrangement of them took her very far from the experience of them. This i s not to diminish Rhys's formal achievement in writing out of her l i f e ' s experience. Nor i s i t , on the other hand, to accept the views of c r i t i c s who have included her i n a very l i m i t i n g category of f i c t i o n w r i t e r s — t h a t of the pathologically narrow autobiographical voice, compounded in i t s narrowness, in these c r i t i c s ' eyes, by being female as well. Rhys does far more with her autobiographically based material than confess. In her acute re-reading of Good Morning, Midnight, Judith Kegan Gardiner describes Rhys as a "novelist of ali e n a t i o n , " a female Kafka; her al i e n a t i o n , however, according to Gardiner, i s s o c i a l l y determined—the s p e c i f i c h i s t o r i c a l r e s u l t of s o c i a l p o l a rizations of the period in 5 which she wrote about sex, c l a s s , morality and race. Rhys's female protagonists are alienated from themselves--and from society and others for the very s p e c i f i c reasons that they are female, sexually active and above a l l poor. Kegan Gardiner sees these women at the further disadvantage of being "misdefined by a language and l i t e r a r y heritage that belong primarily to propertied men." In other words, i f the Rhys woman i s a "chronic victim," she i s a vic t i m of 43 the state of European society after World War One, and of the polar i z a t i o n s within i t which worked to oppress women and the poor. This oppression was reinforced in Gardiner's view, by bourgeois and male domination of language and the' l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n . I believe that Rhys was f u l l y aware of t h i s and that her f i c t i o n s are indictments. This feminist reading of Rhys considers the most . , r a d i c a l l y o r i g i n a l aspects of her "autobiographical f i c t i o n s " as a r a d i c a l c r i t i q u e of the hypocrisies and imbalances of sex, money and morality as they determine l i v e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y women's l i v e s . Unlike the female a e s t h e t i c i s t s Woolf and Mansfield, Rhys never occupied the f i n a n c i a l , class or c u l t u r a l p o s i t i o n to "transcend" the lim i t a t i o n s of ordinary l i f e . The "bourgeois p o l a r i z a t i o n s " which Gardiner accurately i d e n t i f i e s can induce i n th e i r victims a passive despair which i s i r o n i c a l l y compliant to the status quo. But t h i s too can be seen as an indictment of the paralyzing e f f e c t s of poverty and depression. There i s another element at work in Rhys'o f i c t i o n which suggests the comparison with Kafka made e a r l i e r ; i t i s a quality of e x i s t e n t i a l despair that i s not e n t i r e l y s o c i a l l y determined and only p a r t l y the r e s u l t of s o c i a l defeat, a l i e n a t i o n and e x i l e of various kinds. This underlying and unremitting bleakness bears l i t t l e r e l a t i o n to the disengaged ironies t y p i c a l of the male Modernist writers. In every novel of Rhys' her female characters reach e x i s t e n t i a l impasse when th e i r l i v e s collapse into long-anticipated disorder and f u t i l i t y . At t h i s point, there i s no question either of redemption by l y r i c a l transcendence as Woolf o r .Mansfield would have i t . The Caribbean If the major focus of Rhys' f i c t i o n i s what i t i s l i k e to be a woman in Europe in the period between the wars, then the s e n s i b i l i t y with which she perceived and recorded t h i s was formed i n an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t place and time. The Caribbean, where she spent her f i r s t sixteen years, had l e f t i t s mark. Her f i r s t sense of what i t i s to be a woman was formed here. In an already oppressively closed white minority culture, women in Dominica in the f i r s t twenty years of the century were expected to l i v e the l i v e s of Vi c t o r i a n hot-house flowers. They were to be passive and domestic, possessed and provided f o r . Reminiscent of the women of another slave-based c o l o n i a l c u l t u r e — t h e Old South of the United States—well-bred Dominican women were 7 bored, ornamental and un s k i l l e d at anything but g e n t i l i t y . Although they formed an intensely sheltered and pr i v i l e g e d group, these women were in certai n respects as much victims of t h e i r circumstances as the native slave population. Authority in t h i s c o l o n i a l culture rested firmly in the hands of English male conservative forces. Their power managed to contain i n both groups--women and n a t i v e s — a p o t e n t i a l l y r e b e l l i o u s , sensual "female" element, kept largely in check by the force of English convention, even in the t r o p i c s , and sheer economic dominance. These two elements of her native c u l t u r e — c o n v e n t i o n and money as determinants of power—Rhys recognized early in her l i f e , and went on to despise and expose them in her f i c t i o n . As in much V i c t o r i a n f i c t i o n , however, the power structures endure; s e l f awareness merely cripples her women, who for a variety of disabling reasons, continue to be complicit victims who give every impression of allowing t h e i r oppressors to determine t h e i r well-being. The idea of power, what determines i t and how i t i s used, c l e a r l y seized Jean Rhys early in l i f e . Her f i r s t exposure to formalized power was i n the ambivalent race r e l a t i o n s she saw around her as a c h i l d in Dominica. She remembers being uneasy with her automatic authority over black servants, and at the same time mesmerized by the i r arrogance and sensuality, t h e i r subtle ways of avoiding submission while appearing to g do as they were t o l d . The l i f e force seemed to invest them with mystery and danger, though they l i v e d as servants and underdogs. Rhys appreciated t h e i r i n s t i n c t s for s k i r t i n g humiliation, and as a fellow-outsider to the power structure, at least by temperament, she i d e n t i f i e d with t h i s s t r a i n in her native culture, and appears to have been s i g n i f i c a n t l y formed by i t . Several of her women characters in f i c t i o n a l Caribbean settings are struck and frightened by that source of demonic energy for the natives—obeah—which provided them with an authentic source of power and a separate white-defying code connecting them with the l i v i n g dead, curses, 9 potions to af f e c t love or death and nocturnal soucriants. Despite the sympathy the white Rhys woman, l i k e her creator, f e e l s for the b l a c k s — o f t e n a longing to be black and to renounce the structures of an inauthentic r u l i n g c l a s s , the natives w i l l not have her. So the Rhys woman i s at a t h i r d remove from the polarized elements in the culture she was born to. So Rhys took from her Caribbean childhood as l i f e concerns the nature of power, the experience of the underdog and a loathing for the self-perpetuating strategies of the middle c l a s s — p r i n c i p a l l y the English middle c l a s s — w h i c h maintained these structures for power. It i s not surprising then that she both saw and sought out the underdog wherever she went. In Paris, which she saw as a kind of s p i r i t u a l home, her f i c t i o n led her i n s t i n c t i v e l y toward a long l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n i n France which originated i n the "demi-monde"--the shadowy periphery of the respectable world, one of kept women, the criminal fringe, starving a r t i s t s and students, hangers-on and strays. In English one of the few clear examples of t h i s kind of writing i s George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London and though his submersion i n t h i s world of hunger and doss-houses i s undeniably authentic, i t i s also an i n t e l l e c t u a l experiment; t h i s i s not his natural or inevitable milieu. 1'"' I t i s inte r e s t i n g to note that in her perception of r e a l i t y Rhys might have more in common with late Modernist male writers l i k e Orwell, Huxley and Graham Greene than with her female peers, Woolf and Mansfield. Like no other English writer, Rhys takes up the French t r a d i t i o n , in both her style and content, of drawing a psychological p o r t a i t of t h i s underworld from within i t . There are traces of Colette, Flaubert and de Maupassant in her s t y l e , but the psychological veracity with which she speaks lin k s her more profoundly with Francois V i l l o n and . his descendants, the symbolist poets—Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Verlaine. Rhys' l i n k to t h i s t r a d i t i o n i s undoubtedly the French poet, novelist and c r i t i c . Francis Carco, whose novel of the French criminal underworld, Perversite, Ford Madox Ford arranged for her to translate into English in 1927-28. Despite the fact that the book la t e r appeared with Ford credited as the t r a n s l a t o r , his biographer v e r i f i e s that the t r a n s l a t i o n was Rhys' work."'""'" Carco had written at length on V i l l o n and the symbolists, and t h e i r preoccupation with the morally outcast i s evident in his novel. Many of Rhys' concerns are there, too. It was a very appropriate novel for her to translate, and no doubt influenced and confirmed the world view she took to her ear short stories and novels. Carco's novel i s the sordid f i n a act in the l i f e of an aging French p r o s t i t u t e , Irma, her thuggish pimp boyfriend, Bebert,and her simpleton brother, Emile. Bebert tyrannizes the other two into submission by s i n c i d e n t a l acts of b r u t a l i t y , usually at Emile's expense. The woman becomes addicted to the mistreatment, continues to hand over a l l her money to her increasingly absent lover and i s powerless to intervene when Bebert s a d i s t i c a l l y wounds Emile in a knife attack. Eebert's f i n a l v i c t o r y comes when Emile k i l l s his s i s t e r , perhaps acciden t a l l y , 48 with the gun he had intended to use to murder his tormentor. Pehaps he intended to end his s i s t e r ' s degradation. Perversite f i n e l y explores the sadomasochistic elements of love which were often to preoccupy Jean Rhys and her characters. "Is love no more the wish to torment another?" one of Carco's characters asks. Carco's work l i n k s Rhys, as well, with another major French t r a d i t i o n — e x i s t e n t i a l i s m . Carco focuses in his work, as did V i l l o n before him, on his characters' primitive preoccupation with survival in the p r e s e n t — a room, food, warmth, s e x — o r the l i t t l e of these available to a s o c i a l l y displaced person. Both Carco and Rhys would t e l l us that economics determine r e s p e c t a b i l i t y . Those without money l i v e from moment to moment. In t h i s , one i s reminded of lat e r French writers of the e x i s t e n t i a l school—Camus in L'Etranger and more pr e c i s e l y , i n connection with Rhys, Marguerite Duras, who in Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein, has her female protagonist survive with a drugged resignation 13 reminiscent of the Rhys woman. There i s always in Rhys, however, at least early in the novels before her women characters are f i n a l l y defeated, a redemptive trace of her other major French influence, Colette, who also created highly polished selective mosaics based on l i f e . Colette and Rhys the most sordid of rooms and the worst despair, can be redeemed momentarily, and transformed by the aesthetic perception of o b j e c t s — a s i l k dress hanging behind a door, the way l i g h t f a l l s on a 49 table, a vase of cheap flowers, a glimpse of tree or street. They share a saving grace for o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n of the s e l f when i t i s in danger of being extinguished. Expatriation The perspective which Rhys took with her to England was a Caribbean one. But her West Indian childhood and adolescence had not equipped her for adulthood in Europe. She was unsuited for survival there in very s p e c i f i c ways. She had been raised e s s e n t i a l l y as a Vi c t o r i a n woman. When she found herself alone i n England at 16 without any of the t r a d i t i o n a l supports for women--family, money or s k i l l , she quickly slipped into a declasse existence. Despite the years of hand to mouth l i v i n g which followed, the legacy of "unpreparedness" in her background did provide her, when she began to write, with an exotic perceptual slant. I t reminds us of the angle of Orwell's v i s i o n of England aft e r his alie n a t i n g c o l o n i a l experience. For Rhys t h i s slanted v i s i o n often provided, in her writing, a point of departure or rupture in her observation of the apparently seamless status quo,in England e s p e c i a l l y . Rhys' f i c t i o n i s i m p l i c i t l y subversive i n that i t involves a perception of human a f f a i r s and attitudes to l i f e that i s at odds with urban European society, i t s unwritten laws, s o c i a l hierarchies and moral codes. It i s i n content.rather than form that Rhys writes at a tangent to her male and female Modernist l i t e r a r y counterparts. Her connections to the s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m novels o f t h e 1 9 3 0 ' s a r e much s t r o n g e r . I t i s a p i t y t h a t h e r l i t e r a r y r e p u t a t i o n seems t o h a v e b e e n l o s t b e t w e e n t h e g e n e r a t i o n s . I n h e r m o s t p o w e r f u l and; a c c o m p l i s h e d n o v e l , W i d e S a r g a s s o S e a , w h i c h i s s e t a l m o s t e n t i r e l y i n t h e W e s t I n d i e s , s h e r e t u r n s t o t h e s e t t i n g o f h e r c h i l d h o o d a n d t h e f o r c e s w h i c h f o r m e d h e r s e n s i b i l i t y , t o c o n f r o n t w i t h m a t u r i t y t h e " t e r r i f i e d c o n s c i o u s n e s s " o n e c r i t i c a s c r i b e d 15 t o t h e c u l t u r e t h e r e . I t i s t h i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s w h i c h u n d e r l i e s b o t h h e r p o w e r a s a n o v e l i s t a n d h e r d i f f e r e n c e f r o m o t h e r men a n d women w r i t i n g a t t h e same t i m e . I n t h i s l a s t w o r k , s h e s u c c e e d s i n i n t e g r a t i n g a l l o f h e r f i c t i o n a l c a u s e s a n d i n p r o v i d i n g t h e m o s t r a d i c a l , t h o r o u g h a n d u n i v e r s a l o f a l l h e r c r i t i q u e s o f human a f f a i r s . A u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l F i c t i o n s C h a r a c t e r The c e n t r a l c r e a t i o n o f R h y s ' f i c t i o n i s , t o v a r y i n g d e g r e e s a d i s t i l l e d s e l f - p o r t r a i t i n t h e e x p r e s s i o n i s t s t y l e . ^ T h e R h y s h e r o i n e e x i s t s i n P a r i s , L o n d o n o r V i e n n a a l o n e e x c e p t when s u p p o r t e d b y l o v e r s , u t t e r l y a t t h e m e r c y o f men a n d c i r c u m s t a n c e s f o r p a t r o n a g e . She moves f r o m ; h o t e l t o h o t e l r o o m , l o v e r t o l o v e r , w i t h d i m i n i s h i n g r e s o u r c e s , t h e s e l f a l i t t l e f u r t h e r e x t i n g u i s h e d w i t h e a c h s h i f t . S h e w o r k s a s a c h o r u s g i r l , m a n n e q u i n , g u i d e a n d E n g l i s h t e a c h e r f o r s h o r t p e r i o d s u n t i l h e r u n s u i t a b i l i t y i s e x p o s e d . H e r m i n i m a l e x i s t e n c e i s r e d u c e d t o m a n , m o n e y , 51 drink and sleep, the simple aesthetics of a room or a new dress. These women in Rhys' novels "share a central nervous 17 system." There i s r e a l l y only one woman. She i s the single urban woman who has nothing and f i t s nowhere. She does not fi g h t for s u r v i v a l , but simply to keep herself together. The most she hopes for i s stalemate. She i s e s s e n t i a l l y dispossessed and consistently denied. She i s an e x i l e several times over as an impoverished foreigner, aging and apparently t a l e n t l e s s . "The society i s closed: the i s o l a t i o n of the expatriate, the woman, the outsider, i s complete; she exists 18 in a void." She i s a sexual creature and her only currency i s her looks. Her l i f e prospects depend on money and sex and both diminish as she ages. Both desert the Rhys woman when she needs them most, leaving her vulnerable and unarmed. As one c r i t i c has observed, [she is] slowly driven out of [her] wits by the harshness and unnaturalness of the world...and 19 men who are 's p o i l e r s ' . . . i n an unequal war." Such men are portrayed as bourgeois p h i l i s t i n e s , and the Rhys heroine i s constantly coming up against them in her love a f f a i r s . Relationships between these characters in her novels are c h i l l i n g sexual and f i n a n c i a l transactions, each one costing the heroine more of her innocence and sanity. She i s often reduced to trading a moment of warmth or sex for dinner, a room or p a t h e t i c a l l y needed cash. Essential to Rhys' powerful s o c i a l c r i t i q u e i s t h i s expose of the connections between sex and money: i t underlies a l l her p o r t r a i t s of emotional e x p l o i t a t i o n . Power i n society Rhys sees as e s s e n t i a l l y masculine. Society she sees as set up to conceal and f a c i l i t a t e the m u l t i p l i c i t y of subtle ways in which money enslaves. Her novels are studies i n subjection--either the manipulation of innocence or p a s s i v i t y , the controlled witholding of love or money (or both), and the subjugation of victims of sexual obsession. The Rhys woman i s however, no simple victim. She understands her enemies too well. "Victims are necessary," says Marya i n Quartet "so that the strong may exercise t h e i r w i l l and 20 become more strong." Rhys does not often t e l l us that the strong ever discover that cruelty i s inherent in p r i v i l e g e . Respectability, from which the Rhys heroine i s excluded, she both despises and craves. She wants to rebel against i t and i s at the same time helpless in the face of i t . The psychological state that t h i s i nevitably produces o s c i l l a t e s between rage and despair. She i s free of these only when she i s resigned to hopelessness, and fe e l s that she has nothing further to lose. At other times she drinks or sleeps to escape consciousness. She i s a victim of t i m e — o f age and fading looks, and of e x i l e whever she goes. But she i s a strangely complicit victim. There i s a perversity in her compliant p a s s i v i t y , which almost puts her i n league with her oppressors to ruin her. Sometimes the Rhys woman almost courts our disgust in her apparent willingness to be mutilated; i t i s as though the author wishes to make clear i n t h i s , that sympathy for the underdog can be cheap, a f a c i l e reader response. Rhys 53 i s interested in e l i c i t i n g a far more r a d i c a l awareness in her reader than that. And th i s i s where her stature as a writer of ali e n a t i o n draws close to Kafka. "To be wretched to the very roots of existence and yet to be coolheaded, 2 1 watching the wretchedness, i s the fate of these women." Every tortuous d e t a i l of t h e i r suffering—hunger, abandonment, sordidness and nightmare i s drawn with a c h i l l i n g precision and lack of sentimentality. Lovers are interchangeable in th e i r inadequacy and casual b r u t a l i t y ; a l l of the rooms are the same shabby prison. The woman i s always haunted by her past, often a dead c h i l d and a f a i l e d marriage. When times are good, the woman i s dressed in a fur coat, many times pawned and recovered, the l a s t trace of a temporary former affluence. The woman i s an e x i l e from l i f e , at a loose end in Europe, broke, aging and alone. This i s the underdog Rhys created out of her experience. Vignette Although childhood and adolescence i n Dominica did not equip Jean Rhys for womanhood i n Europe, i t provided her with the r e b e l l i o u s force needed to "expatriate" h e r s e l f , and to try to focus her l i f e i n Europe once she was there. From her e a r l i e s t vignettes i n The Left Bank, however, i t i s clear that she was unable to avoid using the West Indies 2 2 as a f i c t i o n a l counterpoint to her new landscape. One of these fragments, "Trio," describes a moment of homesickness in a Montparnasse cafe -, as her Dominican narrator glimpses three A n t i l l e s natives at another table. They inadvertently 54 break free of the restaurant code of behaviour with t h e i r 23 "noise" and "gusto," t h e i r pleasure and innocent unconcern in eating and t a l k i n g . The moment turns into one of exotic license-taking when one of them, a young g i r l , b e a u t i f u l l y naked beneath a red dress, begins to dance 1alone and excited in the restaurant. It i s t h i s moment of l i b e r t y and sensuality which forces the Rhys narrator to recognize her "compatriots" on foreign s o i l . Another vignette, "Mixing Cocktails," records the progress of a day in a young g i r l ' s melancholy and dreamy Dominican childhood. It i s set in the mountains, a refuge from the heat. The c h i l d peers down at the v a l l e y s , the jungle and the .sea through a telescope set on the verandah. She passionately resents any interruption to her day-dreaming and her observation of t h i s "wild place, Dominica, savage and l o s t : " ^ So soon does one learn the b i t t e r lesson that humanity i s never content just to d i f f e r from you and l e t i t go at that. Never. They must i n t e r f e r e , a c t i v e l y and grimly between your thoughts and yourself with the passionate wish to l e v e l up everything and everybody. (p. 89) This w i l l provide almost a paradigm for female consciousness in the l a t e r Rhys f i c t i o n , as i t struggles to survive with i t s own gentle, a l i e n equilibrium in d i f f e r e n t climates from i t s own. She does, even as a c h i l d however, mix a good cocktail--her one successful s o c i a l gesture, at the end of a hot and languid West Indian day. It i s "something I can do" (p. 92). "Again the A n t i l l e s , " the t h i r d of the Caribbean vignettes in The Left Bank, t e l l s of a public argument b e t w e e n a b l a c k n e w s p a p e r e d i t o r i n D o m i n i c a a n d a w h i t e p l a n t a t i o n o w n e r . T h e i r f e u d i s c o n d u c t e d i n l e t t e r s t o t h e n e w s p a p e r , a n d i s u l t i m a t e l y t o do w i t h " t h e c o n d u c t o f a n E n g l i s h g e n t l e m a n " a s e s t a b l i s h e d i n t h e w o r k s o f S h a k e s p e a r e 2 5 a n d C h a u c e r a n d t h e n t r a n s p o r t e d t o t h e W e s t I n d i e s . A t o n e s t a g e t h e w o r d s " t h e i g n o r a n t o f a n o t h e r r a c e a n d c o l o u r " a r e d i s c r e e t l y s u b s t i t u t e d b y t h e e d i t o r f o r "damn n i g g e r s " ( p p . 9 6 - 9 7 ) . The s t o r y i s o f c o u r s e a b o u t t h e p o w e r o f t h e E n g l i s h i n D o m i n i c a w i t h t h e f u l l w e i g h t o f l i t e r a t u r e b e h i n d i t . Wha t t h e s e t h r e e f r a g m e n t s — j u v e n i l i a r e a l l y — s h o w us a b o u t J e a n R h y s ' e a r l y e x p a t r i a t e w r i t i n g c a n be summed up a s f o l l o w s : a t a r e m o v e f r o m D o m i n i c a s h e o f t e n u n e x p e c t e d l y r e m e m b e r s a n d m i s s e s i n a c o m p l e x way t h e b l a c k s p i r i t i n t h e W e s t I n d i e s , t h o u g h t e c h n i c a l l y s h e was p a r t o f a c l a s s t h a t e x e r c i s e d p o w e r o v e r i t a n d d e f i n e d i t s e l f a g a i n s t i t . T h e s e moments l e a v e h e r e x p o s e d a n d v u l n e r a b l e i n a c h i l l i n g w h i t e c u l t u r e . " M i x i n g C o c k t a i l s " t e l l s u s o f t h e f o r m a t i o n o f a f e m a l e c o n s c i o u s n e s s i n i s o l a t i o n , e v e n o n h o m e g r o u n d . T h e m a t u r e w r i t e r , who w i l l l a t e r f o c u s m o s t c l e a r l y o n t h o s e t h i n g s i n p e o p l e w h i c h s e p a r a t e a n d d r i v e a p a r t , was f o r m e d i n p e c u l i a r , h i g h l y - c h a r g e d s e c l u s i o n , o b s e s s e d w i t h t h e b e a u t i f u l b u t e q u a l l y t r e a c h e r o u s D o m i n i c a n l a n d s c a p e . J u d i t h T h u r m a n i n a 1976 a r t i c l e com m en t s t h a t t h e r e i s i n R h y s ' f i c t i o n " a y e a r n i n g . . . f o r a l o s t w a r m t h , f o r a p l a c e w h e r e 2 6 e v e r y t h i n g i s b r i g h t n e s s o r d a r k . " The p o l a r i t i e s o f t h e p l a c e — " b r i g h t " a n d " d a r k , " s e n s u a l a n d r e p r e s s i v e , . a. 56 t a n t a l i z i n g and claustrophobic, sent Rhys to England, but these p o l a r i t i e s remained with her. Voyage i n the Dark In her 1934 novel Voyage in the Dark, Rhys deals with her t r a n s i t i o n from one world to another, the Caribbean to Europe; the book's central image i s the l i t e r a l voyage from one to the other and the two-way voyage of memory between 27 them. In a hauntingly autobiographical narrative, Rhys places her heroine, Anna Morgan, a young woman of indeterminate s o c i a l background, in England in 1912. She leads a makeshift existence as chorus g i r l in down-at-heel touring companies. She has been orphaned and brought to England two years e a r l i e r by her step-mother. She i s picked up on the pier at Southsea by Walter J e f f r i e s , a moneyed older man, who l a t e r meets and seduces her in London. He looks a f t e r her when she i s i l l and reduced, and she f a l l s in love with him. After a year, Walter t i r e s of the a f f a i r and ends i t with a cheque. Abandoned, Anna.breaks down and begins to d r i f t , accepting money for sex from various men and f i n a l l y becoming pregnant. Uncertain of the father, she begs Walter for money to pay for an abortion. The novel ends with Anna's near death as the r e s u l t of the operation, and her b i t t e r sense that another, more informed beginning i s now possible. Louis James i n his essay, "The Caribbean i n a Cold Place," observes that Rhys' characters are r a r e l y at rest in the physical present wherever i t i s . "The immediate exists as part of the remembered past, the past as part of 57 2 8 the present." In t h i s novel she uses e x i l e and memory in very s p e c i f i c ways to interpret the present place and time--that i s , pre-World War I London. Memory images of Dominica and Anna's childhood there, operate l i k e photographs or cinematic s t i l l s interspersed among London scenes, undercutting and counter-pointing them. Details of the West Indies are sharp and sensuous, accumulating meaning and resonance throughout the text. They have the e f f e c t rupturing the power of the present over Anna. Rhys has her narrative design rest on the impossible p o l a r i t y in Anna's mind of these two worlds, and of the states of mind each requires. In the c o n f l i c t which follows one place serves only to disrupt and d i s t o r t the other. The novel begins with the break with the e a r l i e r world and time in Anna's l i f e and the ali e n a t i o n that such a r a d i c a l s h i f t produces: It was as i f a curtain had f a l l e n , hiding everything I had ever known; It was almost l i k e being born again. The colors were d i f f e r e n t , the smells d i f f e r e n t , the feelings things gave you right down inside yourself was d i f f e r e n t . Not just the difference between heat, cold; l i g h t , darkness; purple, grey. But a difference in the way I was frightened and the way I was happy.29 From the f i r s t there i s a r a d i c a l perceptual difference in her appreciation of the two countries. Dominica i s in her mind, i n high focus, in bright sun-light. "...the sea was m i l l i o n s of spangles...purple as Tyre" (pp. 7-8). She can s t i l l smell the place--"...niggers and woodsmoke and 58 s a l t f i s h c a k e s f r i e d i n l a r d . . . f r a g i p a n n i a n d l i m e j u i c e . . . c i n n a m o n . . . c l o v e s . . . a n d i n c e n s e " ( p . 8 ) . E n g l a n d i s p a l e a n d mean b y c o m p a r i s o n : - - t h i s i s L o n d o n — h u n d r e d s o f t h o u s a n d s o f w h i t e p e o p l e w h i t e p e o p l e r u s h i n g a l o n g a n d t h e d a r k h o u s e s a l l a l i k e f r o w n i n g down one a f t e r t h e o t h e r a l l a l i k e a l l s t u c k t o g e t h e r — t h e s t r e e t s l i k e s m o o t h s h u t i n r a v i n e s a n d t h e d a r k h o u s e s f r o w n d o w n — o h I ' m n o t g o i n g t o l i k e t h i s p l a c e , ( p . 7) M o r e s i g n i f i c a n t , e v e n t h a n t h e b r u t a l c o n t r a s t s b e t w e e n t h e t w o p l a c e s i s A n n a ' s c o m p l e t e i n a b i l i t y t o i n t e g r a t e t h e m i n a n y w a y , t o c o n t a i n t h e m b o t h i n h e r e x p e r i e n c e . " S o m e t i m e s i t was a s i f I w e r e b a c k t h e r e a n d a s i f E n g l a n d w e r e a d r e a m . A t o t h e r t i m e s E n g l a n d was t h e r e a l t h i n g a n d o u t t h e r e was t h e d r e a m , b u t I c o u l d n e v e r f i t t h e m t o g e t h e r " ( p . 8 ) . A t t h e m e r c y o f t h e s e t w o i r r e c o n c i l a b l e f o r c e s , a n d d e e p l y a l i e n a t e d f r o m h e r p r e s e n t e n v i r o n m e n t , A n n a f a l l s i n t o h e r f i r s t l o v e a f f a i r w i t h a n u t t e r l y c o n v e n t i o n a l s p e c i m e n f r o m t h e a l i e n c u l t u r e — W a l t e r J e f f r i e s . A n n a i n h e r y o u t h a n d i n e x p e r i e n c e i s s i m p l y g r a t e f u l f o r t h e s u b s t a n c e h i s r e s p e c t a b i l i t y a n d c o n c e r n seems t o o f f e r . S h e e x p e r i e n c e s o n l y m o m e n t a r y c o n f u s i o n when he b e g i n s d i s c r e e t l y , t o p a y h e r f o r s l e e p i n g w i t h h i m . She a c c e p t s i t a s a k i n d n e s s o r t h e s t y l e h e r e . I t i s p r i n c i p a l l y a b o u t t h e s u b t l e p o w e r s o f money t h a t s h e l e a r n s a s t h e l o v e a f f a i r p r o g r e s s e s . F o r one t h i n g s h e g e t s u s e d t o a c c e p t i n g i t , comes t o d e p e n d o n i t , a n d s e e s f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e t h a t s e x a n d money a r e i n t i m a t e l y c o n n e c t e d . She b e g i n s t o l e a r n t o o a b o u t t h e i n e x o r a b l e s o c i a l l a w s o f w e a l t h a n d p o v e r t y : 59 "The p o o r do t h i s a n d t h e r i c h do t h a t , t h e w o r l d i s s o - a n d -s o a n d n o t h i n g c a n c h a n g e i t . F o r e v e r a n d f o r e v e r t u r n i n g a n d n o t h i n g , n o t h i n g c a n c h a n g e i t " ( p . 4 3 ) . One o f A n n a ' s h a r d - n o s e d c h o r u s g i r l f r i e n d s p u t s i t more c y n i c a l l y : . . . h a v e y o u e v e r t h o u g h t t h a t a g i r l ' s c l o t h e s c o s t more t h a n t h e g i r l i n s i d e t h e m ? . . . Y o u c a n g e t a v e r y n i c e g i r l f o r f i v e p o u n d s , a v e r y n i c e g i r l i n d e e d ; y o u c a n e v e n g e t a v e r y n i c e g i r l f o r n o t h i n g i f y o u k n o w how t o go a b o u t i t . B u t y o u c a n ' t g e t a v e r y n i c e c o s t u m e f o r h e r f o r f i v e p o u n d s . . . . P e o p l e a r e much c h e a p e r t h a n t h i n g s . " ( p . 45) T h i s b i t t e r n e s s a b o u t money a n d t h e p o w e r t h a t i t g i v e s men o v e r women i s o n e o f t h e m o s t s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t E n g l a n d t e a c h e s A n n a . She d o e s n o t l e a r n i t p r o p e r l y u n t i l W a l t e r J e f f r i e s w i t h d r a w s f i r s t l o v e a n d t h e n m o n e y , l e a v i n g h e r w i t h o u t e i t h e r , a n d l e a v i n g t h e m i n e x t r i c a b l y c o n n e c t e d w i t h o n e a n o t h e r i n h e r m i n d . T h e r e i s o n e p o w e r f u l e p i s o d e i n t h e n o v e l w h e r e t h e f u l l p s y c h o l o g i c a l e f f e c t o f A n n a ' s v i o l a t i o n i s made c l e a r . i t d r a w s o n p r i m a l i m a g e s a n d m e m o r i e s i n A n n a ' s c o n s c i o u s n e s s , i n w h i c h m a l e n e s s , t e r r o r a n d t h e u n k n o w n m e r g e , s u d d e n l y t o r u p t u r e a n d t e a r r e a l i t y f o r h e r . A s s h e s t a n d s i n h e r h o t e l r o o m r e a d i n g t h e l e t t e r f r o m W a l t e r ' s c o u s i n d e l e g a t e d t o t e l l h e r t h a t t h e l o v e a f f a i r i s o v e r , a moment o f c h i l d h o o d t e r r o r i n s e r t s i t s e l f i n t o h e r m i n d . On h e r D o m i n i c a n v e r a n d a h , s h e r e m e m b e r s a s a c h i l d a p p r o a c h i n g h e r s l e e p i n g a n d t r u s t e d u n c l e . . . . U n c l e Bo moved a n d s i g h e d a n d : l o n g y e l l o w t u s k s l i k e f a n g s came o u t o f h i s m o u t h a n d p r o t r u d e d down i n t o h i s c h i n - - y o u d o n ' t s c r e a m when y o u a r e f r i g h t e n e d b e c a u s e y o u c a n ' t — a f t e r a l o n g t i m e he s i g h e d a n d o p e n e d h i s e y e s a n d c l i c k e d h i s t e e t h b a c k i n t o p l a c e a n d 60 said what on earth do you want c h i l d — I thought, 'But what's the matter with me? That was years and years ago, ages and ages go. Twelve years ago or something l i k e that. What's t h i s l e t t e r got to do with false teeth?' (p. 92) What has happened in both cases i s that Anna's psychic equilibrium has been suddenly shattered in an ugly and unexpected piece of male behaviour h o r r i f y i n g in i t s in t e n s i t y for her. Dismissal by Walter feeds into a strong current of despair already present in Anna's character. She associates t h i s new pain with a l i f e l o n g knowledge that i t would happen to her again and again. The moment when t h i s i s confirmed threatens to consume her. "There's fear, of course, with everybody. But now i t had grown gigantic; i t f i l l e d me and i t f i l l e d the whole world" (p. 96). This state and a f i n a l scene with Walter involving money induce a kind of trance in Anna, of long periods of drugged sleeping and sensory d i s l o c a t i o n . She f l o a t s back into chorus g i r l c i r c l e s and with new knowledge and less f e e l i n g , and makes love with stray men for money. In her dream state of simultaneous withdrawal and compliance with the world, Anna's second v i o l e n t confrontation with r e s p e c t a b i l i t y comes, t h i s time with a woman, Ethel Matthews. She i s a rather worn and scheming middle-aged woman with s o c i a l aspirations. At f i r s t she enters Anna's l i f e as a potential protector, comforting her when she i s i l l . Soon, however, she puts a f i n a n c i a l proposition to h e r — a share in a "Swedish Massage" business, masquerading as an of f e r of somewhere to l i v e . Anna succumbs to another a l l i a n c e where she i s f i n a n c i a l l y and emotionally exploited, in t h i s case by Ethel Matthews' neurotic fears, f i n a n c i a l swindling and a h y s t e r i c a l concern for appearances should her shabby p r o s t i t u t i o n be revealed. Anna's ultimate reaction to her treatment by the other woman i s to behave badly, to drink, to bring home random men and f i n a l l y to break up a l l the cozy furniture in her room before leaving. With Ethel Matthews, Rhys has reminded us that hypocrisy and cruelty are not r e s t r i c t e d to male members of the respectable classes; members of either sex can be vain and greedy. In f a c t , Rhys' p o r t r a i t s of women tend to be more grotesque than those of male equivalents. In t h i s novel, Ethel's viciousness i s magnified by a knowing q u a l i t y , a self-awareness, which Walter J e f f r i e s does not have. Neither of her apparent protectors i s of any use to Anna when her "voyage" reaches i t s psychic destination; she becomes pregnant by one of the men she has allowed to pick her up, and with whom she has haphazardly slep t . She panics and collapses into surreal dream voyages into the past. I dreamt that I was on a ship. From the deck you could see small i s l a n d s - - d o l l s of i s l a n d s — a n d the ship was s a i l i n g in a d o l l ' s sea, transparent as glass. Somebody said in my ear, 'That's your island that you t a l k such a l o t about. ' Anna's two worlds merge in nightmare as she looks at her island to f i n d English trees, "their leaves t r a i l i n g in the water." Op. 16 4) She t r i e s to make her way up the sloping deck to grasp one of the English branches to the shore, but 62 h e r " f l y i n g s t r i d e s " w e r e no m a t c h f o r t h e e x p a n d i n g d e c k . A t t h a t moemnt someone f a l l s o v e r b o a r d " a n d t h e r e was a s a i l o r c a r r y i n g a c h i l d ' s c o f f i n " ( p . 165) . . . . T h e a b o r t i o n w h i c h f o l l o w s f o r m s a p a r t i c u l a r l y g r o t e s q u e a n d n i g h t m a r i s h c l i m a x t o t h e n o v e l a n d t o A n n a ' s j o u r n e y i n g . She h a s a r r i v e d a t t h e w o r s t t h a t c a n h a p p e n t o h e r . The t e r m i n a t i o n o f t h e p r e g n a n c y i n v o l v e d t h e k i l l i n g o f t h e f o e t u s , w i t h a t w o t o t h r e e week d e l a y b e f o r e t h e d e a d b a b y i s e x p e l l e d a f t e r a p e r i o d o f l a b o u r . The i n t e r i m i s a w a i t i n g f o r d e a t h , a n d i n l a b o u r , A n n a comes c l o s e t o i t h e r s e l f . One o f t h e n o v e l ' s m o s t s t r i k i n g C a r i b b e a n i m a g e s i n v a d e s h e r c o n s c i o u s n e s s i n h a l l u c i n a t i o n , i n l a b o u r . A g a i n s h e i s a c h i l d i n D o m i n i c a l o o k i n g a t o n e o f t h e i r b l a c k s e r v a n t s d r e s s e d f o r t h e M a s q u e r a d e i n a h i d e o u s m a s k . The s e r v a n t a p p r o a c h e s t h e c h i l d a n d s h e s u d d e n l y " p u t o u t h e r t o n g u e a t me t h r o u g h t h e s l i t i n h e r m a s k . . . . a n d t h e s l o b b e r i n g t o n g u e o f a n i d i o t w i l l s t i c k o u t — a mask F a t h e r s a i d w i t h a n i d i o t b e h i n d i t I ) b e l i e v e t h e w h o l e damned b u s i n e s s i s l i k e t h a t — " ( p . 1 8 4 ) . A t t h i s o u t e r e d g e o f p a i n , e n d u r a n c e , a n d a b a n d o n m e n t , h u m a n i t y t a k e s o n t h e p r o p o r t i o n s o f t h e e v i l mask w i t h i t s t e r r i f y i n g t o n g u e , i t s a p p e r t u r e s d a n g e r o u s s l i t s t h r o u g h w h i c h v i o l e n c e c a n e s c a p e w i t h o u t w a r n i n g . I n m e m o r y , s h e i s s w a l l o w e d u p b y t h e n a t i v e s ' h y s t e r i c a l p a r a d e , f a l l s a n d f i n d s t h a t s h e i s f a l l i n g f r o m a h o r s e o n a D o m i n i c a n m o u n t a i n p a t h . T h e r e a r e no s t i r r u p s o n t h e h o r s e t o h e l p h e r , a n d w h i l e t h e w i l d m u s i c a n d d a n c i n g go o n a b o u t h e r , t h e h o r s e t u r n s i n t o a r o c k i n g 63 horse and as she approaches consciousness, she finds herself in t e r r i f y i n g shadows where as a c h i l d she knew that the old dis f i g u r e d woman with yaws waited for her. As she delivers her dead c h i l d , a supercilious English doctor reassures her: "She'll be a l l r i g h t , " he said. "Ready to s t a r t a l l over again in no time, I've no doubt.... You g i r l s are too naive to l i v e , aren't you?" (p. 187) What sets t h i s novel apart from Rhys' other f i c t i o n i s the elegiac incorporation of the Caribbean into an otherwise European "getting of wisdom" study. A l l of the force of memory in Voyage In The Dark i s located in Dominica. A l l of the novel's potent imagery comes from here, to become wild and surreal i n an English context. As well t h i s imagery inspires an inevitable c r i t i q u e of a corrupt urban society where r e s p e c t a b i l i t y creates tyrants, both seen here through the d i s t o r t i n g lens of the natural world. The novel marks too the establishment of an important f i c t i o n a l pattern of Rhys': that of collapsing p o l a r i t i e s . Childhood memories of Dominica should comfort Anna; instead they t e r r i f y , a l i e n a t i n g her from the past as well as the present while making t h i s present more unbearable. Power and fear are the same in both plsaces, and Anna's f i n a l awareness of t h i s has made her a creature of duality for the f i r s t time. Because her topography i s fundamentally that of the alienated consciousness rather than geographical place and r e a l time, Rhys turns the England/Dominica dichotomy in Anna's l i f e into a d i a l e c t i c ; what i s t e r r i f y i n g in both worlds meets in her subconscious and work together in f r u i t f u l opposition. Within t h i s f e a r f u l d i a l e c t i c of past/present, childhood/ adulthood, male/female, black/white, nature/city, home/exile, there i s greatest fear when the absolutes collapse into one another and the protagonist i s consumed by j u s t i f i e d paranoia. Wide Sargasso Sea '.i' The novel Wide Sargasso Sea, published i n 1966, brought Jean Rhys fame for the f i r s t time. It appeared aft e r a t h i r t y year absence from p r i n t , and an accidental resurrection. It i s her most polished and successful work. In i t she abandons the focus of Europe from her middle period, and returns to the West Indies. It i s i n a r t i s t i c terms an attempt at c i r c u l a r i t y — a rereading of the past on the basis of new knowledge and of t h i r t y years' d i f f i c u l t existence in Europe which had taught her that a l i e n a t i o n i s not always to do with place. The novel i s a b r i l l i a n t f i c t i o n a l prologue to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. It c l e v e r l y takes many of Bronte's d e t a i l s and works backwards from them, reconstructing t h e i r o r i g i n s i n the past, setting them i n Edward Rochester's mysterious Caribbean interlude p r i o r to his return to England with his mad wife and his meeting with Jane Eyre. Rhys' protagonist i s "the mad woman i n the a t t i c " i n Bronte's novel, c a l l e d Bertha there, but given her f u l l family name— Antoinette Cosway i n Rhys' book. I t t e l l s of her childhood, her ruined family, and of her marriage to Edward Rochester, the Englishman who had come to the colony to make money. The f i r s t section of the novel i s t o l d i n Antoinette's voice. The second section c l e v e r l y switches to Rochester's voice to describe the i n t e n s i t y of his unexpected seduction aft e r marriage, by the exotic creature he had married for money, and by the landscape she exposed him to. The novel's v i o l e n t f i n a l section and climax i s f i l t e r e d through the now maddened consciousness of Antoinette, in e x i l e i n England where she i s to die. The h i s t o r i c a l background to Rhys' novel, about which she i s very accurate, i s quite t e l l i n g . Kenneth Ramchand in The West Indian Novel and i t s Background spoke of a " t e r r i f i e d consciousness" which informed that minority 31 group, the White West Indians. Both Jean.Rhys and Antoinette Cosway were the o f f s p r i n g of t h i s Caribbean minority, i t s history and consciousness. In 1887 one h i s t o r i a n said of t h i s group--"The English of these islands 32 are melting away." The emanicipation of the slaves in Dominica i n 1832 had f u l l y revealed the s p i r i t u a l and economic f a i l u r e s of the plantation class there. Many were ruined. Rhys' novel i s set i n t h i s class and in the period immediately a f t e r emancipation, when the process of "decolonization" was at i t s most uncontrolled and v i o l e n t ; t h i s sudden release of native force put under d i r e c t attack the t e r r i f i e d presence of white c o l o n i a l s i n a b e a u t i f u l but a l i e n landscape which they had attempted to usurp. In obviously cast grave doubts too on the status of those tenuous lin k s between the races under plantation c u l t u r e : 2 the long-serving negro family servants; in Rhys' novel t h i s figure i s simultaneously the children's nurse and the dangerous "obeah" woman, an occult power figure. If the consciousness of the white c o l o n i a l s had been " t e r r i f i e d " of the Caribbean before t h i s time, then t h i s element was profoundly magnified when the natives began to r i o t and burn down t h e i r houses, revealing for the f i r s t time the horror and violence which had been the underside to an apparently gracious c o l o n i a l culture. P h y l l i s Shaffley, another Caribbean writer and contemporary of Rhys', describes Dominica i n these terms: "Beauty and disease, beauty and 33 sickness, beauty and horror; that was the is l a n d . " It i s my suggestion that what Rhys returns t o J i n her only "Caribbean" novel i s t h i s " t e r r i f i e d consciousness" of the alienated white in a dangerous place. Beauty and i t s underside, horror, sickness and disease provide the key to the e a r l i e s t a l i e n a t i o n Rhys saw and experienced. I t provided a paradigm too for what she saw l a t e r i n her l i f e i n European c i t i e s and in human behaviour everywhere. Acquired i n her youth i t inspired the c r i t i q u e her f i c t i o n l e v e l l e d against the bourgeois culture of appearance which f a l s e l y t r i e d to deny or to l e v e l out these p o l a r i t i e s in human nature. Rhys' more general conclusions about the state of human nature and the world then have been grounded in a time and place where re l a t i o n s between human beings could actually be categorised according to race and the master/slave balance of power. Given t h i s primitive p o l a r i t y , i t i s not altogether surprising that Rhys sees 67 much apparently c i v i l i z e d human behaviour in these terms; her characters are generally capable of no more than a troubled blend of polarized reactions to one another al t e r n a t i n g a t t r a c t i o n and repulsion, sympathy and hatred. