H. P. Lovecraft referred to Park Barnitz as "a vivid decadent of the fin de sicle period who modelled his verse on Baudelaire & killed himself soon after graduation from Harvard." His one and only volume, The Book of Jade (1901), has become a legend in the realm of weird poetry, its technical precision and its relentless obsession with death, horror, madness, and pessimism making it a choice prize for appreciators of poetic witchery.
But almost nothing is known about its young author, who died at the age of twenty-three. This comprehensive edition presents a wealth of material about David Park Barnitz-biographical, critical, and bibliographical. It contains the complete text of The Book of Jade along with additional poems and essays by Barnitz, some of which have never been reprinted. In addition, Gavin Callaghan has written an exhaustive biography that presents a fascinating portrait of the poet, delving into his family's ancestry and collecting widely scattered nuggets of information on Barnitz's life, work, and thought.
The editors have gathered a wide array of criticism on Barnitz, including contemporary reviews and early essays by Floyd Dell, Carey McWilliams, and Joseph Payne Brennan. The book concludes with a brace of original essays on Barnitz's poetic achievement. This is the definitive edition of The Book of Jade, featuring masses of material not available elsewhere.
Table of Contents
The Book of Jade, by Park Barnitz
Uncollected Writings, by Park Barnitz
[Letter to William Doxey, 1901]
The Truth about Rudyard Kipling
The Art of the Future
Park Barnitz: A Biography, by Gavin Callaghan
The Promise of Contemporary Art
Two American Poets: A Study in Possibilities, by Floyd Dell
We (Almost) Die for Art, by Floyd Dell
The Poet of Montsalvat, by Carey McWilliams
A Land of Poets, by Carey McWilliams
America's "Yellow Nineties" Poet, by Joseph Payne Brennan
Renaissance, by David E. Schultz
The Perfection of the Corpse: Necrophilia in The Book of Jade, by K. A. Opperman
The Grotesques: Sins against the Afterlife, by Ashley Dioses
Barnitz and Pessimism, by Matt Sarraf
"I Am Weary of That Lidless Eye": Gazing into the Hegelian Abyss of Subjectivity in theMad Sonnets of Park Barnitz, by Chuck Caruso, Ph.D.
Two Dead Men: Park Barnitz and Rudyard Kipling, by Gavin Callaghan
Afterword, by Michael J. Abolafia
Index of Titles and First Lines