DJUNA BARNES

Isaac Israels, Two Women, 1905

William Rothenstein, Two Women, 1895

FROM ‘MARA, MARIETTA’
Part Five Chapter 15

Or the two of you, in black capes and manly hats (a nod to Djuna Barnes and Thelma Wood), walking hand-in-hand down the boulevard.

Walter Richard Sickert, Two Women on a Sofa, 1903-04

FROM ‘MARA, MARIETTA’
Part Nine Chapter 14

̶  My loss, Marietta, my loss. But I’ll get over it! I’m working on a new project.
̶  Great. What is it?
̶  I’ve been commissioned to design a perfume bottle.
̶  Congratulations!
̶  It’s for Leonora. They’re launching a new scent, Demoiselle de la nuit.
̶  What’s it like?
̶  Wonderfully perverse! A mixture of masculine and feminine, woody patchouli and white floral, with blackcurrant, lime, and a touch of liquorice. And—here’s the real kicker—something overripe and perfectly louche!
̶  I like it! And the bottle, will it be louche too?
̶  Louche, no. Erotic, yes!

Your eyes sparkle.

̶  Tell me more!
̶  I first toyed with the idea of a bottle that goes against the scent. You know, something for prim girls in glasses.
̶  Who go wild at night?
̶  Exactly!
̶  Like Riva! Héloïse jumps in.

Riva whirls her head wildly, then pulls a prim, perfectly straight face. Everybody laughs.

̶  As it turned out, Marketing didn’t like that idea. Then I took the opposite tack—baroque and humorous, in the spirit of Ladies Almanack.

Djuna Barnes—the slow narcotic of Nightwood, the anatomy of love: through a black diamond, lucidly.

̶  You know, tipping the velvet, tongue in cheek.

The joyful wit of her Vanity Fair portrait, white wine with Joyce at the Deux Magots.

̶  In a word, louche, but ironic.

Jean Dupas, Two Women

Tamara de Lempicka, Portrait of Mrs Boucard, 1931

The opening of Nightwood

Page the First, Djuna Barnes, Ladies Almanack, 1928

Gerda Marie Frederikke Wegener, The Circle of Love, 1917

Gerda Marie Frederikke Wegener, The Connoisseurs, 1917

Page the Second, Djuna Barnes, Ladies Almanack, 1928