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Rhys f i n a l l y faces and reveals that the " s p e c i f i c " t e r r i f i e d consciousness of the h i s t o r i c a l l y marooned white West Indian, i s in fac t a universal heritage. It i s the consciousness with which a l l her characters have had to l i v e , of the horror behind the beauty. Antoinette Cosway describes the garden around her family home as she remembers i t in childhood: Our garden was large and bea u t i f u l as that garden in the B i b l e — t h e tree of l i f e grew there. But i t had gone wild. The paths were overgrown and a smell of dead flowers mixed with the fresh l i v i n g smell. Underneath the tree ferns, t a l l as forest tree ferns, the l i g h t was green. Orchids flourished out of reach or for some reason not to be touched. One was snaky looking, another l i k e an octopus with long thin brown tentacles bare of leaves hanging from a twisted root. Twice a year the octopus orchid flowered—then not an inch of tentacle showed. It was a b e l l -shaped mass of white, mauve, deep-purples, wonderful to see. The scent was very sweet and strong. I never went near it.24 The forces i n c o n f l i c t in Wide Sargasso Sea—reason and the unknowable, male and female, the c i v i l i z e d world and the tr o p i c s , make up two mutually exclusive worlds; in the marriage of Edward Rochester and Antoinette Cosway they meet head on, and the f a m i l i a r paradigm of master/slave and beauty/horror emerge. Rochester arrives in the West Indies as a "colonizer" ready to take what he can and to use up 68 what i s best i n the place. Instead, he finds himself seduced by the pleasures of the place, a n t i t h e t i c a l in i t s sensuousness to England. F i n a l l y , however, he i s not able to y i e l d to i t completely the caution, s e l f interest and reason of his t r a i n i n g ; his expectation of betrayal by "the foreign" f u l f i l l s i t s e l f . He leaves with more than he came, the temptations of the place exorcized. In t h i s war of worlds the imagery of the landscape—and for t h i s Rhys used Dominica, though i t i s not named—provides a powerful subtext. From the f i r s t the s p i r i t , even the look of t h i s place confuses and disquiets Rochester. When he marries a woman who i s deeply at ease with i t , who goes so far as to c a l l i t her place, he quickly i d e n t i f i e s woman with landscape, making of the island a natural, psychological and sexual t e r r a i n . I t i s a lush and fragrant jungle, with wat e r f a l l s , emerald pools, mysterious forests, and flowers that look both f r a g i l e and deadly. On the way to the estate where they w i l l honeymoon, Rochester i s disturbed and d i s t r u s t f u l of t h i s "....wild place. Not only wild but menacing. The h i l l s would close in on you....'What an extreme green', was a l l I could say.... Everything i s too much, I f e l t as I rode wearily after her. Too much blue, too much purple, too much green. The flowers too red, the mountains too high, the h i l l s to near" (pp. 69-70). At t h i s stage of his "marriage" to woman and place, his thoughts are s t i l l predominantly m a t e r i a l — o f the mercantile world and the dowry he has to c o l l e c t . 69 ...Dear Father. The t h i r t y pounds have been paid to me without question or conditions, no provision made for her (that must be seen to.) I have a modest competence now. ...I have sold my soul, or you have sold i t , and after a l l i s i t such a bad bargain? The g i r l i t thought to be b e a u t i f u l , she i s b e a u t i f u l . And yet... (p. 70) At Granbois, the estate where Antoinette had spent holidays as a c h i l d , Rochester i s quickly intoxicated, f i r s t by the freshness of the a i r and the abundant flowers, and as he stays longer, he succumbs to i t s "disturbing secret l i v e l i n e s s . " "I'd f i n d myself thinking...I want what i t hides" (p. 92). He succumbs as well to his exotic wife, as though his senses had been drugged. He forgets caution and curses himself for his former weakness. Only when he senses danger does he f a l l back on what i s worst in his Englishness; then he becomes imperious when he i s challenged by the servants, or Antoinette, or changing perceptions of the place. Then "...they are mistaken, melodramatic, unreal" (p. 102). When he receives Daniel Cosway's l e t t e r t e l l i n g him of his wife's family history of madness, and of the p o s s i b i l i t y that she has sexually betrayed him with a negro r e l a t i v e he r e c o i l s into his Europeanness, his a l i e n a t i o n vindicated. At the nadir of his withdrawal from his wife and the place, he becomes l o s t in a h o s t i l e jungle fore s t . He i s mistaken by a screaming c h i l d for one of the l i v i n g dead and becomes himself, in a state of profound disturbance,, obsessed with the idea of death in l i f e , and how at least for him, t h i s island seems to embody that idea. 70 The trees were threatening and the shadows of the trees menaced me. That green menace. I had f e l t i t evers ince I saw t h i s place. There was nothing I knew, nothing to comfort me. (p. 150) When his mind clears and his reason i s restored the matter becomes much simpler; the place had simply turned out to be a "false heaveny" a place which he had f i n a l l y f a i l e d to usurp, or as he sees at other moments, into which he had f a i l e d to gain admission. "Sane...I hated the place...I hated i t s beauty and i t s magic and the secret I would never know...I hated the mountains and the h i l l s — f o r what I had lo s t before I found i t (p. 172). So he abandons the island, and takes with him to her English abandoment, his West Indian wife. He has succeeded in usurping her. If Rochester in Rhys' novel i s one world, then Antoinette i s the other. Rochester was right when he met her, to say that she was o_f the place; she understood i t and respected i t . Speaking of his fear of i t , she says that such a reaction i s i r r e l e v a n t . "It i s not for you not for me. It has nothing to do with either of. That i s why you are af r a i d of i t , because i t i s something e l s e . I found that out long ago when I was a c h i l d " (p. 130). In f a c t , i t i s as a c h i l d , that Antoinette has f i r s t defined herself against the English. When she observes her English step-father, Mr. Mason, display minimal understanding of the West Indies and es p e c i a l l y of the natives "...They are c h i l d r e n — t h e y wouldn't hurt a fly"--she knows that he i s a f o o l , however kind. As Creoles, Antoinette and her mother are at a remove 71 from both the blacks and the English. Antoinette takes her cue from her mother "...so without a doubt not English, but no white nigger ei t h e r : (p. 23) ...She grows up excluded from both groups, but e s p e c i a l l y despised by the blacks as "tainted" whites—"Old time white people nothing but white nigger now, and black nigger better than white nigger," they t e l l her as they burn down the Mason house once they have been set free. So Antoinette has grouwn up susceptible to the incredible beauties of her birthplace and at the same time, aware of and susceptible to the h o s t i l e forces at work in i t . When she f a l l s i n love with Rochester she wants to share the best of the place with him; in return she requires that he unconditionally enter t h i s world of her. For a time, aided by wine and summer nights, she wins him. But the cost to her i s high. When he turns on her, fearing betrayal, her sense of security in her place i s most damaged: Do you know what you've done to me?....I loved t h i s place and you have made i t into a place I hate. I used to think that i f everything else went out of my l i f e I would s t i l l have t h i s , and now you have s p o i l t i t . It's just somewhere else where I have been unhappy, (p. 14 8) While i t i s true that the Englishman in Rochester, quite d i r e c t l y i n a sense, ruined Antoinette Cosway by what he was incapable of doing and f e e l i n g , and by his need to destroy what frightened him, Antoinette, l i k e a l l Rhys' heroines, contributed s i g n i f i c a n t l y to her own downfall. Her consciousness had been formed in the midst of profound c u l t u r a l a l i e n a t i o n . Her childhood was a neglected, decaying, V i c t o r i a n a f f a i r . The psycho-historical context of t h i s childhood was steeped in violence, upheaval, and tragedy, i n s p i r i n g in her some dreams of safety and substance. She i s , when Rochester meets her, a creature of fear, who needs from him dramatic affirmation of her world, grim and dying though i t i s . As one c r i t i c describes i t "In both myth and r e a l i t y the whites of the island f e e l as though, they are i n the heart of Eden after the f a l l , " t h e i r existence requiring confirmation. Antoinette's psychic legacy from her class and family i s unstable, unfocused and f u l l of fear and passion. Details of her l i f e cannot help but r e f l e c t the complex and malignant psycho-sexual r e l a t i o n s between the races on the is l a n d . When her mother goes mad, her guardians are blacks who sexually abuse her; the former mistress i s sexually subject to her servants. When Rochester seduces a native servant g i r l to free himself from Antoinette's sexual hold on him, he too f a l l s into t h i s disturbing legacy of slavery. Rhys' almost incantatory descriptions of the landscape which takes over Rochester's mind and senses, she c a r e f u l l y invests with the dual powers of beauty and horror. Behind the lush seductiveness and apparent f r a g i l i t y , i s the po t e n t i a l l y malignant and t e r r i f y i n g natural world, r e f l e c t i n g in a kind of s p i r i t u a l correspondence, the behaviour of the characters. Rochester c e r t a i n l y sees his West Indian wife as a creature of place, in these d u a l i s t i c terms: as both compellingly beautiful and as f a t a l l y diseased. Though she 73 d e n i e s t h a t p l a c e h a s a n y e f f e c t o n t h e i r b e h a v i o u r , R h y s m a k e s c l e a r t h a t i t d o e s , a l t h o u g h i n q u i t e o p p o s i t e w a y s . I n R o c h e s t e r , t h e p l a c e h a s a r o u s e d p r e v i o u s l y c l o s e t e d i n s t i n c t a n d a n e r o t i c s e n s i t i v i t y . I n A n t o i n e t t e i s e x p o s e d a d e s p e r a t e n e e d t o d r a w E d w a r d i n t o h e r e x o t i c p r i v a t e w o r l d , one w h i c h o p e r a t e s a c c o r d i n g t o n a t u r a l r h y t h m s a n d t h e h a r m o n y o f t h e s e n s e s . I n t h e n o v e l t h e moon i s h e r o b j e c t i v e c o r r e l a t i v e . I t i s o f c o u r s e a w o r l d b e y o n d R o c h e s t e r ' s c o m p r e h e n s i o n . H e r n e e d o f h i m s i m p l y a d d s t o h i s f e a r . " I t was n o t a s a f e game t o p l a y . L i f e , D e a t h came v e r y c l o s e i n t h e d a r k n e s s " ( p . 94) R e c u r r e n t R h y s t h e m e s a r e h e r e : t h e d e s p e r a t e p o w e r s t r u g g l e , i n t h e s e x u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n A n t o i n e t t e a n d R o c h e s t e r , o f f e m a l e p a s s i o n a n d m a l e f e a r ; t h e u r g e n c y a n d o b s e s s i o n o f t h e woman met b y h e s i t a t i o n a n d w i t h d r a w a l i n t h e m a n . T h i s s t a t e o f t h i n g s f i n a l l y r e t u r n s t h e h e r o i n e t o t h a t s t a t e d f d e s p a i r a n d i s o l a t i o n w h i c h i s J e a n R h y s ' p r i n c i p a l s u b j e c t m a t t e r o n c e h e r a n g r y s o c i a l a n d s e x u a l c r i t i q u e s h a v e e x h a u s t e d t h e m s e l v e s . R o c h e s t e r t a k e s h i s w i f e i n t o a c o l d e x i l e i n E n g l a n d . S h e b e c o m e s m a d d e n e d b y d e s p a i r i n t h e a t t i c o f h i s c o u n t r y h o u s e . A n t o i n e t t e C o s w a y ' s s t o r y — e x i l e a n d m a d n e s s - l e a v e s r o o m f o r o n l y o n e f i n a l g e s t u r e o f r e s i s t a n c e t o t h e f o r c e s w h i c h h a v e a l l b u t e x t i n g u i s h e d h e r . I n a s e l f - a n n i h i l a t i n g b u t t r a n s c e n d e n t m o m e n t , A n t o i n e t t e summons up a l l o f t h e f i r e a n d r a d i a n c e o f h e r C a r i b b e a n p a s t , a n d b u r n s down h e r E n g l i s h p r i s o n , R o c h e s t e r ' s h o u s e , a s t h e D o m i n i c a n n a t i v e s 74 had ruined the houses of t h e i r masters once they had been set free. The cost i s her l i f e . Europe In my readings of Voyage In The Dark and Wide Sargasso  Sea I have attempted to suggest ways in which the " t e r r i f i e d " West Indian consciousness threaded through Rhys' otherwise pastoral childhood, and informed the f i c t i o n which had, as i t s base, memories of the Caribbean. She translated t h i s impulse into a c r i t i q u e of s o c i a l and in d i v i d u a l behaviour based on sex, money and power. The universe Rhys envisions, in these works i s a malevolent one, and never more so than when her characters ignore these fundamentally i r r e c o n c i l a b l e d i s t i n c t i o n s , and imagine that connections between t h e i r private worlds are possible. In three novels written in Europe between 1928 and 1939, Jean Rhys provides a d i f f e r e n t focus and a far more ambivalent setting for despair. These are urban pieces, and while memory plays a s i g n i f i c a n t role in characters' l i v e s , there i s not the attempt to piece together the past and present as wholly as Voyage In The Dark and Wide Sargasso Sea attempted. Quartet (1928), published in the United States as Postures, After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie (1931) and Good Morning, Midnight (1939) take, as t h e i r form and subject matter, the precarious f r e e - f l o a t i n g existence of the vagrant expatriate between the wars. A c r i t i q u e of that condition i s implied as surely as that informed by her Caribbean experience, but the consciousness underlying her c r i t i q u e here i s that of 75 impoverished e x i l e , rootless and ex i s t i n g e n t i r e l y in the present tense. T y p i c a l l y , Marya Z e l l i ' s l i f e in Quartet i s described as "...haphazard. It lacked, as i t were, s o l i d i t y ; i t lacked the necessary fixed background. A bedroom, balcony and cabinet de t o i l e t t e i n a cheap Montmartre hotel cannot 3 6 possibly be c a l l e d a s o l i d background." The best description of Rhys 1 world at t h i s time i s provided by the Australian painter, S t e l l a Brown, lover of 3 7 Ford Madox Ford, i n her memoirs, Drawn From L i f e . She records her meeting with Jean Rhys honestly, I think, despite a certain retrospective emotional antagonism, based on Ford's subsequent involvement with the young writer. Rhys also records the'meeting, with her own biases, in Quartet. But young Jean Rhys: The g i r l was a r e a l l y t r a g i c person. She had written an unpublishably sordid novel of great sensitiveness and persuasiveness, but her g i f t for prose and her personal attractiveness were not enough to ensure her any reasonable l i f e , for on the other side of the balance were bad health and d e s t i t u t i o n , shattered nerves, an undesirable husband, lack of n a t i o n a l i t y , and a complete absence of any desire for independence. When we met her she possessed nothing but a cardboard suitcase and the astonishing manuscript. She was down to her l a s t three francs and she was sick. [Nevertheless] ...She took the l i d o f f the world that she knew, and showed us an underworld of darkness and disorder, where officialdom, the bourgeoisie and the police were the eternal enemies and the fu g i t i v e the only hero. A l l the v i r t u e s , in her 76 view, were summed up in 'being a sport,' which meant being w i l l i n g to take r i s k s and show gallantry and share one's l a s t crust, more at t r a c t i v e q u a l i t i e s , no doubt, than patience or honesty or f o r t i t u d e . She regarded the law as the instrument of the 'haves' against the 'have nots' and was well acquainted with every rung of that long and dismal ladder by which the respectable c i t i z e n descends towards degradation.38 (emphasis added) This i s a p o r t r a i t of Jean Rhys the writer, and I do not i. wish to blur biography and l i t e r a r y output. But i t i s the idea that a p o s i t i o n of utter degradation can f u e l a talent to expose that I concentrate on—r"She took the l i d o f f the world that she knew." This world i s the impoverished a r t i s t i c / c r i m i n a l fringe, in which Rhys' three autiobiogra-phi c a l heroines, Marya Z e l l i , J u l i a Martin and Sasha Jansen are marooned. Each of these novels t e l l s the same story of love and abandonment, expectation and betrayal, and for the heroine, isol a t e d and desperate survival at the edge of the s o c i a l order. The three women are chronological developments of the same character, progressively more broken by what happens to her. In each novel, what i s destructive in the world becomes more revealed and more undeniable. Despair becomes more profound. Good Morning, Midnight, the culminating work i n t h i s series of three novels, i s Rhys' darkest work, and precedes a t h i r t y year silence. S t r u c t u r a l l y , these works are perceptually fragmented, and c e r t a i n l y they deal with s o c i a l and psychic fragmentation; yet they are c a r e f u l l y formed, s t r u c t u r a l l y precise works, re l e n t l e s s i n t h e i r dual focus: ; that i s to explore the 77 private worlds of th e i r female protagonists and to confront the bourgeois world in which they w i l l inevitably be victims. These concerns are brought into high focus in precise human terms when Rhys portrays with great cynicism, the f a t a l cross-purposes of men's and women's behaviour toward each other. Men and women provide the psychological poles Rhys wishes to explore, just as London and Paris, the two alternating settings in these novels, are both geographical and psychological poles. For Rhys, London i s always the centre of crushing r e s p e c t a b i l i t y and Paris, the dream landscape where at least some things are possible. Marya Z e l l i , the e a r l i e s t of these heroines, i s the most innocent as well. She i s a bewildered expatriate, whose marriage to a foreigner has robbed her of her own sense of na t i o n a l i t y without providing her with a new one. It has cast her o f f into European society but not provided any of the resources needed to keep her there. With her husband in prison and no money, she i s at her most reduced u n t i l she i s "saved" by H.J. and Lois Heidler (as Rhys had been by Ford Madox Ford and S t e l l a Brown), two luminaries i n expatriate l i t e r a r y c i r c l e s in Paris. When taken up by these two apparent benefactors, Marya wrongly believes them to be " i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s t s " and therefore natural a l l i e s , f i g h t i n g , l i k e her, by i n s t i n c t , against r e s p e c t a b i l i t y , 29 monotony and "the soul destroying middle." When she f a l l s in love with Heidler, and his world i s more f u l l y revealed to her, she quickly sees through the experimental lowlife 78 of the expatriate a r t i s t s i n Montparnasse--"The Beautiful Young Men, the Dazzlers, the Middle Westerners, the Down and Outs, and Freaks who would never do anything, the Freaks who just possibly might" (p. 129). She denounces e s p e c i a l l y the l i t e r a r y hangers-on and poseurs, "Imagining they know anything when they know i t s name" (p. 130). Underneath a bohemian veneer were the same orthodox, class-determined individuals as everywhere else. For them in Paris, "even sin was an a f f a i r of p r i n c i p l e and u p l i f t i f you were an American, and of proving conclusively that you belonged to the upper classes, but were nevertheless an anarchist, i f you were English" (p. 62). The Heidlers above a l l , maintain Bohemian appearances, beneath which "they were inscrutable people, invulnerable people," and Marya "hadn't a chance against them, naive sinner that she was" (p. 101). The apparently agreeable menage a t r o i s into which she i s lured with them i s in fact a power play for the Heidlers--H.J. to have a woman he wants, and Lois to keep the man—very conventional orthodoxies of the middle-class married. Marya i s "safe" with them as long as she plays by the rules of the i r l i v e s . F i n a l l y , she cracks under the pressure of th e i r respectable cannibalizing of her l i f e and of her genuine and p a t h e t i c a l l y dependent love for Heidler. When she begins to make trouble for Heidler, Heidler drops the cosmopolitan facade and begs her to play according to the rules, and not to make his l i f e d i f f i c u l t or disordered. Marya gives i n "to have a l i t t l e peace," and subjects herself to a degrading interlude, also 79 conventional, in which she i s set up i n a cheap hotel, where Heidler v i s i t s her intermittently for sex in "an atmosphere of departed and ephemeral love [which] hung about the room l i k e stale scent" (p. I l l ) . I t i s t h i s subjection that p r e c i p i t a t e s her descent into despair. "I f e e l as i f I had f a l l e n down a pre c i p i c e " (p. 112). Now her v i c t i m i z a t i o n becomes h o r r i f y i n g l y clear to her, as does her awareness that she i s powerless to stop i t . Her role in the s o c i a l f a b r i c i s becoming clearer to her, too. She remembers being t o l d by a sculptor that "victims are necessary so that the strong may exercise t h e i r w i l l and become more strong" (p. 73). When Heidler pays her to stay away, f i n a l l y discarding her, "she was quivering and abject in his arms, l i k e some unfortunate dog abasing i t s e l f before i t s master" (p. 131). Heidler, the "large, invulnerable, p e r f e c t l y respectable" Englishman i s forced to rej e c t Marya, the genuine demi-mondaine who f i l l s him with fear and forces him to behave badly. "I have a horror of you. When I think of you I f e e l sick," he says in parting, ...what did you do when the man you loved said a thing l i k e that? You laughed obviously... 'So t h i s i s the cafe fine of rupture* (p. 78). There are flaws in t h i s f i r s t novel of Rhys'--certain lapses in narrative force, an occasional f a i l u r e to synchronize, a degree of self-indulgence, and a rather unbalanced conclusion—Marya's abrupt murder at the hands of her husband, just as things are beginning to unravel. Yet the novel has displayed for the f i r s t time Rhys' 80 d i s t i n c t i v e s t y l e , a n d t h e m a j o r c o n c e r n s o f a l l h e r l a t e r f i c t i o n . We s e e f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e , t h a t d i s t u r b i n g t r i c k o f n a r r a t i o n — a n d h e r d i s t i n g u i s h i n g f e a t u r e a s a w r i t e r who l i n k s t h e m o d e r n w i t h t h e p o s t - m o d e r n — a d e l i b e r a t e c u l t i v a t i o n o f d i s t a n c e b e t w e e n t h e c o o l , b r i t t l e s u r f a c e o f t h e w o r k , t h e a p p a r e n t n a r r a t i v e v o i c e , a n d a n u n d e r l y i n g c o m p l i c i t v o i c e . S u b j e c t i v i t y i s a t o n c e b o t h t h e f o r m a n d t h e s u b s t a n c e o f t h e w o r k , so t h a t c h a r a c t e r s a r e r e v e a l e d n o t s i m p l y b y w h a t t h e y d o , o r c o n f r o n t — t h i s makes up R h y s ' s o c i a l c r i t i q u e — b u t a l s o b y t h e s t y l e i n w h i c h t h e i r c o n s c i o u s n e s s i s r e n d e r e d . I n t h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s , R h y s i s u n s e n t i m e n t a l , u n d e r s t a t e d a n d i r o n i c , b o t h t e r s e a n d e l e g a n t . T h i s i s e s p e c i a l l y i m p o r t a n t i n m a k i n g c o m p r e h e n s i b l e t h e e x t r e m e p a s s i v i t y o f h e r c e n t r a l women c h a r a c t e r s a n d i t s l a r g e r i m p l i c a t i o n s . What h a p p e n s t o t h e m i s r e a d i l y u n d e r s t o o d . I t i s n o t d i f f i c u l t t o be p a r t i s a n when R h y s p o r t r a y s i n a m a t t e r o f f a c t way a n d t h e r e f o r e d a m n i n g l y , s o c i a l l y p r e - d e t e r m i n e d b e h a v i o u r , b u t i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o u n d e r s t a n d s o m e t i m e s t h e d e g r e e o f w i l l i n g n e s s t o s u f f e r , w i t h w h i c h R h y s e n d o w s h e r h e r o i n e s . When t h e y manage t o e s c a p e d i r e c t a s s a u l t , t h e y seem t o d r i f t i n t o d i s a s t e r a n d p a r a l y s i s b y t h e i r own momentum. B u t a t t h e h e a r t o f t h e i r p a s s i v i t y i s f e a r . I t was a v a g u e a n d s h a d o w y f e a r o f s o m e t h i n g c r u e l a n d s t u p i d t h a t h a d c a u g h t h e r a n d w o u l d n e v e r l e t h e r g o . S h e h a d k n o w n t h a t i t was t h e r e - - h i d d e n u n d e r t h e more o r l e s s p l e a s a n t s u r f a c e o f t h i n g s . . . . A l w a y s . E v e r s i n c e s h e was a c h i l d , ( p . 33) 81 Marya i s in some sense, a natural victim then, ever at the mercy of anyone who detects i t . Despite her vi c t i m status and occasional delusions however, she i s l i k e her creator, clear-eyed and acute in her observation of others, p a r t i c u l a r l y her tormentors. Their behaviour i s such that the writer need do no more than transcribe t h e i r words and actions completely unadorned, to damn them. And at t h i s , Rhys and her heroines are p a r t i c u l a r l y g i f t e d . This talent tends to add to her heroine's d i f f i c u l t i e s . For her characters, the pain of surviving ugly and brutal behaviour requires a c e r t a i n b l u r r i n g of the f a c t s , a moving from rescue'to rescue i f one i s to continue l i v i n g . Only in a kind of dream state can Marya accept the unbearable present in unredeemed i s o l a t i o n . The i n t e r i o r monologue within t h i s trance becomes a key figure in Rhys' f i c t i o n . It i s at t h i s l e v e l that the complicit authorial voice functions below the surface of the text. These monologues reveal both the character's private world and the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of communicating i t to anyone. As Marya f a l l s further and further into despair and disorder, Rhys subtly a l t e r s the pattern of images and rhythms used to convey t h i s state of alternating dream/nightmare. In these we see beyond the primitive patterns of dependence that seem to trap her character, into something l a r g e r — a broader human v u l n e r a b i l i t y than pathological p a s s i t i v i t y would imply, and a b r u t a l l y clear sense of who and what i s to blame. As Marya's options narrow, her mind becomes less and less stable; she sees herself as a trapped animal. This image of 82 confinement, of l i f e l i v e d at a primitive l e v e l beyond our c o n t r o l , i s to be a key idea in Rhys' other f i c t i o n , where powerless characters battle to survive i n a mercilessly deterministic universe. This i s the ground-level at which characters in her novels are oppressed; a l l other c o n f l i c t s between classes, races and the sexes—are echoes of i t . At i t s most extreme, t h i s metaphor of oppression r i v a l s Kafka's images of horror, fear and d i s o r i e n t a t i o n . She was t r y i n g to climb out of the blackness up an interminable ladder. She was very small, as small as a f l y , yet so heavy, so weighted down that i t was impossible to hoist herself to the next rung. The weight on her was t e r r i b l e . She was going to f a l l . She was f a l l i n g . The breath l e f t in her body. (p. 16 2) Such passages do more than render consciousness. They s t y l i z e i t . This nightmarish qu a l i t y invades the detached surface realism of the novel. Marya's only escape from fear at t h i s p i t c h i s to drink, to sleep and to engage in temporary fantasies based on love and money, ordering with absurd precision every minute of her waking existence, which in i t s f u t i l i t y , i s reminiscent too, of Kafka. Rhys' focus in the novel i s narrow, but i t i s d i s c i p l i n e d to provide shape for an all-encompassing theme: that beneath her c r i t i q u e (that men are spoilers and that bourgeois society mutilates), a l l are victims. If men are b l i n d and s e l f i s h , driven by fear and l u s t , then women are t h e i r accomplices, driven by a desperate and life-denying need for protection. This i s the d i s t i l l e d i n t e r i o r of the novel working in complicity with, (though in apparent 83 opposition to) the detached surface of the work. This narrative tension i s at the heart of the d i a l e c t i c between consciousness and c r i t i q u e which informs a l l of Rhys' f i c t i o n . She refines i t further i n After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie (1931), where the b r i t t l e surface becomes a glassy 40 o b j e c t i v i t y . In keeping with t h i s , her heroine i s an even more anonymous e x i l e than Marya. J u l i a ' s "career of ups and downs has rubbed most of the hallmarks o f f her, so that i t was not easy to guess at her age, her n a t i o n a l i t y , or the s o c i a l background to which she properly belonged" (p. 14). Her world i s harsher, her status c l e a r e r . In "organized society" she "had no place and against [it] she had not a dog's chance" (p. 22). J u l i a too has impaled herself on her love of a conventional Englishman, who, she discovers too l a t e , "was p e r f e c t l y adapted to the s o c i a l system" (p. 24). J u l i a i s the force of "the other" in his l i f e ; he i s tempted by the perversity of his a t t r a c t i o n to t h i s demi-mondaine. One of his love l e t t e r s to her had begun, "I would l i k e to put my throat under your feet" (p. 28). At a l l other times, however, "He wanted to e s t a b l i s h a sane and normal atmosphere." His conventionality, and i t s underside, "smashed [her] up." J u l i a i s without resources—"too vulnerable ever to make a success of a career of chance" (p. 14). She i s not without toughness and endurance, but as before i t i s passive: Of course you clung on because you were obstinate. You clung on because people t r i e d to shove you o f f , despised you, and were rude to you. So you clung on. Let quite alone, you would have l e t go of your own accord. (P. 180). 8 4 But when her c o n v e n t i o n a l l o v e r spurns h e r , J u l i a c o n f r o n t s i n him a l l t h a t she d e s p i s e s i n " o r g a n i z e d s o c i e t y " and f i n d s h e r s e l f s t i l l c a p a b l e o f r a g e . "If a l l g o o d , r e s p e c t a b l e p e o p l e had one f a c e , I 'd s p i t i n i t . I wish they a l l had one f a c e so I c o u l d s p i t i n i t " (p. 1 3 5 ) . The n a r r a t i v e m o n i t o r s J u l i a ' s e x i s t e n c e as she endures d e s p a i r . I t i s a t a f u r t h e r remove from c r i s i s than Q u a r t e t ^ - a s tudy o f a f t e r m a t h , o f " c l i n g i n g o n . " For J u l i a the game i s t e m p o r a r i l y o v e r . T h i s i s R h y s ' f i r s t expanded s tudy of female c o n s c i o u s n e s s i n i m p a s s e - - " t h e abandonment o f f a t i g u e " (p. 7 8 ) . Here random s e x u a l e n c o u n t e r s are a s e a r c h f o r any human c o n n e c t i o n r a t h e r than f o r l o v e . J u l i a ' s e x p e c t a t i o n s are m i n i m a l , but even then she i s d i s a p p o i n t e d . When a l o v e r l e a v e s q u i c k l y b e f o r e she wakes a f t e r a n i g h t t o g e t h e r , she l o o k s a t the note he l e a v e s . I t i s "as i f she were r e a d i n g something w r i t t e n by a s t r a n g e r to someone she had never seen" (p. 1 5 7 ) . Quar te t d e c l a r e s a l l i t s c h a r a c t e r s v i c t i m s ; A f t e r L e a v i n g Mr . Mackenzie f o c u s e s on the i n e v i t a b l y a b o r t i v e a t tempts o f these v i c t i m s to connec t w i t h one a n o t h e r . They are p r o f o u n d l y i s o l a t e d , l i v i n g a l o n e i n "the hour between dog and wol f " (p. 1 9 0 ) . Good M o r n i n g , M i d n i g h t D e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t Jean Rhys has concerned h e r s e l f c o n s i s t e n t l y i n f i c t i o n w i th the p r i v a t e r a t h e r than the p u b l i c w o r l d , w i t h c o n s c i o u s n e s s r a t h e r than h i s t o r y , t h e r e are s e v e r a l impor tant senses i n which Good M o r n i n g , M i d n i g h t 85 i s a novel of i t s time. It appeared in 1 9 3 9 . The novel completes the p o r t r a i t of her woman protagonist in decline over four novels. Sasha Jansen i s the l a s t of these incarnations, with, for the moment, s l i g h t l y more money than the others, but much less c o n t r o l . Judith Kegan Gardiner's reading of his novel sees i t as "goodnight to Modernism," the l i t e r a r y mainstream of the day: Thomas Staley connects i t s central anxieties with "the broad economic decline and the sense of impending disaster that was part of the 1 9 3 0 ' s . " The central character i s "beached," but a l i v e . I stayed there, staring at myself in the glass. What do I want to cry about?...On the contrary, i t ' s when I am quite sane l i k e t h i s , when I have had a couple of extra drinks and am quite sane, that I r e a l i z e how lucky I am. Saved, rescued, fished-up half-drowned, out of the deep, dark r i v e r , dry clothes, hair shampooed and set. Nobody would know I have ever been in i t . Except, of course, that there always remains something. Yes, there always remains something ....Never mind, here I am, sane and dry, with my place to hide i n . What more do I want...I'm a b i t of an automaton, but sane surely--dry, cold and sane. Now I have forgotten about dark streets, dark r i v e r s , the pain, the struggle and the drowning... 42 As the t i t l e taken from a poem by Emily Dickenson implies, the heroine i s dispossessed: of day, order, l i g h t and love. Sunshine was a sweet place. I l i k e d to s t a y -But Morn didn't want me—now—-So good-night, Day!43 In Dickinson's poem, times of day and night and degrees of l i g h t are spoken of as though they are placed, persons, states of mind. Though dispossessed, t h i s i n i t i a l speaker 44 seems to be w i l l i n g herself away from l i g h t and acceptance. 86 There are many l i t e r a r y instances—not least from t h i s period, V i r g i n i a Woolf's A Room of One's Own (and I think in certain senses that t h i s novel of Rhys' i s a cy n i c a l reply to Woolf)--of a woman's space as a metaphor for the condition 4 5 of the woman hers e l f . In Good Morning, Midnight Sasha's room i s given a voice--"Quite l i k e old times," the room says. "Yes? No?" (p. 9 ) . It has power, and i s a l l of the rooms of her past superimposed on one another. This room i s austere and shabby. There i s a c e l l - l i k e f i n a l i t y , a c l a r i t y about i t s d e t a i l s although no c i t y or quarter i s s p e c i f i e d : There i s two beds, a big one for madame and a smaller one on the opposite side for monsieur. The washbasin i s shut o f f by a curtain. It i s a larger room, the smell of cheap hotels f a i n t , almost imperceptible. The street outside i s narrow, cobble-stoned, going sharply u p h i l l and ending in a f l i g h t of steps. What they c a l l an impasse. (p. 9) There i s no description of the building which contains the room. The eye moves from room to street. It i s as though the room i s suspended in a i r , out of ordinary context. The street i t s e l f i s l i k e a d e t a i l from a dream or a children's story--cobble stones turning into s t a i r s r i s i n g up to end in impasse. We then hear of the temporal impasse in which the heroine i s l i v i n g : I have been here f i v e days. I have decided on a place to eat in at midday, a place to eat in at night, a place to have my drink i n af t e r dinner. I have arranged by l i t t l e l i f e . (p. 9) She presents her entire existence as an i n t e r s t i c e , but within i t the timing of the minutiae of her day has been 87 arranged with geometric p r e c i s i o n . There must be no gaps in which the past might intrude on sanity. We f i n d that the heroine has recently recreated herself, changing her name to Sasha to try to improve her luck. We never know what her other name i s . She invents herself and her current condition. She i s a woman in fading middle age, l i v i n g in Paris at the expense of a frie n d who had come across her in London, broken down and without resources. She l i k e s Paris because she has survived i t i n other l i v e s . "Paris i s looking very nice tonight....You are looking very nice tonight, my b e a u t i f u l , my d a r l i n g , and oh what a bit c h you can be! But you didn't k i l l me afte r a l l , did you? And they couldn't k i l l me either" (p. 16). Her " f i l m mind," her consciousness functioning l i k e cinema, constantly draws her back into memories of past loves and other f a i l u r e s in t h i s , the only c i t y where she has ever had any luck. Her l i f e within i t s stalemate i s rigorously arranged according to her private survival code based on luck, experience, and association. My l i f e , which seems so simple and monotonous, i s r e a l l y a complicated a f f a i r of cafes where they l i k e me and cafes where they don't, streets that are f r i e n d l y , streets that aren't, rooms where I might be happy, rooms where I never s h a l l be, looking glasses I look nice i n , looking glasses I don't, dresses that w i l l be lucky, dresses that won't, and so on. (p. 46) The thing i s to have a programme, not to leave anything to chance—no gaps. (p. 15) We understand that the gaps would be quickly f i l l e d up with bloodied images of the past--with defeat i n the present and despair for the future. 88 In t h i s novel, the now f a m i l i a r d i a l e c t i c between the world and the s e l f , at the base of Sasha's paranoia and obsession, becomes war, which she cannot even be sure of surviving. In t h i s Rhys does not mean to l o c a l i z e her c r i t i q u e of the s o c i a l order to either the male sex or to the bourgeoise. She means us to understand that these people are both predators and prey because they are party to that s o c i a l contract whereby some must always dominate over others. Their freedom i s as l i k e l y to be l o s t as anyone else's. Her focus i s power and i t s e f f e c t s — a n d t h i s can express i t s e l f in language as well as action: "Why don't you drown yourself in the Seine?" These phrases run t r i p p i n g l y o f f the tongues of the extremely respectable. They think in terms of a sentimental ball a d . And that's what t e r r i f i e s you about them. It i s n ' t t h e i r cruelty, i t i s n ' t even t h e i r shrewdness — i t ' s t h e i r extraordinary naivete. Everything in t h e i r whole bloody world i s a c l i c h e . Everything i s born out of a c l i c h e , rests on a c l i c h e , survives on a c l i c h e . And they believe in the c l i c h e s - - t h e r e 1 s no hope, (p. 42) The c l i c h e i s of course the bourgeois l i f e which Sasha both envies and despises; and of course at times i t i s important for her to appear to be l i v i n g t h i s c l i c h e too—whenever she i s an employee for example. "Please, please, monsieur et madame, mister, missis and miss, I am t r y i n g so hard to be l i k e you" (p. 106). But her ultimate f a i l u r e to do so i s also s t r i k i n g l y captured in language—when language i s appropriated by the moneyed, and the powerful, before whom she f a l l s s i l e n t , only to rage i n t e r n a l l y l a t e r and to imagine, what she might have said i f she could have found 89 her voice. This happens to her when she i s working i n a fashion house in Paris. Profoundly alienated by the kind of work involved, she c o l l i d e s head on one day, with the new boss--"the r e a l English type...Bowler hat, majestic trousers, oh-my-God expression...I know him at once" (p. 19) . He at once attacks her for lacking the languages her job requires. Her mind free-associates wildly while he lectures and interrogates her. She i s incapable of any but the most elementary or absurd response. She panics, and in her anxiety botches an errand he sends her on; the f a i l u r e i s actually his--he mispronounces the French word for cashier, and she becomes lo s t in the building looking for someone who does not e x i s t . She stumbles through the language trap that she imagines he has set for her—"dozens of small rooms, passages that don't lead anywhere, steps going up and steps going down" (p. 25). When she gives up and returns to him he humiliates her for her incompetence. "God knows I'm used to f o o l s , but t h i s complete imbecility....This woman is the biggest f o o l I've ever met in my l i f e . She seems to be half-witted....Just a hopeless, helpless l i t t l e f o o l aren't you?...Well, aren't you? "Yes, yes, yes, yes. Oh yes" (pp. 27-28). Terror silences her. Later, alone, when she recovers her composure, she imagines what an e f f e c t i v e response to him might have been: "Well, l e t ' s argue t h i s out Mr. Blank. You, who represent Society, have the right to pay me four hundred francs a month. That's my market value, for I am an i n e f f i c i e n t member of Society, slow in the uptake, uncertain, s l i g h t l y damaged in the fray, there's no denying i t . So you have the r i g h t to pay me four hundred francs a month, to lodge me in a small, dark room, to clothe me shabbily, to harass me with worry and monotony and u n s a t i s f i e d longings t i l l you get me to the point when I blush at a look, cry at a word. We can't a l l be happy, we can't a l l be r i c h , we can't a l l be lucky....Isn't i t so Mr. Blank? There must be the dark background to show up the bright colours. Some must cry so that others may be able to laugh more h e a r t i l y . S a c r i f i c e s are necessary.... Let's say that you have t h i s mystical right to cut my legs o f f . But the right to r i d i c u l e me afterwards because I 'am cripple—-no, that I think you haven't got. And that's the right you hold most dearly, i s n ' t i t ? You must be able to despise the people you e x p l o i t . " "Did I say a l l this? Of course, I didn't. I didn't even think i t (p. 29). The power of t h i s incident keeps i t in Sasha's mind long aft e r the event. It enters the narrative as memory--remembered powerlessness. It i s one of the sharpest outbursts against exploitation anywhere in Rhys' f i c t i o n . Good Morning, Midnight i s the only novel of Rhys' where there i s a male equivalent in experience and s e n s i b i l i t y to her female protagonist. The young gigolo, Rene, i s Sasha's double. He too i s of uncertain o r i g i n s , an abscure past, "no papers, no passport... the s l i g h t e s t accident and I'm f i n i s h e d " (p. 76), a troubled present and doubtful future; l i k e Sasha he l i v e s off the temporary affections of strangers and his looks. Given th e i r q u a l i t i e s in common, they should be a l l i e s . . . even lovers; c e r t a i n l y Sasha i s attracted to Rene, glimpses again the almost abandoned p o s s i b i l i t y of connection with another. Rene wishes to t e l l her everything. But because he too has become a creature of circumstance who invents his l i f e from minute to minute, she can believe nothing that he says. She worries most about t h e i r possible involvement when "they s t a r t believing each other" (p. 174). She must d i s t r u s t his opportunism because she recognizes i t so well. She i s convinced that he only approached her in the f i r s t place because of her fur coat, many times pawned, and now worn as a reminder of former well-being. Rene imagines that she i s an aging wealthy woman who w i l l pay for a younger man. For once, in the face of t h i s , she i s f e a r l e s s . "He i s out for money and I haven't got any. I am invulnerable" (p. 76). At the simplest l e v e l she mistrusts him too because he i s a man, one who can at w i l l switch back into the brutal male stereotype with which she i s so f a m i l i a r ; at these moments he believes that i n t e l l i g e n t women are monstrosities and that sexually reluctant woman should be gang-raped. In her state of psychological impasse, she manages to balance her polar reactions to Rene--those of alternating a t t r a c t i o n and r e p u l s i o n — u n t i l the climax of the novel where the impass i s broken. This f i n a l scene i s Rhys' l a s t comment on the re l a t i o n s between the sexes, and a powerful parting metaphor for the maimed consciousness at war with the world; she i s not to take i s up again, and never in quite t h i s way, for t h i r t y years. The climax involves three people: Sasha at a hy s t e r i c a l p i t c h of need and physical desire for Rene before he disappears, Rene t r y i n g desperately to claim a moment of intimacy from her, and the nameless "commis voyageur," the spectre of a displaced t r a v e l l i n g salesman who l i v e s in the hotel room next to Sasha. He has haunted her throughout the novel--a deathshead—"in his be a u t i f u l dressing-gown, immaculately white, with long, wide, hanging sleeves...He looks l i k e a p r i e s t , the p r i e s t of some obscene, h a l f -understood r e l i g i o n " (p. 34). He looks l i k e death waiting for her; he i s at the same time simply an unsavoury character t r y i n g to proposition her. To succumb to him would mark her lowest ebb. It i s Rene's l a s t night in Paris. He cannot believe that Sasha w i l l not take him to her bed. "But why shouldn't we believe each other just for tonight?... Something must have happened to make you l i k e t h i s . " "It took years," she thinks. "It was a slow process" (p. 175). As they drive towards 1'Hotel de l"Esperance she remembers a l i f e t i m e of mistreatment by men. When her need i s greater than her fear, she embraces him, and begins to make love to him, despite her better judgment. At that moment things st a r t to go wrong and her c r i p p l i n g self-consciousness returns--"the room springs out at me, laughing, triumphant ...Les Hommes en Cage...Exactly" (p. 178). She drinks and the room becomes more grotesque. "The damned room grinning at me...Qu'est-ce qu'elle fout i c i , l a v i e i l l e ? " (p. 179). They struggle. He t r i e s to take her seuxally. Intimacy i s f i n a l l y s h o r t - c i r c u i t e d when she fobs him o f f - - t e l l s him not to bother with the sex, simply to take the money and go. While her voice i s clear and deadly, her " f i l m mind" screams renunciation. When he goes, he does not take the money, nor does he come back. Rhys then gives us a f i n a l monologue for Sasha, as powerful i n reverse as that provided by Joyce for his heroine, 4 3 Molly Bloom, at the conclusion to Ulysses. Where f i n a l l y , Molly opens herself to her husband as a gesture of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n and regeneration, the Rhys heroine i n a gesture of supreme s e l f a n n i h i l a t i o n , opens herself to sexual negation, a new kind of death. "The l a s t performance of What's-her-name And her Boys... P o s i t i v e l y the l a s t performance" (p. 184).1 In her " f i l m mind" she sees Rene, the genuine object of desire returning to her. In t h i s v i s i o n she opens the door to him, undresses and l i e s in bed, l i k e Molly, trembling with expectation. "I l i e very s t i l l , with my arm over my eyes. As s t i l l as i f I were dead..." (p. 190). In Rene's place, in f a c t , comes the spectral commis voyageur, in his death-like white dressing gown. It i s to t h i s degraded transient whom she abhors, that she responds with Molly's l i f e affirming c r i e s of "Yes—yes--yes..." (p. 190) . It i s Rhys' darkest moment, and the closest that she brings her European heroine to the a n n i h i l a t i o n of s e l f . "I look straight into his eyes and despise another poor d e v i l of a human being for the l a s t time. For the l a s t time..." (p. 190). It i s tempting to see t h i s episode as Judith Kegan Gardiner has done, as Jean Rhys' response to the mythologizing and misrepresentation of female consciousness at the hands of the male Modernists. Where Joyce has portrayed sexual union and the mystically regenerative powers of women in transcendentally charged, l i f e - a f f i r m i n g terms, Rhys sees them in the end as the st u f f of f i n a l nightmare, at least for women, i f honestly portrayed. It i s possible to see Good Morning, Midnight as a potent c r i t i q u e of some of the major myths of Modernism. Rhys' characters and her f i c t i o n , bear the f u l l weight of impoverished existence. The s t y l e of a l l her works has denied at every turn, too, the disengagement and the irony of mainstream Modernism. As A. Alvarez in his 19 74 reappraisal of her work noted "She makes you r e a l i z e that almost every other novel, however apparently anarchic, i s rooted f i n a l l y i n the respectable 46 world." Although Jean Rhys f i r s t appeared i n p r i n t in Ford's t r a n s a t l a n t i c review along with Pound, Hemingway, Richardson, Stein, Barnes and Ford himself, her work was not, even at that early stage, t y p i c a l of the review or of her Parisian expatriate peers. In many respects, Rhys' writing was not p a r t i c u l a r l y "of i t s time." It has often been noted that the novels share a p e c u l i a r l y timeless q u a l i t y — a deliberate and dreamlike exclusion of temporal and geographical e x p l i c i t n e s s . Some of her themes l i n k her with Woolf, Richardson, Mansfield, and Nin, but her preoccupation with the sordid and the demi-monde gives her more i n common with Henry M i l l e r and l a t e r , Celine. 