Hugh Guiler’s Diary

In 1947, just after Anaïs Nin left with Rupert Pole on a several month journey to the west coast, the first swing on what she called the “trapeze” between New York and California and the two men who occupied places in her heart—Hugh Guiler and Rupert Pole—Guiler, undergoing psychiatric care with Dr. Inge Bogner, kept a diary into which he poured his innermost thoughts about himself, his wife Anaïs, and their marriage. Thought to have been destroyed or locked away in parts unknown, it was recently discovered amongst the myriad of file folders and bins in Nin’s study in the Silver Lake house she and Pole occupied in Los Angeles. In this diary, we learn about Guiler’s growing dissatisfaction with the marriage and the underlying reasons as he struggled to come to an understanding of its convoluted dynamics. In the following excerpt, Guiler describes the “two worlds”—the business world and the art world—that have been at the center of the couple’s growing chasm within the relationship:
Hugh Guiler and Anais Nin, 1940s
Hugh Guiler and Anais Nin, 1940s © The Anais Nin Trust

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.

Join the Conversation


  1. In another portion of Guiler’s diary, he calls his wife “sick” and “crippled” when it comes to reality, and that his business life was considered to be “dirt” and “shit” by Anais. It was a marriage in deep crisis, leading to an amazing ultimatum from Guiler in a letter found by Kim Krizan in her article “Hugh’s Stand” from Vol. 7 of A Cafe in Space.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *