Ladies Almanack

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Ladies Almanack
Cover
Author Djuna Barnes
Language English
Publication date
1928
Media type Print

Ladies Almanack, or Ladies Almanack: showing their Signs and their Tides; their Moons and their Changes; the Seasons as it is with them; their Eclipses and Equinoxes; as well as a full Record of diurnal and nocturnal Distempers, written & illustrated by a lady of fashion, written by Djuna Barnes in 1928, is a roman à clef about a predominantly lesbian social circle centering on Natalie Clifford Barney's salon in Paris. It is written in an archaic, Rabelaisian style, with Barnes's own illustrations in the style of Elizabethan woodcuts.

Natalie Barney appears as Dame Evangeline Musset, "who was in her Heart one Grand Red Cross for the Pursuance, the Relief and the Distraction, of such Girls as in their Hinder Parts, and their Fore Parts, and in whatsoever Parts did suffer them most, lament Cruelly".[1] "[A] Pioneer and a Menace" in her youth, Dame Musset has reached "a witty and learned Fifty";[2] she rescues women in distress, dispenses wisdom, and upon her death is elevated to sainthood. Also appearing pseudonymously are Elisabeth de Gramont, Romaine Brooks, Dolly Wilde, Radclyffe Hall and her partner Una, Lady Troubridge, Janet Flanner and Solita Solano, and Mina Loy.[3]

The obscure language, inside jokes and ambiguity of Ladies Almanack have kept critics arguing about whether it is an affectionate satire or a bitter attack, but Barney herself loved the book and re-read it throughout her life.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Barnes, 6.
  2. ^ Barnes, 34, 9.
  3. ^ Weiss, 151-153.
  4. ^ Barnes, xxxii-xxxiv.

References[edit]

  • Barnes, Djuna; with an introduction by Susan Sniader Lanser (1992). Ladies Almanack. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-1180-4. 
  • Weiss, Andrea (1995). Paris Was a Woman: Portraits From the Left Bank. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco. ISBN 0-06-251313-3.