95 When Rhys f i r s t arrived on the continent, she cannot have been unaware of the experiments of Proust, Joyce, Pound and E l i o t , with l i t e r a r y form—with the i n t e r i o r monologue, "stream of consciousness" and time s h i f t . There were many expatriates in Paris in the twenties when Rhys was there, as attested by the scores of l i t e r a r y magazines and reviews which emerged, providing an immediate forum for t h i s l i t e r a r y experiment. Rhys however, was a rather d i f f e r e n t kind of expatriate from most others. As V.S. Naipaul has put i t , she writes "outside the t r a d i t i o n of imperial expatriate writing in which the metropolitan outsider i s thrown into r e l i e f against an a l i e n background. She was an expatriate but her journey had been the other way around, from a background of nothing to an organized world with which her heroines could never come to terms...This journey, t h i s 4 7 break in l i f e , i s the e s s e n t i a l theme of her f i v e novels." Rhys' general reaction to Paris' l i t e r a r y expatriate population can be quickly deduced from the searing p o r t r a i t s in Quartet. Beneath a th i n veneer of "bohemianism" she sees the same moneyed, bourgeois hypocrisy that she saw and loathed in the middle class everywhere. Ford Madox Ford, as remarked e a r l i e r , provided the raw material for one of her most damning p o r t r a i t s — H . J . Heidler in Quartet. In l i f e , however, he was rather more useful, providing for Rhys a l i n k with contemporary l i t e r a t u r e . He in fact served as a mentor, and was an i n f l u e n t i a l editor of Rhys' work as i t began to appear in p r i n t . She must inevitably have been 96 influenced by his views on f i c t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y in matters of form. He undoubtedly conveyed to her the value of an impressionistic s t y l e , which he himself had perfected in 48 The Good Soldier. This novel's narrator, John Dowell, constantly revises and recreates his perception of events as he acquires a deeper understanding of th e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e . Just as impressionistic painting r e l i e s on the s h i f t i n g play of l i g h t , so in l i t e r a r y impressionism according to Ford, narration w i l l s h i f t according to the narrator's angle or distance from the events. Ford saw t h i s q u a l i t y already in the works of Flaubert, de.Maupassant and Henry James. Just before the publication of The Good Solider, Ford pointed out the supreme paradox of t h i s kind of writing: that while the novel's effectiveness depended e n t i r e l y on the "impressions" accumulated and dispensed by the writer, nevertheless the writer must be c a r e f u l "to avoid l e t t i n g 49 his personality appear in the course of the book." In impressionism, the author's "whole book, his whole poem i s merely an expression of his personality, which i s the rendering of experience through t h i s d i s t i l l a t i o n of cer t a i n recorded phenomena that capture the essence of that e x p e r i e n c e . O n a formal l e v e l t h i s may be true, but the Kafkaesque c r i t i q u e runs counter to i t . There i s a d i s t i n c t s e l f involved. Rhys i s nonetheless, on a purely s t y l i s t i c l e v e l , true to the model, and i t provides an i n t e r e s t i n g key to her autobiographical f i c t i o n s . Her novels are at once impersonal, formally controlled and cool, and on the other hand, saturated with the intensely personal and private. Impressionist writing at i t s best, according to Ford, should be "minimalist". In t h i s mode and central to Rhys' sensuous notation of experience, i s the emotional e l l i p s i s , which marks her characters' most subtle s h i f t s . Ford advocated and Rhys perfected, non-sequential dialogue, stressing the i r o n i c discrepancy between speech and feeling--speech when i t f a i l s to be any kind of objective c o r r e l a t i v e . In e f f e c t , Rhys s t y l i s t i c a l l y takes much from her Modernist antecedents and denies much of what they have to say. Writing outside the moneyed and c u l t u r a l mainstream, Rhys was also outside the transcendental element in Modernist f i c t i o n , as taken up by the a e s t h e t i c i s t s of either sex. The aesthetic in f i c t i o n resided for her, almost e n t i r e l y in the realm of form; and in t h i s she i s one of the most elegant and purest writers of the twenties and t h i r t i e s . She i s primarily however, a novelist of a l i e n a t i o n . Despite a formal element of "timelessness" in her narrative, one of the reasons her f i c t i o n s are so e f f e c t i v e as ali e n a t i o n studies, i s that they are so exact; the Rhys woman embodies a l l outsiders at the mercy of p r i v i l e g e d , s o c i a l ; : configurations in Europe between the wars. She focuses p r e c i s e l y on the way language works, both in society in which her victims struggle to survive and in the l i t e r a r y world of the Modernists in which she struggles to function as a pure s t y l i s t in the European t r a d i t i o n of Flaubert 98 and Turgenev, and as an alienated female voice which does not speak to an appropriate audience. As a writer, Jean Rhys functions outside the disengaged ironies of Modernism though using several of i t s key f o r m s — p r i n c i p a l l y the autobiographical novel. In other words I would suggest that a l i e n a t i o n i n Rhys' f i c t i o n s functions at two l e v e l s — s o c i a l and e x i s t e n t i a l . She compounds the a l i e n a t i n g facts of her characters' l i v e s by t r e a t i n g them f i n a l l y outside a s o c i a l context, as universal facts of existence; in so doing she seals t h e i r fates and creates a devastatingly complete p o r t r a i t of l i f e l i v e d in despair, where the p o l a r i t i e s which torment her c h a r a c t e r s — o f sex, money, power and race, w i l l never be resolved. To conclude, then, Rhys' autobiographical novels of a l i e n a t i o n written from a female expatriate perspective do much to disrupt fixed notions of neat l i t e r a r y chronology— impressionistic f i c t i o n followed by the Modernist novel giving way to the post-modern anti-novel. Perhaps th i s i s the reason she i s not often discussed as a s i g n i f i c a n t woman writer of her day, or as "belonging" to a p a r t i c u l a r decade or school, or even n a t i o n a l i t y . The " s e l f " she brought to f i c t i o n was a rootless international creature, haunted by Caribbean power structures from another century, a r t i s t i c a l l y influenced more by the French and the Russians than the English i n whose language she wrote, and seeing l i t e r a t u r e as a vocation, but one at which she could never 99 earn a l i v i n g l i k e the comfortably o f f and widely respected Mrs. Woolf. Her studies of j u s t i f i e d paranoia, obsession and defeat, exposees of the English bourgeoisie and i t s capacity to maim and tyrannize, portrayed with the precision of a nightmare, would not have won her a popular readership i n the 1920's. In the 1930's she was regarded as s t y l i s t i c a l l y out of touch, a Georgian s e n s i b i l i t y in the shadow of the politico-documentary style of Isherwood, Greene and Orwell. She was l o s t between the two decades as the antipathetic and uncomprehending reviews she received well indicate. She i s , however, a fascinating and an important t r a n s i t i o n a l writer i n several respects. She was a far more subtle ideologue than the male writers of the t h i r t i e s and at the same time offered far greater s o c i a l awareness than her female contemporaries. Her damning s o c i a l c r i t i q u e s were written with such vividness that they take one into the world of universal and inevitable t e r r o r , Kafka's world, where one's only response i s the "nausea" of a Sartre. An important consideration i s that she i s a woman's Kafka, o f f e r i n g e xpressionistic nightmare canvases which illuminate the grotesque consequence of power, cruelty and masochism based on sex and rendering love and l i f e meaningless. I do not believe that i t i s possible to dismiss Rhys s t y l i s t i c a l l y on the grounds that she was a Georgian writer trained by Ford, e i t h e r . Here too, in the area of s t y l e , Rhys i s an i n t e r e s t i n g crossover writer. She wrote with 100 the formal purity of Turgenev or Checkhov, writers she admired. There are strong echoes of Colette's l y r i c i s m too. But there were s t r i k i n g l y o r i g i n a l and forward-looking aspects of her st y l e which confused her c r i t i c s . The formal purity, the cool and exquisite precision of her d e t a i l , editing and narrative structure, create an a i r of surface calm for her f i c t i o n . There i s , at the same time, a c h i l l i n g irony to the play of tensions between t h i s calm elegance and narrative poise, and the psycho-nightmare which collapses a l l r e l i a b l e order beneath i t . There are hints here of the kinds of post-modern s t y l i s t i c pastiches to which we have become used in the works of writers l i k e Muriel Spark, Renata Adler, Saul Bellow and I t a l o Calvino. Like these contemporary writers, Rhys brought a range of l i t e r a r y and perceptual styles-—expressionism, impressionism and r e a l i s m — t o bear on her issue, the psycho-social fragmentation of women between the wars. In a highly self-conscious and controlled way, she made of the autobiographical novel something much more open; she made i t do more, while preserving i t s e s s e n t i a l opaqueness as a personal document. 1 Chapter Three Self Portraiture as Cubist A r t i f i c e E x i l e or Expatriate While Jean Rhys d r i f t e d towards Europe, Gertrude Stein was a determined expatriate for c u l t u r a l reasons, much as Henry James had been in the nineteenth century. In 1903, Stein made a premeditated personal decision to move to Paris a c u l t u r a l climate that was kind to a r t i s t s . She preceded, by nearly twenty years, the much more self-conscious and t h e a t r i c a l displacement of an entire generation of other young Americans who went to Paris "to write." Always quick to remind that she was an American, Stein made i t clear that she did not think of herself as in any way i n e x i l e , that i s , l i v i n g at a disadvantage, or without choices. She was a voluntary expatriate, on good terms with her country, who li v e d i n Paris because i t suited her and provided her with a suitable audience for her writing. America, she had decided early in a l i t e r a r y career almost r e l i g i o u s in i t s d a i l y a pplication, was not a p r a c t i c a l place for her to l i v e and write. In answer to a questionnaire published in the Paris l i t e r a r y journal t r a n s i t i o n which asked "Why do you l i v e abroad? Gertrude Stein r e p l i e d that "the United States i s a country the right age to be born in and the wrong age to l i v e in...a r i c h and well-nourished home but not a place to work i n . " Malcolm Cowley i n his book on the twenties, Exile ' s 102 Return, supports t h i s verdict on America as a place to 2 leave i f one wants an a r t i s t i c career. Admittedly, he describes an America that i s a f u l l decade and a half on from the one Stein l e f t in 1903, but one senses that many of the trends he describes so passionately lay behind Stein's comment: Almost everywhere, in every department of c u l t u r a l l i f e , Europe offered the models to imitate in painting, composing, philosophy, folk drinking, the drama, sex, p o l i t i c s , national consciousness—indeed some doubted his country [the U.S.] was even a nation; i t had no t r a d i t i o n s except the f a t a l t r a d i t i o n of the pioneer. As for our contemporary l i t e r a t u r e . . . i t i s indeed one long l i s t of s p i r i t u a l casualties....One can count on one's two hands the American writers who are able to carry on the development and unfolding of t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l i t i e s . Year i n , year out, as every competent man of a f f a i r s c a r r i e s on his business (writers) have lapsed into silence or have involved themselves in barren e c c e n t r i c i t i e s , or have been turned into machines...poets...extinguished... novelists...unable to grow up, remain withered boys of seventeen...everywhere there i s no scope for individualism; ignorance, unculture, or at the best, mediocrity has triumphed....The highest achievements of our m a t e r i a l i s t i c c i v i l i z a t i o n . . . c o u n t as so many symbols of i t s s p i r i t u a l f a i l u r e . 3 Gertrude Stein did not every speak out as f i e r c e l y as t h i s against her country. She simply decided that i t was no country for writers, and not for her. Yet she regarded herself as fundamentally and at a l l times an American. To l i v e in France was a creative decision. She did learn French to a l e v e l of competence, and one of the f i r s t exercises she set herself on a r r i v a l was to translate 103 Flaubert's Trois Contes; but she paid no p a r t i c u l a r attention to either the language or l i t e r a t u r e of France, the country-she v i r t u a l l y adopted u n t i l her death in 1946, leaving i t only to go on occasional holidays. Thornton Wilder, lec t u r i n g on Stein's work af t e r her death, makes an inter e s t i n g case for interpreting Stein's absence from the country she was so passionately concerned with, and p e r i o d i c a l l y (The Making of Americans and Four in  America) wished to interpret for the benefit of other Americans. He suggests that perhaps she i s an offshoot of a "reclusive tendency" i n American writing. His chief example i s Emily Dickinson, a writer who wished to i s o l a t e herself from her natural audience, the better to d i s t i l l 4 what she had to t e l l them. Stein was in no normal way re c l u s i v e , far from i t , hers was an intensely s o c i a l l i f e . But i n some central a r t i s t i c sense, French society did not count for her. It did not intrude on her, shape or i n h i b i t her. She l i v e d in i s o l a t i o n from both American and French culture, her roots and a l l the automatic points of reference her adult consciousness might seek out at home. But America was frequently on her mind. "America i s 5 my country, but Paris i s my home town." Within her id i o s y n c r a t i c h i s t o r i c a l and geographical frameworks, America's po s i t i o n was unique. She saw i t , quite curiously as "the oldest country in the world because by the methods of the c i v i l war and the commercial conception that followed i t , America created the twentieth century." 6 One s e n s e s h e r s t r o n g i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h A m e r i c a ' s p o w e r a s a n i n n o v a t o r . She d i d s e e a c o n n e c t i o n b e t w e e n g e o g r a p h y a n d c h a r a c t e r . " A f t e r a l l , a n y b o d y i s a s t h e i r l a n d a n d a i r i s . " I f A m e r i c a n i n t e r e s t e d h e r i n t h e a b s t r a c t , s h e was e n c h a n t e d b y i t i n a c t u a l i t y when s h e r e v i s i t e d i t f o r t h e f i r s t a n d o n l y t i m e i n 1934 a f t e r The A u t o b i o g r a p h y o f A l i c e B . T o k l a s h a d b e e n a b e s t s e l l e r t h e r e . When s h e r e t u r n e d t o F r a n c e a f t e r t h e t r i p , s h e was q u o t e d i n t h e New Y o r k H e r a l d T r i b u n e a s s a y i n g , " I am a l r e a d y h o m e s i c k f o r A m e r i c a — I n e v e r k n e w i t was so b e a u t i f u l . I was l i k e a b a c h e l o r who g o e s a l o n g f i n e f o r t w e n t y - f i v e y e a r s a n d t h e n d e c i d e s t o g e t m a r r i e d . T h a t i s t h e way I f e e l — I mean a b o u t A m e r i c a " (May 1 3 , 1 9 3 5 ) . A s i m i l a r l y e m o t i o n a l c h o r d was s t r u c k when S t e i n was a s k e d t o s p e a k t o A m e r i c a n s b y r a d i o f r o m a n a rmy camp n e a r h e r home i n n e w l y l i b e r a t e d r u r a l F r a n c e a t t h e e n d o f W o r l d War I I . She b e g a n " I c a n t e l l e v e r y b o d y t h a t n o n e o f y o u k n o w w h a t t h i s n a t i v e l a n d b u s i n e s s i s u n t i l y o u h a v e b e e n c u t o f f f r o m t h a t same n a t i v e l a n d c o m p l e t e l y f o r y e a r s . T h i s n a t i v e l a n d b u s i n e s s g g e t s y o u a l l r i g h t . " I t i s a s t h o u g h w a r r e m i n d e d h e r o f h e r A m e r i c a n n e s s . " G e r t r u d e S t e i n a l w a y s s a i d t h e w a r was s o much b e t t e r t h a n j u s t g o i n g t o A m e r i c a . H e r e y o u w e r e w i t h A m e r i c a i n a k i n d o f way t h a t i f y o u o n l y w e n t t o 9 A m e r i c a y o u c o u l d n o t p o s s i b l y b e . " T h i s was u n d e n i a b l y a n e m o t i o n a l r e s p o n s e . B u t i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , s h e was v e r y c l e a r t h a t A m e r i c a was n o t t h e p l a c e f o r h e r t o b e . I n F o u r i n A m e r i c a , h e r a n a l y s i s o f t h e A m e r i c a n c h a r a c t e r , 105 she states her basic assumption about American existence: That i t "has no context, no organizing boundaries, lacking a substantial limited environment, Americans f i n d themselves f r e e - f l o a t i n g . Therefore they are...perpetual pioneers, every building, never completing....All Americans have i s „10 a x r . She regarded herself primarily as an a r t i s t and only secondly an American. So the appropriate milieu for her work mattered more than her i n s t i n c t i v e allegiance to her country. "I was e s s e n t i a l l y a writer's writer. My audience in France, that was a perfect audience.""'""'" She claimed in Paris France, her tri b u t e to her home town, to need to l i v e there just as other major creators of the new art in the twentieth century needed to be there. In her explanation of t h i s , she provides a v i r t u a l manifesto for l i t e r a r y expatriates. After a l l everybody, that i s everybody who writes i s interested in l i v i n g inside themselves in order to t e l l what i s inside themselves. That i s why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they l i v e r e a l l y . The second one i s romantic. It i s separate from themselves, i t i s not r e a l , but i t i s r e a l l y there....Of course, sometimes people discover t h e i r own country as i f i t were the other...but in general that other country that you need to be free in i s the other country not the country where you r e a l l y belong.12 But why France? She explains: -"The English Victorians were l i k e that about I t a l y , the early nineteenth century Americans were l i k e that about Spain, the middle nineteenth century Americans were l i k e that about England, my generation the end of the nineteenth century American 106 13 generation was l i k e that about France." In the opening l i n e of her t r i b u t e , she declares that 14 "Paris, France i s ex c i t i n g and peaceful." Both concepts, of s t a b i l i t y and permanence on the one hand, and the p o s s i b i l i t y of upheaval and r a d i c a l change on the other, seem necessary to Stein. Dwelling lovingly on what i s enduring and therefore always compelling about France for the foreign a r t i s t and i n t e l l e c t u a l , she elaborates: The reason why a l l of us naturally began to l i v e in France i s because France has s c i e n t i f i c methods, machines and e l e c t r i c i t y but does not r e a l l y believe that these things have anything to do with the r e a l business of l i v i n g . L i f e i s t r a d i t i o n and human nature....And so in the beginning of the twentieth century when a new way had to be found naturally they needed France....French people r e a l l y do not believe that anything i s important except d a i l y l i v i n g and the ground that gives i t to them. Tradition...and private l i f e and the s o i l which always produces something, that is•what counts.15 In a paradoxical sense, however, i t i s exactly t h i s permanence, belonging to another country, another culture, which provided Stein with a background of "unreality" which was, she said, "very necessary for anybody having to create 16 the twentieth century." France with i t s contradictory settled/unsettled nature, could free foreign a r t i s t s from t r a d i t i o n and the past. Paris was a c i t y were the natives' "acceptance of r e a l i t y i s so great that they could l e t 17 anyone have the emotion of unreality." France was good to foreigners, she reported, accepting them, leaving them alone and providing them with the kind of background they needed. It was es p e c i a l l y good to 107 Americans, who in Paris could "look modern without being 18 d i f f e r e n t . " And, of course, the French respected the profession of l e t t e r s , according painters and writers certain p r i v i l e g e s , sensibly aware, Stein wrote, that "after a l l the way everything i s remembered i s by writers and painters in 19 the period." This was France's time, according to her. Different countries, she declared, were important at d i f f e r e n t times i n h i s t o r y . England had "gloriously created the nineteenth century" but was steadfastly refusing the twentieth, "American knew the twentieth century too well to create i t , " therefore Paris, France from 1900 to 1939 i s "where everybody 20 has to be to be free." Her evidence for t h i s in Paris  France i s , as always, anecdotal—souvenirs based on encounters with and observations of individuals and f a m i l i e s . She o f f e r s no c u l t u r a l analysis. We get narrative scraps and verbal photographs of France's dogs, farms and potted h i s t o r i e s of French cooking. She makes no e f f o r t to r e l a t e her observations and her conclusions. She does not analyse French behaviour. She i s not concerned with how and why things are. As an a r t i s t she records what she sees. She wants above a l l to recreate things being--things as they are at the moment of observation. Her trib u t e i s addressed more to the people of France and the ways in which they have chosen to l i v e , rather than to the place i t s e l f . She has chosen, however, conversations and events that somehow to her are French, that embody ce r t a i n q u a l i t i e s in French 108 culture and i n the country's permanent sense of i t s e l f . Her book evaluates what i s of value there. The text i s not simply a t r i b u t e , a travelogue or an informal memoir. It continues Stein's career-long experiment with prose forms. While basing i t s e l f on the personal, the autobiographical, i t i s also a c u l t u r a l , h i s t o r i c a l 21 meditation. Fact and f i c t i o n interweave. Although there are s p e c i f i c h i s t o r i c a l references, these are recorded as far as possible, in the tense Stein invented to describe the nature of events in the twentieth century--the "continuous present: 1" Events then are not selected or linked in the normal ways. They are chosen and arranged as f i c t i o n a l material would be. To consolidate t h i s timeless, aesthetic version of place and existence there, she concentrates far more on the v i s u a l , s p a t i a l and l i n g u i s t i c aspects of i t , rather than the temporal or s t r i c t l y h i s t o r i c a l . Most often she provides a v i s u a l or aural metaphor f o r the advantages of being anywhere. One of the things that I have l i k e d a l l these years i s to be surrounded by people who know no English. It has l e f t me more intensely alone with my eyes and my English...as she says eyes to her were more important than e a r s . . . i t has been so often said that the appeal of her work i s to the ear and to the subconscious. Actually i t i s her eyes and mind that are active and important and concerned in choosing.22 Place i s always p r i v i l e g e d over time in her writing. In The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas for example, i t i s place and time which i s the central marker in recording experience. The photographs in the book are l a b e l l e d 109 according to place, not year. The experience of a place c l e a r l y has l i t t l e to do with the duration of that experience in calendar time, e.g. "Gertrude Stein was born in Allegheny, 2 Pennsylvania" and "she l e f t i t when she was six months ol d . " In the same s p i r i t , photograph t i t l e s include "Gertrude Stein in Vienna," "Gertrude Stein at Johns Hopkins Medical-School," and "Gertrude Stein and A l i c e B. Toklas in front of Saint Mark's, Venice." No dates are provided. Place i s never simply a s p e c i f i c in Stein's writing--Paris, 1903. It i s frequently a powerfully charged abstract, given almost phenomenological si g n i f i c a n c e , over time. It can be described personally, autobiographically or impersonally, as an abstract background. She speaks of Paris almost as a stage set for the theatre of the avant-garde. This dual sense of place/space invests much of Stein's writing with a l i b e r a t i n g dimension of timelessness. Surrounded by the French culture and language, which she was able to observe and appreciate while never giving herself over to them, Stein was free to operate more intensely as 24 an American writing in English. It bothered her a great deal to think that anyone might mistake her for an exotic or foreign "coterie" writer. "There i s for me only one 25 language and that i s English." It suited her i d i o s y n c r a t i c l i t e r a r y purposes very well "to be surrounded by people who have no English. I do not know i f i t would have been possible to have English be so a l l in a l l to me otherwise. No, I l i k e l i v i n g with 110 so very many people and being a l l alone with English and 2 6 myself." One i s drawn to the idea that the kind of English Stein wrote under these circumstances amounted to a kind of foreign language, so often did i t break with the laws of normal usage. One must f i r s t grasp her "alphabet" and "vocabulary" before coming to terms with her o v e r a l l design. It c e r t a i n l y requires of the readers sympathetic "translation," l i k e any foreign language. In a curious way, Stein's highly i d i o s y n c r a t i c expatriation managed to sustain quite refined "abstractions" of both her homes—American and F r a n c e — i n her mind at once without having to compromise one at the expense of another. In a sense she l i v e d in France to function more purely, at least i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , as an American. She was someone who c l e a r l y preferred to be an American abroad, than one at home. She was free from any of the d i s t r a c t i o n s of nationalism, and from having to f i g h t any c u l t u r a l battles she did not wish to take up. She was free too, to l i v e the kind of personal and creative l i f e that may not have been possible in the U.S. p r i o r to 1920. She was one of the very few Americans who remained i n Europe after the t h i r t i e s when i t was no longer fashionable. Her l i f e plan as an expatriate was a very personal one. It i s curious to think about whether she would have done what she did to the English language—that i s to put i t under a microscope and then fracture i t — i f she had l i v e d i n an English speaking country. But i t seems paramount to her that she did not. I l l She needed to work in a kind of language i s o l a t i o n . She c l e a r l y needed and responded to the stimulus of other forms of r a d i c a l art being produced around her. Paris met an e s s e n t i a l requirement for c r o s s - f e r t i l i z a t i o n that resulted in some of her r i c h e s t forms, e.g. the word p o r t r a i t in d i r e c t response to early cubism, and the poetic opera under the influence of musicians l i k e V i r g i l Thompson. Stein did not ever wish to detach herself from her American origi n s and s e n s i b i l i t y to become e n t i r e l y the f r e e - f l o a t i n g i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s t , however, and many of her readers believe there to be something d i s t i n c t l y American about her a r t . Stein would have us believe that her expatriation, l i k e her a r t , was an e n t i r e l y i n t e l l e c t u a l matter. One u n i n t e l l e c t u a l aspect of her l i f e intrudes at t h i s point, however, and that i s her lesbianism. Lesbianism was far more sympathetically regarded in Europe than in America in 1903. Stein was much freer in Paris to l i v e as a s e l f -declared lesbian i n t e l l e c t u a l . Her lesbianism, l i k e Jean Rhys' poverty, put her in a d i f f e r e n t subculture than that of simple expatriate or woman writer. We should note as well, though, that Stein was an independently wealthy expatriate lesbian, so r a d i c a l l y distinguishing herself from Rhys. When we read Stein's version of autobiographical f i c t i o n we must be aware of t h i s aspect of her private l i f e , which provided a personal and creative s t a r t i n g point. Many of the "metaphors of the s e l f " she uses for her cubist s e l f - p o r t r a i t are d i s t o r t i n g mirrors intended to deceive, 112 to entertain, to deflect and to reveal in the only way she genuinely believed p o s s i b l e — a s a confusing and p o t e n t i a l l y contradictory t o t a l i t y . The p o r t r a i t was the objective c o r r e l a t i v e of an i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s t , androgynous mind. Stein was multi-faceted, playing the American "card" when i t suited her, just as at other times, she played the lesbian "card" to s u i t . Autiobiograhy: Cubist Self Creation Soon after i t s publication, a denunciation of Gertrude Stein's The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas by some of those who saw themselves as the book's victims appear in 27 the i n f l u e n t i a l arts publication, t r a n s i t i o n . Among others, Matisse, Tristan Tzara and Andre Salmon accused her of ignorance of the f a c t s , and in some cases of pathological l y i n g . Matisse, at one time a close f r i e n d of Stein's, went into more d e t a i l : Her book i s composed, l i k e a picture puzzle, of d i f f e r e n t pictures which at f i r s t , by t h e i r very chaos, give an i l l u s i o n of the movement of l i f e . But, i f we attempt to envisage the things she mentions, t h i s i l l u s i o n does not l a s t . In short, i t i s more l i k e a harlequin's costume the d i f f e r e n t pieces of which, having been more or less invented by herself, have been sewn together without taste and without r e l a t i o n to r e a l i t y . Many consider these very q u a l i t i e s to be the book's strengths rather than i t s weaknesses. Matisse inadvertently chooses one of the central images in the post-impressionist painting of the period to symbolize the book—the harlequin, 2 8 made famous in many of Picasso's canvases of the period; 113 and the image i s an appropriate one. I t reminds us that Stein was a key figure i n the avant-garde of both the l i t e r a r y and art worlds in the f i r s t f orty years of the centry and i t i s only in t h i s context that her work can properly be assessed. Along with writers Joyce, Pound and E l i o t , painters Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso and musicians Schonberg, Satie and Stravinsky, Gertrude Stein sensed at the beginning of the twentieth century that t r a d i t i o n a l forms for representing r e a l i t y in art were exhausted. A new mimesis was needed. In order to r e - e s t a b l i s h a r t i s t i c representation on a new set of f i r s t p r i n c i p l e s , these a r t i s t s set about d e l i b e r a t e l y to "deconstruct" as Gertrude Stein described i t , t r a d i t i o n a l a r t i s t i c structures. This meant a thorough dismantling of both the s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e s of a subject and the t r a d i t i o n a l unexamined habits of i t s perception, preparatory to a complete reconstruction of the object. In Stein's case, techniques for deconstruction and reconstruction are so c l o s e l y related, however, that they can v i r t u a l l y be 29 simultaneous movements of her mind. She and others were responding to philosophical breakthroughs in the works of Henri Bergson and William James which had led to the r e a l i z a t i o n that the structures within which a r t i s t s had always worked were in fact received conventions which could be manipulated, r a d i c a l l y altered or ignored. In the v i s u a l arts, Picasso challenged the laws of perspective i n his paintings of the f i r s t twenty years of the centry, Matisse—the t r a d i t i o n a l use of colour and 114 d i m e n s i o n a l s p a c e — C e z a n n e , t h e n a t u r e o f r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l f o r m . T h e s e a r t i s t s made i t c l e a r t h a t a r t no l o n g e r n e e d be b o u n d t o a m i m e t i c r e c o r d i n g o f r e a l i t y . S t e i n t o o w a n t e d h e r w o r k t o be f r e e o f a r t ' s t r a d i t i o n a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o t h e " r e a l w o r l d " t o h o l d a m i r r o r up t o i t . She w a n t e d h e r l i t e r a r y p i e c e s t o be c o m p l e t e l y s e l f - d e t e r m i n i n g a n d s e l f - c o n t a i n e d a r t i f a c t s . T h r o u g h o u t h e r c a r e e r , a s a r e s u l t , h e r s t y l e b e c o m e s more a n d more a b s t r a c t . She b e g a n w i t h a k i n d o f s c i e n t i f i c n a t u r a l i s m , p r o c e e d e d t o a J a m e s i a n s t y l i z a t i o n o f r e a l i t y , a n d f i n a l l y t o a p o i n t o f f r a g m e n t a t i o n w h e r e h e r w o r d s c e a s e t o c o n v e y c o n v e n t i o n a l 30 m e a n i n g o f a n y k i n d . T h e y b e c o m e , a s one c r i t i c h a s c a l l e d t h e m , " p l a s t i c c o u n t e r s t o be m a n i p u l a t e d p u r e l y i n o b e d i e n c e t o t h e a r t i s t ' s e x p r e s s i v e w i l l , j u s t a s p a i n t e r s 31 m a n i p u l a t e s e m a n t i c l i n e a n d c o l o u r . " S t e i n may h a v e f a i l e d t o m a t c h t h e a c h i e v e m e n t s o f p a i n t e r s w h o s e a i m s s h e w i s h e d t o p a r a l l e l i n h e r w r i t i n g ; i t may n o t be p o s s i b l e t o w r i t e " c u b i s t p r o s e " t h a t w o r k s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , she h e r s e l f c i t e d m o d e r n w o r k s o f a r t a s a n a l o g u e s f o r h e r own v e r b a l e x p e r i m e n t s . I n The A u t o b i o g r a p h y o f A l i c e B . T o k l a s f o r e x a m p l e , s h e d i s c u s s e s M a t i s s e ' s e a r l y "Femme a u C h a p e a u " a n d " B o n h e u r de V i v r e . " I t was i n t h i s [ l a t t e r ] p i c t u r e t h a t M a t i s s e c l e a r l y r e a l i z e d h i s i n t e n t i o n o f d e f o r m i n g t h e d r a w i n g o f t h e human b o d y i n o r d e r t o h a r m o n i z e a n d i n t e n s i f y t h e c o l o u r v a l u e s . . . . He u s e d h i s d i s t o r t e d d r a w i n g s a s a d i s s o n a n c e i s u s e d i n m u s i c o r a s v i n e g a r o r l e m o n s a r e u s e d i n c o o k i n g o r e g g s h e l l s i n c o f f e e t o c l a r i f y . 3 2 115 By her references to "deforming" and " d i s t o r t i n g ; " Stein must have meant "abstracting." In the same s p i r i t she intended to use verbal " d i s t o r t i o n s " of language to " c l a r i f y " i t . The painters, and for that matter, the sculptors (and i n d i f f e r e n t ways, musicians) with whom she associated herself, did not ever have to face the problem of "meaning" as a writer must. Their concerns were as always, form, mass, 33 colour, texture and l i n e . Nevertheless, Stein's work i f i t i s to be properly understood must be considered in r e l a t i o n to the attitudes and practices she purposefully shared with the cubist v i s u a l a r t i s t s . J.M. Brinnin highlights t h i s connection i n his study, The Third Rose: Gertrude Stein and Her World. In most previous associations of poets and painters, and in a l l previous comparisons of t h e i r work, i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s and congruencies had for the most part hinged upon s i m i l a r i t i e s in subject matter and attitude....When the cubists jettisoned subject matter, l i a i s o n s between poetry and painting on the old basis were no longer possible....When the l i t e r a r y content of painting was omitted in favour of f r e e l y conceived mathematical/intuitive exercise of purely p l a s t i c values, Gertrude Stein also attempted to drop subject matter in order to concentrate f r e e l y on the " p l a s t i c " p o t e n t i a l i t i e s of the language i t s e l f . 