Best-known for her novel Nightwood
, 1936, about her fellow Americans in Paris,
wrote in a number of other genres: plays, short stories, poetry, and journalism. Other works like the Ladies Almanack
defy generic categorisation. Her writing is heavily if not cryptically autobiographical. Her works frequently appeared with her own illustrations. She based many of her characters on her family, ex-lovers, and acquaintances. Critic
writes: Most of Barnes' major writings—the short stories in Spillway, the novel Ryder, but particularly the heavily excised twenty-nine drafts of The Antiphon—encode the sexual violations and erotic entanglements in the patriarchal family.