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Up to now, the importance of the thematic workings of Julian Barnes's A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters has not found much reflection in academia, which is a pity, since A History thrives on its themes. This article intends to close this gap by focusing on two marginal themes--femininity and nature--to see how they interact with each other and to what extent they constrain the articulation of the main themes of the novel. This article argues that the interaction between femininity and nature in chapter 4 of the novel is flawed, and that it is necessary to look into "Parenthesis" to ascertain whether such a situation can ultimately be revoked. This article argues that the redeeming moment of "Parenthesis" involves a change of tactics rather than content, which saves the novel from the threat of reductionism. There can be little doubt that Julian Barnes's A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters (henceforth to be referred to as A History) has all the trappings of an ambitious work. Despite its humble and/or mocking title, "a" history, the novel also yearns for completeness in its attempt to articulate in different ways abstract, all-embracing themes (see Saunders 1989: 9; Locke 1989: 42; Oates 1989: 12), and in this sense, gains much from the intellectual challenges it poses. (2) According to critics, the thematic pillars of A History is made up of history, love, and religion (See Sexton 1989, Salyer 1991, Raucq Hoorix 1991 and Moseley 1997). However, at times other more intermittent themes appear which are part and parcel of the novel's overall meaning; what's more, these themes also define, and are in turn defined by, the history-love-religion triad. A proper understanding of the workings of A History thus depends on an analysis of these more marginal themes.