3 4 So, from 1910 onwards, Stein "buries" narrative beneath an art of the surface, a surface that i s non-mimetic and " p l a s t i c " where words, l e t t e r s and sounds are manipulated as colour, texture and l i n e are refashioned in the canvasses of Picasso, Braque and Juan Gris. Of course, i t i s understood that the comparison of one art with another 35 i s at best, a metaphor. But in t h i s case i t i s a 116 necessary one. Stein applied her p r i n c i p l e s of "composition" f r e e l y to both the v i s u a l and l i t e r a r y a r t s . In fact composition i s her word for culture. In "Composition as Explanation," a lecture given to the Cambridge L i t e r a r y Society in May 1926, she put forward her thesis that generations were " a l l a l i k e --nothing changes except what i s seen—that i s the manner of composition. Composition i s determined by the manner i n which l i f e i s being conducted at any given moment." How l i t e r a t u r e was being conducted in the f i r s t quarter of the century has been documented by many in t h e i r attempts to "place" the modern. David Lodge, in an important essay, "The Language of Modernist F i c t i o n : Metaphor and Metonymyy" neatly c o d i f i e s the q u a l i t i e s of "Modernist" f i c t i o n as exemplified by three of i t s figureheads in prose—James 37 Joyce, Gertrude Stein and Marcel Proust. Lodge defines modern f i c t i o n ' as "experimental or innovatory in form," "c l e a r l y deviating from other modes of discourse, both l i t e r a r y and non-literary;" i t i s "much concerned with consciousness" and the workings of the subconscious. "External 'objective' events"--the s t u f f of t r a d i t i o n a l n a r r a t i v e — a r e diminished in scope, and when present, are rendered " s e l e c t i v e l y and obliquely," leaving more room for "introspection, analysis [and] r e f l e c t i o n . " The modern novel defies the "beginning-middle-end" structure of t r a d i t i o n a l narrative, plunging us instead into a "flowing stream of experience." A good deal i s asked of the reader. By a process of "inference and association" he i s asked to piece the puzzle of the prose together. Other modes of aesthetic ordering of d e t a i l than those of t r a d i t i o n a l narrative construction are given prominence: " a l l u s i o n or imitation of l i t e r a r y models or mythical archetypes or r e p e t i t i o n — w i t h v a r i a t i o n of motifs, images, symbols, a technique often c a l l e d 'rhythm,' 'le i t m o t i f ' or 'spatial form.'" Modern f i c t i o n abandons straight chronology as an ordering p r i n c i p l e and the use of a t r a d i t i o n a l omniscient narrator. Instead there i s a new r e l a t i v i s m of perspective and p o t e n t i a l l y , a m u l t i p l i c i t y of viewpoints. The manipulation of time as a f i c t i o n a l construct takes on a new experimental s i g n i f i c a n c e . In English, Joyce, Stein and 38 V i r g i n i a Woolf display nearly a l l of these q u a l i t i e s . Stein preceded these l i t e r a r y developments largely of the twenties, by some years. She began to base her writing on practices of t h i s kind as early as 1909, with The Making 39 of Americans. The contemporary with whom she i s most re a d i l y comparable i s James Joyce, another resident expatriate of Paris for whom the place was largely i r r e l e v a n t . Their intentions would appear to be si m i l a r , to overthrow the exi s t i n g l i t e r a r y canon. They shared the basic view that art should transcend r e a l i t y , that works of art should be autonomous, highly integrated in texture and structure, and that a l l facets of the work should be of equal importance: hence the Modernist premise that to understand anything about t h e i r novels, we must know everything about them. 118 This shared intention for l i t e r a t u r e was almost the only-thing they had in common as writers. Their sense and use of language was almost diametrically opposed. Their handling of time separated them even further; though they both believed that only the present moment has any r e a l h i s t o r i c a l s ignificance and that the past and future are s i g n i f i c a n t only in t h e i r power to interpret the present. Joyce's present moment i s an intense, s p e c i f i c and ornately textured one; for Stein i t i s possible to abstract the present and to deal with units of time that are discrete and autonomous. Stein brought t h i s contrast to bear on her major work, The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas, her " s e l f - p o r t r a i t " which displays a l l of the q u a l i t i e s which David Lodge i d e n t i f i e s as "Modernist." Curiously i t was a best s e l l e r as well, which c e r t a i n l y sets i t apart from work by Joyce, E l i o t , Pound and Woolf, whose popularity was limited to an appreciative c u l t u r a l e l i t e . Yet Stein's text remains an enigmatic one. While i t demands much of the reader, i t can be read as nothing more than entertaining memoir, one of a great many written about l i f e i n Europe in the twenties and t h i r t i e s . There i s no doubt that Stein wanted i t to s e l l . She had made l i t t l e or no money from her books, often having printed them at her own expense. Nevertheless, i t i s also clear that in i t , she wished to continue her l i f e - l o n g l i t e r a r y experiment. In f a c t , she constructs her s e l f -p o r t r a i t as a Modernist novel and as a cubist painting, incorporating the expected architecture of memoir or 119 autobiography into a large, more sophisticated, hybrid design. The Autobiography of A l i c e E. Toklas i s the only one of her books that many consider readable. She wrote i t against her better judgement, d i s t r u s t i n g profoundly the p r i n c i p l e s and practices of t r a d i t i o n a l memoir and even of the highly complex, transmuted autobiographical f i c t i o n of Joyce and Proust, in which memory i s invested with enormous resonance as a l i t e r a r y t o o l . Just as she had needed to depart r a d i c a l l y from the n a t u r a l i s t i c nineteenth century f i c t i o n with which she had started her career, Stein could not imagine writing either an actual or a transmuted autobiography in 19 32 which acknowledged in any way, what she would have considered the " r e v i s i o n i s t " power of memory to record r e a l i t y accurately or imaginatively. In a peculiar way she wanted to create a new, heightened "realism" which was also modern, and had nothing to do with memory. After great prompting, she wrote her version of a l i t e r a r y memoir in six weeks, and i t appeared i n 1933. I t may not be any kind of v e r i f i a b l e record of the l i f e of Gertrude Stein, the woman and a r t i s t , but i t i s a t e l l i n g memoir of the r i c h e s t period in French and international c u l t u r a l h i story, t h i s 40 century: Jean Cocteau c a l l e d i t "the heroic age of cubism." The book spans the years from Stein's a r r i v a l in Paris in 1903 u n t i l the "present" time of writing—1932. She allocates a b r i e f preliminary chapter to her childhood and adolescence in the U.S.A. But the book focuses above a l l on the c i r c l e of a r t i s t s , writers and musicians who were known 120 and entertained by Stein and her companion, A l i c e Toklas. These included many of the luminaries of the day—Matisse, Picasso, Satie, Pound and Hemingway—all s l y l y revealed in apparently a r t l e s s anecdote and wickedly t e l l i n g incident. The heart of the book, however, i s the a l l i a n c e formed and sustained during that period between Gertrude Stein and A l i c e Toklas. Stein's Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas, I w i l l argue was written in the same s p i r i t as Ford Madox Ford's It Was the Nightingale and Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, 41 two other memoirs documenting Paris at t h i s time. A l l share a rather elusive sense of the author as r e l i a b l e voice; there i s i n each case, however, a discernible and dominating ego sele c t i n g and arranging d e t a i l . A l l of these are c l e v e r l y wrought f i c t i o n s , and declared so by th e i r authors, where r e a l i t y and narrative confront one another and interweave constantly. Ford's autobiography declares i t s e l f f i c t i o n a l i n i t s preface, and Hemingway dire c t s his reader towards an appreciation of the " n o v e l i s t i c " techniques he has employed. Stein's t i t l e provides her clue for readers as to the true nature of her book. Throughout, and much to the horror of some of the r e a l people she portrayed, she treats facts whimsically, selecting some and ignoring others which do not interest her, highlighting some characters when they were in favour with her and diminishing them again when they had faded. She merges some d e t a i l — k a l e i d e s c o p i n g whole years into a single evening—and, to sustain the autobiographical aspect, places herself c e n t r a l l y in most s t o r i e s , whether she was 42 or not. As George Wickes points out, "The myth of the Modernist movement was more important to her than actual 43 f a c t s . " So, from the beginning, her treatment of people and events was n o v e l i s t i c , and her presence of central narrative importance. But i t must be said that i n cert a i n important respects, the book operates outside the commonly accepted laws of the novel genre as well as those of autobiography. There i s no p l o t , for example. True to her p r i n c i p l e s , Stein t r i e s to t e l l what happened without t e l l i n g s t o r i e s . Characters do not develop; they "inhabit" s h i f t i n g verbal landscapes she provides for them. Generally speaking, the book operates between the known forms of memoir and f i c t i o n , o f f e r i n g quite deliberate challenges to both. Her elaborate pretensions to o b j e c t i v i t y ( i . e . h i s t o r i c a l record) notwithstanding, i t i s quickly clear to readers that i t i s a d i s t i n c t l y subjective, indeed id i o s y n c r a t i c work, which i s neither s t r i c t narrative, nor a s t r i c t l y accurate record of her time, but manages a l i t t l e of both. I w i l l argue that the work i s considerably more f i c t i o n a l than i t i s h i s t o r i c a l ; that i t s proper category i s the autobiographical novel. Narrative, s t r i c t l y defined, 45 had always "bothered" Stein. In "Narration," she had defined narrative as "a t e l l i n g of what i s happening in 44 successive moments of i t s happening." One thinks here of Gide's idea of "succession" as the only adequate method for capturing experience. Stein no longer believed i t possible in the modern world to r e l y on a coherent sequence for events. "Moving i s in every d i r e c t i o n " (p. 19). To her, s t r i c t narrative was inadequate for dealing with the world as i t now existed. Ambivalent about whether to attempt a deviant version of i t , that i s to try to subvert i t from within, or to abandon i t altogether, she decides in The Autobiography  of A l i c e B. Toklas for the former, in the guise of something else. Using f i c t i o n a l constructs, she bases her text, as Boswell did before her, on intimate factual knowledge of her subject, h e r s e l f , and the world as she saw i t . Stein's parting reference to Robinson Crusoe at the end of the autobiography i s her clear concluding indication that her intention has been to blur the d i s t i n c t i o n s between fact and f i c t i o n , a r t and l i f e . Her "autobiographical novel is so constructed that i t i s frequently d i f f i c u l t for the reader to t e l l exactly where facts stop and invention begins t h i s i s pr e c i s e l y what the author intends. Her joke i s that a novel i s inevitably an autobiography and vice versa. A l i c e ' s narration of the book i s a f i c t i o n , or in Stein's terminology a t r a n s l a t i o n . One of the central jokes of the book i s that the actual authorship i s not made clear u n t i l the l a s t page, where we are also confronted with the same photograph which served as the book's frontspiece to remind us that i t has a l l been a d e l i g h t f u l , c i r c u l a r game. 123 N o t o n l y i s t h e t e x t w i t h o u t a r e l i a b l e n a r r a t o r , a n o t h e r j o k e o n t h e w h o l e i d e a o f s e l f - p o r t r a i t u r e ; t h e r e i s no c l e a r p r i n c i p a l s u b j e c t s a s s u c h . S t e i n ' s i m i t a t i o n o f A l i c e i s a n a c k n o w l e d g e d t o u r de f o r c e ; h e r p r o s e i s f r e q u e n t l y i d e n t i c a l i n t o n e a n d v o c a b u l a r y t o t h a t o f A l i c e ' s own l a t e r m e m o i r — a n d i t i s t h e o n l y w o r k o f S t e i n ' s e v e r t o s o u n d l i k e t h i s . The t e x t i s , among o t h e r t h i n g s , a c o m p o s i t e p o r t r a i t o f b o t h w o m e n — e a c h o f t h e o t h e r , a n d i t i s a s c l o s e a s S t e i n w i l l come t o a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f h e r " s e l f . " A s i t e x i s t s a t t h a t t i m e , h e r " s e l f " l i v e s w i t h a n d t h r o u g h t h e a g e n c y o f A l i c e T o k l a s , a n d m u s t be r e p r e s e n t e d e s s e n t i a l l y a s d o i n g s o . The b o o k i s a t r i b u t e , a w o r k o f l o v e , a s w e l l a s a n i n t e l l e c t u a l j o k e a t t h e e x p e n s e o f e s t a b l i s h e d l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n s . I t i s a p a r o d y o f b o t h t h e t r a d i t i o n a l a u t o b i o g r a p h y a n d t h e p o r t r a i t o f t h e a r t i s t n o v e l . On a s t y l i s t i c l e v e l t h e b o o k m i r r o r s t h i s b l e n d e d p o r t r a i t o f t h e t w o women. A l i c e ' s d o m e s t i c i t y , h e r l o v e o f g a r d e n s a n d c o o k i n g , h e r w h i m s y m i x e d w i t h a c i d i c p r e c i s i o n - - h a v e a much n e e d e d " t r a n s l a t i o n " e f f e c t o n S t e i n ' s r a t h e r i n t r a c t a b l e t e n d e n c i e s t o r e p e t i t i o n a n d d i g r e s s i o n . O f t e n i n t h e t e x t , i t i s u n c l e a r w h i c h o f t h e t w o i s s p e a k i n g . T h i s i s b o t h d e l i b e r a t e a n d S t e i n h i n t s , u n a v o i d a b l e . T h i s i s h e r a u t o b i o g r a p h y o n e o f t w o B u t w h i c h i t i s : n o o n e c a n k n o w . 4 5 I n a p a r t i c u l a r p s y c h o l o g i c a l s e n s e , i t i_s A l i c e ' s s t o r y , i n t h a t i t r e c o r d s h e r g r a d u a l a n d t h e n , l i f e l o n g d e d i c a t i o n t o S t e i n , who became t h e f o c u s o f h e r l i f e . ' Therefore any p o r t r a i t of Gertrude i s also a p o r t r a i t of A l i c e . As one c r i t i c has noted, i f A l i c e Toklas had written 4 6 the book, we would expect i t to have much the same focus. So i t i s a mediated p o r t r a i t , of each by the other, maintaining to quite a high degree, something of the psychological veracity of both. The supposed autobiography has f u l f i l l e d the t r a d i t i o n a l expectations of the genre--that i s a degree of s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n . Stein preferred to c a l l her text a "translation" rather than narrative or autobiography. In 1930 she had agreed to perform an actual t r a n s l a t i n g exercise/ which in fact provided her with a methodology which she could accept for the writing of an "autobiography," something she had always considered a spurious exercise, and only undertook after considerable goading. She was to translate into English, poems by the young French poet, Georges Hugnet. She got as far as a l i t e r a l t r a n s l a t i o n of the f i r s t l i n e before her ego intervened. She then departed compulsively and imaginatively from the test for good, "and I fini s h e d the whole thing not t r a n s l a t i n g but carrying out an idea that was already e x i s t i n g . " And then as a joke I began to write The  Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas. And at that moment I had made a rather int e r e s t i n g discovery. A young French poet had begun to write, and I was asked to translate his poems, and there I made a rather s t a r t l i n g discovery that other people's words were quite d i f f e r e n t from one's own, and that they cannot be the re s u l t of your in t e r n a l troubles as a writer. They have a t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t sense than when they are your 125 own words... and t h i s brought to me a great deal of illumination of narrative, because most narrative i s based not about your opinions but someone'else 1 s . . . . Therefore narrative has a di f f e r e n t concept than poetry or even exposition, because, you see, the narrative in i t s e l f i s not what i s in somebody else's...and so I did a tour de force with The Autobiography  of A l i c e B. Toklas and when I sent the f i r s t half to the agent, they sent back a telegram to see which one of us had written i t ! But s t i l l I had done what I saw, what you do in translations or in a narrative. I had recreated the point of view of somebody else. Therefore the words ran with a certain smoothness.47 A t r a n s l a t i o n would provide pr e c i s e l y the kind of "disembodied" narrative Stein wanted to create. The idea frees her to reconceptualize narrative as thought written by someone e l s e — a s analogous to an act of t r a n s l a t i o n . In the process she i s free to write about herself outside the i n h i b i t i n g l i m i t a t i o n s of the autobiographic genre— of chronology and the idea that i d e n t i t y as i t exists in the text, i s shaped by i t . In s t y l i s t i c terms, too, she adapts t h i s p r i n c i p l e of " translation" to her purposes. In weaving actual events into a modified form of narrative, she provides s t y l i s t i c equivalents of f a c t s — r e p e t i t i o n , for example, which she uses to bolster her notion of the "continuous present" as the only appropriate tense for writing in the twentieth century. , Ey t h i s she does not mean "continuous" in any normal sense--rather an absence of that qu a l i t y of 48 continuity which embraces past, present and future. If possible, and she t r i e s , the writer must use words without the associations of the past, in fact without any qual i t y 126 w h i c h t i e s w o r d t o e x p e r i e n c e . I t means a s t r i p p i n g away f r o m l a n g u a g e o f a l l i t s a s s o c i a t i o n a l p o w e r - - b a s e d o n s o c i a l o r e m o t i o n a l o r a r c h e t y p a l c o n n o t a t i o n s . To f u l l y a c h i e v e t h e " l a n g u a g e o f t h e m o m e n t , " e v e n q u i t e o r d i n a r y s e m a n t i c o r s y n t a c t i c a l e x p e c t a t i o n s m u s t be e l i m i n a t e d . S h e w i s h e s t o r e c r e a t e , n o t d e s c r i b e , t h e p r o c e s s w h e r e b y t h e r e a l i z a t i o n o f t h e i d e n t i t y o f a n o b j e c t i s a c t u a l l y h a p p e n i n g i n t h e m i n d . I t i s t o b e r e c o r d e d a s i t h a p p e n s — h e r v e r s i o n o f " s t r e a m o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s " — b e c a u s e p r o c e s s m a t t e r s i n f i n i t e l y more t o S t e i n t h a n r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a f t e r t h e e v e n t , w h i c h a t a n y r a t e , she d o e s n o t c o n s i d e r t o b e , i f i t i s t r u t h f u l , p o s s i b l e : I f o u n d o u t t h a t i n t h e e s s e n c e o f n a r r a t i v e i s t h i s p r o b l e m o f t i m e . Y o u h a v e a s a p e r s o n w r i t i n g , a n d a l l t h e r e a l l y g r e a t n a r r a t i v e h a s i t , y o u h a v e t o d e n u d e y o u r s e l f o f t i m e so t h a t w r i t i n g t i m e d o e s n o t e x i s t . I d i d i t u n c o n s c i o u s l y i n The A u t o b i o g r a p h y o f A l i c e  B . T o k l a s . . . . T h e r e s h o u l d n o t b e a s e n s e o f t i m e , b u t a n e x i s t e n c e s u s p e n d e d i n t i m e . 4 9 S t e i n ' s e m p h a s i s may d e f i n e h e r a s a M o d e r n i s t , b u t h e r p r a c t i c e s e t s h e r c l e a r l y a p a r t f r o m o t h e r m a j o r w r i t e r s o f t h e p e r i o d w o r k i n g i n " t i m e c o m p o s i t i o n " — J o y c e w i t h h i s e p i p h a n i e s a n d P r o u s t ' s " i m p r e s s i o n s b i e n h e u r e u s e s . " R a t h e r t h a n t r a n s p o r t i n g t h e r e a d e r t h r o u g h t i m e i n m y t h a n d s y m b o l , S t e i n w a n t s i n s t e a d t o s e a l o f f t i m e - - t o s e p a r a t e t h e p r e s e n t f r o m t h e p a s t a s c o m p l e t e l y a s p o s s i b l e . She d i s t r u s t s t h e s u p p o s e d p o w e r o f memory t o t h r o w up i m a g e s o f n a r r a t i v e s t r u c t u r e , s h e i s f r e e t o p e r f e c t t h e "continuous present." She has a range of devices for try i n g to sustain i t in her prose. On a s y n t a c t i c a l l e v e l , her time connectives are simple, but l a t e r a l rather than chronological, e.g. "from time to time" and "later or once," t y p i c a l of non-specific time. She consistently forces the reader back to the present, to begin again. This is.hammered home by a persistent use of the present p a r t i c i p l e — a g a i n non-specific, action that i s on-going. Her tone of the faux naif reminds the reader of a c h i l d who can only operate in the present tense—innocent of a l l but immediate sensations and perceptions. In r e a l i t y , there can never be less than two "present tenses" i n t h i s rather disingenuous writing s t r a t e g y — t h a t of time recorded, which i s h i s t o r i c a l time, no matter how many present p a r t i c i p l e s there are and how "immediate" i t s rendering, and the time of actual writing. So her challenge i s to stop things from getting "fixed" permanently in either time or language, which would l i m i t and ultimately n u l l i f y them. Bergson's notion of " l a duree" was always an important 50 one for Stein. She said that the subject of a painting was only t r u l y a l i v e i f i t s "movement would propel i t out 51 of the prison of i t s frame." If The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas i s more f i c t i o n than personal or h i s t o r i c a l record, i t i s so without the usual s t r u c t u r a l aids of narrator, plot and chronology. What does the narrative consist of? The book's architecture i s e s s e n t i a l l y that of the memoir. The chapter t i t l e s at 128 l e a s t , r e l y on chronology and they are in order. Chapter one concentrates on A l i c e ' s l i f e before she came to Paris. I t i s very short. Chapter two documents her dramatic a r r i v a l in Paris, i t s drama centering on her meeting with Stein and the subsequent r e d i r e c t i o n of her l i f e . Stein c e r t a i n l y edits her account of t h i s meeting with f l a i r , and a sense of history, i f not too close an observation of the f a c t s : This was the year 1907. Gertrude Stein was just seeing through the press Three Lives.... Picasso had just f i n i s h e d his p o r t r a i t of her...and he had just begun his strange complicated picture of three women, Matisse had just finished his Bonheur de V i v r e . . . . I t was the moment Max Jacob has since c a l l e d theiheroic age of cubism.52 And at t h i s moment, with these luminaries arranged in a v e r i t a b l e c o n s t e l l a t i o n , A l i c e a r r i v e s , and proceeds to t e l l us "what I saw when I came." This i s a r e f r a i n throughout—echoing Stein's conviction that a l l that can be t o l d i s what i s seen. The rest i s up to the reader. To the innocent eye, as A l i c e ' s apparently was, what there was to see was overwhelming—avant-garde art shows that took Paris by storm, Picasso's squalid studio, and the Stein's home at 2 7 rue de Fleurus, combined salon and studded private g a l l e r y . "The pictures were so strange that one quite i n s t i n c t i v e l y looked at anything rather than at them just at f i r s t " (p. 8) . She meets the major a r t i s t i c figures of the period. P i c a s s o — t h e hero of the book i f Stein i s the heroine — i s described f i r s t of a l l in terms of his voracious eyes "which had the strange faculty of opening wide and drinking i n what they wished to see" (p. 11). His status at the centre of the co n s t e l l a t i o n i s cl e a r . "He had the i s o l a t i o n and movement of the head of a b u l l fighter at the head of the i r procession" (p. 11). At one stage Matisse i s reported to have said, "Mademoiselle Gertrude, the world i s a theatre for you..." and chapter two i s ample evidence of her talent for stage management. At the end of the chapter we come to the true subject matter of the autobiography. And now I w i l l t e l l you how two Americans happened to be in the heart of an art movement of which the outside world knew nothing. (p. 26) Modern art was generated here, and Gertrude Stein wants to make i t clear to us that she was one of the people with whom i t began. Picasso, she t e l l s us, began i t in his painting, and she i n her writing: ...the story of Melanctha the negress, the second story of Three Lives which was the f i r s t d e f i n i t e step away from the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century in l i t e r a t u r e , (p. 50) Chapter three documents Gertrude Stein i n Paris from 1903-1907, her f i r s t art purchases t i e d to her f i r s t writing in Europe, her l i f e with her brother, Leo Stein, Picasso and his love l i f e and the Stein salon with i t s endless v i s i t o r s ; Paris in w i n t e r — I t a l y in summer. Up to 1914 and the close of chapter f i v e , "It was an endless variety. And everybody came and no one made any difference" (p. 116). After the war had begun, c u l t u r a l l i f e was eclipsed i n some fundamental way, however, and "the old l i f e was over" (p. 134). Chapter six d e t a i l s Paris and 130 F r a n c e d u r i n g w a r t i m e , d e s c r i b i n g S t e i n ' s a n d T o k l a s ' v o l u n t e e r w o r k . A s a b o u t m o s t t h i n g s , S t e i n t o o k a h i g h l y -p e r s o n a l i z e d a n d somewha t a p o l i t i c a l l i n e o n t h e w a r . The w a r , s h e c l a i m e d , made e v e r y o n e " n o t o n l y c o n t e m p o r a r y i n a c t , n o r o n l y c o n t e m p o r a r y i n t h o u g h t b u t c o n t e m p o r a r y i n 52 s e l f c o n s c i o u s n e s s . " The e x c i t e m e n t o f t h i s c o u p l e d w i t h a s t r e a k o f h e r e t o f o r e l a t e n t A m e r i c a n n e s s , c o u l d e x p l a i n h e r t o n e when d e s c r i b i n g t h e w a r ' s e n d w i t h a n a l l i e d p a r a d e down t h e Champs E l y s e e s , " . . . a n d p e a c e was u p o n u s " ( p . 1 8 1 ) . I n c h a p t e r s e v e n , " A f t e r t h e w a r 1 9 1 9 - 1 9 3 2 , " t h e c o n s t a n t s e e i n g o f p e o p l e c o n t i n u e s ; t h e y i n c l u d e t h e t w e n t i e s s t a r s i n P a r i s — E z r a P o u n d , E r n e s t H e m i n g w a y , J o y c e , S y l v i a B e a c h , S h e r w o o d A n d e r s o n , F . S c o t t F i t z g e r a l d a n d R o b e r t M c A l m o n . T . S . E l i o t v i s i t e d o n c e . P i c a s s o came a n d w e n t . I n 1 9 2 5 , S t e i n r e c o r d s a g a i n " t h e b e g i n n i n g o f m o d e r n w r i t i n g ' ! when R o b e r t M c A l m o n p u b l i s h e d a C o n t a c t e d i t i o n o f The M a k i n g o f 54 A m e r i c a n s . A s c i r c l e s o f y o u n g men f a d e i n i n t e r e s t w i t h t h e d e c a d e , summers a t B i l i g n i n i n r u r a l n o r t h e a s t e r n F r a n c e become t h e c e n t r e o f S t e i n ' s a n d T o k l a s ' l i v e s . S e l e c t d e v o t e e s t h e y r e c e i v e t h e r e , b u t f o r S t e i n , t h e l i g h t o f P a r i s i n t h e . t w e n t i e s , d o m i n a t e d b y t h o s e t w o g e n i u s e s , P a b l o P i c a s s o a n d G e r t r u d e S t e i n , who b e t w e e n t h e m , h a d d i s c o v e r e d t h e t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y , h a d d i m m e d . T h i s was o n e r e a s o n f o r c o n s i d e r i n g p o s s i b l e g l o r y i n E n g l a n d a n d t h e U . S . A . r a t h e r t h a n j u s t i n h e r a d o p t e d h o m e l a n d i n t h e a n x i o u s y e a r s b e f o r e W o r l d War I I . We l e a v e t h e a u t o b i o g r a p h y w i t h S t e i n r a t h e r m o u r n f u l l y c a s t i n g a b o u t 131 for Picasso's successor, as the centre, the generator, of what i s newest in the present. More than half the book deals with the pre-war years and seeks to place Stein in context in the turbulent creative history of that period. She s k i l l f u l l y weaves the international and the domestic—daily notes on painters 1 l i v e s and the history of modern a r t , to show both the surface a r t i f i c e and the domestic substructure of a r t i s t i c production. This i s also r e f l e c t e d in the story she wanted to t e l l of the success of the Stein/Toklas menage behind the Stein genius, and t h i s i t does. So the book i s apparently ordered according to time and event. But within t h i s framework the basic narrative units are the anecdote and the remark, the conversation and the encounter. This i s where the text ceases to be memoir and becomes invention. She begins with a fake narrator and pretended o b j e c t i v i t y , and we are meant to see a l l that happens i n t h i s comedic l i g h t . The existence of a r e a l A l i c e Toklas serves as a constant reminder that the planes of r e a l i t y may s h i f t at w i l l . Once t h i s i s understood one gains a sense of the text as "humorous c u b i s t i c a r t i f i c e . " " ^ In his chapter on "The Cubist Novel" in From Rococo to Cubism, Wylie Sypher discusses the cubist experiment in a r t , based on the assumption that r e a l i t y i s a series of "continual transformations where f i c t i o n impinges 56 on f a c t , where art intersects with l i f e . " In t h i s study his exemplary novelist i s Andre Gide: 132 Much of Gide's " f i c t i o n " i s a factual record seen from a certain angle and thus transformed. As suggested in Les Caves du Vatican " f i c t i o n i s a history that might have taken place, and history i f a f i c t i o n that has taken place.57 This i s very much the s p i r i t in which Stein wrote her "autobiography." In 1891, Gide had made an early attempt to overlay a f i c t i o n a l dimension onto autobiography with his Les Cahiers d'Andre Walter. Both Stein and Gide, i t can be said, were c e n t r a l l y concerned with the cubist 5 8 problem of "the distance of art from a c t u a l i t y . " As in cubist paintings of objects where the r e l a t i o n s between the painted object and the r e a l object are ambivalent, so the r e l a t i o n s , for these writers, between plot and autobiography are "unresolved and reciprocating." Les Faux-Monnayeurs i s Gide's inquiry into "the innumerable t r a n s i t i o n s between the object and the conception of the object." Gide's a r t , Sypher concludes, was the successful practice of "counter-f e i t , " which i s a "camouflage" of the "document (the journal)" and a representation of the document at some 59 uncertain l e v e l of f i c t i o n . " (emphasis added) And so i t i s with Stein's autobiography, whose facts are "camouflaged" and transformed by f i c t i o n a l handling. The book, then, i s an "invented memoir." Stein had already denounced memory and association as f i c t i o n a l constructs and possible aids in her "camouflage" process. Despite t h i s , however, and perhaps because i t i s impossible to avoid, the book i s organized, a l b e i t e r r a t i c a l l y , on an associational matrix. One of the main means of connecting 133 events, and simultaneously of breaking up conventional time un i t s , i s by a process of sustained interweaving--of digression, afterthought, future projection, c i r c l e and return to the i n i t i a l statement. By these means Stein plays with chronology rather than submitting to i t ; thus, in her fashion, she transcends i t . In the description of A l i c e ' s f i r s t soiree, for example, within a few hundred words, there are more than half a dozen references to times other than that of the party. The mixture of tenses and times i s remarkable and apparently a r t l e s s : The room was soon very f u l l and who were they a l l . Groups of Hungarian painters and writers, i t happened that some had once been brought and the word had spread from his throughout a l l Hungary; any v i l l a g e where there was a young man who had ambitions heard of 2 7 rue de Fleurus and then he l i v e d but to get there and a great many did get there. They were always there. (pp. 12-13).... I did not know what i t was a l l about. But gradually I knew and la t e r on I w i l l t e l l the story of the pictures, t h e i r painters and the i r followers and what t h i s conversation meant, (p. 14)....And now the evening was drawing to a close. Everybody was leaving and everybody was s t i l l taking... (p. 15) It i s r e c o l l e c t i o n , but the s h i f t i n g tenses and the disembodied associations do contribute to a sense of si m u l t a n e i t y — o f past with present, both then and now. Above a l l , the evening i s created in the text as physical/ s p a t i a l c o n f i g u r a t i o n — a multi-dimensional one with the s t r i c t focus on what was seen and the subsidiary category of what was heard. Space i s frequently what Gertrude Stein, as a l i v e to the v i s u a l as to the verbal or written, substitutes for time. Her "continuous present" i s defined i n Lectures i n America as "having to do with a sense of 6 0 movement in time included in a given space." In the Autobiography, the "space of time" of an event or a conversation replaces chronological progression in narrative — l e a d i n g to a multiple v i s i o n of events and people and of given moments in the narrative, with the emphasis on t h e i r shape.^ This mirrors in prose the work of cubist painters l i k e Picasso (at that time), Braque and Gris, and s p e c i f i c a l l y challenges the idea that narrative must " f i x " what i t describes. Her w i l l e d digressions force narrative to begin again and again, so foregoing any claim to naturalism or permanence. The f i r s t soiree i s t y p i c a l and representative of the way information i s given in the book--anecdotal configurations, and of i t s use of players, speech, time and narrative information. It i s a s p a t i a l formula, not a temporal one. "Facts" are included for our information, but they are not connected in the usual ways. Logic i s abandoned. There i s no causal connection provided between one fact and another nor between events. (This i s Stein's version of Modernism's relativism.) A l l of the elements of the chatty memoir are t h e r e — g o s s i p , memories and opinions, fashion notes, contentious remarks and value judgements. But the lack of causal connection between any of these puts Stein's prose into quite another category than memoir. Obje c t i v i t y and truth are, she believes, impossible to render. She substitutes m u l t i p l i c i t y , accurately recorded. The 135 "continuous present" i s a kind of st r u c t u r a l metaphor for the ambiguity inherent in any fact or event and for the necessarily compromised attempts of any genre be i t biography, autobiography, diary or s o c i a l memoir to record things as they were. Stein enjoys the f u l l p o t e n t i a l of the ambiguity, rather than t r y i n g to deny i t as many a t r a d i t i o n a l writer has done. She exploits and manipulates i t , playing with i t to the point of s e l f parody, because f i n a l l y i t i s her own "continuous present" that she i s recording, not A l i c e ' s , because that i s unknowable. As an extension of her replacement of the temporal with the s p a t i a l , so further undermining memoir and creating, in e f f e c t , f i c t i o n , Stein has c a r e f u l l y selected i l l u s t r a t i o n s for the book, which the c r i t i c , Paul Alkon i n a fascinating a r t i c l e , has said make up a separate, complementary "visual 6 2 r h e t o r i c . " The photographs she chose provide images for the text. Their arrangement, Alkon claims, serves to further reverse and blur t r a d i t i o n a l time structure, based on clear d i s t i n c t i o n s between past, present and future. They are v i s u a l clues for what the reader w i l l f i n d in the text, though they are never c l e a r l y attached to or explained by the text. True to her p r i n c i p l e s , Stein provides no context for them, and no explanation of the i r s i g n i f i c a n c e . We are l e f t to assume that a photograph of Picasso and Fernande O l i v i e r , his mistress early in the book, i s included merely to give i t i t s c u l t u r a l bearings, as i f to say "these are the kinds of people I know." S i m i l a r l y , the 136 the photograph of a sturdy young Gertrude Stein peering into a microscope at John Hopkins Medical School i s there to convince us that she has had a s o l i d i n t e l l e c t u a l background despite what the American c r i t i c s said about her in p r i n t throughout the twenties. The most s t r i k i n g and well-known of the i l l u s t r a t i o n s i s the Man Ray photograph which serves as the book's f r o n t i s p i e c e . It i s intended to be emblematic of the whole text. It shows the heavy form of Gertrude Stein writing at her Renaissance desk, with A l i c e Toklas illuminated from behind i n an open doorway leading into a room where Stein i s working, and shedding l i g h t on i t . One of the ce n t r a l games Stein plays with text and reader i s revealed i n the i l l u s t r a t i o n s . The book acknowledges at the outset that photographs are as much works of art as paintings. She nevertheless draws an int e r e s t i n g d i s t i n c t i o n between photographs and paintings, which r e f l e c t s on the d i s t i n c t i o n sometimes disguised, in her work, between factual representation and invention. Paintings she declares a r t , while photographs seem to show things as they are. Alkon goes on to note in connection with t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n , that in successive i l l u s t r a t i o n s , there i s "...a gradual—but not complete displacement of photographs of r e a l i t y by photographs of paintings and at the end, the photographs of a manuscript page. Photographs of r e a l i t y give way to photographs of works of a r t . But as t h i s happens the d i s t i n c t i o n between art and r e a l i t y 137 collapses, because whatever can be photographed must be , „ 6 3 r e a l . " Stein uses the i l l u s t r a t i o n for other purposes as well. Sometimes they act as a corrective for the text. I l l u s t r a t i o n s of rooms f u l l of paintings but empty of people w i l l face pages f u l l of v i s i t o r s and p a r t i e s . Photographs of p a r t i c u l a r paintings remind us that she c i t e s these paintings e.g. Matisse's "Femme au Chapeau" and "Bonheur de Vivre" as analogues for her own work. One of her key ideas in writing i s that i t i s only possible to write what i s seen; that makes the issue of viewpoint or angle v i s i o n important in the i l l u s t r a t i o n s , which often provide metaphors the text does not. Stein's stated aim was to present the inside from the outside, and t h i s the i l l u s t r a t i o n s also do. They also highlight her favoured idea of simultaneity with camera angles showing Stein for example , from both inside and outside rooms; or i n another case providing a d i f f e r e n t but nevertheless e s s e n t i a l version of Stein, not in the f l e s h , but in Picasso's p o r t r a i t of her on the wall of one of the rooms photographed. Thus v i s u a l metaphors are provided for the idea that the text i s asking us to consider the subject, (Gertrude Stein) through the eyes of an assumed other. "The 64 s e l f in t h i s case i s presented as another. Stein i s very concerned with the metamorphosis of r e a l i t y into a r t . Of the crowded s o c i a l blur a f t e r the war, she has " A l i c e " describe i t thus: "I cannot remember who came in and out, whether they were r e a l or whether they 138 w e r e s c u l p t u r e d b u t t h e r e w e r e a g r e a t many" ( p . 2 5 1 ) . The b o o k ' s f i n a l i l l u s t r a t i o n s b l e n d t h e r e a l a n d t h e s c u l p t u r e d , p h o t o g r a p h s a n d p a i n t i n g s . T h i s m a r k s a p r o g r e s s i o n w h i c h " m i r r o r s " a f i n a l t r a n s f o r m a t i o n , w i t h i n t h e a u t o b i o g r a p h y , o f b o t h G e r t r u d e a n d A l i c e i n t o w o r k s o f a r t . " W h e t h e r t h e y w e r e r e a l o r w h e t h e r t h e y w e r e s c u l p t u r e d b e c o m e s h a r d e r t o 65 t e l l a n d m a t t e r s l e s s . " A l k o n n o t e s i n c o n c l u s i o n a l i t e r a r y d e c l a r a t i o n b y S t e i n i n t h e J u n e 1929 i s s u e o f t r a n s i t i o n u n d e r t h e h e a d i n g s — " T h e R e v o l u t i o n o f t h e W o r d " a n d " A P r o c l a m a t i o n , " c o n s i s t i n g o f t w e l v e a r t i c l e s p r i n t e d i n c a p i t a l s . N u m b e r s f o u r a n d t e n p o t e n t i a l l y sum u p , he b e l i e v e s , w h a t S t e i n a c h i e v e s i n The A u t o b i o g r a p h y o f A l i c e  B . T o k l a s : (4) N A R R A T I V E I S NOT MERE A N E C D O T E , BUT THE P R O J E C T I O N OF A METAMORPHOSIS OF R E A L I T Y . . . (10) T I M E I S A TYRANNY TO BE A B O L I S H E D 6 6 S t e i n h a s p o w e r f u l l y i n t e g r a t e d t h e v e r b a l a n d v i s u a l i n h e r a u t o b i o g r a p h y i n a r a d i c a l a t t e m p t t o c h a l l e n g e t h e p o w e r o f t i m e o v e r t h e g e n r e . She p r o p o s e s a d r a m a t i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t " r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f s e l f " t h a n t h e g e n r e t r a d i t i o n a l l y makes a v a i l a b l e , o n e w h i c h c o u l d a d m i t a f i c t i o n a l i z i n g o f t i m e , a " s p a t i a l i z i n g " o f l i f e a n d t h e " p a i n t i n g " o f a n i d e n t i t y . S o , i f t h i s t e x t i s t h e n b y d e s i g n , more a r t i f a c t t h a n a u t o b i o g r a p h y how r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a l l y t r u e c a n i t b e c o n s i d e r e d t o b e ? R o y P a s c a l i n a p i o n e e r w o r k , D e s i g n  a n d T r u t h i n A u t o b i o g r a p h y , p u t f o r w a r d t h e i d e a t h a t t h e a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l c o n s c i e n c e h a d a n " o b l i g a t i o n t o o n e s e l f , 139 6 7 t o o n e ' s own t r u t h . " The " t r u t h " o f a u t o b i o g r a p h y , he s a i d , " l i e s i n t h e b u i l d i n g up o f a p e r s o n a l i t y t h r o u g h t h e i m a g e s i t makes o f i t s e l f , t h a t embody i t s mode o f a b s o r b i n g a n d r e a c t i n g t o t h e o u t e r w o r l d " ( p . 1 8 8 ) . P e r h a p s t h e k e y w o r d h e r e , i f we t r y t o r e l a t e t h e s e i d e a s t o S t e i n ' s f i c t i o n a l a u t o b i o g r a p h y a n d w h a t i t r e p r e s e n t s , i s m o d e — t h e s t y l e o f r e p r e s e n t a t i o n , a n d i n d e e d o f p e r c e p t i o n . P e r h a p s , a s t h e S w i s s c r i t i c J e a n S t a r o b i n s k i h a s c o m m e n t e d , s t y l e c a n b e t a k e n a s a n i n d i c a t o r o f a k i n d o f t r u t h : . . . a 1 1 a u t o r e f e ' r e n c e e x p l i c i t e de l a n a r r a t i o n e l l e - m e m e , l e s t y l e a j o u t e l a v a l e u r a u t o r e f e r e n t i e l l e i m p l i c i t e d ' u n mode s i n g u l i e r de 1 ' e l o c u t i o n . 6 8 The a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l w r i t e r ' s s t y l e a c t s a s a n " i n d i c e " - - a c l u e t o h i s s e n s e o f h i m s e l f i n h i s t i m e a n d how he w o u l d l i k e t o be s e e n . B y i m p l i c a t i o n t h e n i t i s r e l a t i v e , a s o n e ' s s e n s e o f s e l f c h a n g e s w i t h c i r c u m s t a n c e s , a n d a w r i t e r t h e r e f o r e c a n n o t j u s t l y b e c h a r g e d , a s S t e i n s o v e h e m e n t l y w a s , w i t h " m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n , " when a l l s h e e v e r i n t e n d e d w i t h h e r t e x t a n d a n a s s o r t m e n t o f p l a y e r s , was a n i m a g i n a t i v e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f h e r s e l f , o f a t l e a s t o f h e r c o n s c i o u s n e s s a n d how i t p e r c e i v e d t h e w o r l d . I n h e r c a s e , " m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n " was h i g h l y c o n s c i o u s a n d o n e o f t h e e n e r g i s i n g p r i n c i p l e s o f t h e t e x t . She d e l i b e r a t e l y u s e s t h e r e a d e r ' s e x p e c t a t i o n o f a u t o b i o g r a p h y t o p r o v i d e a s l i g h t l y i n g e n u o u s c o n s t r u c t f o r t h e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f s e l f t h a t c a n n e v e r b e , s h e b e l i e v e s , " t r u e " i n a n y a b s o l u t e s e n s e , b u t t r u e a s p h o t o g r a p h s a n d p a i n t i n g s a r e " t r u e " 140 at the time of painting, according to the desire of the a r t i s t , l i g h t , arrangement and audience. She s t y l i z e s realism to display the process whereby art emerges from l i f e . She turns the s e l f into a r t i f a c t , p r e c i s e l y as she uses the d e t a i l of the domestic, personal l i v e s of the a r t i s t s to enrich and o f f s e t a sense of the complexity with which t h e i r art emerged, incorporating and in collaboration with, t h e i r d a i l y l i v e s . Thornton Wilder in his Introduction to Four in America describes Stein's tendency, i n the accuracy of her record of the movements of her consciousness, to include ...the i r r u p t i o n of d a i l y l ife....She may suddenly introduce [into her text] some phrase she has just heard over the garden wall. This resembles a practice that her friends the Post-impressionist painters occasionally resorted to. They pasted a subway t i c k e t to the surface of t h e i r painting. The r e a l i t y of a work of art i s one r e a l i t y ; the r e a l i t y of a "thing" i s another r e a l i t y ; the juxtaposition of the two kinds of r e a l i t y gives a' bracing shock....It refreshes in the writer the sense that the writer i s a l l alone, alone with his thoughts and his struggle and even with his g r e l a t i o n to the outside world that l i e s about him. It may not be "truth" with any moral connotation or sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to events, which Stein records, but she does display an almost exhaustive desire for accuracy of a s c i e n t i f i c kind, when i t comes to recording the fluctuations of her own consciousness. This makes her an autobiographical writer, in the same sense that Montaigne i s 70 an autobiographical writer. Stein's attempt i s , as one of her leading c r i t i c s , Richard Bridgman has put i t , never less than to "represent her consciousness in i t s actual 141 state of existence" so providing us with "an outpouring of verbal responses to her experience mixed with fantasies generated by the primary experiences and with words stimulated by the appearance or sound of other words already on the page 71 or s t i l l in her head." As for existence i n the external world, Stein holds fast to the idea that writers can only write what they see, but an accurate record of what they think and perceive i s possible, i f i t i s treated in the same way as v i s u a l subject matter, whose existence can be photographed or painted. She divests authorial consciousness of the God-like power to control through narration (Joyce, Flaubert, James). Consciousness as Stein perceives i t can f i n a l l y express nothing but i t s own continuous flow of thought, f e e l i n g and the id i o s y n c r a t i c perceptions of objects and people; (which places her much closer to Beckett and the writers of the nouveau roman) and i t i s the perception of these things as process which we are given instead of narrative based on thei r o b j e c t i v e l y accepted existence. (One i s reminded here of Nancy Chodorow's theory of female i d e n t i t y as processive.) Perceived objects and people, Stein says, can only exist in consciousness and she w i l l not allow memory and convention to force consciousness into any palatable, a r t i f i c i a l patterns other than those emerging from i t s own inte r n a l structure. In recording what Bergson and William James might c a l l "the immediate data of consciousness," Stein never ignores the i m p l i c i t l i m i t a t i o n s of language i n ever coming close to describing the human consciousness. Laugage can only play at the idea. She requires simply of language that i t be as a l i v e to i t s challenges as the best paintings are a l i v e , — "moving out of th e i r frames." The idea of writing autobiography in any s t r i c t sense of the word would seem to go against a l l of Stein's l i t e r a r y p r i n c i p l e s . (But then so would f i c t i o n / n a r r a t i v e as a fixed l i t e r a r y mode.) Throughout her career, she managed v i g i l a n t l y to avoid the issue of memory, which dominated the f i c t i o n a l masterpieces of her day, and would d i r e c t her necessarily, i f she undertook anything l i k e a conventional memoir. T.S. E l i o t , James Joyce, Marcel Proust and Ezra Pound were, compared to her, obsessed with the past and with the a r t i s t i c forms of the past. Stein was firmly a member of the Paris-based European avant-garde, and was perhaps apart from Gide, the most successful writer to take up i t s revolutionary implications for a l l of the ar t s . As a part of her platform as a polemical writer, she distrusted above a l l memory as a creative agency and t r i e d to eliminate a l l time-based associations whenever possible. "The minute your memory functions while you are doing anything i t may 72 be very popular but actually i t i s d u l l . " Notions of iden t i t y are fa l s e when they are based on repeated behavioural t r a i t s or l o c a l i z e d habits. Identity "destroys creation," as does memory. Both o f f e r f a l s e and misleading strategies, she suggests, for "demystifying" the es s e n t i a l strangeness and unknowableness of others. Memory and ide n t i t y 143 as t r a d i t i o n a l l y conceived, succeed only in t r a n s l a t i n g what i s e s s e n t i a l about others into more fa m i l i a r terms by stressing the patterns in t h e i r l i v e s and in overlaying and substituting the past for the present. To f u l l y l i v e or write i n the present, the idea of i d e n t i t y based on memory must be broken down. But then how i s anything the least b i t autobiographical to be written? I t must deal with the past and i t must presumably operate on some notion of i d e n t i t y that does not change from minute to minute, even i f Stein's aim i s not to v e r i f y but to record. Stein's r e l a t i o n to autobiography (and f i c t i o n ? ) i s f i n a l l y p a r a l l e l to what she says of the r e l a t i o n of a genuis to time. He or she must "accept i t and deny i t by 73 creating i t . " In her exploration of the formal dilemmas of the genre, t h i s i s p r e c i s e l y what she does with autobiography 1—accept i t , as a construct at l e a s t , deny i t , by substituting f i c t i o n a l i z e d or at least modified information transmuted by her consciousness for factual account, and in the process, create i t , at least her v i s i o n of i t , which, afte r a l l , represents herself very well indeed. But The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas i s not just a representation of s e l f . It i s also a s t i l l l i f e p o r t r a i t of "a l i f e , " that i s a shared l i f e , a separate complete ent i t y whose other half was A l i c e Toklas, as indicated by t h e i r shared "authorship." This l i f e was described pre c i s e l y as Stein described a l l discrete o b j e c t s — i t s component parts 1 4 4 — d a i l y events, conversations, meals, etc. It i s a "memoir" of the world of modern art and of Paris which she and many others had declared to be at the centre of that world. It i s a memoir too, of Picasso, or at least of almost t h i r t y years of his l i f e . He i s always the hero of the piece; even when absent he i s the spoken and unspoken example of the success of the modern a r t i s t , and of a genius at work in interpreting the world for others to follow behind in a kind or procession. It i s a memoir and a trib u t e to France and i t s capacity to endure, as one of the central players in the theatre of the World War I. Stein's i s c e r t a i n l y the most important memoir of any Modernist, p r i n c i p a l l y because i t i s a l i v e with l i t e r a r y invention. In i t she has created a most viable myth of Paris as the seat of modern art in the twentieth century. The style of the book, where i t i s arguable that i t s "truth" resides, has been whimsical, digressive, r e p e t i t i v e and highly s t y l i z e d . It i s self-declared and self-conscious a r t i f i c e , while in the process recording a dynamic and e c l e c t i c s e l f , functioning almost metaphorically as that s e l f functions. While i t i s a memoir that does j u s t i c e to the time i t addresses, the book i s at the same time, a f i c t i o n a l and quite personal construct of that time, and of the s e l f seen at i t s centre. 