A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, Vol. 7, is a reality. Today we received shipment of the newest—and in some ways one of the best—issue of the only current Anaïs Nin publication in print. Its 150 pages contain Anaïs Nin’s previously unpublished diary excerpts, an intimate look at Hugh Guiler’s feelings about his marriage to Nin, an interview with Deirdre Bair, John Ferrone’s tale of how Delta of Venus was almost not published, and several articles and creative pieces from some of the most established and newest stars of Nin study.
We encourage you to order your copy now—we have sold more advance copies than ever before, and the supply is limited.
Table of Contents
Kim Krizan: Hugh’s Stand—Revelations of a letter from Hugh Guiler to Anaïs Nin
Paul Herron: Leaping Ahead of Reality—Hugh Guiler’s diary
Deirdre Bair: The Making of Anaïs Nin: A Biography—Paul Herron interviews Deirdre Bair
Anaïs Nin: L’Homme Fatal—From the unpublished diary
John Ferrone: The Making of Delta of Venus
Angela Meyer: Anaïs Nin’s Delta of Venus—Feminine identity through pleasure: a mini analysis
Dawn Kaczmar: Irigaray and Nin Through the Looking Glass—Mimetic re-appropriation of the masculine discourse
Adrian Haidu: A Masculine Perspective of Woman—(Considered as a perspective)
Joel Enos: Flow and Moments of Arrest—Anaïs Nin’s boat imagery
Cari Lynn Vaughn: A Literary Love Triangle—Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin and D.H. Lawrence
Tristine Rainer: Les Mots Flottants—Anaïs Nin’s Diary 2
Sarah Burghauser: Ouroboros and Disorientation—Profile of a Nin lover
Laura Marello: Anaïs Nin and Her Contemporaries—Ahead of their time
Daisy Aldan: Three poems from the end
Marc Widershien: Four poems from Maine
Sharanya Manivannan: Possession
Connie Baechler: Overlay
Reviews and other items of interest: Reviews of The Mistress Cycle, The Heretics, and Ferlinghetti: A City Light; internet links
On Feb. 22, 1916, the day after Anaïs Nin’s 13th birthday, she made this entry into her childhood diary, Linotte (translated from the French):
13 years old! An age when the world gives a glimpse of its abyss of pleasures.
13 years old! An age when the future, which yesterday seemed far away, comes to haunt one’s dreams.
13 years old! An age when a locked heart opens, when one that is open becomes locked.
13 years old! An age when a little girl breaks the frail cocoon and becomes a young lady. I am 13 years old!
It seems to me that yesterday I am newborn or have just died. It seems to me the old Anaïs has nothing to do with the new one. A year ago, 2 years ago, I glimpsed what had just happened like an old remembered story, because memory is like a film, for when the foggy curtain rises, an entire life unrolls before one, all the ups and downs of that long, simple, moving story, “Life.” Nonetheless, yesterday is gone. Today I picked up with the same habits, the same routine, and, I confess, the same disposition. Oh, but it’s difficult to improve oneself. Yesterday when I did the same things, I scolded myself. I promised to stop. Then someone calls me, I turn around, and Plif! it all disappears and I begin again only the regret again later.
Ah, how unthinking we are! And all-powerful God from His throne on high must certainly smile and say: I must make a soul of iron… I don’t think that it would be so frivolous, so forgetful. But then we would be completely useless and I suppose that it’s better to do something wrong that can be mended than nothing.
But I criticize frivolous people and I am one myself. Here is a proof of that. The same evening, after the little party Maman gave for that marvelous 13th birthday, I wrote to Papa, and afterward, the next day, to my confidant. Those are the only two (including Maman) to whom I give my heart and my impressions immediately after the fact, for that is the single instant when they are perfect.
To see posts on Anaïs Nin’s cultural heritage, parents, birthplace, and birth certificate, click here.
