Hi, Nightwood by Djuna Barnes...

It was highly praised by T. S. Eliot, but not easy to read for non-native speakers.

Then walking in the Prater he had been seen carrying in a conspicuously clenched fist the exquisite handkerchief of yellow and black linen that cried aloud of the ordinance of 1468, issued by one Pietro Barbo, demanding that, with a rope about its neck, Guido’s race should run in the Corso for the amusement of the Christian populace, while ladies of noble birth, sitting upon spines too refined for rest, arose from their seats, and, with the red-gowned cardinals and the Monsignori, applauded with that cold yet hysterical abandon of a people that is at once unjust and happy, the very Pope himself shaken down from this hold on heaven with the laughter of a man who forgoes his angels that he may recapture the beast.

This memory and the handkerchief that accompanied it had wrought in Guido(as certain flowers brought to a pitch of florid ecstasy no sooner attain their specific type than they fall into its decay) the sum total of what is the Jew. He had walked, hot, incautious and damned, his eyelids quivering over the thick eyeballs, black with the pain of a participation that, four centuries later, made him a victim, as he felt the echo in his own throat of that cry running the Piazza Montanara long ago, “Roba vecchia!” – the degradation by which his people had survived.


1. abandon of a people = abandon done by a people or aban done to a peopole?

2. abandon of a people that: 'that' = abandon or 'that'= a people?
1. in this case abandon means: "a complete surrender to natural impulses without restraint or moderation; freedom from inhibition or conventionality: to dance with reckless abandon." So it is acting as a noun and not a verb. The ladies, cardinals, and Monsignori applauded with hysterical abandon.

2. I'm not sure.

This isn't easy reading for native speakers, either. It figures that T.S. Eliot would praise this work. Truly, this is an awful sentence.
Thanks a lot.....