1 4 5 C o n c l u s i o n Perhaps f o r the ve ry reason t h a t so many had read The A u t o b i o g r a p h y o f A l i c e B. T o k l a s as a c o n v e n t i o n a l memoir o f G e r t r u d e S t e i n , she found h e r s e l f unable to l e t drop the r o l e and i m p l i c a t i o n s o f a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l w r i t i n g i n her o e u v r e . She was u n t i l her dea th v e r y c o n c e r n e d , i n i r o n i c a l l y q u i t e t r a d i t i o n a l ways, to render her own c o n s c i o u s n e s s e f f e c t i v e l y on the p a g e — n o t n e c e s s a r i l y i n " f i c t i o n a l " form as she had done i n The A u t o b i o g r a p h y , but t o examine i n o t h e r ways as w e l l , the c o n t i n u o u s p r o c e s s o f t r a n s f o r m i n g r e a l i t y i n t o a r t — w h i c h i n c l u d e d the data o f her own l i f e . Her aim i n w r i t i n g between 1 9 3 2 and her death i n 1 9 4 6 she e x p r e s s e d w e l l i n E v e r y b o d y ' s A u t o b i o g r a p h y : "There s h o u l d not be a 74 sense o f t i m e , but an e x i s t e n c e suspended i n t i m e . " In her f i n a l works she was i f a n y t h i n g more c o n c e r n e d w i th what she c a l l e d t h a t " l a s t touch o f b e i n g " t h a t o n l y p e r s o n a l r e c o r d can p r o v i d e . And she c e r t a i n l y c o u l d not r e s t w i t h the i d e a t h a t The A u t o b i o g r a p h y of A l i c e B. T o k l a s , s u c c e s s o r n o , was to be her " l a s t touch o f b e i n g . " I t was, to h e r , i n a u t h e n t i c i n too many ways. She had had to compromise too many of her a r t i s t i c p r i n c i p l e s t o w r i t e i t . She f e l t u n d e n i a b l e joy a t r e c o g n i t i o n and a c c e p t a n c e , but h o r r o r a t "commerc ia l " s u c c e s s which she had always l o u d l y denounced. Most o f a l l she was i n deep c o n f u s i o n about i s s u e s o f i d e n t i t y , r e c e n t l y reawakened f o r her by her f i r s t t r i p back to Amer ica i n t h i r t y y e a r s . I t c u l m i n a t e d i n a combined w r i t e r ' s b l o c k and i d e n t i t y c r i s i s which p a r a l y s e d h e r . When she broke 146 through i t , her next project was one which she used to probe her way back to clear-headedness about matters of i d e n t i t y . The Geographical History of America or The Relation of Human  Nature to The Human Mind was a book of geographical and 75 l i t e r a r y meditations drawn from her recent American t r i p . She was determined to dist i n g u i s h in the book between what she c a l l e d Human Nature and the higher Human Mind, in her quest to grasp and c l a r i f y her own ide n t i t y as a writer and to better understand the writer's r e l a t i o n to his audience. Stein's audience had recently delighted her by praising her on a huge scale for the f i r s t time, and simultaneously, had disappointed her profoundly by embracing that p a r t i c u l a r book, whose orig i n s were something of a "commercial joke." She had mentioned f i r s t in a lecture to an American audience the difference between writing for "God" and writing for "mammon." Writing for "God" both requires and i s a function of the Higher Mind; " i t must be d i r e c t , the r e l a t i o n 7 6 between the thing done and the doer must be d i r e c t . " Writing for "mammon" which may be defined as "'success'... [or] a pleasure [the writer] has from hearing what he himself has done, mammon may be his way of explaining, mammon may be a laziness that needs nothing but going on, 77 i n short mammon may be anything that i s done i n d i r e c t l y . " In other words, i t i s writing in f u l l awareness of an u audience. Such an awareness can only i n v i t e concessions and undermine c r e a t i v i t y . Stein i s very anxious in these meditations to get beyond the idea of id e n t i t y as i t seems 147 to be inevitably bound in t r a d i t i o n a l works to an audience and memory. The notion of i d e n t i t y , l i k e autobiography, she finds weak and f a l s e l y reassuring when i t i s the product of Human Nature. She prefers the p o s s i b i l i t y of transcendence for .the writer, a purer state from which to create. She never managed to resolve t h i s issue i n t h e o r e t i c a l terms, but believed herself nevertheless to be writing from t h i s transcendent height in a l l her l a t e r work. This realignment of her d i r e c t i o n necessitated denouncing her e a r l i e r work, in p a r t i c u l a r The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas which she now saw as an i n f e r i o r work written "for mammon." A l l subsequent expressions of her i d e n t i t y were to be works of the Higher Mind. There were to be no compromises. As a corrective gesture, she began a new autobiography in March 1936 . Everybody's Autobiography was to be the a l l 7 8 inclusive autobiography. In i t she dropped the authorial pose of writing as A l i c e Toklas supposedly would have. While she wanted the book to have the same successful blend of famous names and l o c a l colour as the e a r l i e r book, th i s one was to be written in Stein's f a m i l i a r authentic s t y l e ; as before, i t was conversational, energetic, warm, r e p e t i t i v e and somewhat unstoppable. Most of the events recorded i n i t were quite recent, to do with her American tour and return to Europe. It s t i l l managed to display an amusing number of errors i n memory just as the e a r l i e r book's c r i t i c s had accused her of there. It was published by Random House in 1937. It did not succeed as the f i r s t memoir had. Though 148 n e i t h e r c r e a t e s n o r t h e g e n e r a l r e a d e r e m b r a c e d i t , S t e i n was m o r e t h a n p l e a s e d w i t h i t a s a n a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l p i e c e e n t i r e l y i n k e e p i n g w i t h h e r l i t e r a r y p r i n c i p l e s . B y c o n t r a s t The f i r s t a u t o b i o g r a p h y . . . w a s a d e s c r i p t i o n a n d a c r e a t i o n o f s o m e t h i n g t h a t h a v i n g h a p p e n e d was i n a way h a p p e n i n g n o t a g a i n b u t a s i t h a d b e e n w h i c h i s h i s t o r y w h i c h i s n e w s p a p e r w h i c h i s i l l u s t r a t i o n b u t i t i s n o t a s i m p l e n a r r a t i v e o f w h a t i s h a p p e n i n g . . . . A n d now i n t h i s b o o k I h a v e d o n e i t i f I h a v e d o n e i t . 7 9 I n o t h e r w o r d s , t h e e a r l i e r b o o k h a d d e a l t i n t o o f a c t u a l a m a n n e r ( t h o u g h s h e d o e s c a l l i t a " c r e a t i o n " ) w i t h w h a t h a d h a p p e n e d , a n d n o t w i t h w h a t i s ; h a p p e n i n g . E v e r y b o d y ' s  A u t o b i o g r a p h y o p e r a t e s more c o n s i s t e n t l y w i t h i n S t e i n ' s " c o n t i n u o u s p r e s e n t . " S h e b e l i e v e d h e r s e l f t o be w i t h t h i s w o r k , o n e s t e p c l o s e r t o a s s i m i l a t i n g t h e a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l a c t w i t h h e r a e s t h e t i c p r i n c i p l e s , w h i c h so o f t e n seem t o be a t o d d s w i t h i t . I n h e r n e x t w o r k , A D i a r y , s h e t a k e s up t h a t m o s t 8 0 a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l o f f o r m s , t h e j o u r n a l , f o r t h e f i r s t t i m e . S h e p r o c e e d s t o s a b o t a g e i t b y r e f u s i n g t o l o c a t e i t s e n t r i e s i n t i m e . E n t r y h e a d i n g s a r e f o r e x a m p l e , " t o d a y , " " t h e d a y b e f o r e , " a n d " t h e d a y a f t e r , " i n a n e f f o r t t o k e e p t h e m f i r m l y i n t h e " c o n t i n u o u s p r e s e n t . " T h i s d i d p r e s e n t p r o b l e m s . " S h o u l d a d i a r y be w r i t t e n o n t h e m o r n i n g o f 81 t h e d a y d e s c r i b e d o r b e f o r e ? " s h e w r o t e . L i k e a l l w r i t i n g , 8 2 h o w e v e r , " A d i a r y s h o u l d s i m p l y b e . " A n d w h a t s h o u l d i t b e ? " A d i a r y s h o u l d be i n s t a n t l y i n r e c o r d i n g a t e l e g r a m . A l s o i n r e c o r d i n g a v i s i t a l s o i n r e c o r d i n g a c o n v e r s a t i o n a l s o i n r e c o r d i n g e m b r o i d e r y a l s o i n r e c o r d i n g h a v i n g w i s h e d 149 to buy a basket. That i s i t . " To be true to i t s purpose then, a diary should record everything "i n s t a n t l y ; " an impossible task of course, unless i t also f i c t i o n a l i z e s or d i s t i l s , because events follow t h e i r own natural chronology. Wars I Have Seen i s a further attempt to abstract event, to take i t out of time and into the "continuous present" of the Higher Mind, by reconceptualizing temporal or h i s t o r i c a l 84 fact into a study of i t s timeless essence. In t h i s case i t i s war. In an e a r l i e r work i t had been Paris, France. Both studies play havoc with time. Paradoxically, Stein wants to locate both works i n terms of the twentieth century, but by that one can assume that she merely means "the present"; the twentieth century here i s an abstraction, a background tableau appropriate to her action. She i s concerned with time--"now in 1943" but only as i t located the present isol a t e d moment, not as i t forms part of any time continuum or causal r e l a t i o n in h i s t o r y . She does not discuss the wars she has seen in any r e l a t i o n to history at a l l . She presents instead a meditation on the ess e n t i a l nature of war and c i t e s examples—The American C i v i l War, the Spanish American War and the two World Wars t h i s century. Obviously she has not "seen" the e a r l i e r two; she r e f l e c t s on war as narrative, as s t o r i e s t o l d to children. "War i s more l i k e a novel than i t i s l i k e r e a l l i f e and that i s i t s eternal f a s c i n a t i o n . I t i s a thing based on r e a l i t y but invented, i t i s a dream made r e a l , a l l the things that make a novel 8 5 but not r e a l l y l i f e . " 150 She i s s t i l l very interested in the ways we transform actual experience by invention, into f i c t i o n , in an attempt to capture and translate the essence of the experience, making i t transmissable to other times. While f u l l y aware of t h i s inevitable " f i c t i o n a l i z i n g aspect" in her writing, Stein must s t i l l face the old problems of memory and s e l e c t i o n . "I do not know whether to put in things I do 8 6 not remember as well as the things I do remember." "How much s h a l l I make up?" she asks. Her conclusions to both meditations—Paris France and Wars I Have Seen—are a contradictory blend of the timeless and the temporal. Throughout she has discussed the timeless q u a l i t i e s of these phenomena—country and war. In a strange attempt (explicable only by her very odd concepts of history when she did think of i t ) to combine these two essences in some way, these two central experiences of her l i f e , she comes up with the conclusion that i f France was the necessary background to the twentieth century, then war was the agency for pushing the world into the twentieth century. End Note The writer, who i s concerned to transform the workings of consciousness into a r t i f a c t , must face the inevitable problems of rendering the s e l f on the page. These are p r i n c i p a l l y to do with form. In Gertrude Stein's case, to incarnate herself in language according to her own l i t e r a r y p r i n c i p l e s , required the creation of new l i t e r a r y forms— the autobiographical novel, the non-sequential journal, the non - h i s t o r i c a l meditation on time and place. In these works, she wants to describe l i f e as far as i t i s possible to do so, i n the "continuous present"—as i t i s being l i v e d . She wants to eliminate confessions or psychological revelation from her rendering of i d e n t i t y . She therefore "depersonalizes" her autobiographies, f i r s t by using a transferred narrator in The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas and by including a l l of mankind i n Everybody's Autobiography. Certainly, in the former, Stein exists i n the text as a t h i r d person whose l i f e i s being recorded from the outside, however intimately; as Shirley Neuman has neatly put i t , "The t h i r d person i s a 8 7 f i c t i o n a l person." By making f i c t i o n out of autobiography as she does i n t h i s book, she sidesteps a number of issues which would compromise her otherwise impersonal stand as a writer: truth, the subconscious, the emotions. The l i b e r t i e s she takes here, arranging the data of her l i f e as an experimental novel, allow her to play o f f the inevitable r e l a t i v i t y of truth in a memoir against the inevitably a r t i f i c i a l l o g i c of f i c t i o n . Stein wrote in autobiographical forms the better to record the processes of a l i f e and the a c t i v i t i e s of a consciousness, s p e c i f i c a l l y the consciousness of an a r t i s t going about the process of writing. Her works as the r e s u l t , are highly self-conscious and s e l f - r e f l e x i v e in that one of t h e i r p r i n c i p a l subjects i s always the process of t h e i r being written. One i s reminded repeatedly of 152 Montaigne's attempt to record as much as he could grasp of himself at the moment of observation. A l l that can be t o l d , Stein says, i s what i s seen. Roy Pascal has said that autobiographical t r u t h — t h e e f f e c t i v e rendering of consciousness—Is determined by the accumulation of images a personality makes of i t s e l f to embody the s e l f and i t s mode of seeing and reacting. Each of Stein's autobiographical " f i c t i o n s " i s one of these images or "pieces" of an i d e n t i t y , each invented.by h e r s e l f ; together they form, as Matisse perceived, a whole "picture puzzle" or a l i t e r a r y "harlequin's costume." We have said that Gertrude Stein belonged to several s o c i a l sub-cultures beyond that of woman writer; she was an American expatriate, independently wealthy and a lesbian. Each of 'these played a role in her most serious contribution to the l i t e r a t u r e of the period, and that i s her challenge to gender as a s i g n i f i c a n t category in human experience. Stein declared that her subject would be human nature and the functioning of the human mind. Her stance was e s s e n t i a l l y philosophical; she had been a student of Santayana and v William James and was the fr i e n d of A l f r e d North Whitehead. She was interested in character, and her r a d i c a l b e l i e f was that character was not at a l l determined by gender. "I think nothing about men and women because i t has nothing to do with anything. Anybody who i s an American can know 8 8 anything about t h i s thing." She shared a b e l i e f with V i r g i n i a Woolf that the human m i n d was w i t h o u t g e n d e r . B o t h women b e l i e v e d t h a t i n t h e t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y , a p e r i o d o f c o n f u s i o n , m a s c u l i n i t y h a d g o t t e n o u t o f h a n d . T h e y b o t h saw a n d r o g y n y a s a p o w e r f u l c r e a t i v e f o r c e , a n d i t was a s a n a n d r o g y n o u s w r i t e r t h a t S t e i n saw h e r s e l f m a k i n g a c o n t r i b u t i o n t o M o d e r n i s m t h a t o t h e r women w r i t e r s c o u l d n o t m a k e . S h e d i s m i s s e d H . D . ' s c o m m i t m e n t t o m y t h ( H e l e n o f E g y p t ) a n d W o o l f ' s t o r e a l i s m 8 9 a n d p l o t . B y a v o i d i n g t h e s e l i t e r a r y c o n v e n t i o n s , a s s h e f e l t s h e m u s t , S t e i n a l s o a v o i d e d p r e s e n t i n g t h e s e x e s a s t h e y c o n v e n t i o n a l l y e x p e r i e n c e t h e m s e l v e s . She p r e f e r r e d t o s e e t h e m a n d r e c o r d t h e m f r o m a g e n d e r - f r e e p e r s p e c t i v e . She d e a l t w i t h human t y p e s r a t h e r t h a n g e n d e r s . T h i s s h e saw a s n e c e s s a r y i f s h e , a s a n i n t e l l e c t u a l l y a n d r o g y n o u s woman , was t o c o n v e y h e r e x p e r i e n c e a s a human b e i n g . I f h e r l i t e r a r y v o i c e was a u t h e n t i c a l l y t o r e p r e s e n t h e r p e r s p e c t i v e — t h a t o f a woman , a l e s b i a n a n d a J e w — t h e n lane c o u l d n o t a f f o r d t o f a l l b a c k o n t h e l i t e r a r y c o n v e n t i o n s . S t e i n ' s f o c u s a s a n a r t i s t was c o n s e q u e n t l y v e r y d i f f e r e n t f r o m h e r c o n t e m p o r a r i e s ' . The c o n f i d e n c e t o a c t a s a l i t e r a r y f r e e - a g e n t t h a t h e r a n d r o g y n y a l l o w e d h e r , may w e l a c c o u n t f o r t h e c o n f u s i o n o f c r i t i c s i n h e r d a y , a n d f o r h e r l a s t i n g i m p a c t o n s e v e r a l g e n e r a t i o n s o f w r i t e r s . 154 Chapter Four Djuna Barnes: The Patterned Self Origins "I wish every man were beyond the reach of his own biography. "It w i l l take him, as i t w i l l the others, a l l his 2 l i f e to unravel the tangle of his upbringing." "You can bury your past as deep as you l i k e , but 3 carrion w i l l out!" Djuna Barnes began her career as a poet, j o u r n a l i s t , i l l u s t r a t o r and short story writer. In her f i r s t c o l l e c t i o n of s t o r i e s , poems, one act plays and sketches, A Book, American content was high. So was the raw material of her early l i f e . Many of these pieces are set i n her birth-place, Cornwa11-on-Hudson, New York, or i t s symbolic equivalent, with characters l i v i n g i n peculiar, highly charged i s o l a t i o n , doing immense amounts of damage to one another as her family had. Many of her l a t e r concerns are here i n embryo, as she "writes out" her o r i g i n s . In a style which curiously anticipates that of Harold Pinter's plays in the second half of the century, Barnes i s already in 1923 urgently concerned with what she perceived to be the f a i l u r e of language to embody experience or to connect people. Communication between her characters i s often no more than s u r r e a l l y c i v i l i z e d chat, hardly masking primitive connections and an ever present p o s s i b i l i t y of violence. "Three From the Earth," 155 an early one act play in t h i s c o l l e c t i o n , has three young men v i s i t an aging actress to t e l l her of the death of th e i r 4 father, who i t seems, had at one time been her lover. What at f i r s t appears to be a case of "the lady" entertaining "the peasants" i s quickly stripped away by vicious word play to expose a si t u a t i o n of old and v i o l e n t l y sexual complicity in another generation. The suddenness of the reversal from c i v i l i z e d to pr i m i t i v e , and the crazy dialogue which s k i r t s i t , are highly reminiscent of Pinter's The Homecoming, where sex underlies every comment and i s capable of pushing any si t u a t i o n over into physical violence. Themes of mingling decay and desire pervade the l i v e s of her isola t e d characters. Often simple-minded men try to claim with passion women who are "beyond desire" by virtue of what they know of l i f e . Helena in "To the Dogs" responds to her would-be lover with "Death from you, w i l l begin where my cradle started rocking." She, l i k e many other female characters in these early pieces, i s concerned instead only with the preservation and arrangement of the "beauty of object." One i s reminded here of both Colette and Jean Rhys and t h e i r reliance on moments of " o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n " and perceived beauty to redeem ap a l l i n g s i t u a t i o n s . "I want the b e a u t i f u l thing to be, how can lo g i c have anything to 7 do with i t , or probable sequence." In Barnes', early f i c t i o n , some of these women devote themselves obsessively to decor and decoration, others become hard and be a i t u f u l in death as the jewels they had 156 worn i n l i f e . S t i l l others are empty rooms waiting to be occupied. "Indian Summer" t e l l s of a p l a i n woman, a "clean room...exposed by the catching back a heavy and melancholy curtains" who i s transformed late in l i f e into a "salon" f u l l of exotic objects. "One by one the old and awkward things went, leaving in t h e i r wake Venetian glass and bowls of onyx, 8 s i l k s , cushions and perfume." Presently she entertains a lover there for the f i r s t time and takes him "as she would 9 have taken a piece of cake at a tea party. On the whole, the pieces are Chekhovian with a Dostolievskian undertow, a play of tensions reminiscent of Jean Rhys' strategies for dealing with the breakdown of beauty into horror. Many, in t h e i r focus on death and the grotesque joke i t makes of l i f e , prepare the way for Nightwood, her la t e r masterpiece. One early character when asked by another for guidance, responds with a flood of defeated loquacity much as Matthew O'Connor w i l l respond to Nora's despair in the la t e r work. I'm incapable...mystified. Death would be a release, but i t wouldn't s e t t l e anything.... How do I know but that everything I have thought, and said, and done, has not been f a l s e , a l i t t l e abyss from which I s h a l l crawl laughing at the e v i l of my own limitation.10 The tone of these pieces i s very much one of "what are we doing here? Are we a l l mad or merely overwrought?""'"1 A l l of these themes are incorporated and made large in 12 Barnes' f i r s t novel, Ryder, published in 1928. Over f i f t y disconnected chapters she parodies with picaresque flamboyance, her own strange but humble o r i g i n s , well disguised beneath elaborate and accomplished l i t e r a r y pastiches of the King James Bible, Chaucer, Sterne, F i e l d i n g and of course, more recently James Joyce, who had made her a g i f t of the proofs of Ulysses which bears more than a passing r e l a t i o n to t h i s text. The book concerns an eccentric r u r a l p a t r i a r c h , Wendall Ryder, his r e l a t i o n s with his two "wives," his eight children and his mother who a l l share a house in the country. Society i s hounding Wendall for his id i o s y n c r a t i c l i f e s t y l e and in p a r t i c u l a r for refusing to send his children to school, saying that he can teach them better himself. When he manages to f i g h t of f the school board, he i s persecuted for l i v i n g with two women. As the novel closes, he must face the fact that he cannot decide between them. But the work i s far more a s t y l i s t i c tour de force, pushing the genre of the novel to i t s l i m i t s , than i t i s a successful narrative. I t i s only when the shattered units of poetry, prose, i l l u s t r a t i o n , and dramatic monologue are considered whole as a fable or parable, that the work succeeds, and in th i s i t reminds us of many post-modern pastiches indebted to Joyce, where the idea of authorial s i n c e r i t y has become meaningless, to be replaced by layers of s t y l e , e x i s t i n g in p l a y f u l cohabitation and producing only composite meaning. But there i s a serious matter i n Ryder as well. I t can be read, for example, as a tragi-comic study of the eternal l o t of women. However, the central character, Wendall Ryder, 158 chief perpetrator of th e i r suffering, claims some of our sympathy as well by l i v i n g in a much closer and more creative a l l i a n c e with nature than conventional human beings, and receiving the support of his author for i t . In a grotesque and comic fashion, Wendall i s a kind of cosmic man fending o f f women, children and authorities while passionately wishing t h i s his farm animals would communicate with him, so preoccupied i s he with exactly what the presumed difference between man and animal i s . His concern with the nature of "the Beast" introduces us, however, to some highly serious and poetic r e f l e c t i o n on the notion of a dream-time pre-history, when the r a t i o n a l and the b e s t i a l elements in man were i n perfect balance: In the beginning was the jungle, with thick flowers and thick leaves, and the roots of things: went down into a heavy tiger-pawed earth, and on the branches sat the puma, duke of the morning, and through blood red l i l l i e s went the wild cat, and the slender hoofed deer, and wild cows, whose teats had never served man, and the bellowings and trumpetings and the roarings and screechlings, went forth in one sound that was a band of strength against the unknown quantity that was, one day to be the slayer. There time rotted on the stem of night and day, and the water ripened on the branches of the ocean; there with the weight of unseen swift f l y i n g , making t e r r i b l e his feathers, came the nightbird through the thick gloves, and clove them as o i l i s cloven and records not the break, and stood and pecked s o f t l y and sw i f t l y at the earth that trembled under no f o o t f a l l of man and pecking, went his way with l i t t l e speckled feathers dwindling into the dark.13 This i s to be the primeval time and landscape to which Barnes returns again and again with a painterly eye. Ryder i s one of a series of large, experimental Modernist works to appear i n the twenties. In i t s e b u l l i e n t a r t i f i c e , i t s breaking up of the t r a d i t i o n a l novel's surfaces and i t s p l a y f u l manhandling of space, time and language, i t follows on s t y l i s t i c a l l y not only from Ulysses, but also from E l i o t 1 14 Wasteland and Pound's imagist poetry. As with these key Modernists texts, Barnes' readers too are put to the t e s t . A l o t i s expected of them, with the text's frequent leaps, without bridges, from simple speech and narrative at one moment, to e c c e n t r i c a l l y elaborate, baroque syntactic flourishes and streams of consciousness rid d l e d with word play. At f i r s t glance the text appears to be studded with archaisms, but of course her taking up of abandoned forms, as George Steiner said of E l i o t , was the height of Modernism Her s t y l i s t i c chaos has been d e l i c a t e l y planned, as she broadly parodies not only her father, her young se l f in J u l i e Ryder, who "Becomes What She Had Read," but also the church, marriage, sex and l i t e r a t u r e . I t i s in f a c t , a harlequin s u i t of l i t e r a r y styles and tones of voice sewn together with remarkable seamlessness and bravado. It marks an i n t e r e s t i n g stage of "writing out one's l i f e " in two senses, one personal and the other professional, operating as she was in a context of international Modernism in the 1920's Joyce, E l i o t , Pound and Proust were setting the standards in harlequin costumes. Expatriation If Barnes' f i r s t c o l l e c t i o n and her f i r s t novel were imaginatively set in America, a c o l l e c t i o n of stories which 160 appeared in 1929 after nine years abroad was d i s t i n c t l y European i n texture. Collected under the t i t l e A Night Among the Horses, these f i c t i o n s r i c h l y and strangely combine old and new worlds. 1^ She had always been inspired by the European masters—Chekhov, Strindberg and Dostoevsky as 17 well as Joyce and the I r i s h playwright, J.M. Synge. Setting i s always important for Barnes; in these pieces, America i s s t i l l v i s i b l e , but i t i s an America heavily populated with immigrants—many Russians and a strong European Jewish mix of heavily ethnic names. Almost a l l of the s i g n i f i c a n t characters are from somewhere else, and those 18 who are not are alienated in the i r own lands. In addition, the cast includes many people on t r a i n s between European c i t i e s , the permanently " l o s t generation" of Paris cafe residents, children of nature a d r i f t in c i t i e s , and disengaged men and women f i g h t i n g for supremacy over one another in the face of rootlessness and despair on an international stage. However, Barnes i s interested i n t h e i r expatriated condition more than t h e i r h i s t o r i c a l or geographical circumstances, and t h i s i s psychic rather than determined by l o c a l e . She found i t a natural symbol, p a r t i c u l a r l y in the 20's, both for her own lesbianism and, on a larger scale, for man's e s s e n t i a l Angst. At i t s best, though, she points out that t h i s "middle condition" of belonging nowhere i n p a r t i c u l a r can be b e n e f i c i a l , even l i b e r a t i n g . This is* the sort of freedom to which both Gertrude Stein and V i r g i n i a Woolf referred, in t h e i r very d i f f e r e n t ways, 161 when they talked about the power of s p i r i t u a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l androgyny. In her opening story, " A l l e r et Retour," Barnes' ce n t r a l character, Madame Von Bartmann has been liberated in 19 t h i s way. She i s one of Barnes' strong, wise women who l i v e s "in the stream of time," with a "manner at once ca r e f u l and absent," looking about her on her travels with an even gaze at whores, s a i l o r s , churches and incidental b r u t a l i t i e s , 20 "neither pleased nor displeased." She i s a woman of "vigorous understanding" who i s capable, when required, of 21 an "excellently arranged encounter with estangement." In t h i s case i t i s with her now grown daughter, whom she has not seen for seven years. Unaware that the c h i l d has an u t t e r l y d i f f e r e n t temperament, and that i t i s in any case, too late for her words to have any e f f e c t , she returns to of f e r counsel on the basis of what l i f e and tr a v e l have taught her; that l i f e i s -'f i l t h y . . . f r i g h t f u l " but that in i t , there i s everything..."murder, pain, beauty, disease and death." In the face of t h i s she advises, "You must know everything, and then begin." Detached by t r a v e l , she has learned not to judge. "I do not want you to turn your nose up at any whore i n the street; pray and wallow and cease, 21 but without prejudice." Passion she warns, serves only to "season the horror." I r o n i c a l l y , the g i r l has already signed herself over to a passionless l i f e by agreeing to marry a s t e r i l e young clerk who w i l l c e r t a i n l y t r y to r c u r t a i l any l a t e r desire to put her mother's advice to use. Hence the irony of the t i t l e — a l l e r et r e t o u r — a round t r i p 162 to where madame began, allowing time out for t h i s perhaps unnecessary detour. This has been a gentle l i t t l e story about the condition of the expatriate. But when t h i s same condition i s part of a general d i s i n t e g r a t i o n process, and i s death-bound, i t becomes nothing less than the "halt position of the damned." For characters i n t h i s p osition "the ground i s not low enough...it i s suffering without a consummation...alien to l i f e . . . l o s t i n s t i l l water...Darkness closing in...the 24 interminable d i s c i p l i n e of learning to stand everything." Here actual e x p a t r i a t i o n — t h e abandoning of o r i g i n s , u . s u r r e a l l y exaggerated contact between people without context, l i v e s l i v e d without any of the i n t e g r i t y of simple isolation—produces figures who are estranged even from themselves, t h e i r attempts to locate order, to f i n d love, to transcend themselves, fumbling and abortive. In stories of t h i s kind, the world Barnes presents i s t r u l y one of 25 r a d i c a l l y displaced persons. In these pieces, expatriation l i n e s up within a range of overwhelmingly negative forces which predetermine men's l i v e s : estrangement, sex, disease, godlessness and f i n a l l y death. They provide a s c r i p t , a narrative with which the characters can only comply. L i f e i s c y c l i c a l ; men are as powerless as insects; p a s s i v i t y i s the p r i n c i p a l means of su r v i v a l . In the meantime, "The re a l the proper i d e a — i s design, a thing should have a design; torment should have some meaning." Art, Barnes says, i s the r e a l middle ground, where a cer t a i n amount of dispassionate observation i s possible, even i f the pattern we observe i s tr a g i c and i r r e v e r s i b l e . I t i s t h i s detached patterning of experience that Barnes' recurring images and concerns appear: sex, power and death, nature at war with c i v i l i z a t i o n and the idea of l i v i n g "beyond the end." Women of indeterminate sexuality are always her central characters, regardless of t h e i r age, class or n a t i o n a l i t y ; where they are not cen t r a l , they are s t i l l the determining forces in men's l i v e s ; i t i s never the other way around. Sexual combat i s always a central theme. Women adapt men to th e i r needs, and rar e l y allow them to intrude on t h e i r often autonomous 27 w i l l s . In the two stories with male protagonists, "The Rabbit" and "A Night Among the Horses," the women manipulate male destiny and become in the process synonymous with death. These stories are primarly about leve l s of knowledge; in each case the man has possessed knowledge of the natural world, and the woman has t r i e d to goad or torture him into a s o c i a l sense that can only corrupt him. In the f i r s t of these s t o r i e s , a l i t t l e Armenian t a i l o r i s advised by friends and neighbours to go to New York to become "educated," "a man of the world." Too gentle even to protest e f f e c t i v e l y , he leaves for the big c i t y , which alienates him profoundly, i t s a c t i v i t i e s exemplified for him by the butcher shop across from h i s own, " i t s colours..a very harvest of death." But 164 i t takes the woman with whom he i s involved to i n i t i a t e him into t h i s "harvest." She requires of him, to take him at a l l seriously, a nameless "heroic" deed, which he i n t u i t s can only have to do with death. He k i l l s a c r e a t u r e — a rabbit with his bare hands. After the deed, he begins to walk. He "did not seem to know where he was, he had forgotten her. He was shaking, his head straight up, his 29 heart wringing wet." "A Night Among the Horses" i s Barnes' most complete statement of t h i s theme. Strongly influenced by Strindberg's Miss J u l i e , i t t e l l s of a young hostler tormented by his landowning mistress who desires him and torments him "with 30 her objects of 'culture'." When she humiliates him in public, he flees into the night, and i t i s here that we f i r s t see him in the story, c l e a r l y v i s i b l e in the darkness and as s t i l l as a piece of sculpture, Barnes' powerful image for those l o s t between classes, countries or cultures: Toward dusk, in the summer of the year, a man in evening dress, carrying a top hat and a cane, crept on hands and knees through the underbush bordering the pastures of the Buckler estate. His wrists hurt him from holding his weight and he sat down. Sticky ground vines a l l about him; they climbed the trees, the posts of the fence, they were everywhere. He peered through the t r i c k y tangled branches and saw, standing against the darkness, a grove of white b i r t h shimmering l i k e teeth in a skull...the man struggled for breath, the a i r was heavy and hot, as though he were nested in a p i t of astonishment....If he married her...what would she leave of him?... absolutely nothing, not even his horse....He wouldn't f i t i n anywhere...he'd be neither what he was nor what he had been; he'd be a thing, half-standing, l i k e those figures under the roofs of h i s t o r i c buildings, the halt position of the damned.31 (emphasis added) 165 He, in t h i s p o s i t i o n , trampled to death by his horses. This condition of loss and damnation taken to i t s extreme leads to l i f e l i v e d "beyond the end," that i s , a f t e r an awareness of the fact that i t i s l i f e that i s inchoate; pre-determined and r e l e n t l e s s l y punishing rather than death. This Barnes explores in two of the c o l l e c t i o n ' s most in t r i g u i n g s t o r i e s . Both o f f e r human representations of death. For Katrina S i l v e r s t a f f in "The Doctors" i t i s the t r a v e l l i n g Bible salesman she takes up just before k i l l i n g h e rself: "some people drink poison, some take the knife, 32 others drown. I take you." In a paradoxical inversion, her embrace of death can be seen as a quest for " l i f e " because she chooses i t as embodying meaning. The death figure in "Spillway" i s J u l i e Anspacher, a woman with a terminal i l l n e s s who has l i v e d on borrowed time for f i v e years. She returns home to her husband from the sanatorium with the c h i l d she has had by one of the other patients there, who has since died. The c h i l d too has the disease. J u l i e f e e l s that her r e a l disease i s that she i s without conscience, so she returns, hoping that her husband w i l l i nspire some g u i l t , some f e e l i n g in her which i t might then be possible to expiate. "There just i s n ' t the ri g h t kind of misery in the world for me to suffe r , nor the r i g h t kind of p i t y for you to f e e l ; there i s n ' t a word in the world to heal me; penance cannot undo me." Her condition 33 i s "a thing beyond the end of everything." Instead of healing or changing the design of her l i f e in any way, 166 i t inspires her husband's suicide. She survives, paradoxically; her knowledge of her imminent mortality i s her strength, and i t k i l l s her husband before i t w i l l k i l l her. The female characters in these stories are f i n a l l y enigmatic and unfathomable, as i s the detached t h i r d person narrator. One thinks again of androgyny as a creature of force. These opaque characters exist not only between countries and classes but also on some middle ground between the sexes, and i t gives them tremendous strength which they frequently misuse. This Barnes woman appears in two of the stories as an older woman, recently arrived from America, l i s t e n i n g to a younger woman's story in a Paris cafe. She i s simply an auditor. This curious p a s s i v i t y inspires a similar sense i n the reader, before these parables of a pre-determined universe. The characters in th e i r extremity and androgyny have a peculiar and perfect autonomy and are as repelled as t h e i r creator by a disruptive and p o t e n t i a l l y f a t a l need for love. Passion, in fact any act of kindness, serves only to "season the horror." Not only are characters dissociated from t h e i r pasts, but they are permanently iso l a t e d i n the present by the unremitting ironies of th e i r d e s t i n i e s . I t i s a key element i n t h e i r condition as expatriates from ordinary l i f e , that they can accept nothing that i_s ordinary, or "daily" from existence. In reaction 34 to i t , some die, others move on. The non-committal narrator i s shocking in her remoteness from these characters. 167 In t h i s there i s a most e f f e c t i v e correspondence between matter and manner—between l i f e and design. Barnes uses these stories to d i s t i l and to pattern the images thrown up by expatriate l i f e in Europe in the 1920's. From the f i r s t , she f e l t compelled to extricate from these experiences a sat i s f a c t o r y image for herself, one that would embody her and her state of mind, that of an expatriated and often impoverished American, bi-sexual woman. In the process she provides a v i s u a l and verbal equivalent for the knowing, detached observer of tragedies in her short s t o r i e s , the kind of observer she would wish to be—the s i l e n t woman whose "middle condition" has freed her from engagement. In her e a r l i e s t published j o u r n a l i s t i c sketch of Paris, "Vagaries Malicieuses" she finds such an image for h e rself: that of the Paris church: Notre Dame somehow leaves you comparatively untouched, you may not remember her for fear of intruding.... She i s a lonely creature by preference. She i s not disturbed by those devotees who f a l l into two classes; those going toward and those coming from f a i t h . She i s i n the centre condition, where there i s no going and no coming. Perhaps t h i s i s why, for me, there was something more possible in the church of Saint Germain des Pres, the oldest church i n Paris. I t i s a place for those who have "only a l i t t l e while to stay" - - i t too i s aloof, but i t has the aloofness of a woman loved by one dog and many men. And here one takes one's tears, leaving them unshed, to count the thin candles that r i s e above the feet of the V i r g i n l i k e flowers on fire.35 168 Nightwood Nightwood can be thought of as a female Modernist autobiographical f i c t i o n in the same sense that Joyce's P o r t r a i t of the A r t i s t as a Young Man and Ulysses, Lawrence's Sons and Lovers and Women in Love, and Proust's A* l a recherche du temps perdu are considered Male Modernist 3 6 autobiographical f i c t i o n s . In each of these texts there i s some writing out of the author's l i f e and o r i g i n s , some manipulation of the tension between an autobiographical and a f i c t i v e pact with the reader. These male writers chose to represent themselves in t h e i r works through an a r t i s t figure, a synthesizing consciousness whose perspective we as readers come to r e l y on in interpreting the events of the text. Joyce's Stephen Dedalus, Lawrence's Paul Morel and Rupert B i r k i n and Proust's Marcel function as a r t i s t s or transmuting consciousnesses within the text, and serve to indicate the ways in which the f i c t i o n a l work i s a construction of the authorial consciousness. As I have noted e a r l i e r , female Modernist writers do not usually provide an equivalent intermediary or a r t i s t figure i n t h e i r works. There i s none i n Nightwood, perhaps the most accomplished novel by a woman in the period. I t i s not self-effacement or pas s i v i t y on Barnes' part that she does not provide such a fig u r e . I w i l l argue that her a r t i s t i c intentions are simply quite d i f f e r e n t from those of her male counterparts. She i s concerned with presenting a de-centred narrative in order to portray as accurately 169 as possible a world where meaning and perspective are profoundly f l u i d and r e l a t i v i s t i c . Therefore no image of i t can be fixed, and no character or voice empowered to f i x i t . Narrative coherence i s provided by the patterns of poetic connection the reader i s asked to make from these images. The design of the novel then i s e s s e n t i a l l y f i g u r a t i v e . The author i s represented in her text only in oblique a e s t h e t i c a l l y " o b j e c t i f i e d " form--as object, design or a r t i f a c t — t h e product of creation, rather than in the figure of a creator within the narrative. I argue that i f Nightwood i s a " f i c t i o n of the s e l f , " i t i s not confession; nor i s i t t h i n l y v e i l e d autobiography. Like the work of her contemporary, Jean Rhys, i t incorporates many d e t a i l s of her l i f e and times, but i t i s an aesthetic construct, a f i c t i o n of the s e l f — o n e version of a segment of l i f e in the form of many images of herself and others. Like Rhys, Barnes' intention, apart from the s t r i c t l y aesthetic, i s to transcend those l i f e d e t a i l s by transmuting them out of the realm of the s t r i c t l y f a c t u a l : : in other words, to write an escape from the s e l f . Like Gertrude Stein, Barnes attempts to represent authentically a s e l f that i s part of a sexual sub-culture which had no o f f i c i a l l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n ; she too must do a certain amount of i t with mirrors i f she i s not to give herself away. Barnes' biographer i s , I think, j u s t i f i e d when he says that i t i s "a fundamental error to claim as Frank does that Nightwood lacks a narrative structure in the ordinary sense and cannot 170 be reduced to any sequence of action for purposes of explanation.... There i s a simple main story...and i t i s , moreover, a story which repeats rather clo s e l y a series of events which r e a l l y did occur. That story i s the profound and impossible love of a woman who contemplates for a woman 37 who rages and destroys." He documents the fact that the chronology of Nightwood i s v e r i f i a b l y that of the Djuna Barnes/Thelma Wood love a f f a i r as evidenced by Barnes ' l e t t e r s . He goes on to ask as the r e s u l t of a l l t h i s "verifying"--How many facts does a l i f e story require? What i s a fact and what i s a l i f e story? There i s an answer to his question given in Nightwood: "The more facts 3 8 we have about a person the less we know." F i e l d maintains, however, that i t i s important to know about the well-documented love a f f a i r between Barnes and Wood in order to understand the important connection between the love and the "highly s t y l i z e d " r e l a t i o n s h i p i n the novel. "The one came out of the other," but l i k e the p o r t r a i t of Dr. O'Connor based on the r e a l Dan Mahoney, Barnes has "sea-39 changed" inchoate experience into patterned a r t . The tone of doom, however, seems to have car r i e d over from r e a l l i f e events quite i n t a c t . I would draw attention to the " s t y l i z a t i o n " of r e l a t i o n s h i p s — t h e techniques for t h e i r representation, rather than struggle, as F i e l d has done, to i d e n t i f y whether textual data are "true." Art gives, i t i s true, undeniable power over r e a l people and events. Barnes 171 seems to see i t as capable of perpetuating a kind of 4 0 "bloodless murder." There i_s a l i f e story underlying Barnes' imaginative work. It i s unmistakeable. But the work of art serves as an ornate mask for i t — s e r v i n g to disguise i t , and only obliquely to represent i t . As a f i c t i o n , Nightwood provides a poetic narrative for a group of expatriates l i v i n g in Paris between the wars. It explores the impact of one of them--Robin Vote—on the others —Nora Flood, F e l i x Volkbein, Matthew O'Connor and Jenny Petherbridge, whose l i v e s she moves through as though in a trance. The novel begins at an e a r l i e r time in history in Be r l i n with studies of Fe l i x ' s parents, and ends at Nora's f a m i l i a l home in upstate New York. The "present" in the novel i s taken to be Paris, 1920, though we are made quickly 41 aware at the novel's opening that "truth i s a h i s t o r i c a l . " The plot involves the marriage of F e l i x Volkbein to Robin Vote, the b i r t h of th e i r c h i l d Guido, and Robin's abandoning of both of them; her subsequent meeting with Nora Flood i n America, t h e i r return to Europe, and ten year love a f f a i r in Paris; Jenny Petherbridge's "stealing" of Robin from Nora, Robin's acquiescence and f i n a l l y her f l i g h t to America with Jenny. The novel concludes with Robin's return to Nora at a l a t e r time, in America. The Divided Self In t h i s narrative the " s e l f " i s represented as a mosaic of images and metaphorical utterances. The aesthetic surface and patterning of these elements are given prominence over t h e i r i n t r i n s i c q u a l i t i e s . But at the simplest narrative l e v e l , the s e l f i s seen as f a t a l l y d i v i d e d — t h e s e l f and i t s double, the s e l f and the other, the alienated s e l f and love as a primeval search for n a r c i s s i s t i c complementarity. That man i s a divided creature Matthew O'Connor t e l l s us early in the novel--"bOrn damned and 42 innocent from the s t a r t . " The doctor should know, because he himself, i s a creature of tragi-comic c o n t r a d i c t i o n s — man/woman, doctor/abortionist, seer/fool. His ferocious monologuing style i s d u a l i s t i c too; he appears to be saying a great deal, and as a poet he does, but in the end he acknowledges that language i s f u t i l e . I t i s not that he knows l i t t l e of the world. It i s rather the reverse problem. He functions as a one-man Greek chorus in the text reminding characters that i t i s pointless to look to man or God for completion or transcendence. His advice--to hang on by the l a s t remaining muscle—"the heart" (N. p. 263). Called a "defrocked p r i e s t of words" by one c r i t i c , he f a l l s back on language as his only recourse, and he i s aware as the Modernist writer Barnes must have been, that i t i s degraded s p i r i t u a l and creative currency: Modernist discourse as 43 self-consuming a r t i f a c t . O'Connor i s Tiresias/Cassandra; no-one hears or believes 44 his predictions or counsel. They cannot, as long as they hope to be completed by another and thereby redeemed. Nora needs to believe that her love for Robin can save them both. F e l i x thinks that i f he can unite himself with history he w i l l l e gitimize himself as a Wandering Jew in the twentieth century. Only union with the unknown "other" can invest the unbearableness of d a i l y l i f e with s i g n i f i c a n c e , as Death transfigures l i f e . It i s of course one of the novel's great paradoxes that most of the characters approach transcendence through w i l l f u l degradation rather than a c a l l to God. Catholicism, Barnes seems to suggest by the force and beauty of her imagery for the Church, might have been expected to provide, where sexual love cannot, some bridge between the despairing i n d i v i d u a l and a higher order. She concludes, however, that the gap between man and God i s too great, too grotesquely comic; a l l that man can do in the face of i t i s to j o i n Matthew O'Connor, a yearning, sinning Catholic, in his b l i n d appeal to his maker. "Pain 4 5 increases in d i r e c t proportion to consciousness," however. There are echoes of t h i s gap between divine order and human degradation throughout the book. It i s the same gap that separates the i n t e n s i t y of characters' psychological horror at events from any capacity to express or confront i t d i r e c t l y . There are few violent revelations or dramatic confrontations in the novel. Instead, there are strained, frozen encounters and endless "introspective monologues," s p i l l i n g over into desperate speech to a t h i r d person in the form of confession. There i s the f a i l u r e to properly a r t i c u l a t e s u f f e r i n g in word or action, a sense of incurable disease, from which no release or resolution i s ever 174 possible. The quest for an "i d e n t i t y " in the face of inevitable d u a l i t y i s one of the central concerns of the book. Barnes renders t h i s psychic predicament in a number of fi g u r a t i v e oppositions reminiscent of Jean Rhys' l i t e r a r y structures, beginning with the r a t i o n a l world of the day and i t s i r r a t i o n a l and considerably more powerful and dangerous reverse, the night world. In contrast to the world of daylight, control and order, the night i s a jungle and the forces man faces there, in dream for example, are b e s t i a l and p r i m i t i v e . As Alan Williamson points out, Barnes i s much concerned with Eden--not the Chri s t i a n version, though she c e r t a i n l y 46 adheres to the idea of the F a l l . He suggests that her myth i s rather in the "hermetic t r a d i t i o n according to which man was created in the union of conscious mind and animal matter, as a single hermaphroditic being, whose fragmentation into separate sexes occurred at the time of 4 7 the F a l l . " Adam was "an i d e a l l y u n i f i e d e n t i t y , " or as Barnes puts in Nightwood, exists at "the moment of the beast turning human" (N. p. 262). I t i s the moment which haunts her narrative and much of i t s imagery, as the moment when the unconscious (the passionate animal v i t a l i t y ) acquired r a t i o n a l consciousness, the moment of fragmentation into male and female, leaving androgyny as a l o s t i d e a l , a v i s i o n of wholeness. Barnes, in the images of her characters' yearning, repeatedly strains back to t h i s moment which she 175 describes i n Jungian terms as "a mirage of an eternal wedding cast on the r a c i a l memory" (N. p. 262). In the post Edenic world, she t e l l s us, the Hermetic Adam l i v e s on only in i d i o t s , the insane, the defeated victims of the night and i n creatures l i k e Robin Vote, who lack "human q u a l i t i e s . " Knowledge of t h i s loss i s the universal malady of which Barnes writes. Robin Vote is_ the character in the novel who i s "the beast turning human." She compels the attention of a l l of the other characters by her power to suggest in her provocative and sensual silence, images which they desire and which they are convinced w i l l complete them as both men and women. With her ruthless talent for self-, preservation, she i s able to survive as a timeless, aesthetic object, created by them. As long as she i s per f e c t l y self-contained and has no memory of the beds she leaves, she can survive both as a creature of r e a l time, the night, and as an embodiment of the ancient moment when the beast turns human. Her attention, F e l i x r e f l e c t s , seems perpetually absorbed by something "not yet in hist o r y . " (N. p. 267). Her essence then, i s pre-time just as i t i s pre-moral. She l i s t e n s to "the echo of some force in the blood that had no known setting" (N. p. 267). Intimacy with her i s simply an acknowledgement of t h i s f a c t . When she i s pregnant, she i s c a t a l e p t i c a l l y calm, newly aware of some "l o s t land" in herself (N. p. 268). She wanders through the countryside, and to other c i t i e s , and 176 f i n a l l y into churches. She prays monstrous prayers based on no judgement, no morality. She gives b i r t h , crying out in affirmation and despair " l i k e a c h i l d who has walked into the commencement of a horror" (N. p. 270). Such i s l i f e in Barnes' terms. Robin's d u a l i t y i s extreme—often hovering, the somnambule, between l i f e and death, day and night. But versions of t h i s same d i v i s i o n are true of a l l the characters; they d i f f e r only in degree. Even Nora Flood, whose equilibrium i s the most detached, bases her poise on alternating states of savagery and refinement. This i s the chord then that the u t t e r l y savage Robin st r i k e s in her with her love. This i s p r e c i s e l y what Nora needs to love. It i s at her p e r i l that she does so and she i s destroyed by i t . In her need to possess and claim such a creature, i t i s not d i f f i c u l t to see Nora's need for self-possession, for control of her own sub-conscious, her "nig h t - s e l f " . In her anguish at losing Robin, she c r i e s out to O'Connor much as one of her l i t e r a r y ancestors, Catherine Ernshaw had c r i e d out to Nelly Dean, "She i s myself. What am I to do?" (N. p. 127) Of course, Robin can only sustain her existence and sanity i f she remains impervious to such claims from others. "She managed in that sleep to keep whole" (N. p. 142). Nora, who v i r t u a l l y "slaps" Robin awake into consciousness, becomes a kind of Madonna figure for her—both loving her and f i l l i n g her with g u i l t , while o f f e r i n g the only chance for her redemption. When Robin i s broken at the end of the 177 novel, and at the moment of turning back from human into beast, she comes to Nora to of f e r herself up at her feet. F e l i x too takes up the powerful imagery that Robin invokes and embodies. He expects i t to complete him and to transform his destiny. He recognizes the ancient qua l i t y in her and mistakes i t for n o b i l i t y with which he can a l i g n himself. So while he senses danger in her involvement with the p a s t — she i s "an infected c a r r i e r of the p a s t " — i t i s s t i l l for him overwhelmingly "as i f t h i s g i r l were the converging halves of a broken fate, setting face, i n sleep, toward i t s e l f in time, as an image and i t s r e f l e c t i o n in a lake seem parted only by the he s i t a t i o n in the hour" (N. p. 262). So Robin s i l e n t l y throws up images to each of the characters in which they see t h e i r needs mirrored; she evokes in each t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r version of the "eternal wedding" between time and the timeless, animal and human, grace and s i n , man and woman. In the face of her they are a l l "human hunger pressing i t s breast to the prey" (N. p. 262). For a l l t h i s , Robin i s , as Joseph Frank r i g h t l y states, a "figure" rather than a character, "since character implies humanity and she has not yet attained to the l e v e l of the 48 human." We meet her as a somnambule at the moment before she i s awakened. For a l l that we ever know of her past l i f e and o r i g i n s , she could be being born at t h i s moment—an image coming out of nowhere, about to be taken up by those who discover her, as a metaphor by an a r t i s t . She symbolizes that "state of existence which i s before rather 178 than beyond, good and evil...she i s both innocent and depraved." She glides through l i f e as though i t were a 4 9 dream, a "formless meditation." To awaken would be to admit consciousness and an awareness of moral value. She i s both supremely e g o t i s t i c a l and without secure i d e n t i t y . "She knows she i s innocent because she can't do anything in r e l a t i o n to anyone but herself" (N. p. 347). The doctor t e l l s F e l i x , Robin's abandoned husband, that Robin had written from America saying "Remember me." "Probably," he remarks, "because she has d i f f i c u l t y remembering herself" (N. p. 327). She i s the s e l f out of time, amoral and therefore innocent of a l l but elemental creaturely vanity --the momentary vanity of a figure captured i n a painting. The doctor describes her as "outside the human type,...a wild thing caught i n a woman's skin, monstrously alone, monstrously vain." As one c r i t i c astutely puts i t , Robin i s best r e a l i z e d as the f i c t i o n a l counterpart of a r e a l 50 person. Both F e l i x and Nora "love" Robin. Love then seems to be the obvious means for t h e i r self-completion. Barnes i s interested, as her l a t e r play, The Antiphon indicates, with the antiphonal.nature of love as a f i n a l attempt to make whole. This idea sees love as that between two halves of the same i d e n t i t y as man's main hope for transcendence of his debased p o s i t i o n : ...as the high plucked banks Of the v i o l a rend out the unplucked strings below There i s the antiphon. 179 I've seen loves so eat each other's mouth T i l l that the common clamour, co-intwined Wrung out the hidden singing in the tongue Its chaste, economy-—there i s the adoration So the day, day f i t for dying i n , Is the plucked accord.51 (emphasis added) In that play Barnes' pessimism has the antiphonal r e l a t i o n s h i p between mother and daughter end in mutual destruction. In Nightwood, Robin wants from Nora, despite herself, a love that w i l l break through her cat a l e p t i c trance, to make something of her, to make her capable of antiphonal love. In i t s doomed nature, however, Nora can only o f f e r a kind of s a c r i f i c a l love, as a parent for a c h i l d who w i l l c e r t a i n l y leave, O'Connor t e l l s her—"You should have had a thousand children and Robin... should have been a l l of them" (N. p. 311). Love might have succeeded where language f a i l s in giving the characters something to enact; but love for Barnes most often seals characters o f f more t e r r i b l y than before. Most frequently she deals with versions of love which are not at a l l l i k e l y to free the lovers i . e . incestuous, f a m i l i a l or homosexual love. Some are l i k e l y to dismiss such a stand, but I think i t reasonable to see i t as important and universal a version of love i n extremis, as one might f i n d in an Expressionistic painting of similar subjects. Barnes' suggestion i s that for characters hungering for Edenic completion, the most perfect and appropriate love should involve a mirror image of the s e l f found on the same basis of i d e n t i t y , i n blood or sex. Early i n her writing career, 180 Barnes expressed t h i s idea in an elegiac poem to a dead l o v e r — " S i x Songs of Khalidine." It i s not gentleness but mad despair That sets us k i s s i n g mouths, Oh Khalidine Your mouth and mine...and one sweet mouth unseen We c a l l our soul...52 (emphasis added) Nightwood o f f e r s another version of t h i s key to Barnes 1 representation of herself in a r t : "A man i s another person--a woman i s yourself caught as you turn in panic; on her mouth you kiss your own. If she i s taken you cry that you have been robber of yourself. God laughs at me, but his laughter i s my love" (No. p. 344). Homosexual or incestuous love i s Barnes ' most perfect image for recovery of the l o s t s e l f . Man i s always the other. But neither F e l i x nor Nora i s capable of s e l f -transforming love, even i f Robin were capable of adequate response, because they are f a t a l l y flawed by d i v i s i o n s within t h e i r own characters. Nora Flood, the observer, who l i k e Matthew O'Connor watches the night rather than be one of i t s victims, i s as much a victim of her own contradictory attitudes as of circumstance. She was "by temperament an early C h r i s t i a n ' she believed the word; t h i s meant that she robbed herself for everyone...wandering people the world over found her p r o f i t a b l e in that she could be sold for a price forever, for she ca r r i e d her betrayal money in her own pocket" (N. p. 273). Her American salon i s a parody of the Parisian salon for the c u l t u r a l l y e l e c t ; i t i s populated by paupers and s o c i a l outcasts. She i s described 181 not as a woman of the world, but in images of the American west. These and references to her puritan temperament base her seemingly naive s p i r i t u a l attitude on the h i s t o r i c a l innocence of the American people and t h e i r b e l i e f in the inherent goodness in man, and in the p o s s i b i l i t y of change, along with, i n Joseph Frank's words, "an indiscriminate approbation of a l l forms of e t h i c a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l 53 unconventionality." Godless as she f e e l s herself to be, i t i s simple C h r i s t i a n p i t y that draws her to Robin. She expects both to win her and to save her by enveloping her in an unjudging love based on goodness. But the i n e v i t a b l i t y at work here has nothing to do with C h r i s t i a n j u s t i c e . In Barnes' world, she has "given herself away" in the ferocious externalizing of her love, and she has therefore brought about her own r u i n . Nora's reaction on meeting Robin at the circus runs p a r a l l e l to that of the lioness who "recognizes" a fellow wild creature temporarily tamed. "Being neither animal 54 nor human, Robin evokes p i t y from both species. Nora too responds i n t u i t i v e l y to Robin, taking her hand and leading her away from t h i s tragic "recognition" scene which i s c l e a r l y d i s t r e s s i n g her. Robin i s v i r t u a l l y a mute character in the novel, yet at t h i s meeting she i s compelled by another primitive recognition to ask Nora to set up a home for her, "aware, without conscious knowledge, that she belonged to Nora, and that i f Nora did not make i t permanent by her own strength, she would forget" (N. p. 276). 182 And t h i s Nora manages to do for a time. In the process Nora i s able to ease "the tension i n Robin between the 55 animal and the human forces which are tearing her apart." In the end, however, unconditional love and acceptance f a i l to "give Robin permission to l i v e , " as F e l i x puts i t (N. p. 324). Love has broken down her elemental vanity and threatened her trance-like equilibrium, so she must leave i t . As a wild creature, p a r t i a l l y tamed, she i s t e r r i f i e d of leaving her protected state. She c l i n g s to Nora desperately during t h e i r protracted estrangement, tortured by a newly awakened sense that she may be required to make moral and emotional choices a f t e r a l l . In the process, Nora i s , as O'Connor puts i t , "dismantled" h e r s e l f . Her c a r e f u l l y balanced equilibrium i s shattered. "Love has f a l l e n o f f her wall, 1! he continues. "A r e l i g i o u s woman...without the joy and safety of the Catholic faith...take that safety from a woman and love gets loose and into the rafters...Out looking for what she's a f r a i d to f i n d — R o b i n . There goes the mother of mischief, running about try i n g to get the world home" (N. p. 311). Like a displaced and g r i e f - s t r i c k e n madonna, tryi n g to administer comfort to Robin, to the world, when she i s the abandoned creature. As she and Robin f a l l apart, Nora's p u r i t a n i c a l l y repressed subconscious r i s e s up against her in dreams, which o f f e r valuable imagistic keys to her psyche i n v i s i b l e at any other time, images of the tormented sexual s e l f . 183 —- Asleep she dreams of her grandmother, of the old woman's fading possessions, of her past, of sex, of her childhood house and of the instruments of Barnes' own c r a f t — " a plume and an inkwell--the ink faded into the q u i l l " (N. p. 281). When Robin enters the dream Nora t r i e s to bring her upstairs to her grandmother's room, a place which i s "taboo." A submerged, incestuous, f a m i l i a l s e l f - l o v e becomes hopelessly merged with the fading love for yet another version of h e r s e l f — h e r female lover. In her dream the grandmother appears in a variety of costumes—one of them a man's. She looks at Nora with a "leer of love," c a l l i n g her "my l i t t l e sweetheart!" (N. p. 282). Nora's own lesbianism seems to originate here i n t h i s former version of herself, with waves of an incestuous suggestion s t i l l f e l t i n adult l i f e , when she loves Robin in her boy's clothes. One cannot help but remember Nora's words on entering Doctor O'Connor's room late at night to f i n d him s i t t i n g up in bed wearing a woman's nightdress and a crooked wig. "God, children know something they can't t e l l ; they l i k e Red Riding Hood and the wolf in bed!" (N. p. 295). The only element missing from her r e f l e c t i o n here i s the grandmother. In the adult Nora, i s i t the covertly lesbian and devouring grandmother who appears i n dream to undermine her younger version of herself? It i s only through sub-conscious playing out that Nora comes to see, at the very edge of sanity, what she has been doing. "I struggled with her [Robin] ...as with 184 the c o i l s of my own most obvious heart. I thought I loved her for her own sake, and I found i t was for my own" (N. p. 351). One aspect of lesbian influence during t h i s period i s discussed by Susan Gubar in her a r t i c l e : "Blessings in Disguise" Cross-Dressing as Re-Dressing for Female 56 Modernists." This she discusses as a p a r t i c u l a r l y i n f l u e n t i a l style among women, es p e c i a l l y women a r t i s t s l i v i n g i n Europe between the wars. She sees i t as an alienated expression of selfhood, but at the same time, a confident expression of love for other women, and by extension, the female s e l f . Robin Vote i s a reasonably discreet cross-dresser by comparison with Matthew O'Connor, the novel's most tortured homosexual. He has none of Robin's power over people, yet he i s frequently consulted as an authority on the nightworld. He i s the p r i n c i p a l voicer of i t s images. In f a c t , the novel could well be O'Connor's imagined story. Most of the narrative consists of his commentary on the events and t h e i r cosmic implications. As T.S. E l i o t says of T i r e s i a s in The Waste Land, what he sees i s 5 7 the substance of the piece. Like T i r e s i a s , he seems to have experienced i t a l l , which gives him the ri g h t to act as confessor to the novel's night creatures. For th i s reason Nora comes to him with her question, "Watchman, what of the night?" At f i r s t he appears to be outside the suffe r i n g his discourse explores, while at the same time f u l l y aware of the p r a c t i c a l f u t i l i t y of his knowledge. 185 But we become quickly aware that he i s helpless, and even more hopeless, than the other characters, t a l k i n g because there i s nothing else that can be done. " . . . t e l l i n g my st o r i e s to people l i k e you to take the mortal agony out of t h e i r guts...I talk too much because I have been made so miserable by what you're keeping hushed" (p. 339). We learn that he i s c e n t r a l l y concerned with his own mortal agony and that t h i s i s what makes him such an authority. He occasionally becomes h y s t e r i c a l with the e f f o r t . In an outburst to Nora, who i n her obsession i s not l i s t e n i n g — he c r i e s "Do you think there i s no lament in t h i s world but your own?...A broken heart have you! I have f a l l i n g arches, f l y i n g dandruff, a f l o a t i n g kidney, shattered nerves and a broken heart!...Am I going forward screaming that i t hurts, that my mind goes back, or holding my guts as i f they were a c o i l of knives?" (N. p. 353). In fact he occupies the middle position which Barnes elsewhere c a l l s "the halt p o s i t i o n of the damned." He i s god of the night who would be C h r i s t , or at very l e a s t , Dante, In his mortally compromised p o s i t i o n , he i s capable of both profound detachment, and deep complicity with the universal misery of ours. The Designing Se l f : The Self as Design There i s in the p o r t r a i t s of Nora and 0' Connor, the two "registering consciousnesses" of the novel, a fascination with disorder and depravity under the oppression of the 186 C h r i s t i a n e t h i c , as though perversity and C h r i s t i a n i t y were the only two natural poles for human behaviour. Nevertheless, Barnes 1 narrative i s not i t s e l f subject to the same laws as her characters' l i v e s . She assigns tr a g i c value to t h e i r experiences and then proceeds to i n s i s t on pattern in t h e i r desperate struggles with i n e v i t a b i l i t y and d i s s o l u t i o n . Experience may be grotesquely random, but in the a r t i s t i c processes of t r y i n g to gather the fragments, one guards oneself against r u i n . There i s design in these degraded d u a l i t i e s , which provides the novel with the q u a l i t i e s of an a r t i s t i c parable. But while the characters f a i l , and, f i n a l l y the author f a l l s s i l e n t , matter has been d i s t i l l e d . transformed, and therefore in some sense redeemed: We were created that the earth might be made sensible of her inhuman taste; and love that the body might be so dear that even the earth should roar with i t . (N. p. 314) Just as the loved object can be transformed and "made sensible" by the investment of imagery and value, so i t i s possible that the experience of l i v i n g can be redeemed in l i k e manner in works of ar t . The o v e r a l l design of the novel has been described by 5 8 Andrew F i e l d as that of a "verbal art deco construct." It also draws on other v i s u a l arts s t y l e s — s u r r e a l i s m , expressionism, rococo and the grotesque, a l l i n f l u e n t i a l styles in representation in the 20's and 30's when Barnes was t r a v e l l i n g around Europe, and to which, she as a painter and i l l u s t r a t o r must have responded. Barnes' test 187 i s v e r bally, and through i t s " s p a t i a l i z e d " images, v i s u a l l y ornate. She frequently substitutes pattern and texture for t r a d i t i o n a l n o v e l i s t i c constructs, which makes her use of ornament far more subversive and compelling than her fin-de-s i e c l e "beauty i n barbarity" heritage alone would imply. « f (Her early i l l u s t r a t i o n s were very much in the Yellow Book Beardsley s t y l e , though i n the twenties, with Ryder, she moves curiously closer to Blake.) Of these v i s u a l arts s t y l e s , i t i s the grotesque that most thoroughly and i n t r i c a t e l y i n f i l t r a t e s the text. Ruskin had defined the grotesque in connection with Roman grotto painting as "a series of symbols thrown together with a bold and fearless connection of truths which i t would have taken a long time 59 to express i n any verbal way." I t i s easy to interpret in the work of Barnes, a "painterly" writer, the same sense of "silences...encrustations...humour...and at base ...horror before l i f e " which the grotesque t r a d i t i o n in art embodied.^ The grotesque, according to Wolfgang Kayser, i s the primary a r t i s t i c expression of "estrangement... a l i e n a t i o n , the absurd [and] the incomprehensible."^''' In i t the laws of nature are suspended, the inanimate comes to l i f e and l i f e i s at the mercy of unseen forces. Its f i f t e e n t h and sixteenth century ori g i n s stressed above a l l a cert a i n ornamental s t y l e , one i n t e r e s t i n g aspect of which, in r e l a t i o n to Barnes, i s the blending of animal, plant and human forms. The world of these grotesque designs i s 1 8 8 meant to form "the dark and s i n i s t e r background of a brigher, r a t i o n a l l y organized world...a world where...the laws of s t a t i c s , symmetry and proportion are no longer v a l i d . The sixteenth century synonym for the grotesque i s 'the dreams of the painters ' [sogni dei p i t t o r i ] involving the d i s s o l u t i o n of r e a l i t y and the p a r t i c i p a t i o n of the observer 6 2 i n a d i f f e r e n t kind of existence." It i s not very far at a l l , i t seems to me, from t h i s description of an a r t i s t i c archetype, to i t s very s p e c i f i c application in Barnes' creation of such a dreamlike, s i n i s t e r night world f u l l of attenuated creatures. It was Montaigne, the ancestor of a l l imaginative attempts at self-representation, who transferred the term from fine arts to l i t e r a t u r e . Speaking of his own essays, he c a l l e d them "monstrous bodies, pieced together of the most diverse members, without d i s t i n c t form, in which order 6 3 and proportion are l e f t to chance." The twentieth century preoccupation with the grotesque can be seen in works as diverse as Wedekind's Erdgeist (Earth S p i r i t ) , which deals with the Beast or primitive force [Urgestalt] as the r e a l s e l f , to the works of the I t a l i a n playwrights who formed the "Teatro del grottesco" ( 1 9 1 6 - 1 9 2 5 ) ; most famous of them was Pirandello, whose personal creed, p a r a l l e l i n g that of his contemporary, Djuna Barnes, could be stated as: The absolute conviction that everything i s vain and hollow, and that man i s only a puppet in the hand of fate. Man's pains and pleasures as well as his deeds are unsubstantial dreams in a world of ominous darkness that i s ruled by b l i n d f o r t u n e . " 6 4 189 B o t h o f t h e s e s e t s o f a r t i s t s - - W e d e k i n d a n d t h e G e r m a n E x p r e s s i o n i s t d r a m a t i s t s , a n d t h e I t a l i a n t h e a t r e o f t h e g r o t e s q u e w e r e c o n t e m p o r a n e o u s w i t h B a r n e s ' w o r k i n t h e 2 0 ' s , a n d t h e r e a r e u n d e n i a b l e s i m i l a r i t i e s i n w o r l d v i e w a n d a p p r o a c h . We s h o u l d n o t b e , w i t h a n y o f t h e s e w r i t e r s , o v e r l y d i s t r a c t e d b y t h e " f a n t a s t i c " e l e m e n t o f t h e g r o t e s q u e o r l o s e s i g h t o f i t s p r i m a r y p u r p o s e i n t h e t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y . Thomas Mann r e m i n d s u s t h a t "The g r o t e s q u e i s t h a t w h i c h i s e x t r e m e l y t r u e a n d e x c e s s i v e l y r e a l , n o t t h a t w h i c h i s 65 a r b i t r a r y , f a l s e , i r r e a l a n d a b s u r d . " I f t h i s i s t h e c o r e , a s I a r g u e , t h e r a d i c a l p u r p o s e o f B a r n e s ' t e x t , i t i s i m p o r t a n t f i r s t t o c o n s i d e r t h e w i l f u l l y n o n - n a t u r a l i s t i c m e t h o d s f o r i t s e m b o d i m e n t : t h e a r t i f i c e o f t h e n o v e l , i n w h i c h , i f i t i s t o s u c c e e d , t h e " f o r m a l " v a l u e o f t h e t e x t m u s t b e shown " t o b e a n a c c u r a t e e x p r e s s i o n o f t h e i n n e r v a l u e , i n s u c h a way t h a t d u a l i t y o f f o r m a n d c o n t e n t c e a s e s t o e x i s t . O n e o f t h e p r i n c i p a l means o f d i s s o l v i n g t h i s d u a l i t y i s b y o b j e c t i f y i n g t h e s u b j e c t i v e i n new w a y s . A n d t h i s i s w h a t , I p r o p o s e , B a r n e s i n t e n d e d w i t h t h e i m a g e s i n h e r t e x t . T h e y w e r e t o embody a w o r l d , a s t a t e o f m i n d , a v e r s i o n o f h e r s e l f i n a e s t h e t i c f o r m s t h a t t h e t r a d i t i o n a l n o v e l d i d n o t a l l o w . T h i s o p e r a t e s i n t w o w a y s : f i r s t — o n t h e l a r g e r l e v e l o f t h e f o r m s o f w h i c h t h e n a r r a t i v e w o r l d o f N i g h t w o o d i s c o m p o s e d — o r d e r i n g f r a m e s / t a b l e a u x , e s s e n t i a l l y a s J o s e p h F r a n k c o n c l u d e s , s p a t i a l u n i t s o f p e r c e p t i o n , r a t h e r t h a n t e m p o r a l o r p s y c h o l o g i c a l o n e s ; i n a s e c o n d s e n s e , a n d o n e w h i c h o p e r a t e s 190 more i n t r i c a t e l y and t h o r o u g h l y — l i k e coloured threads running through the t e x t — c h a r a c t e r , relations and states of consciousness too are o b j e c t i f i e d into aesthetic forms as objects, images or arrangements, as metaphorical or poetic constructs. This produces a remarkable sense of design in the work, uniting v i s u a l and thematic components into an elaborate and highly ordered collage or tapestry of s e n s i b i l i t y . These poetic ordering techniques do not simply "embellish or f l e s h out narrative," as the c r i t i c Louis Kannenstine notes. They achieve a far more r a d i c a l intention: to "reformulate narrative design." 6^ (emphasis added) It i s more than a matter of suffering made tolerable by a r t ; the narrative i s freed from the t r a d i t i o n a l r e s t r i c t i o n s of sequence and c a u s a l i t y as the p r i n c i p a l means of encoding aesthetic meaning. Here, meaning i s given form in image; and patterns of meaning are based e n t i r e l y on the novel's metaphorical patterning. Such patterns "objectify, the subjective...worldify the imminent" as Ortega Gasset puts i t . 6 8 There i s a new approach to character i m p l i c i t in such an ordering process. Characters may embody ce r t a i n ideas or forces, but r e f e r e n t i a l d e t a i l about them based in r e a l i t y , i s i r r e l e v a n t to Barnes' purpose, and i s therefore not provided. They become figures of a mythic perspective rather than an h i s t o r i c a l or psychological one. Barnes' o b j e c t i f y i n g process, focusing as i t does on catalogues of objects, streams of description based on patterns of association of clothing, rooms and furniture, works to subvert any " n a t u r a l i s t i c " reader involvement with the text, characters or "human" sit u a t i o n s . By eliminating a r e a l i s t i c surface, we are l e f t to face the text passively, as her characters must confront the f a n t a s t i c tableaux that surround them—frozen emblems of a world in extremis with the 69 "freakish contours of a dream." In t h i s dream world transient d e t a i l becomes transmuted as though under sudden spotlight, into pure metaphor whose l i t e r a l or narrative reference ceases to matter. This realm of pure metaphor i s a verbal world whose order i s symbolic, and whose frames of action are frozen into emblematic tableaux as highly charged, and i n t r i c a t e l y coded as any painting where design and purpose are one. As i s only appropriate to such a design, there i s a s t a t i c q u a l i t y to the action within these frames. Language serves to illuminate, i n tr a g i c idiom, timeless frames in which i t i s understood that change, for any character, i s impossible. There i s necessarily a gap between language and action. Introspective monologue and confession take the place of enacted confrontation or resolution i n the novel. Instead of resolution, Barnes of f e r s ceaselessly revised perspectives, "substituting one i d e n t i t y among differences for another i n an i n f i n i t e process of emergent meaning"--a c l a s s i c iirtodernist 70 achievement in the Joycean s t y l e . T.S. E l i o t recognized t h i s metaphorical design in Barnes' novel when he wrote in his introduction to i t s f i r s t e d i t i o n that i t would "appeal primarily to readers of 71 poetry." He quickly q u a l i f i e s t h i s by saying "I do not mean that Miss Barnes 1 style i s "poetic prose." But I do mean that most contemporary novels are not r e a l l y 'written:'" He then focuses on what he c a l l s the compelling "pattern" of the book. "The book i s not simply a c o l l e c t i o n of in d i v i d u a l p o r t r a i t s ; the characters are a l l knotted together, as people are i n r e a l l i f e , by what one may c a l l chance and destiny, rather than by deliberate choice of each other's company: i t i s the whole pattern that they form, rather than any in d i v i d u a l constituent, that i s the focus of 72 in t e r e s t " (emphasis added.) While agreeing e n t i r e l y with his remarks about the sense of design in the novel, I disagree with E l i o t in his c conclusion that Barnes' style i s not poetic. I t is_ poetic prose, and moreover, the world of Nightwood could only have been created by a poet. I agree with Ralph Freedman in his study of the l y r i c a l novel which places Barnes along with 73 Joyce and Woolf at the apex of the "novel as poem." In the works of these writers, "the world i s transformed into the s o l i l o q u i s t ' s images (including those of the author) 74 from which character and action are made to emerge." What d i f f e r e n t i a t e s l y r i c a l from n o n - l y r i c a l writing Freedman says, i s "a d i f f e r e n t concept of o b j e c t i v i t y . . . independent designs in which awareness of men's experiences i s merged with i t s objects. Rather than finding i t s Gestalt in the imitation of an action, the l y r i c a l novel absorbs action altogether and refashions i t as a pattern of 7 5 imagery." This i s p r e c i s e l y Barnes' narrative strategy in Nightwood. Her "principles of composition" are based on 7 6 "the i n t r i c a t e cross-reference of image and symbol." A l a t e r remark by E l i o t i s relevant in t h i s regard. "It seems to me that a l l of us, so far as we attach ourselves to created objects and surrender our w i l l s to temporal ends, 7 7 are eaten by the same worm" (emphasis added). The compulsion to "attach ourselves to created objects" i s a universal malady which serves as the basis for Barnes 1 poetic designs. It i s p r e c i s e l y t h i s almost b i b l i c a l sense of a man's material existence and of his inevitable mortality on which Barnes constructs her novel. To better e s t a b l i s h t h i s sense of metaphorical structure, I w i l l examine a number of the novel's key tableaux. Its opening frame, for example, c l e a r l y places the action, at the outset, in h i s t o r i c a l time. It i s quickly injected with a sense of timeless metaphorical resonance, however, from history to fable i n two pages. I t i s "early in 1880" when F e l i x Volkbein's imagined mother—a f a m i l i a r androgynous Barnes female type--a "Viennese woman of great strength and m i l i t a r y beauty" surrounded by the heavy Hapsburg decor of her time and s t a t u s — " a canopied bed of a r i c h spectacular crimson" beneath a feather coverlet enveloped in s a t i n , on which "in massive and tarnished gold threads stood the Volkbein arms, i s engaged in an act of central 194 concern in a l l Barnes f i c t i o n — t h a t of giving b i r t h (N. p. 233). B i r t h and death are always i n close proximity in Barnes 1 writing, and the decor of characters' l i v e s serves merely to furnish the interim spaces. Here the tarnished crest i s no guard against the mortal r i s k of tryi n g to perpetuate the l i n e . Barnes never f a i l s to remind us of what curses women—here--the grotesque contortion required to produce l i f e — " t h e genuflexion of the hunted body makes from muscular contraction, going down before the impending and inaccessible, as before a great heat" (N. p. 234). The woman's husband had died some months p r e v i o u s l y — c h i l d l e s s , and "impaled" on his wife the Chri s t i a n Hedvig, himself an I t a l i a n Jew who had done a l l he could to "be one with her" and f a i l e d . This too i s a Barnes paradigm for human r e l a t i o n s , and points to other unsatisfactory a l l i a n c e s we well--with God for example. Hedwig's m i l i t a r i n e s s reminds us of the fact that the novel i s being written in the 30's when elements of German expressionism, Nietzschean v i t a l i s m and p o l i t i c a l fascism were taking m i l i t a r y shape in Europe. This woman too had some of the heroic q u a l i t i e s of Shakespeare's cross-dressing heroines, reminding us of the lesbian i n t e l l i g e n t s i a which was at the centre of Barnes' s o c i a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l l i f e i n Paris a f t e r World War I. "The feather in her hat had been knife clean and quivering as i f in an heraldic wind; she had been a woman held up to nature, precise, deep-bosomed and gay....She personified massive chic" (N. p. 236) The metaphorical house of F e l i x ' s imagined parents i s the f i r s t stage setting of the novel. It was a "fantastic museum" of the encounters that took place t h e r e — w i t h i t s rococo h a l l s , "giddy with plush, whorled designs in gold... Roman fragments, white and dis-associated" (N. p. 236). As a salon i t could not but overwhelm with i t s shields, birds and massive pianos. Beneath the huge bulk of the furniture and the gleaming surfaces, there i s a strong suggestion of violence, blood and uncontrollable force, barely contained. There i s underfoot a "thick dragon's blood p i l e of rugs from Madrid" (N. p. 237). In the room were "two rambling desks in r i c h and bloody wood." Both feature in ornamental design reminiscent of f i f t e e n t h and sixteenth century I t a l i a n grotesque, animal figures, hammered out of s i l v e r to form "a l i o n , a bear, a ram, a dove, and in t h e i r midst a flaming torch" (N. p. 237). In t h i s intensely coded decor, there is. a profoundly disturbing and d e s t a b i l i z i n g M juxtaposition of images, of on the one hand immovable substance and the power of history, and on the other, of blood,fire and lurking animality below the surface. As i f we were ourselves spectators in t h i s f a n t a s t i c room, our attention i s drawn toward a painting of the dead husband's mother. There i s in i t s description, the usual Barnes high focus on clothing as possessing a great deal of disembodied information about the wearer. The reader's gaze i s directed from the subject of the p o r t r a i t ' s sumptuous visage and "overt mouth," to "pearled sleeves" and " s t i f f lace" framing a "conical and braided head." Below i t , "the deep accumulation of dress f e l l about in groined shadows; the t r a i n , rambling through a v i s t a of primitive trees, was carpet thick" (N. p. 237). Here Barnes uses the power of clothing to mask, with almost Elizabethan formality, and at the same time to suggest powerfully, both sex and i d e n t i t y . The dress i s described as an "accumulation," an accretion of meaning added to the wearer i n layers; the t r a i n rambles almost independently of the wearer, through what appears to be an e a r l i e r , or possibly the same timeless version, of the nightwood i n which a l l of the novel's l a t e r characters w i l l be l o s t . The power of his opening t a b l e a u — t h i s "fantastic museum"--is i n no way diminished by the annoucement at i t s end, that i t i s a fake, " f i c t i o n a l . " The woman's painting was purchased by F e l i x as an a l i b i to help account for orig i n s unknown. We are i n the realm of personal f i c t i o n , decorated with the objects F e l i x Volkbein has chosen, l a t e r , a f t e r adult r e f l e c t i o n , to represent him. This i s the room he might have, would l i k e to have, been born i n . This i s the kind of Old European scenario he would have chosen to appear i n . It helps to explain and o b j e c t i f y his condition, and the mystery of his l i f e , which he experiences as a kind of Immaculate Conception, making a more poignant comedy than ever of his l o t as the twentieth century Wandering Jew. After t h i s associative excursion into "history" we return to the "present" of narrative time—1920. F e l i x i s a dandy 197 in Paris, stuck in the f i n - d e - s i e c l e s t y l e , looking for "anyone who looked as i f he might be 'someone'" who w i l l perhaps remind him of the actors in the stage setting of his b i r t h , and back through i t into history, with which he craves union (N. p. 240). I have dwelt for so long on t h i s opening scene of the novel, to e s t a b l i s h an immediate example of Barnes' densely imagistic ordering process. I do not want simply to catalogue images. Every l i n e of the book would have to be considered, so intense and crafted i s the writing in i t s poetry. Barnes i s doing more than presenting us with a Byzantine wall of superb images—though she does simultaneously do that. She i s e stablishing t h i s reliance on pattern, juxtaposition and cross-reference of image and symbol to give us a l l of the e s s e n t i a l narrative information of the text. We receive i t , as we would receive, passively and having to translate for ourselv'es, the meaning of a painting. It i s at once d i s t i l l e d — t h e images are frozen and c l e a r — a n d expanding out into timeless resonance, through texturing and layering, choreographing,nuance and counterpoint. F e l i x himself i s constantly searching for images or tableaux that w i l l both d i s t r a c t him from his obsession with the past, and l i k e the paintings of his "ancestors," provide him with further v i s i b l e "objective c o r r e l a t i v e s " for his existence. The diversion that Barnes provides for him—the o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n of a l l diversionary a c t i v i t y in the decadent c a p i t a l s of Europe between the w a r s — i s the 198 c i r c u s , the night theatre of B e r l i n . This makes up the novel's second major tableau. F e l i x had since childhood been caught up with the pageantry of the c i r c u s . The version he encounters as an adult does not feature the kings and queens he had imagined as a c h i l d , but wonderful fakes, the circus n o b i l i t y of fa l s e princesses, l y i n g kings and pretend duchesses, wonderful t i t l e s for "gaudy cheap cuts from the beast l i f e " — d e c o r a t i n g themselves with an a r i s t o c r a t i c overlay barely concealing t h e i r reeking, animal v i t a l i t y . Their t i t l e s were only meant to "dazzle boys" and to make l i f e mysterious (N. p. 241). These people take t h e i r props and sets with them, moving between sham salons a l l over Europe. I t i s t h e i r shameless, flaunting falseness which wins F e l i x ' s heart, and he "became for a l i t t l e while a part of th e i r splendid and reeking f a l s i f i c a t i o n " (p. 241). Thus i s encapsulated one of Barnes' favourite d u a l i t i e s — the splendid pageant, the br i g h t l y coloured, the v i t a l , the ornamental and the ephemeral miraculous show—and i t s underside—the rank, the degraded, the decay beneath the i l l u s i o n . In the c i r c u s , sex and animal v i t a l i t y merge—the warm smell "stronger than the beasts" (N. p. 241). This world provides a natural scenario for F e l i x ; in i t he finds "a sense of peace which formerly he had experienced only i n museums" (N. p. 241). His existence has found, for a time, a perfect set of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n s — a n d he cleaves to them with "humble hysteria" and a profound sense of recognition. 