The two worlds, hers and mine, have somehow got to not just tolerate each other but to collaborate in a friendly, and loving way with each other if they are going to have a relationship. I have certainly in direct ways gone out of my way to collaborate with the world of the imagination and to adapt and bend the material world to it, even to twist that material world to it, just as I have twisted in certain ways things that would otherwise have been straight. Perhaps my twisted colon comes from that—”twisting my guts.” I know that in indirect ways I rebelled against this and made her suffer for my having warped and distorted that part of my own nature which like the wisteria she wrote about, insisted on growing in its own direction. She, on the other hand, has been like a sensitive plant to which the material world, represented [by] her father and her mother, came to assume the role of an enemy to her existence as an individual. Ever afterwards for her the only friendly world was inside of Cities of the Interior, House of Incest, the journal, the secret life locked away in safes and vaults, the inner life as refuge…sometimes as a fortress bristling with weapons of attack as well as defence, the moat around the fortress dividing, separating, separating from the earth on the other side—water, the emotional life, not a connection with the earth but a protection against the intrusion of all earth except the kind that existed inside the fortress—the little patch of earth that had been cultivated so long that it was a very private garden in which strange selected plants not from soil at all, but from air like the Spanish moss she sent me, so symbolically.
Left alone for the entire summer of 1947 while Nin traveled with her fervent lover Pole (under the pretence of traveling with a friend), Guiler found the solitude to explore his most intimate feelings and to express them in words.
To read the entire entry from which this excerpt is derived, see “Leaping Ahead of Reality: Hugh Guiler’s diary” in Volume 7 of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, pp. 17-26.
When Anaïs Nin republished her House of Incest in 1958, she incorporated the surrealistic photomontages of the artist Val Telberg. The collaboration became well-known, as all subsequent editions of the book contained his work, including Nin’s own image within the photomontages.
Val Telberg was born in Moscow in 1910 to Finnish parents and was brought up in China. He moved to New York in 1938 and was introduced to surrealism while working as a photographer, thus sparking his interest in photomontage.
A remembrance of Telberg and Nin’s association by Gunther Stuhlmann appeared in Volume 14 of his ANAIS: An International Journal (1996):
IN THE SUMMER OF 1958, while travelling in Europe, Anais Nin sent an enthusiastic note to her friend Vladimir Telberg von Teleheim, the Russian-born artist-photographer who had been experimenting for some time with photographic images to enhance a planned re-issue of her House of Incest, which had been out of print for almost a decade. “Dear Val;” she wrote on stationery from the Hotel de Crillon in Paris, “I love the photomontages, the selection, the cover—perfect I feel… It’s wonderful how you have welded the images and the texts. They are poetic in their own terms, in their own language. The feeling of a floating world is so powerful.”
Their project had been part of Anais Nin’s determined effort in the late 1950s to republish and distribute once again her own books. She had discovered that a new offset process enabled a Chicago printer, Edward Brothers, to reproduce at reasonable cost the pages of her own hand-set and hand-printed 1947 Gemor Press edition of House of Incest (and those of other titles) directly from the original. Val Telberg, who then made his living on Sixth Avenue in New York as a dealer in maps, atlases, and scholarly books on Eastern Europe and Asia, was an experienced bookman. But it was Telberg the artist, who had studied at the Art Students League, the experimental filmmaker and inventive photographer, whom Anais Nin invited to collaborate with her. “I like so much what you are doing,” she had written to him initially, after seeing some of the images he had begun to create in the 1940s. She had given him a free reign and set no deadline. “When your dummy is ready, your cover photo, etc., then you can send it to me.”
WHEN THE FIRST 1,000 paperbound copies of the re-born House of Incest finally appeared, they featured, in front and back, one of Telberg’s subtly imagined montages, which seemed a perfect summary visualization of Anais Nin’s poetic text: A partly obscured female head and partial, nude body, with arms raised, appeared to rise into a sea of shimmering clouds overspreading the shadowy outlines of roofs and, in the left bottom corner, the light-framed silhouette of what might be an ornamental bedstead or the fragment of a metal fence. (“Ghosts of past defeats flaunting forgotten wounds and imagined dreams,” reads one of Telberg’s worknotes, “…and the sudden burst from under water up to sky.”) Of the hundreds of prints composed by Telberg on his light table by manipulating layers of negatives of photos taken of people and objects in the “real” world, only nine appeared in the finished book. Some of these “unreal,” dreamlike, spatial compositions incorporated floating images of the real Anais Nin, and one of the photomontages reveals a partial view of the artist’s face with one dark-rimmed demonic eye, enmeshed in a cubist swirl of hands and hair juxtaposed against the massive slice of a brick wall.
Val Telberg missed some of these celebratory events, and the first copies of the new House if Incest became available only a few days after his death, at the age of eighty-five, in April 1995.