This first novel by modernist writer and artist Djuna Barnes (1892-1982) was published in 1928 and focusses on the experiences of Wendell Ryder. The story is relayed in over fifty chapters of differing lengths, via experiments with literary form and style (including in a faux Medieval style, complete with explanatory footnotes). Part prose, part poetry, part play and accompanied by Barnes’s own illustrations, the novel was, for a time, a bestseller. Before publication, however, the proofs were seized by the New York Postal Service, who deemed them “obscene”. Barnes responded by removing some sections of the text and replacing them with asterisks. These textual markings are retained in this 1979 edition, although Barnes’s original foreword critiquing censorship is not. This was the edition seized at Gay’s the Word, making ‘Ryder’ a doubly censored book.
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