199 The decaying brocades and laces" he remembers from his imagined past, the "old and documented splendour" (N. p. 2 4 1 ) . His love for his world where the beast roams free i s that of "the love of the l i o n for i t s tamer--that sweat-tarnished spangled enigma that, i n bringing the beast to heel, had somehow turned toward him a face l i k e his own... [it] had...picked the precise fury from his brain" (N. p. 241) . F e l i x loves, too, the "emotional s p i r a l of the ci r c u s " - - f a m i l i a r yet unknowable (N. p. 2 4 1 ) . I t provides him with a s c r i p t . He detects that the cast, the audience and above a l l , the action in the centre r i n g , re-enact a primeval drama from the r a c i a l unconscious, a p o t e n t i a l l y comic, monstrous replaying of the trag i c material of ancient amphitheatres. The performers are rendered larger than l i f e , more than themselves, in t h e i r performance. The androgynous a e r i a l i s t , Frau Mann the Duchess of Broadback, i s "preserved"--defined forever by her performance. As she survives by s k i l l in the a l i e n element of the a i r , she becomes a kind of performing bi-sexual a r t i f a c t . She seemed to have a skin that was the pattern of her costume; a bodice of lozenges, red and yellow, low in the back and r u f f l e d over and under the arms, faded with the reek of her three-day c o n t r o l , red t i g h t s , laced boots... they ran through her as the design runs through hard holiday candies, and the bulge in the groin where she took the bar...was so s o l i d , s p e c i a l i z e d and as polished as oak. The st u f f of the tigh t s was no longer a covering, i t was herself ; the span of the t i g h t l y stitched crotch was so much her own f l e s h that she was as unsexed as a d o l l . The needle that made 200 one the property of the c h i l d made the other the property of no man. (N. p. 242) (emphasis added) It i s not d i f f i c u l t to read t h i s as a feminist inspired version of the o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n of womanhood v i a costume and performance. The irony comes only at the end, that the costume and the t r i c k s unsex as they provide i d e n t i t y . The woman who i s intent upon denying gravity, cannot be possessed. The description of the a e r i a l i s t provides valuable clues as to the kind of representation Barnes i s interested i n . The pattern of her costume, i t s colours and markings, form a  design which seems to "run through her" to the core, indistinguishable from h e r s e l f . They do not form an a r t i f i c i a l c overing—the skin and the coloured pattern are one. She i s a performing work of a r t , sexless as a marionette, but d e f i a n t l y the "property of no man," because she i s h a l f -man. She i s what Angela Carter in her recent novel Nights at the Circus, might have c a l l e d her f l y i n g , harlequined 7 8 heroine, an "acrobat of desire." We hear too, from Matthew O'Connor on his entrance in the narrative, of another version of the artifact/performer --Nikka, the bear-fighting negro, "tattooed from head to heel with a l l the ameublement of depravity! Garlanded with rosebuds and hackwork of the devil...over his belly...an angel from Chartres; on each buttock...a quotation from the book of magic... across his knees...'I' on one and on the other 'can'...Across his chest, beneath a caravel in f u l l s a i l , two clasped hands, the wrist bones f r e t t e d with point 201 lace. On each bosom an arrow speared heart." There i s ornament on l i t e r a l l y every part of his body with words s p i l l i n g down his armpits and his legs covered in vinework and rambling roses. Even his private parts were guarded by tattooed words of warning. "Why a l l t h i s barbarity?" 0' Connor asked him. "He loved beauty ahd would have i t about him," we hear (N. p. 245). This circus world i s one where the currency for meaning i s s t r i c t l y v i s u a l , and where there i s an extravagant, almost a vulgar excess of s i g n i f i c a n c e ; a parody of the text i t s e l f ? Is the tattooed wrestler, the harlequined a e r i a l i s t , the creative a r t i s t "embodying" himself in his a r t i s t r y ? It i s i n t h i s world of performing metaphors that the novel's central love a f f a i r i s i n i t i a t e d , and i t too follows d i s t i n c t patterns of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n . At the lovers' emblematic meeting, Nora has taken a front row seat above the timeless arena of the circus r i n g . She i s aware of the primeval charge beneath the t r a d i t i o n a l smears of colour in clown face and costume; i t i s both ancient and s e x u a l — barely containing animality in man or beast. As she looked, the clowns"were r o l l i n g over the sawdust, as i f they were in the b e l l y of a great mother whale where there was yet  room to play" (N. p. 275). (emphasis added) This i s the excessively illuminated comic ri n g in the c e n t r e — t h e play of s i g n i f i c a t i o n — b e y o n d i t darkness, silenc e , and i n e v i t a b i l i t y . The creatures are tense, the horses trembling on hind legs before the trainer's whip. The l i o n s — t h e i r 202 t a i l s heavy and dragging as they are l e t out of t h e i r cages, make "the a i r seem f u l l of withheld strength" (N. p. 275). As Nora takes t h i s i n , her attention i s caught by the g i r l s i t t i n g next to her, whose hands are shaking as she l i g h t s a c i g a r e t t e . This moment .of one woman turning to face the o t h e r — t h e longed-for second s e l f — i s f i n e l y choreographed as the seeming climax for which the animals 1 tension has provided the momentum. "She looked at her suddenly because the animals going around and around the r i n g , a l l but climbed over at t h i s point" (N. p. 275). The animals' eyes sought out the g i r l l i k e searchlights. Nora had turned just in time to see one powerful lioness in her cage come over to a point exactly opposite the g i r l ; , "she turned her furious great head with i t s yellow eyes a f i r e and went down, her paws thrust through the bars and, as she regarded the g i r l , as i f a r i v e r were f a l l i n g behind impassible heat, her eyes flowed tears that never reached the surface. At that the g i r l rose...up" (N. p. 275-76). Nora rescues her from t h i s primitive "recognition" scene and leads her away. From that time on "they were so 'haunted' of each other that separation was impossible." The circus i s a potent f i g u r a t i v e construct in Barnes' novel. Often the action seems to take place i n just such an unnaturally illuminated arena as t h i s , with characters spotlighted as they speak, or "perform" for one another. Lesser versions of t h i s arena are the rooms the characters occupy, p a r t i c u l a r l y when, l i k e the one that opened the 203 novel, they seem to "generate" the character, in a sense. We f i r s t see Robin Vote, for example, unconscious or asleep, in her hotel room. O'Connor i s brought in when she cannot be roused. When f i r s t seen, she i s placed, beautiful and l i f e l e s s , i n v i r t u a l l y a Douanier Rousseau canvas. The room seems to speak of her o r i g i n s ; i t i s a jungle room with red carpets, "a confusion of potted plants, exotic palms and cut flowers, f a i n t l y over-sung by the notes of unseen birds." Her head i s turned away from the spectator and "threatened consciousness" (N. p. 259). She i s dressed in flan n e l trousers and her legs are frozen in the position of the dance. Her hands frame her face. This i s what i s seen. Next we are t o l d what she evokes, as one studies her, looking for information to make sense of her. What i s received i s primarily a perfume that her body seems to exhale, of earth-flesh, fungi...captured dampness...yet... dry, over cast with the odour of o i l of amber, which i s an inner malady of the sea, making her seem as i f she had invaded a sleep incautious and e n t i r e . Her f l e s h was the texture of plant l i f e , and beneath i t one sensed a frame, broad, porous and sleepworn, as i f sleep were a decay f i s h i n g her beneath the v i s i b l e surface. About her head there was an effulgence as of phosphorous glowing about the circumference of a body of water—as i f her l i f e lay through her in ungainly deteriorations. (N. pp. 259-60) (emphasis added) In her prostrate, almost annihilated state, she evokes e f f o r t l e s s l y , as a figure in a painting or an image in a poem evokes--ancient l i f e - - s m e l l s - - p l a n t s - - l i g h t in water 204 --decayJ When F e l i x looks into her eyes because of t h e i r s t a r t l i n g colour, he sees "the long unqualified range in the i r i s of wild beasts who have not tamed the focus down to meet the human eye" (N. pp. 261-62). This tableau of what seems to be the essence of t h i s woman's existence, reminds us of one of the key messages of the whole n o v e l — t h a t "the woman who presents herself to the spectator as a picture forever arranged i s , for the contemplative mind, the chiefest danger" (N. p. 261). The central metaphor for Robin's existence resonates out of the room and into the mythic landscape which i t suggests: Sometimes one meets a woman who i s beast turning human. Such a person's every movement w i l l  reduce to an image of a forgotten experience; a mirage of an eternal wedding cast on the r a c i a l memory; as insupportable joy as would be the v i s i o n of an eland coming down an a i s l e of trees, chapleted with orange blossoms and b r i d a l v e i l , a hoof raised in the economy of fear, stepping in the trepidation of f l e s h that w i l l become myth; as the unicord i s neither man nor beast deprived, but human hunger pressing i t s breast to i t s prey....Such a woman i s the infected c a r r i e r of the past...she i s eaten death returning... (M. pp. 262-53) (emphasis added) The room contains i n i t s ornamental imagery a l l of these signs of "the way back" (N. p. 264). When Nora and Robin l i v e together in Paris in an apartment on the rue du Cherche-Midi, they decorate i t s i n t e r i o r to provide material v e r i f i c a t i o n of t h e i r a l l i a n c e , aesthetic o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n of t h e i r love. Once more, rooms are metaphorical designs for experience: 205 In the passage of t h e i r l i v e s together every object in the garden, every item in the house, every word they spoke, attested to th e i r mutual love, the combining of the i r humours.... There were circus chairs, wooden horses from a ring of an old merry go round. Venetian chandeliers from the Flea F a i r , stage drops from Munich, cherubim from Vienna, e c c l e s i a s t i c a l hangings from Rome, a spinet from England, and a miscellaneous c o l l e c t i o n of music boxes from many countries. (N. p. 26 7) Such was the "museum" of th e i r l i f e together. When they begin to f a l l apart i t i s t h i s very "personality of the house" which torments Nora—"the punishment of those who c o l l e c t t h e i r l i v e s together" (N. p. 277). She fears that i f she disarranges anything, Robin may become confused and "lose the scent of home" (N. p. 277). Once t h i s l e v e l of suffe r i n g enters, love i t s e l f i s open to re-interpretation and r e - o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n . If i t had existed previously in th e i r shared c o l l e c t i o n of objects, i t must now take new form, as i t comes to exis t only in Nora's desperate imagination, "love becomes the deposit of the heart analogous in a l l degrees to the 'findings' in a tomb" (N. p. 277). Love tokens and death tokens are to merge. As Robin had reminded F e l i x of amber preserved through time in Nora's heart she i s the " f o s s i l . . . t h e i n t a g l i o , the engraved design of her own i d e n t i t y — k e p t a l i v e by Nora's blood." As amber or f o s s i l , "Robin was now beyond timely changes, except in the blood that animated her" (N. p. 2 77). Without the animating blood, that i s , without Nora, who has become the necessary supplier of objects tying her to time, 206 she w i l l be out of time altogether. In Nora's haunted imagination i s the "fixed walking image of Robin" in the night, as though in sleep, nightmare or death. As Nora battles to sleep herself, she f a l l s back into the "tide of dreams...taking the body of Robin down with her into i t , as the ground things take the corpses, with minute persistence, down into the earth, leaving a  pattern of i t on the grass, as i f they stitched as they descended" (N. p. 277). (emphasis added) Love has become death, with only the pattern of the transformation l e f t v i s i b Nora receives a l l of these images of her experience with great and p a i n f u l accuracy. Because she i s not an a r t i s t , she i s helpless before them. Hers i s a s e n s i b i l i t y which absorbs and r e f l e c t s , l i k e a piece of polished metal — a gunbarrel, whose v i s i o n i s seen as a weapon of destruction; but she merely r e f l e c t s ; she does not judge. She i s hyper-responsive, the eyes and ears at least of the woman writer, recording and receiving play-opera-music with the force of a weapon trained upon them. Her consciousness reproduces them "in a smaller but more intense o r c h e s t r a t i o n " — t h e poetic image (N. p. 2 74). She i s an agonized viewer of experience, a translator not a creator. In pain she receives, then translates and d i s t i l s . Her sense of herself and any vanity i s absent; "the world and i t s history were to Nora l i k e a ship in a b o t t l e ; she herself was outside, and un i d e n t i f i e d , endlessly embroiled in a preoccupation without a problem" (N. p. 275). 207 Robin i s an abandoned figure in a Douanier Rousseau Nora's "image" i s that of a Klimt design, c a r e f u l l y a chamber music s e n s i b i l i t y . Wherever she was met, at the opera, at a play, s i t t i n g alone and apart, the programme face down on her knee, one would discover in her eyes, large, protruding and c l e a r , that mirrorless look of polished metals which report not so much the object as the movement of the object. As the surface of a gun's b a r r e l , r e f l e c t i n g a scene, w i l l add to the image the portent of i t s construction, so her eyes contracted and f o r t i f i e d the play before her in her own unconscious terms. One senses in the way she held her head that her ears were recording Wagner or S c a r l a t t i , Chopin, Palestrina, or the l i g h t e r songs of the Viennese school, in smaller but more intense orchestration (N. 274). If Nora i s not an a r t i s t and therefore not Djuna Barnes, how then i s the authorial s e l f represented in the text? If there i s a character whose utterance and whose patterns of o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n most cl o s e l y resemble the authorial consciousness in Nightwood, i t i s Matthew O'Connor, as we 79 are reminded by Alan Singer. Certainly t h e i r views of the world coincide. Among the things expected of him in the text i s the d i f f i c u l t task of "explaining" Robin Vote to a l l the other characters. He f a i l s to do t h i s , and more importantly, i n the process f a i l s to be a voice or synthesizer for Barnes, because of the fundamental break with t r a d i t i o n a l characterization that Barnes makes. O'Connor i s no more a " r e a l i s t i c " or psychologically probable character than any of the others. The more he says (the t r a d i t i o n a l means of "rounding out" a character), the more If canvas, masking 2 0 8 we become aware t h a t both he and Barnes are o f f e r i n g no more than weary and s e l f - c o n s c i o u s a r t i s t i c i l l u s i o n s . When Nora and F e l i x ask him angu ished q u e s t i o n s , he can o n l y respond o b l i q u e l y by p r o v i d i n g f u r t h e r and o f t e n t a n g e n t i a l metaphors f o r t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s . Because he has no answers , because he i s i n the same p r e d i c a m e n t , he must be e v a s i v e . H i s r e s p o n s e s , because o f the e s s e n t i a l l y f i g u r a t i v e ( ra the r than r e f e r e n t i a l ) d e s i g n o f the book , must t h e r e f o r e p r i m a r i l y a d d r e s s the r e a d e r , who i s making p o e t i c or a s s o c i a t i v e c o n n e c t i o n s where the c h a r a c t e r s c a n n o t . When Nora says t o him i n d e s p e r a t i o n : "What am I to do?" when she i s unable t o d e c i d e whom she has l o v e d more—Robin or h e r s e l f — h e responds w i t h "Make b i r d s 1 n e s t s w i th your t e e t h " (N. p . 333) . We are to t h i n k o f a l l the o t h e r b i r d s i n the n o v e l . By the p o e t r y he p r o v i d e s i n s t e a d of any k i n d o f s o l u t i o n , or even a d i r e c t r e p l y , he p a r a d o x i c a l l y and q u i t e p o w e r f u l l y r e v i s e s the c o n t e x t o f the q u e s t i o n p u t . Barnes p r o v i d e s , th rough O ' C o n n o r ' s f a i l u r e t o e x p l a i n and h i s c o n n e c t e d m e t a p h o r i c a l e v a s i o n s , a l e v e l o f p u r e l y i m a g i s t i c coherence i n the n o v e l , which s u p p o r t s the i d e a t h a t t h e r e i s d e l i b e r a t e l y to be no a r t i s t f i g u r e i n the t e x t , because Barnes s i m p l y does not i n t e r p r e t the r o l e s of au thor and c h a r a c t e r i n any way. By i n v e s t i n g o b j e c t s w i th the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f c h a r a c t e r s , and by a r r a n g i n g c h a r a c t e r s and s i t u a t i o n s as v i s u a l l y imagined f a t h e r than as p o s s e s s i n g p s y c h o l o g i c a l a u t h e n t i c i t y , she makes the image i t s e l f 2 09 the container of meaning i n the t e s t . And i t i s not a fix e d image. Because there i s no-one p a r t i c u l a r l y to control or synthesize them, the reader i s l e f t with a de-centred narrative, where images are constantly being revised, t h e i r meanings subtly altered with every accretion, and producing a l e v e l of meaning and a perspective that are profoundly f l u i d and r e l a t i v i s t i c . We have noted the i n f e r i o r i t y of the text, the absence of dramatic confrontation or event. I suggest that i t i s a metaphor which supplants action as the energising force in the text. This makes i t a very d i f f e r e n t kind of " s e l f - c r e a t i n g " narrative than other Modernist texts. I do not mean to imply, as Alan Singer accuses many c r i t i c s of doing, that the poetic image in Barnes' hands contains the "mirage" of metaphysical truth. Nor do I mean to invoke "poetic prose" as being of transcendant value because of the "irreducible q u a l i t y " of poetry. Both approaches make of poetry a fal s e god. I do not claim that Nightwood i s a novel of supreme value because of the metaphysical truth or i r r e d u s c i b l e q u a l i t y of i t s poetic writing. I claim instead that one of i t s remarkable aspects, and a major contribution to Modernism by Barnes, i s that through her manipulation of s t r i c t l y poetic design and strategies for revelation, she i s able to l i b e r a t e the text from a number of narrative conventions for coherence, and in the process create a self-contained and independent a r t i f a c t . She i s very concerned not to be v i s i b l e i n the 2 1 0 text i n order to, i n Singer's words " n u l l i f y the int e r n a l 8 0 (dramatic) and external (authorial) levels i n the novel." If Nightwood i s to be seen as' a structure of construction of the authorial s e l f , i t i s remarkable for the divestment of the a r t i s t ' s ego. That s e l f i s a r t i c u l a t e d not in the omnipresent sense of the author's presence, but in o b j e c t i f i e d form in every utterance, by every character in each frame of the book, in the form of densely textured, but u t t e r l y coherent sets of r e l a t i o n s between character, event and image. Conclusion A limited and t r a d i t i o n a l reading of lesbian f i c t i o n i n English sees Nightwood as one more novel of damnation written by a suffering outcast. I prefer a more po s i t i v e view of Barnes' contribution as a female, late Modernist writer. I t i s possible to take as one important set of d i s t i n c t i o n s between Modernist writers, the ways in which they used the idea of gender. Male Modernists, l i k e t h e i r female counterparts, were frequently very concerned with ideas of sexual representation: Lawrence in his "male and female worlds" i n The Rainbow and Women in Love and e s p e c i a l l y in short stories l i k e "The Fox;" E l i o t ' s Wasteland i n which sexual disorder i s at the heart of the Unreal C i t y ; and i n Joyce's Ulysses, the key episode i s "Nighttown," a Walpurgisnacht of comically grotesque, 81 sexual inversions. These male writers play with the idea of sexual chaos, inversion and misrule, but s t r i c t l y within a conventional appearance-reality dichotomy, which f i n a l l y r e s u l t s , in each case, in a restoration of h i e r a r c h i c a l s o c i a l order, t r a d i t i o n a l c u l t u r a l paradigms and patterns 8 2 of male/female d i s t i n c t i o n s . These f i c t i o n s of the s e l f , when they take sexual form, are very conservative. Feminist f i c t i o n s of the sexual s e l f from the same period are far more imaginatively r a d i c a l . And t h i s i s the essence of Barnes' contribution to late Modernist f i c t i o n . Barnes' o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n of the s e l f was based on an androgynous v i s i o n . Well beyond E l i o t ' s "objective c o r r e l a t i v e , " are the metaphors Barnes used to embody and communicate a view of the s e l f and world which put her outside t r a d i t i o n . This metaphorical rendering of s e l f was far more than just an imagistic ordering process, as Joyce perfected i t . Her metaphors had to do more than disrupt t r a d i t i o n a l narrative forms; they had to communicate an expression of inner values and versions of the s e l f which the t r a d i t i o n a l novel and t r a d i t i o n a l society did not know how to accommodate. Scenes of sexual inversion and sexual transformations of a l l kinds p r o l i f e r a t e i n her novel. Disembodied elements of male and female behaviour and perspectives s h i f t constantly within and between characters and scenes as they search for.balance, epitomized in the androgynous i d e a l . Whereas Joyce's "Nighttown" i s one 212 episode of apocalyptic sexual confusion in an e s s e n t i a l l y daylight world, harmoniously resolved when Leopold/Ulysses f i n a l l y goes home to his Molly/Penelope who says "yes" to him, sexual disorder and the night are Barnes 1 whole world. In t h i s night world of permanent misrule, there can be no fixed or single s e l f for author or characters. Androgyny for Barnes i s a gender-free r e a l i t y which may inhabit many selves. This accounts for the absence of the author in the novel as character or a r t i s t figure; for Barnes there can be no Leopold Bloom or Stephen Dedalus. She i s writing i n the dangerous a i r outside the r e a l i s t i c t r a d i t i o n , or even the disrupted r e a l i s t i c t r a d i t i o n of Modernism in i t s f i r s t wave. In Nightwood, psychological authenticity matters l i t t l e ; objects convey as much meaning as people. Barnes o f f e r s us in Nightwood a set of imagistic r e f l e c t i o n s on gender, which share c e r t a i n common q u a l i t i e s with another late Modern fable of androgyny, V i r g i n i a 8 3 Woolf*s Orlando. Where Nightwood i s a Greek tragedy however, Orlando i s an enchanting and e n t i r e l y p o s i t i v e f a i r y t ale which skates through time, sex and i d e n t i t y , e f f o r t l e s s l y creating, in i t s central character, the kind of r i c h l y dressed and magical " t h i r d sexed being" behind gender and myth, happy and free, that Barnes can only dream about in her 30's European despair. Both Orlando and Nightwood display the r a d i c a l , imaginative freedom of "androgynous" works, wildly and 213 fluidly.choreagraphing the ancient play of male and female within and between characters, rather than r e l y i n g on the t r a d i t i o n a l sexual and imaginative patterns of a s o c i a l order which, to Woolf and Barnes, seemed both f a l l e n and misguided. The novels were both written in t h e t h i r t i e s . Woolf had moved away from her early Modernist works l i k e Night and Day and The Voyage Out towards a more fragmented, o b j e c t i f i e d style i n To the Lighthouse, The Waves and 84 Between the Acts. One of the most po s i t i v e developments for Woolf in her mature phase was, I believe, a movement away from the sense of a s e l f extinguished in her early f i c t i o n , to the marvellously free, androgynous s e l f - p o r t r a i t in Orlando. Despite Barnes 1 t r a g i c v i s i o n of her s e l f and her world, she was permitted a measure of freedom, at least s t y l i s t i c a l l y , in breaking away from l i t e r a r y and s o c i a l norms. She takes metaphor further than the male twenties' writers in putting i t to more r a d i c a l use, to capture the androgynous id e a l of a pure, o b j e c t i f i e d and gender-free s e l f and the c y n i c a l , compromised versions of the alienated s e l f when the idea i s l o s t . These are posi t i v e a r t i s t i c contributions. With consummate a r t i s t r y s t i l l , but on the negative plane, she r e f l e c t s , as a late-Modernist, the dying b e l i e f i n the t h i r t i e s that language was a powerful and redeeming force i n i t s e l f . In the mouths of her characters, i t i s degraded currency, with a decade of extravagant t a l k and waste behind i t . In Barnes' t h i r t i e s ' world, both language and people are self-consuming a r t i f a c t s . 214 Conclusion I have suggested in t h i s thesis that one reason for the c r i t i c a l neglect of Rhys, Stein and Barnes i s that t h e i r best work appeared in the 1930's, a period that i s generally regarded i n twentieth-century l i t e r a r y chronology as a "lapse period" for f i c t i o n . The poetry of the period, p a r t i c u l a r l y that of the "Auden generation" has gathered more respect. There are two points I would l i k e to make, one that runs counter to the idea of the 30's as a "lapse" period, and the other which addresses the idea that the three women writers under consideration must inevitably suffer by comparison with the acknolwedged "great writers" of canonical Modernism, generally accepted as covering the period from 1910-1925. I believe that i t i s f a c i l e and unhelpful to draw a r t i f i c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n s between l i t e r a r y periods, to say that Modernism ended i n 1925 or 1930. Culture, including l i t e r a r y culture, i s a continuum, not a series of stops and s t a r t s . It i s tempting to "periodize," to declare a group of a r t i s t s a "school" because they were*, contemporaries, and to declare for the sake of i n t e l l e c t u a l neatness, some writers and events "important" simply to f a c i l i t a t e the making of patterns and theories. There have c e r t a i n l y been stages i n Modernism, but what i s to prevent Post-Modernism being seen as a culminating point or apotheosis of Modernism, rather than any kind of reversal? I f , as I argue, we look at twentieth century writing as a continuum, proper value must be attached to i t s t r a n s i t i o n periods, periods of marked h i s t o r i c a l change when l i t e r a t u r e of course r e f l e c t e d that change in new concerns and evolving s t y l e s . Rhys, Stein and Barnes are, I suggest, writers of such a t r a n s i t i o n period, whose works both revise the touchstones of pure Modernism and point to l a t e r developments beyond i t . They are "later Modernists," along with the V i r g i n i a Woolf of Orlando and Between the Acts, Christopher Isherwood, Ivy Compton-Burnett, George Orwell, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, Andre Gide and I t a l o Svevo. The f i c t i o n s of t h i s period c e r t a i n l y indicate a changed state of mind in response to a changed world. Stephen Spender,speaking for his generation, describes his attempt to "turn the reader's and the writer's attention outwards from himself to the 2 world." There i s , in the late Modernist f i c t i o n , a l e v e l of engagement with the world for which the metaphysical self-absorption of the 20's had no room. At one extreme i s Christopher Isherwood's f i c t i o n a l "reportage," docu-fiction designed to capture the immense build-up of s o c i a l tension and m i l i t a r y pressure i n that decade; but at another point on the spectrum of t h i r t i e s writing, that same l e v e l of engagement, of seeing the world as a mirror of self-concern, rather than the reverse of ten years' e a r l i e r , can be seen in a text l i k e Woolf's Between the Acts. After the world slump of 1929, the unworldliness of t h e - e a r l i e r decade no longer seemed appropriate as an a r t i s t i c s t y l e . A more p o l i t i c a l and documentary slant incorporated 216 i d e a s f r o m p s y c h o l o g y a n d s o c i o l o g y i n t o a s t y l e w h i c h m i x e d M o d e r n i s t n o r m s w i t h i n c r e a s i n g d o s e s o f r e a l i s m a n d s u r r e a l i s m , t o p r e s e n t a v i s i o n o f a d i s t u r b e d a n d d i s o r d e r e d w o r l d . T h i s was a p e r i o d o f s e r i o u s p o l i t i c a l a n d s o c i a l t r a n s i t i o n a n d E u r o p e a n f i c t i o n c a p t u r e d t h e u n c e r t a i n t y o f d i r e c t i o n a n d t h e s t a t e o f t e n s e i r r e s o l u t i o n i n t h e w o r l d ' s a f f a i r s . C h r i s t o p h e r I s h e r w o o d s p o k e o f t h e " f a n t a s t i c 3 r e a l i t i e s o f t h e e v e r y d a y w o r l d , " a n d i t was t h e n o v e l i s t ' s p r o b l e m i n t h e 3 0 ' s a s t o how t o a d d r e s s t h e m . The 2 0 ' s o b s e s s i o n w i t h " c o n s c i o u s n e s s , " t r a n s c e n d e n c e a n d t u r n i n g i n w a r d , h a d l e d t o a d i s p l a c e d p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e w o r l d . N o v e l s o f t h e 3 0 ' s made a v a r i e t y o f a t t e m p t s t o b r e a k o u t o f t h i s i m p a s s e . E v e n a " h i g h M o d e r n i s t " o f t h e 2 0 ' s l i k e V i r g i n i a W o o l f , a l o n g w i t h M a r x i s t w r i t e r s l i k e E d w a r d U p w a r d , s o u g h t t o e n g a g e w i t h t h e s o c i a l r e a l i t y o f t h e t ime s . T h e r e was a m o u n t i n g s e n s e o f d e p e r s o n a l i z e d c o n t r o l : i i n t h e 3 0 ' s . T h e r i s e o f t o t a l i t a r i a n r e g i m e s a n d t h e r a p i d d e v e l o p m e n t o f s c i e n c e , t e c h n o l o g y a n d c o m m u n i c a t i o n s s y s t e m s a l l p o s e d a m a s s i v e t h r e a t t o i n d i v i d u a l s . One c r i t i c , A l a n W i l d e , h a s s a i d t h a t w r i t e r s o f f i c t i o n i n t h e 3 0 ' s u n d e r t o o k , o f n e c e s s i t y , " t o r e m a k e t h e f u n c t i o n s o f l a n g u a g e a n d l i t e r a t u r e , " s e e i n g i t no l o n g e r i n t h e s y m b o l i s t t r a d i t i o n "a s a means o f d e c l a r i n g a n d e v o k i n g some f i n a l a n d u l t i m a t e ' T r u t h , ' b u t a s a way o f r e l e a s i n g t h e ' s e l f ' a n d o f t h e r e b y m a k i n g t h e p h e n o m e n a l w o r l d o n c e 4 m o r e t h e s c e n e o f p u r p o s e f u l a c t i o n . " T h i s d e s i r e t o 217 move beyond the consciousness-obsessed " s e l f " of the 20's a r t i s t , inevitably led to changes in self-representation. A sense of engagement with the world, with things as they r e a l l y are, led to "a curious tension between s i t u a t i n g and at the same time voiding the p a r t i c u l a r i d e n t i t y of the s e l f , " an "equivocal treatment of the s e l f " which attempts to "exploit and minimize the facts and also the subjective 5 resonance of the author's private l i f e . " Autobiography provides a "surface" i n these works. Style i s less a e s t h e t i c a l l y r a d i c a l , perhaps giving in to exhaustion, and replaced by a need to come to terms with the world and the s e l f in i t . I said in my introduction that works of high Modernism by male writers were frequently autobiographical f i c t i o n s , where a mask of impersonality f a i l e d to conceal an a r t i s t figure or designing consciousness within the text, which r e f l e c t e d an e l i t i s t , self-generated and conservative sense of order. In the 30's, an element of authorial sel f - r e f l e x i v e n e s s that prefigures post-modern works by writers l i k e Capote, Adler, Butor, Robbe-Grillet, Eeckett, Sarraute and Handke emerges. 6 The massive threat to . i individuals by m i l i t a r i s m and technology leading up to World War II was r e f l e c t e d in l i t e r a r y styles of representation as a kind of "dehumanization," leading to a r a d i c a l l y revised version of the authorial s e l f , and characterization generally. Fragmentation, neurosis and an atmosphere of threat, fear and violence had to be accepted 218 a n d a s s i m i l a t e d ; t h i s , i n t h e f a c e o f M o d e r n i s m ' s l o n g -s t a n d i n g f a i t h t h a t , i n t h e h a n d s o f a g o o d w r i t e r , t h e e s s e n t i a l u n i t y a n d t r u t h o f t h e w o r l d , a n d t h e f u n d a m e n t a l " i n t a c t n e s s " o f c h a r a c t e r , w o u l d b e r e v e a l e d . A l a n W i l d e c a l l e d t h i s a p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h " d e p t h " a s i t i s l i n k e d , i n t e r m s o f p s y c h o l o g i c a l v e r a c i t y , w i t h t r u t h . Now i n t h e 3 0 ' s we move f r o m " d e p t h " t o a d i s t r u s t f u l p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h " s u r f a c e . " T h i s a c c o r d s p r e c i s e l y w i t h my t e r m " o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n " a s d e s c r i b i n g 3 0 ' s s t y l e s o f f i c t i o n a l s e l f - r e p r e s e n t a t i o n t h r o u g h o u t t h i s t h e s i s . " D e h u m a n i z a t i o n " i s a n o t h e r way t o d e s c r i b e i t , a n d i t m a r k s a s i g n i f i c a n t s h i f t i n s e n s i b i l i t y b e t w e e n t h e 2 0 ' s a n d 3 0 ' s . W i t h t h i s new c o n c e n t r a t i o n o n l i n g u i s t i c s u r f a c e comes " a r e l i n q u i s h i n g o f c o m p l e x i t y i n f a v o u r o f c o n t r a d i c t i o n s e m b o d i e d i n m e t a p h o r s t h a t a r e h a r d , b r i g h t , i n o r g a n i c f a c e t s o f c h a r a c t e r , " v e r y much t h e o b j e c t i f i e d " m e t a p h o r s o f t h e s e l f " 7 I h a v e d e s c r i b e d . ( e m p h a s i s a d d e d ) I t b e c o m e s c l e a r t h a t P o s t - M o d e r n i s m , i n c o r p o r a t i n g t h e s t r a t e g i e s a n d p r e s u p p o s i t i o n s o f M o d e r n i s m , e m e r g e d i n a n e v o l u t i o n a r y way i n t h i s p e r i o d o f t r a n s i t i o n . M o d e r n i s m w a s , t h e n , s u b v e r t e d b y a number o f w r i t e r s i n t h e 3 0 ' s who s h a r e d a s t a t e o f m i n d w h i c h c o n c l u d e d t h a t t h e d a y o f F o r s t e r ' s " r o u n d " c h a r a c t e r , a n d t h e a r t i s t f i g u r e a s a means o f s e l f r e p r e s e n t a t i o n , was o v e r ; t h a t p e r s o n a l i t y was g " a m e r e l o c u s f o r e x p e r i e n c e . " I f 3 0 ' s w r i t i n g o f t e n a d o p t e d a n a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l " s u r f a c e , " a s t y l i s t i c o b j e c t i f i c a t i o n o f t h e s e l f i n t h e world, and at the same time engaged with that world and things as they r e a l l y are, then how do Jean Rhys, Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes resolve t h i s apparent contradiction i n t h e i r late-Modernist f i c t i o n s ? Do they remain hold-overs from pure Modernism? Or are they precursors of Post-Modernism? In what senses were they late-Modernists and therefore s i g n i f i c a n t " t r a n s i t i o n a l " writers as I have defined that term? Each of them was representative of her time in that she absorbed what she wanted to use from 20's Modernism and added important variations of her own, that did, i n each case, prefigure l a t e r writing developments. I want to focus on what I consider to be the p r i n c i p a l factor which connects the three writers, and that i s that in the 30's th e i r autobiographical f i c t i o n s revealed an ide o l o g i c a l element which acted not only to revise Modernism, but to/subvert i t . This subversive element was both s t y l i s t i c and substantive. Its focus was gender, the representation of the sexual s e l f in an o b j e c t i f y i n g , metaphorical way. In th e i r diverse works, they represented in an engaged way, the i r world and themselves as mirrored in i t , as sexual, class and geographical e x i l e s . Their strategies were d i f f e r e n t but the i d e o l o g i c a l focus i s common to a l l three. For the male Modernist, gender was most often the ultimate r e a l i t y , while for his female counterpart, an 9 ultimate r e a l i t y exists only i f one journeys beyond gender. The r a d i c a l revisions of Modernism undertaken by these three women involved, at an id e o l o g i c a l l e v e l , a questioning, a 220 subverting, even a repudiation of the conservative, h i e r a r c h i c a l views of th e i r male predecessors. Though the ide o l o g i c a l impulse has a sexual base, many of i t s implications are s o c i a l . They question, with t h e i r styles of sexual representation, the e t h i c a l l y orthodox and the fixed s o c i a l order of the male aesthetic which had dominated in the 2 0 's. As Sandra Gilbe r t concludes in her a r t i c l e , "Costumes of the Mind," i t i s not surprising that a male Modernist should have wanted the consolation of orthodoxy... for i t i s , af t e r a l l , only those who are oppressed or repressed by history and society who want to shatter the established paradigms of dominance and submission associated with hierarchies of gender and restore the primordial chaos of... genderlessness. Such p o l i t i c a l devotees of the 'third sex' wish to say 'I am not that fixed s e l f you have restrained in these net ti g h t garments. I am a l l selves and no selves. ' 1 0 The i d e o l o g i c a l element which lin k s three such d i f f e r e n t writers as Rhys, Stein and Barnes centres on the idea that, in t h e i r diverse autobiographical f i c t i o n s , they look beyond gender for ideas and metaphors of the s e l f , for author, character and even reader. In "the process whereby the s e l f creates i t s e l f in the experience of creating a r t , to read...portraits of women entangled in f a m i l i a l and ero t i c bonds, we must j o i n the narrator in reconstructing the other women by whom; we know ourselves.""'""'" Each of them, in her f i c t i o n a l representation of s e l f and world, explored the assumed conformity between gender as c r i p t i o n and a l l other aspects of personality. In Jean Rhys' autobiographical novels, she of f e r s a 221 decidedly anti-romantic treatment of heterosexuality. Her "gender i d e n t i t y " seems to have been one of the few secure aspects of her existence, but in her dispassionate recordings of her protagonists 1 e f f o r t s to keep a l i v e through another day, she makes a profound challenge to t r a d i t i o n a l , and s p e c i f i c a l l y Modernist, representations of the sexes. In formal and s t y l i s t i c terms however, she was in most respects a high Modernist, mistress of the impressionistic Georgian vignette and the polished surface; she had perfected the i n t e r i o r monologue, stream of consciousness and cinematic time s h i f t s . But t h i s was the "surface" of her work, and i t i s p r e c i s e l y the play of tensions between surface and depth in her novels which takes her beyond Modernism. S t y l i s t i c a l l y , hers i s an elegant, a e s t h e t i c a l l y cool and dispassionate voice. It was her disturbing narrative t r i c k , however, to c u l t i v a t e , d e l i b e r a t e l y , a sense of distance between the cool, i r o n i c surface of the text, whose voice i s poised and controlled, and i t s underlying voice, which i s that of the alienated female consciousness, mute with horror, yet possessing a b r u t a l l y clear sense of who and what i s to blame. This s t y l i s t i c gap, between surface calm and psycho-nightmare beneath, reminds us of the l e i t - m o t i f of many of her novels: the horror beneath apparent beauty. And i t i s b a s i c a l l y content rather than form which puts Rhys at odds with her Modernist forbears, male and female. I f , in the beauty/horror dichotomy, we'.were to substitute convention/the status quo for the apparent surface r e a l i t y 222 and the primitive nightmare existence of the victim of tyrannical and predetermined s o c i a l and sexual forces for the horror, we can see the subversive s o c i a l implications of her work. If we were to go further and substitute male for apparent r e a l i t y and female for horror, at least i n terms of experience, we can see the subversive sexual implications of her work. The existence and survival of her impoverished and declassee female protagonists in geographical e x i l e on the crimi n a l , a r t i s t i c fringe of respectable society, act as indictiments of both the bourgeoisie and the bohemians. As an outsider to both, the Rhys woman exposes them as equally conventional, h i e r a r c h i c a l and h y p o c r i t i c a l . Her pos i t i o n of e x i l e gives her an oddly p r i v i l e g e d angle of v i s i o n oh them. Because she wishes to subvert and expose them, she makes the. dramatic moments in her texts moments of rupture, when the horror smashes through the surface calm. Because t h i s a r t i f i c i a l calm i s so frequently maintained by the men in her books, at great cost to women who are generally l i v i n g the horror, she provides a : r a d i c a l counter-vision to the mainstream Modernists 1 representation of the sexes and the patterns of order implied. She saw i n male Modernist f i c t i o n s a f a l s e mythologizing and misrepresentation of female conscious-ness, a fa l s e sense of "resolution" in sexual union and a misplaced sense of restored order, when for example, at the end of Ulysses, Molly f i n a l l y gives i n . Rhys intended 223 a great deal more.innher rendering of the dispossessed female consciousness than the t r a d i t i o n a l Modernist examination of the gap between speech and f e e l i n g . In her works, she passionately denies the c u l t u r a l truisms for appropriate sexual emotions and behaviour as the male Modernists have r e f l e c t e d them, and never more c l e a r l y than in her l a s t novel of the 30's, Good Morning, Midnight, described accurately by one c r i t i c as "Good Night to 12 Modernism." i The novel i s a quintessential work of late-Modernism, embodying the sense of impending disaster of the 30's; the protagonist's whole existence i s recorded as an i n t e r s t i c e . Her t o t a l concern i s with s u r v i v a l . She i s at war with the world even as the world becomes increasingly the landscape of her alienated mind. Freedom, and the power of uncontrollable outside forces to crush i t , are central concerns. The characters, c i t i z e n s of Europe, are e x i l e s of uncertain i d e n t i t y — " n o paper, no passport... the 13 s l i g h t e s t accident and I'm f i n i s h e d . " The book ends with a sex scene which reads l i k e a grotesque parody of Joyce's at the end of Ulysses, and thus returns us to the id e o l o g i c a l component of Rhys' writing which f u e l l e d her damning c r i t i q u e of c l a s s , sexual and s o c i a l power structures. Her character, Sasha Jansen, allows herself to be sexually taken by a spectral death's-head fi g u r e , the "commis voyageur" in. the sordid boarding house rather than the man she cares f o r , because she i s despairing and exhausted and because she f i n a l l y admits that, to the outside world at least, she and the ugly and s o l i t a r y t r a v e l l i n g salesman are equals. When she says "yes" to him, i t i s the stu f f of ultimate nightmare for author and character. This i s Rhys:! e x p l i c i t commentary on Joyce's conclusion to Ulysses, a t r a d i t i o n a l l y l i f e affirming scene, which i s , she says, fa l s e to the core. This episode of pure s e l f - a n n i h i l a t i o n marks the onset of a 28 year silence for Rhys. Jean Rhys had attacked the power structures of conventional society as they immobilized and misrepresented women. She did so from what feminists would c a l l "a secure gender base," however, Gertrude Stein offered a very d i f f e r e n t challenge to gender and i t s representation in a r t . Her challenge was a psychological one. Her ref u s a l in narrative to '•' "psychologize" characters or to ascribe motives, combined with her powerful b e l i e f i n androgyny as an ideal i n t e l l e c t u a l and a r t i s t i c p o s i t i o n from which to write, meant that she refused to consider her own or her characters' a l i e n a t i o n from the gender conventions of th e i r culture. Alienation was not a concept she bothered with. Like Rhys, Stein was an expatriate, but one who was a central figure in her adopted culture, largely due to her independent wealth. Like Rhys' poverty, Stein's lesbianism may have put her into a less than p r i v i l e g e d sub-culture, but by adopting the persona of the wealthy, independent androgyne, she refused to be marginalized. She was able to create a 225 powerful sense of herself in the present on terms which suited her. As her s e l f - p o r t r a i t embodied her a r t i s t i c p r i n c i p l e s , we see her f o r c i b l y eliminating the psyche, the memory, past and present from her rendering of her own existence and consciousness. She turns herself from a three-dimensional being with a l l these q u a l i t i e s into a f l a t , one dimensional work of v i s u a l a r t , a p o r t r a i t made up of r e f l e c t i n g cubist planes. This exercise i s very much in keeping with a move from "depth" to "surface" s t y l i s t i c representation t y p i c a l of late Modernist novels 14 in the view of c r i t i c , Alan Wilde. Nevertheless there were some rather murky depths to Stein's deceptive s e l f - p o r t r a i t . She claimed, as an i n t e l l e c t u a l and.as an a r t i s t , to be genderless, while l i v i n g as a lesbian and frequently acting l i k e the Grand Old Man of Modernism, and i n the process as an A r t i s t Figure. It i s paradoxical that as a profound disbeliever in poetry and metaphor, she had to use them in her autobiography; she was forced to encode/inscribe herself i n the metaphors she chose to reveal only selected glimpses of her actual l i f e . .Her challenge to gender representation in l i t e r a t u r e i s subversive and successful p r e c i s e l y because she considers i t i r r e l e v a n t . Human nature and the.workings of the human mind are her declared subjects. Character and c r e a t i v i t y , she believed, have nothing to do with gender. This philosophical b e l i e f required her to ignore a great number of l i t e r a r y conventions that would have bound her to 226 Modernism and made her a l e s s i n f l u e n t i a l w r i t e r . Because she p o r t r a y e d h e r s e l f and others from a gender-free p e r s p e c t i v e , she made i t c l e a r t h a t she was d e a l i n g with human types i n a n o n - p s y c h o l o g i c a l , n o n - r e a l i s t i c and non-mythical manner. Her b e l i e f t h a t consciousness i s f i n a l l y a b l e to express nothing but i t s own continuous flow o f thought r e p r e s e n t s a r t i s t i c anarchy a f t e r the sense of a c o n t r o l l e d r e a l i t y which the w r i t e r s of the 20's attempted and v a l u e d . L i k e Rhys, S t e i n was i n the 30's, a w r i t e r i n t r a n s i t i o n . The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas i s , i n c e r t a i n s t y l i s t i c r e s p e c t s , a p e r f e c t Modernist t e x t . But i n a d d i t i o n to i t s s u b v e r s i v e q u a l i t i e s as a s e l f - p o r t r a i t beyond gender, t h e r e are other aspects of the work which p o i n t beyond the p e r i o d . As a Modernist, she had c o n t i n u e d to " s t y l i z e " r e a l i t y , but by 1934 she had taken t h i s s t y l i z e d r e a l i t y to the p o i n t of fragmentation, where words cease to convey c o n v e n t i o n a l meaning of any k i n d . " D e c o n s t r u c t i o n , " her p r i n c i p l e of composition s i n c e 1927, which i n v o l v e d i g n o r i n g , manipulating o r a l t e r i n g r e c e i v e d conventions, she now a p p l i e s to 20's Modernism, as w e l l as to the i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c p e r i o d b e f o r e i t . The p a r t i c u l a r brand o f l i t e r a r y minimalism she develops a t t h i s stage l i n k s her with much l a t e r developments i n t w e n t i e t h century w r i t i n g , n o t a b l y with Beckett and Sarraute and oth e r w r i t e r s of the French nouveau roman, and with the e n t i r e body of 15 post-modern, s e l f - r e f l e x i v e American f i c t i o n . 227 A purely s t y l i s t i c reading of Djuna Barnes 1 c l a s s i c , Nightwood, sees her as the prose poet of Modernism, combining the strengths of E l i o t and Joyce. However, her challenge to Modernism, those q u a l i t i e s that.made her a late-Modernist and an important t r a n s i t i o n a l writer, were not i n matters of form, but' l i k e Rhys, in content. Like Stein, she offered an androgynous challenge to the pr e v a i l i n g Modernist sense of o r d e r — s e x u a l , s o c i a l and l i t e r a r y . The c i v i l i z i n g power of a r t in her works, including, one senses her own mastery of metaphor, f a i l s to conceal the primitive and i t s v i o l e n t threat to apparent order. Her masterpiece i s set e n t i r e l y in t h i s primitive nightworld, where the beauties of i n t r i c a t e surface design and the metaphorical i n s c r i p t i o n s of meaning s i g n i f y Modernism exhausted, and the human s p i r i t approaching collapse into war, s i m i l a r l y exhausted. Like both Rhys and Stein, Barnes was an ex i l e from conventional society several times over. The product of a alienated and sexually eccentric family, Barnes was another displaced American in Paris in the 1920's and 30's. Frequently impoverished l i k e Rhys, she too was a c u l t u r a l fringe dweller, rather than a central figure l i k e Stein. But she shared with Stein the desire, as a lesbian i n t e l l e c t u a l , to display, in her f i c t i o n , how ir r e l e v a n t conventions about gender are. Her motives were d i f f e r e n t from Stein's however; where Stein saw herself above gender, Barnes saw i t as an ir r e l e v a n t consideration in the face of the abyss of human desire generally. Her transvestites. 228 simply embody the worst of the male and female l o t . Like Rhys and Stein, Barnes refused to i n t e r n a l i z e or r e f l e c t , in her work, the p a t r i a r c h a l view of her s e l f and her p o s i t i o n as a sexual or s o c i a l being. The human position , e s p e c i a l l y as i t faces the gun once more in the 30's i s her concern. Its metaphorical landscape i s the "night wood," just as the characters, regardless of t h e i r sex, are metaphors of human desire. And a l l of these are metaphorical representations of Djuna Barnes' sense of herself and her world. Like i t s close contemporary, Rhys' Good Morning, Midnight, Nightwood i s also a farewell to Modernism in several important respects. It begins as a f i c t i o n a l s e l f - p o r t r a i t of a s p i r i t facing extinction,showing the conventions of sexual desire as just one more torture, and pure being, beyond gender and time, an i d e a l that f e l l with Eden. The novel i s , as well, a b r i l l i a n t metaphorical p o r t r a i t of Europe, wasted by the corruption and indulgence of the 20's, doomed and s l i d i n g hopelessly towards war and r u i h . F i n a l l y and most compellingly, the book also marks the f a l l of what was r i c h and powerful in the language of the Modernist masters, into the degraded, ir r e l e v a n t chatter of her characters. Djuna Barnes, l i k e Jean Rhys, also f e l l s i l e n t a f t e r t h i s novel, for many years. The multiple and metaphorical s e l f - p o r t r a i t s in f i c t i o n by Jean Rhys, Gertrude Stein and Djuna Barnes indicate a much larger r e - d e f i n i t i o n of s u b j e c t i v i t y in f i c t i o n a l forms i n the 1930's. Their decentred narratives allow the author to move in and out of the personal, breaking with mimetic disclosure as the p r i n c i p l e concern of autobiographical writing. So begins what Roland Barthes has c a l l e d a "conscious deconstructing of the s e l f , an a l e r t r e j e c t i o n of wholeness or transcendence, showing that the psychoanalytic function of self-representation has given way in the modern period to a consciously philosophical and deconstructive one." The three women who have been the subjects of t h i s thesis were part of t h i s deconstructive process in the i d e o l o g i c a l l y subversive expression of t h e i r r e f u s a l to be a r t i s t figures in t h e i r texts, or to be the extinguished selves of e a r l i e r female aestheticism. Instead, they metaphorized, in f i c t i o n , the r e a l ingredients of t h e i r l i v e s , lesbianism or poverty and e x i l e , so exposing the falsehoods of the "unified, whole s p i r i t u a l s e l f " which was the male Modernist i d e a l . 2 3 0 1 FOOTNOTES Chapter One 1 Malcolm Bradbury and James McFarlane ed., Modernism (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1976) 19-52. 2 David Hume, A. Treatise of Human Nature (1739-4 9 ; rpt. London J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., 1959) quoted in P a t r i c i a Meyer Spacks, Imagining a Sel f : Autobiography and the Novel in  Eighteenth Century England (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Univ. Press, 1976) 239. 3 F. Nietzsche, The W i l l to Power, trans. Walter Kaufman & R.J. Hollingdale, ed. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage, 1968) 267. 4 C r i t i c s who of f e r deconstructionist readings of the f i c t i v e s e l f include J. Mehlman, A Structural Study of  Autobiography: Proust, L e i r i s , Sartre, Levi-Strauss (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1974). Paul Jay, Being in the Text (Ithaca: Cornel Univ. Press, 1984). 5 Jay 28. 6 Jay 28. 7 Paul de Man, "Autobiography as a De-facement," Modern  Language Notes, 94 (1979): 921-27". o D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers (New York: Random House, 1962); James Joyce, P o r t r a i t of the A r t i s t as a Young  Man (New York: Viking Press, 1916). 9 Northrop Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Four Essays (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1957) 307-8. John Sturrock, "The New Model Autobiographer," New  Lit e r a r y History, 9, No. 1 (1977): 52. 1 1 David Lodge, "The Language of Modernist F i c t i o n : Metaphor and Metonymy," Bradbury and McFarlane, Modernism 481-498. 12 James Olney, Metaphors of the Se l f : The Meaning of  Autobiography (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1972). 231 13 J a m e s O l n e y , e d . , A u t o b i o g r a p h y : E s s a y s T h e o r e t i c a l  a n d C r i t i c a l ( P r i n c e t o n : P r i n c e t o n U n i v . P r e s s , 1980 ) 1 0 . 14 O l n e y , A u t o b i o g r a p h y , 34 15 P h i l i p p e L e j e u n e , " A u t o b i o g r a p h y i n t h e 3 r d . P e r s o n , New L i t e r a r y H i s t o r y , 9 , N o . 1 ( 1 9 7 7 ) : 2 7 . 16 L e j e u n e 42 17 18 J a m e s J o y c e , U l y s s e s q u o t e d J a y 115 J a m e s J o y c e , P o r t r a i t o f t h e A r t i s t a s a Y o u n g Man (New Y o r k : V i k i n g P r e s s , 1 9 1 6 ) ; U l y s s e s ( L o n d o n : B o d l e y H e a d , 1 9 4 9 ) ; D . H . L a w r e n c e , S o n s a n d L o v e r s (New Y o r k : Random H o u s e , 1 9 6 2 ) ; Women i n L o v e (New Y o r k : V i k i n g P r e s s , 1 9 5 0 ) ; M a r c e l P r o u s t , Ax l a r e c h e r c h e d u t e m p s p e r d u ( P a r i s : G a l l i m a r d , 1 9 5 4 ) ; Remembrance o f T h i n g s P a s t , t r a n s . C . K . S c o t t M o n c r i e f f & T e r e n c e K i l m a r t i n (New Y o r k : Random H o u s e , 1 9 8 1 ) ; T i m e R e g a i n e d , t r a n s . A n d r e a s M a y o r ( L o n d o n : C h a t t o & W i n d u s , 1 9 7 0 ) . 19 T . E . H u l m e , S p e c u l a t i o n s ; E s s a y s o n H u m a n i s m a n d t h e  P h i l o s o p h y o f A r t , e d . H e r b e r t R e a d ( L o n d o n T r u b n e r & C o . P h i l o s o p h y , e K . S k r u p s k e l i E s s a y s i n P h i , L t d . , 1 9 3 6 ) ; W i l l i a m J a m e s , E d . F r e d e r i c k H . B u r k h a r d t , F r e d s ( C a m b r i d g e , M a s s . : H a r v a r d Un l o s o p h y , e d . F r e d e r i c k H . B u r k h B o w e r s , I g n a s P r e s s , 1 9 8 3 ) ; o n t h e " immed K . S k r u p s k e l i s ( C a m b r i d g e , Mas H e n r i B e r g s o n , T i m e a n d F r e e W  i a t e d a t a o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s , " a u t h o r i z e d t r a n s K . P a u l T r e n c h s s a y s i n s o n B o w e r s , I g n a s i v . P r e s s , 19 7 8 ) ; a r d t , F r e d s o n s . : H a r v a r d U n i v . i l l : A n e s s a y R . L . P o g s o n (New Y o r k : M a c m i l l a n , 1913 ) 20 A v r o m F l e i s h m a n , F i g u r e s o f A u t o b i o g r a p h y : The  L a n g u a g e o f S e l f - W r i t i n g i n V i c t o r i a n a n d M o d e r n E n g l a n d ( C a l i f o r n i a : U n i v . o f C a l i f o r n i a P r e s s , 1 9 8 3 ) . 21 F l e i s h m a n 1 9 4 . 22 J . M . B e r n s t e i n , The P h i l o s o p h y o f t h e N o v e l : L u k a c s , M a r x i s m a n d t h e D i a l e c t i c s o f F o r m ( B r i g h t o n : The H a r v e s t e r P r e s s , 1984 ) 2 4 8 . 23 W . B . Y e a t s , " A n i m a H o m i n i s , " E s s a y s ( L o n d o n : M a c m i l l a n , 1 9 2 6 ) 1 8 7 . 24 Roy P a s c a l , D e s i g n a n d T r u t h i n . A u t o b i o g r a p h y ( C a m b r i d g e , M a s s . : H a r v a r d U n i v . P r e s s , 1960) 1 7 0 . 232 2 5 Pascal 171. 2 6 Pascal 171. 2 7 Jay 146. 28 x Marcel Proust, A l a recherche du temps perdu (Paris: Galimard, Editions de l a Pleiade, 1954) 899. 29 James Joyce, Stephen Hero, ed. Theodore Spence (Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1963). 30 , , „ Jay 143. 31 Jay, p. 127. For further discussion of the role of the language in Stephen's developing consciousness see Helene Cixoux, The Exile of James Joyce, trans. S a l l y A.J. Pu r c e l l (New York: David Lewis, 1972); Dorothy Van Ghent, The English Novel: Form and Function (New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1953) 263-76. 32 Joyce, P o r t r a i t 24 6-7. 33 Maurice Beebe, Ivory Towers and Sacred Founts:  The A r t i s t as Hero in F i c t i o n from Goethe to Joyce (New York: New York Univ. Press, 1964) 267. 34 / Andre Gide, l e t t e r to Franq:ois Paul Albert, 17 January, 1914, quoted Wolfgang Holdheim, Theory and Practice  of the Novel: A Study of Andre Gide (Geneva: L i b r a i r e Druz, 1968) 100. 35 Holdheim 100 3 6 / Andre Gide, Journal, 8 February, 1927, Holdeim 102. 37 Holdheim 20 3 38 / Andre Gide, l e t t e r to Charles DuBos, Autumn, 1920, Holdheim 108. 39 Cora Kaplan, "Language and Gender," (unpublished paper, University of Sussex, 1977), quoted Elizabeth Abel, ed., Writing and Sexual Difference (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1982) 24. 233 40 Elaine Showalter, "Feminist C r i t i c i s m in the Wilderness," Abel, 9-37. 41 Elaine Marks and Isabelle de Courtivron ed., New French Feminisms (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1979) . 4 2 Elaine Showalter, A Literature of Their Own: B r i t i s h  Women Novelists from Bronte to Lessing (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1977) . ^ Showalter, "Feminist C r i t i c i s m in the Wilderness," Abel 14-17. 4 4 Showalter, A Literature of Their Own 15. 4 5 Mary Jacobus ed., Women Writing About Women (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1979) 22. 4 6 Jacques Lacan, Les quatre concepts fondamentaux .de l a psychanalyse (Paris: S e u i l , 1973). 47 „ , n Kaplan 5. 4 8 Nancy Chodorow, The Reproduction of Mothering:  Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender (Berkeley: Univ. of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1978). 4 9 Showalter, A Literature of Their Own 4. 5 0 Showalter, A Literature of Their Own 12. 5 1 Showalter, A Literature of Their Own 6. 5 2 Mary Mason, "The Other Voice: Autobiographies of Women Writers," in Olney, Autobiography 207-235. 53 Mason 222. 5 4 L i l l i a n Hellman, An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir, (New York: Bantam, 1969); Gold Meir, My L i f e , (New York: Putnam, 1975); Emma Goldman, Living My L i f e , 2 vols. (New York: A l f r e d A. Knopf, 1931). For a discussion of L i l l i a n Hellman's memoirs see Marcus K. Bilson and Sidonie A. Smith, " L i l l i a n Hellman and the Strategy of the 'Other,'" in 234 E s t e l l e Jelinek ed., Women's Autobiography: Essays in C r i t i c i s m (Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1980) 163-179. 115 ^ P a t r i c i a Meyer Spacks, "Selves in Hiding," i n Jelinek 56 Jelinek, Introduction 4. 57 Mason 228. 5 8 Judith Kegan Gardiner, "Oh Female Identity and Writing by Women," in Abel 177-191. 59 Colette, Sido, (Paris: Ferenczi, 1930). ^° Mary McCarthy, Memories of a Catholic Girldhood, (New York: Harcourt Brace, 19 57); Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts, (New York: Knopt, 19 76) . ^ Djuna Barnes, Nightwood in Selected Works of Djuna  Barnes (London: Faber & Faber, 1980) 324. 6 2 John Berger, Ways of Seeing (London: B.B.C. & Penguin Books, 1972) 46-7. 6 3 George E l i o t , Middlemarch (Harmondsworth: Penguin ; Books, 1965) 166. 64 Susan Gubar, "'The Blank Page' and Female C r e a t i v i t y , " in Abel, Writing and Sexual Difference 79. 6 5 Gubar 82. ^ Susan Gubar, "'The Blank Page' and the Issues of Female C r e a t i v i t y , " in Abel 77-79. Will a Cather, The Song of the Lark (Boston & New York: Houghton M i f f l i n , 1915); Colette, La Vagabon'de (Paris: G. Gres & Cre., 1923); Miles Franklin, My B r i l l i a n t Career (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1965); Henry Handel Richardson, The Getting of Wisdom (London: Heinemann, 1946). There i s also a c r i t i c a l work by Linda Huf, whose t i t l e i s P o r t r a i t  of the A r t i s t as a Young Woman: The Writer as Heroine in American Literature (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1983). Writers considered by Huf are Ruth H a l l , Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, Kate Chopin, Wi l l a Cather, Carson McCullers and Sulvia Plath. 235 ^ Sharon Spencer, "Feminism and the Woman Writer," Women's Studies, 11, No. 3 (1974). 69 Edmund Wilson, Axel's Castle: A Study in the  Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1931). 70 Dorothy Richardson, Pilgrimage, 4 vols. (London: J.M. Dent & The Cresset Press; New York: A l f r e d A. Knopf, 1938); Katherine Mansfield, Thirty-Four Short Stories, Selected and with an Introduction by Elizabeth Bowen (London & Glasgow: C o l l i n s , 1963); V i r g i n i a Woolf, The  Voyage Out (London:' The Hogarth Press, 1915); To The  Lighthouse (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1927); Mrs. Dalloway, (London: The Hogarth Press, 1929); The Waves (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World Inc., 1959). 71 Showalter, A Literature of Their Own 33-4. 72 Richardson, Pointed Roofs (Pilgramage v o l . 1), Introduction by J.D. Beresford (London: Duckworth, 1915). 73 G i l l i a n Hanscombe, The Art of L i f e : Dorothy  Richardson and the Development of Feminist Consciousness (London & Boston: Peter Owen, 1982) 25-6. 74 Showalter in A Literature of Their Own, 246 c i t e s the short story " B l i s s " in which the heroine's self-generated feelings of exultation are immediately followed by the discovery of her husband's adultery. 75 James Naremore, The World Without a Self (New Haven & London: Yale Univ. Press, 1973) 122. 76 77 78 79 80 81 Woolf, To the Lighthouse 94. Naremore 2 6. Colette, La Vagabonde (Paris: G. Gres & Cre, 1923) Colette, La Vagabonde 7, 17. Colette, La Vagabonde 2 73. Jacques Lacan, Le moi dans l a theorie de Freud et  dans l a technique de l a psychanalysis 1954-1955 (Paris: S e u i l , 1978). Elaine Showalter, "Feminist C r i t i c i s m " in Abel 24. Q O Colette, La Naissance du Jour (Paris: Flammarion, 1928) . 84 Colette, La Naissance du Jour, Frontispiece. Q C Nancy K. M i l l e r , "The Anamnesis of a Female 'I' in the Margins of Se l f - P o r t r a y a l " in Colette: The Woman, the Writer, ed. Eri c a Mendelson Eisinger and Mari Ward McCarty (Univ. Park & London: Penn. State Univ. Press, 1981) 75. 8 6 Helene Cixous, "Le Rire de l a Meduse," L'Arc 61 (1975),40. 8 7 M i l l e r 77. 8 8 Gertrude Stein, Composition as Explanation (London: Hogarth Press, 1926) 54. 8 9 Renata Adler, Speedboat (New York: Random House, 1976); Pitch Dark (New York: Knopf, 1983); Marguerite Duras L'amant (Paris: Editions de minuit, 1984); La douleur (Pari P.O.L., 1985); Nathalie. Sarraute, Les f r u i t s d'or (Paris: Gallimard, 1963); Entre l a vie et l a mort (Paris: Gallimard 1968) . 237 Chapter Two ^ Jean Rhys, "Temps Perdi," Art and Li t e r a t u r e , 12 (Spring 1,967) 122 . 2 Diana A t h i l l , foreward to Jean Rhys, Smile Please: an  Unfinished Autobiography (London: Deutsch, 1979) 6. 3 A t h i l l 6. 4 A t h i l l 9. 5 Judith Kegan Gardiner, "Good Morning, Midnight; Good Night Modernism""Boundary 2 9 (1982): 230-242. 6 Kegan Gardiner 233 . 7 See also P h y l l i s Shand A l l f r e y , The Orchid House (London: Virago Press, 1982; 1st. published London: Constable, 1953). 8 Kenneth Ramchand, The West Indian Novel and i t s  Background (New York: Barnes & Noble) 223-36, explores the implications of t h i s uneasy master/slave r e l a t i o n s h i p . 9 Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (London: Deutsch, 1966) 133-37 i n which Antoinette resorts to native "obeah" to try to win Rochester back. George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London (New York: Harcourt & Brace, 1951). Francis Carco, Perversity, trans. Ford Madox Ford (Chicago: Pascal C o v i c i , 1928). Reported in Arthur Mizener, The Saddest Story: a Biography of Ford Madox Ford (New York: World Publishing Co., 1971) 1263 as being the work in r e a l i t y , of Jean Rhys. 1 2 Carco 84. 13 ' Albert Camus, L'Etranger (Paris: Gallimard, 1944; prt. 1964); Marguerite Duras, Le Ravissment de Lol V. Stein (Paris: Gallimard, 1964). 23-8 M a l c o l m B r a d b u r y , The S o c i a l C o n t e x t o f M o d e r n E n g l i s h L i t e r a t u r e ( O x f o r d : O x f o r d U n i v . P r e s s , 1 9 7 1 ) . ; r Raymond W i l l i a m s , C u l t u r e a n d S o c i e t y : 1 7 8 0 - 1 9 59 ( L o n d o n : M a c m i l l a n , 1959 ) . 15 Ramchand 2 3 3 . 1 6 J u d i t h T h u r m a n , "The M i s t r e s s a n d t h e M a s k : J e a n R h y s ' F i c t i o n , " M s . , J a n . 1 9 7 6 : 5 0 - 5 3 . 17 T h u r m a n 5 4 . 1 8 V . S . N a i p a u l , " W i t h o u t a D o g ' s C h a n c e , " New Y o r k  R e v i e w o f B o o k s 18 (18 May 19 7 2 ) ; 3 0 . 19 H o w a r d M o s s , " G o i n g t o P i e c e s , " New Y o r k e r , D e c . 1 6 , 1 9 7 4 : 1 6 1 -20 J e a n R h y s , Q u a r t e t ( L o n d o n : D e u t s c h , 1 9 6 9 ) 7 3 . 2 1 M o s s 1 6 0 . J e a n R h y s , The L e f t B a n k a n d O t h e r S t o r i e s ( F r e e p o r t : New Y o r k : B o o k s f o r L i b r a r i e s , P r e s s , 1 9 7 0 : r e p r i n t o f 1927 e d . ) . . _ 2 3 " T r i o , " L e f t B a n k 1 4 . 24 " M i x i n g C o c k t a i l s , " L e f t B a n k 8 8 . 2 5 " A g a i n t h e A n t i l l e s , " L e f t B a n k 9 7 . T h u r m a n 5 0 . J e a n R h y s , V o y a g e i n t h e D a r k (New Y o r k : W.W. N o r t o n 1 9 6 8 ) . 2 8 L o u i s J a m e s , J e a n R h y s : C r i t i c a l S t u d i e s o f C a r i b b e a n  W r i t e r s ( L o n d o n : L o n g m a n , 19 78) 5 0 . 29 R h y s , V o y a g e i n t h e D a r k 7 . A l l o t h e r r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s n o v e l w i l l be i n c l u d e d p a r e n t h e t i c a l l y i n t h e t e x t . 30 Selma Vaz Diaz, an acress, advertised to see i f anyone knew whether Jean Rhys, who had been for some time livincr in seclusion, was a l i v e or dead. She wanted the rights to Good  Morning, Midnight (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1969), to perform i t as a radio play. Rhys herself answered the advertisement. The radio play was, i n fac t , performed and was responsible for a renewal of interest in Rhys' work, and for Rhys herself, the momentum to write Wide Sargasso Sea, her most widely acclaimed novel. These events were documented in Francis Wyndham and Diana Melly ed. Jean Rhys Letters: 1931- 1966, (London: Deutsch, 1984). 31 Ramchand 22 3. 32 James Anthony Froude, The English in the West Indies (1887) as quoted in Ramchand 223. 3 3 Shaffley, The Orchid House, Introduction. 34 Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea 19. A l l other references to t h i s novel w i l l be included p a r e n t e t i c a l l y in the text. 35 Ramchand 221. 3 6 Rhys, Quartet 8. T 7 S t e l l a Bowen, Drawn From L i f e (London: C o l l i n s , 1941) 42 3 8 Bowen 43. 3 9 Rhys, Quartet 22. A l l other references to t h i s novel w i l l appear parenthetically in the text. 4(^ Jean Rhys, After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie (London: Deutsch, 1969). A l l other references to t h i s novel w i l l appear parenthetically in the text. 4 1 Thomas F. Staley, Jean Rhys: A C r i t i c a l Study (London: Macmillan, 1979) 84-5. 4 2Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight 10. A l l other references to t h i s novel w i l l appear parenthetically in the text. Emily Dickinson, "Good Morning, Midnight," quoted in Kegan Gardiner 2 34. « 240 Kegan Gardiner 234. 4 5 V i r g i n i a Woolf, A Room of One's Own (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1957). 46 A. Alvarez, "The Best Living English Novelist," New York Times Book Review, 17 March: 1-7. 4 7 Naipaul 29. 4 8 Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier (London: The Bodley Head, 1915). 49 Ford Madox Ford, Joseph Conrad, A Personal Remembrance (Boston: L i t t l e , Brown & Co., 1924). 50 Ford, Joseph Conrad 43. 241' Chapter Three James Mellow, Charmed C i r c l e : Gertrude Stein and  Company (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974) 372. 2 Malcolm Cowley, Exile's Return (New York: Viking Press, 1956). 3 Cowley 77. 4 Thornton Wilder's Introduction to Gertrude Stein, Four  in America (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1947) 3-4. 5 Stein,Paris France 3. 6 Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas in Selected Works of Gertrude Stein ed. Carl Van Vechten (New York: Vintage Books, 1962) 73. 7 Gertrude Stein, The Geographical History of America  or the Relation of Human Nature to the Human Mind (New York: Random House, 19 36) 11. Q Stein, Autobiography 456. g Gertrude Stein, Wars I Have Seen, (New York: Random House, 1945) 32. 1 0 Stein, Paris France 10, 30. 11 Stein, Paris France 9 . 12 Stein, Paris France 3. 13 Stein, Paris France 2 . 14 Stein, Paris France 1. 15 Stein, Paris France 8-10 16 Stein, Paris France 13 . 17 Stein, Paris France 18 . 18 Stein, Paris France 19 , 242 19 Stein, Paris France 20. 20 Stein, Paris France 3-6, 7. 21 See S. Neuman, Gertrude Stein: Autobiography and the  Problem of Narration ( V i c t o r i a : English Literature Studies; Univ. of V i c t o r i a , 1979) 65 for a discussion of Stein's incorporation of s p e c i f i c a l l y narrative elements into an otherwise documentary format. 22 Stein, Autobiography 86, 91-2. 23 Stein, Autobiography 65. 24 Stein, Autobiography 86. 2 5 Stein, Autobiography 86. 2 6 Stein, Autobiography 91-2. 2 7 "Testimony against Gertrude Stein," t r a n s i t i o n , pamphlet 1, supplement to v o l . 23, July 1935. 2 8 For a study of the harlequin as a figure in the dramatic and v i s u a l arts see Robert F. Storey, P i e r r o t : A  C r i t i c a l History of a Mask (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1978) . 2 9 J.M. Brinnin, The Third Rose: Gertrude Stein and Her  World (Boston: L i t t l e , Brown, 1959) 238. 30 For a selection of Stein's works which indicate the stages of her career see Carl Van Vechten ed. Selected Writings  of Gertrude Stein (New York: Random House 1946) . It includes The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas, Tender Buttons, Four  Saints in Three Acts and "The Winner Loses." 31 Michael J. Hoffman, Gertrude Stein (Boston: Twayne, 1976) 21. 3 2 Stein, The Autobiography of A l i c e B. Toklas, in Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein 49. 3 3 Hoffman 54. 3 4 Brinnin 129. 243 3 5Hoffman 59. 3 6 Richard Bridgman, Gertrude Stein in Pieces (New York: Something Else Press, 1966). 37 David Lodge, "The Language of Modernist F i c t i o n : Metaphor and Metonymy," i n Modernism ad. Malcolm Bradbury and James MacFarlane (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1976) 481-96, 3 8 Lodge 481. 39 Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans (New York: Something Else Press, 1966). 4 0 See Stein, The Autobiography 6 where t h i s remark i s attributed to Max Jacob. 41 Ford Madox Ford, It Was the Nightingale (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1933); Ernest Hemminway, A Moveable Feast (New York: Bantam, by arrangement with Charles Scribner's Sons, 1969). 42 Most of the s i g n i f i c a n t Stein family a c t i v i t i e s Gertrude claimed for herself, including the decision to buy cert a i n canvases for which Leo was in fact responsible. 43 George Wickes, Americans in Paris (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1969) 117. 44 James Mellow, Charmed C i r c l e : Gertrude Stein and Company (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974) 402-4. 4 5 Gertrude Stein, Stanzas in Meditation and Other Poems. Preface by Donald Sutherland. (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1956) 213-17. 4 6 Mellow 403. 4 7 "A Transatlantic Interview, 1946," in A Primer For  The Gradual Understanding Of Gertrude Stein ed. Robert B a r t l e t t Haas (Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1971) 19. 4 8 S.C. Neuman, Gertrude Stein: Autobiography and the  Problem of Narration ( V i c t o r i a : English L i t e r a r y Studies; Univ. of V i c t o r i a Press, 1979) 29-30. 244 49 Neuman 23. Bergson Time and Free W i l l . 51 Gertrude Stein, Everybody's Autobiography (New York: Random House, 1937) 312. 52 Stein, The Autobiography, in Selected Writings of  Gertrude Stein 6. A l l other references to t h i s novel w i l l be from th i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be included parenthetically in the text. 5 3 Mellow 297. 54 Stein, The Making of Americans, f i r s t published by Robert McAlmon's Contact Press, Paris 1925. .Wickes 57. ^ 6 Wylie Sypher, From Rococo to Cubism (New York: Random House, 1960). 5 7 Sypher ,2'9 7 . 5 8 Sypher 298. 59 Sypher 300. 6 0 Gertrude Stein, Lectures in America 16 0. 6 ^ Stein, Lectures in America 160. Paul Alkon, "Visual Rhetoric in The Autobiography of  A l i c e B. Toklas," C r i t i c a l Inquiry, 4 (1975): 849-81. 6 3 Alkon 855. 6 4 Alkon 862. 6 5 Alkon 880. 6 6 Gertrude Stein, "proclamation," t r a n s i t i o n , 16-17 June 1929. 245 P a s c a l , D e s i g n a n d T r u t h i n A u t o b i o g r a p h y 2 0 . 6 8 J e a n S t a r o b i n s k i , L a R e l a t i o n c r i t i q u e ( P a r i s : G a l l i m a r d 1 9 7 0 ) 8 4 . G e r t r u d e S t e i n , F o u r i n A m e r i c a . I n t r o d u c t i o n b y T h o r n t o n W i l d e r , (New H a v e n : Y a l e U n i v . P r e s s , 1 9 3 6 ) . 7 n M . M o n t a i g n e , L e s E s s a i s de M i c h e l de M o n t a i g n e , e d . P i e r r e V i l l e y ( P a r i s : P r e s s e s U n i v e r s i t a i r e s de F r a n c e , 1 9 6 5 ) . 71 B r i d g m a n x v . 7 2 G e r t r u d e S t e i n , What A r e M a s t e r p i e c e s . F o r e w a r d b y R o b e r t B a r t l e t t H a a s ( L o s A n g e l e s : C o n f e r e n c e P r e s s , 1940 ) . 73 S t e i n , M a s t e r p i e c e s 4 7 . 74 Neuman 2 3 . 7 5 t G e r t r u d e S t e i n , The G e o g r a p h i c a l H i s t o r y o f A m e r i c a  o r t h e R e l a t i o n o f t h e Human N a t u r e t o t h e Human M i n d . (New Y o r k : Random H o u s e , 1 9 3 6 ) . "7 £ . G e r t r u d e S t e i n , L e c t u r e s i n A m e r i c a (New Y o r k : S o m e t h i n g E l s e P r e s s , 1966 ) 7 6 . 7 7 S t e i n , L e c t u r e s i n A m e r i c a 7 8 . 7 8 G e r t r u d e S t e i n , E v e r y b o d y ' s A u t o b i o g r a p h y (New Y o r k : Random H o u s e , 1 9 3 7 ) . 7 9 S t e i n , E v e r y b o d y ' s A u t o b i o g r a p h y 3 . 8 0 G e r t r u d e S t e i n , A D i a r y (New Y o r k : Random H o u s e , 1 9 3 0 ) . Q "I S t e i n , A D i a r y 3 . S t e i n , A D i a r y 4 . 8 3 S t e i n , A D i a r y 1 6 . 8 4 G e r t r u d e S t e i n , W a r s I H a v e S e e n (New Y o r k : Random H o u s e , 1 9 4 5 ) . 2 4 6 8 5 Stein, Wars I Have Seen 3. 8 6 Stein, Wars I Have Seen 5. 8 7 Neuman 72. Q O Stein, The Geographical History of America 16. H.D. Helen i n Egypt (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1961) C h a p t e r F o u r D j u n a B a r n e s , L a d i e s A l m a n a c k P r i n t e r f o r t h e A u t h o r a n d S o l d b y E d w a r d W. T i t u s ( P a r i s : 1 9 2 8 ) ; F a c s i m i l e e d i t i o n p u b l i s h e d New Y o r k : H a r p e r & R o w , 1 9 7 2 . 2 D j u n a B a r n e s , N i g h t w o o d ( L o n d o n : F a b e r & F a b e r , 1936 ; New Y o r k : H a r c o u r t , B r u c e & C o . , 1 9 3 7 ; New Y o r k : New D i r e c t i o n s The New C l a s s i c s n o . 1 1 , 1 9 4 6 ; R e - i s s u e d i n S e l e c t e d W o r k s o f  D j u n a B a r n e s (New Y o r k : F a r r a r , S t r a u s a n d G i r o u x , 196 2 ; L o n d o n F a b e r & F a b e r , 1 9 8 0 ) . A l l r e f e r e n c e s i n t h e t e x t w i l l be f r o m t h i s e d i t i o n . 3 D j u n a B a r n e s , The A n t i p h o n : A P l a y ( L o n d o n : F a b e r & F a b e r , 1 9 5 8 ; New Y o r k : F a r r a r , S t r a u s a n d C u d a h y , 1 9 5 8 ) . A l s o i n S e l e c t e d W o r k s o f D j u n a B a r n e s . 4 D j u n a B a r n e s , "The D o v e " i n A B o o k (New Y o r k : B o n i & L i v e r i g h t , 1923) 1 5 1 . 5 H a r o l d P i n t e r , The H o m e c o m i n g ( L o n d o n : M e t h u e n , 1 9 6 6 ) . 6 B a r n e s , "To t h e D o g s , " A B o o k 5 2 . 7 B a r n e s , " T h r e e F r o m t h e E a r t h , " A B o o k 1 8 - 2 5 . B a r n e s , " I n d i a n S u m m e r , " A B o o k 1 8 3 . 9 B a r n e s , " I n d i a n S u m m e r , " A B o o k 1 8 8 . 1 0 B a r n e s , " O s c a r , " A B o o k 9 8 . L o u i s F . K a n n e n s t i n e , The A r t o f D j u n a B a r n e s (New Y o r k : New Y o r k U n i v . P r e s s , 1977 ) 5 - 7 5 . 12 D j u n a B a r n e s , R y d e r (New Y o r k : H o r a c e L i v e r i g h t , 1 9 1 8 ; r e p u b l i s h e d w i t h a d d i t i o n a l m a t e r i a l s , New Y o r k : S t . M a r t i n ' s P r e s s , 1979 ) 1 6 . 13 B a r n e s , R y d e r 1 8 . 14 I n 1922 J o y c e p u b l i s h e d U l y s s e s i n P a r i s , E l i o t p u b l i s h e d The W a s t e L a n d i n L o n d o n , a n d P o u n d h a d b e g u n The C a n t o s . 248 15 George Steiner, "The Cruell e s t Months," New Yorker, 22 A p r i l 1972: 134. 16 Djuna Barnes, A Night Among the Horses, (New York: Horace L i v e r i g h t , 1929). 17 Andrew F i e l d , Djuna: The L i f e and Times of Djuna  Barnes (New York: Putnam, 1983) 94. 18 Suzanne C. Ferguson, "Djuna Barnes 1 Short Stories: An Estrangement of the Heart," Southern Review, Jan. 1969: 38. 19 Djuna Barnes " A l l e r et Retour," Selected Works of 3-11. 20 Barnes, "The Doctors," " A l l e r et Retour," Selected  Works of 54. 21 Barnes, " A l l e r et Retour" 9. 22 Barnes, "The Doctors" 55. 23 Barnes, " A l l e r et Retour" 9. 2 4 :Barnes, "A Night Among the Horses," in Selected Work of 32. 25 Barnes, "Spillway," in Selected Works of 65, 68, 69. 2 6 F i e l d , Djuna '93. 2 7 James B. Scott, Djuna Barnes (Boston: Twayne, 19 76) 25, 28 Barnes, "The Rabbit," in Selected Works of 53; "A ong the Horses," in Selt Barnes, "The Rabbit" 53 Night Am ected Works of 29-36 29 30 Barnes, "A Night Among the Horses" 32. 3 1 Barnes, "A Night Among the Horses" 29, 32 32 Barnes, "The Doctors" 58. 249 33 B a r n e s , " S p i l l w a y " 6 5 . 34 F e r g u s o n 4 0 . 35 D j u n a B a r n e s , V a g a r i e s M a l i c i e u s e s (New Y o r k : F r a n k H a l l m a n , 1 9 7 4 ; o r i g i n a l l y i n The D o u b l e r D e a l e r , New O r l e a n s , 1 9 2 2 ) . 3 6 S e e C h . 1 N o t e 1 8 . 3 7 F i e l d 1 5 5 . 3 8 F i e l d 1 5 5 . 39 F i e l d d i s c u s s e s t h e r e a l a n d t h e f i c t i o n a l D a n M a h o n e y 14 5 -14 7 . 40 B a r n e s , N i g h t w o o d 3 4 8 . 4 1 F i e l d 8 6 . 42 B a r n e s , N i g h t w o o d 3 2 7 . A l l o t h e r r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s n o v e l w i l l be i n c l u d e d p a r e n t h e t i c a l l y i n t h e t e x t . 43 C h a r l e s B a x t e r , " N i g h t w o o d a n d M o d e r n i s m , " J o u r n a l  o f M o d e r n L i t e r a t u r e , 3 ( 1 9 7 4 ) : 1 1 7 6 . 44 I n h i s " N o t e s t o The W a s t e L a n d , " T . S . E l i o t e x p l a i n s t h a t " T i r e s i a s , a l t h o u g h a mere s p e c t a t o r a n d n o t i n d e e d a ' c h a r a c t e r , 1 i s y e t t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t p e r s o n a g e i n t h e p o e m , u n i t i n g a l l t h e r e s t . J u s t a s t h e o n e - e y e d m e r c h a n t , s e l l e r o f c u r r a n t s , m e l t s i n t o t h e P h o e n i c i a n S a i l o r , a n d t h e l a t t e r i s n o t w h o l l y d i s t i n c t f r o m F e r d i n a n d P r i n c e o f . N a p l e s , so a l l t h e women a r e o n e woman , a n d t h e t w o s e x e s mee t i n T i r e s i a s . Wha t T i r e s i a s s e e s , i n f a c t , i s t h e s u b s t a n c e o f t h e p o e m ; " C o l l e c t e d Poems 1 9 0 9 - 1 9 3 5 ( L o n d o n : F a b e r & F a b e r , 1951) 8 0 . C a s s a n d r a , when s h e h a d b e e n l o v e d b y t h e g o d , A p o l l o h a d b e e n g i v e n t h e g i f t o f p r o p h e s y b y h i m . When he was l a t e r o f f e n d e d b y h e r , he r e n d e r e d h e r g i f t u s e l e s s b y o r d a i n i n g t h a t h e r p r e d i c t i o n s s h o u l d n e v e r be b e l i e v e d . S e e C M . G a y l e y , The C l a s s i c M y t h s i n E n g l i s h L i t e r a t u r e a n d  A r t (New Y o r k : J o h n W i l e y & S o n s , 1 9 3 9 ) . 4 5 F i e l d 2 4 0 . 2 50 46 A l a n W i l l i a m s o n , 7The D i v i d e d I m a g e : The Q u e s t f o r I d e n t i t y i n t h e W o r k s o f D j u n a B a r n e s , " C r i t i q u e : S t u d i e s  i n M o d e r n F i c t i o n 7 ( 1 9 6 4 ) : 5 8 - 7 4 . 4 7 W i l l i a m s o n 6 2 . 48 J o s e p h F r a n k , " S p a t i a l F o r m i n M o d e r n L i t e r a t u r e , " i n T h e W i d e n i n g G y r e : C r i s i s a n d M a s t e r y i n M o d e r n L i t e r a t u r e ( B l o o m i n g t o n a n d L o n d o n : I n d i a n a U n i v . P r e s s , 1963 ) 3 2 . 49 F r a n k 3 3 . A l a n S i n g e r , "The H o r s e Who Knew T o o M u c h : M e t a p h o r a n d t h e N a r r a t i v e o f D i s c o n t i n u i t y i n N i g h t w o o d , " C o n t e m p o r a r y L i t e r a t u r e , 25 n o . 1 , (1984) 6 5 - 7 4 . 51 B a r n e s , The A n t i p h o n 2 1 4 . 52 B a r n e s , " S i x S o n g s o f K h a l i d i n e , " A B o o k 14 5 . 5 3 F r a n k 3 8 . 5 4 F r a n k 3 9 . 5 5 F r a n k 3 9 . 56 S u s a n G u b a r , " B l e s s i n g s I n D i s g u i s e : C r o s s - D r e s s i n g a s R e - D r e s s i n g f o r F e m a l e M o d e r n i s t s , " M a s s a c h u s e t t s  R e v i e w , A u t u m n 1 9 8 1 . 5 7 T . S . E l i o t , " N o t e s t o The W a s t e L a n d . " 5 8 F i e l d 2 1 4 . 5 9 F i e l d 3 3 . 6 0 F i e l d 3 3 . h 1 W o l f g a n g K a y s e r , The G r o t e s q u e i n A r t a n d L i t e r a t u r e ( B l o o m i n g t o n : I n d i a n a U n i v . P r e s s , 1963 ) 2 0 . 6 2 K a y s e r 2 1 . 6 3 K a y s e r 2 4 . 251 6 4 Kayser 132. 6 5 Thomas Mann, Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen' (Reflections of an U n p o l i t i c a l Man) in Kayser 13 5. ^Wilhelm Worringer, Form in Gothic (London: Putnam & Sons, 1927) 7. 6 7 Kannenstine 87-8. ^ 8 Ortega y Gasset, The Dehumanization of Art and other  Writings on Art and Culture, trans. Willard A. Trask (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1956) 35. 6 9 Kannenstine 101. 70 Singer 67. 71 T.S. E l i o t , "Introduction" to Nightwood in Selected  Works of Djuna Barnes 22 7. 7 2 E l i o t , "Introduction" 230. 73 Ralph Freedman, The L y r i c a l Novel (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1963). 7 4 Freedman 278. 75 Freedman 1-2. Melvin Friedman, Stream of Consciousness: A Study  in L i t e r a r y Method (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1955) 261. 7 7 E l i o t , "Introduction" 231. 7 8 Angela Carter, Nights at the Circus (London: Chatto & Windus, 1984). 79 Many of these basic ideas and connections have been suggested by Alan Singer, "The Horse Who Knew Too Much: Metaphor and the Narrative of Discontinuity in Nightwood," Contemporary Li t e r a t u r e , 25 no. 1, (1984): 65-74. 8 0 Singer 68. 252 81 S a n d r a G i l b e r t , " C o s t u m e s o f t h e M i n d : T r a n s v e s t i s m a s M e t a p h o r i n M o d e r n L i t e r a t u r e , " i n A b e l , W r i t i n g a n d  S e x u a l D i f f e r e n c e 2 1 4 . 8 2 G i l b e r t 1 9 5 - 6 . V i r g i n i a W o o l f , O r l a n d o ( L o n d o n : H o g a r t h P r e s s , 1940 ) 84 V i r g i n i a W o o l f , The V o y a g e O u t ( L o n d o n : H o g a r t h P r e s s : 1 9 1 5 ) ; To t h e L i g h t h o u s e ( L o n d o n : H o g a r t h P r e s s , 1927 ) The Waves ( L o n d o n : H o g a r t h P r e s s , 1 9 3 1 ) ; B e t w e e n t h e A c t s (New Y o r k : H a r c o u r t & B r a c e , 1 9 4 1 ) . Conclusion For a discussion of Late Modernism see Alan Wilde, "Surfaces of Late Modernism," Boundary 2 8 (1980): 212-25. 2 Stephen Spender, The Destructive Element: A Study of  Modern Writers and B e l i e f s (Philadelphia: Albert Sarfer, 1953) 205. 3 Christopher Isherwood quoted in foreword to Edward Upward, "The Railway Accident," New Directions in Prose  and Poetry 11 (1949): 34. 4 Wilde 212-25. 5 Wilde 215. 6 See Harry Levin, "What Was Modernism?" in Burnshaw, Va r i e t i e s of L i t e r a r y Experience (New York: Knopf, 1962) 307 7 Wilde 219. 8 Wilde 221. 9 Sandra G i l b e r t , "Costumes of the Mind," i n Abel 19 5-6 1 0 G i l b e r t 196. Carolyn Burke, "Gertrude Stein, the Cone Sisters and the Puzzle of Female Friendship," in Abel 221. 12 Judith Kegan Gardiner, "Good Morning, Midnight: Good Night Modernism," Boundary 2 9 (1982): 23-242. 13 _ Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight 132. 1 4 Wilde 214. 15 For a discussion of post-modern autobiographical f i c t i o n see Paul Jay, Being in the Text (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1984). 1 6 Roland Barthes quoted in Jay 167. 254 SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY a. Primary Sources: Autobiographical Works Bowen, S t e l l a . Drawn From L i f e . London: C o l l i n s , 1 9 4 1 . Ford, Ford Madox. It Was the Nightingale. Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott, 1933 . . Return to Yesterday. Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott, 1 9 3 1 . Gide, Andre. Journal 1 8 9 9 - 1 9 3 9 . Paris: Gallimard, 1948 . Goldman, Emma. Living My L i f e . 2 vols. New York: A l f r e d • A. Knopf, 1 9 3 1 . Hellman, L i l l i a n . An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir. New York: Bantam, 1969 . . Pentimento: A Book of P o r t r a i t s . New York: New American Library, 19 74 . Hemingway, Ernest. A Moveable Feast. New York: Bantam, 1967 . L e i r i s , , M i c h e l . L 'Age d'homme. Paris: Gallimard, 1946 . McCarthy, Mary. Memories of a Catholic Girlhood. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1957 . Meir, Golda. My L i f e . New York: Putnam, 1975 . Montaigne, Michel de. Les Essais de Michel de Montaigne. Ed. Pierre V i l l e y . Paris: Presses Unive r s i t a i r e s de France, 196 5 . Orwell, George. Down and Out in Paris and London. New York: Harcourt & Brace, 1 9 5 1 . Rhys, Jean. Smile Please: An Unfinished Autobiography. London: Deutsch, 1979 . . Letters 1 9 3 1 - 1 9 6 6 . Ed. Francis Wyndham & Diana Melly. London: Deutsch, 1984 . Toklas, A l i c e . What i s Remembered. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1 9 6 3 . 255 Woolf, V i r g i n i a . A Room of One's Own. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1957. • Moments of Being: Unpublished Autobiographical Writings. Ed. Jeanne Schulkind. 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