Update on Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin

UPDATE: Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947 is now available as an ebook from Amazon, and it can be ordered from your device or by clicking here.

Anais Nin, 1940s Copyright: The Anais Nin Trust
Anais Nin, 1940s
Copyright: The Anais Nin Trust

Because of printer delays, the release date of the hardcover version has been pushed to November 1, 2013. The good news is that until then  you can still pre-order at the discounted price. To reserve a copy, click here.

Lastly,  The Daily Beast has produced the best analysis to date of Mirages. To read the article, click here. The author of the post, Lizzie Crocker (@nymtwit), shows she truly understands the message and value of Anais Nin.

Happy reading!

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  1. Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin 1939-1947
    edited by Paul Herron with an introduction by Kim Krizan
    Published by Swallow Press/OhioUniversity Press in association with Sky Blue Press 2013
    ISBN-13 978-0-8040-1146-4

    Review essay by Nancy Shiffrin

    “I am the woman of tomorrow… a highly developed instrument seeking not to be rendered deaf by machine guns, to be able to carry on its vibrations, its extraordinary wave perceptions.” She is Anais Nin. Her favorite word is transcend. The violence she refers to is World War II. Mirages covers 1939-1937, the period of the third and fourth edited Diaries, when world consciousness was dominated by the demons Hitler and Stalin. Nin’s life, by contrast, included lovers Henry Miller and Gonzalo More, husband, Hugh Guillier, and such literary luminaries Gore Vidal and Edmund Wilson who were also lovers. It was a period in which communism still seemed to offer hope for human advancement. Nin was influenced by More’s activism and would have wished she could do more, for communism, for the negro, as she put it; however, the task she was born for, was to preserve her own musicality against the crude socialist realism which seemed to her to be taking over American letters, as well as to document her own artistic development. She referred to herself as a musician manque and wanted to preserve the subtlety of French, to recreate it in English. What might seem like self-indulgence, is Nin’s way of fighting the war and its terrible aftermath.

    As a fan of the edited Diaries, with their emphasis on Nin’s development as a creative woman, and their exquisite construction, I ask myself, as I imagine the reader would ask, why the unexpurgated Diaries and why this publication now? As a young writer I attended one of the last workshops she offered, through International College. That was 1975-76. By 1977 she was dead and very much missed. “What can I do for your creative life today?” she would ask. Class members would present writing, and/or a problem in the creative life. We would critique in the sense of encourage, and we would discuss. Sometimes she talked about her own life, as she was editing Diaries VI and VII at the time. I was working on poems and a novel about children’s erotic life. So to me, the scenes where she describes her early erotic experiences, and where she speaks courageously about her father’s abuse and her first erotic feelings are particularly meaningful.

    “In Brussels we lived in a two-storied house. I was seven or eight years old then. My father always took us to the attic to be whipped. He did not want my mother to hear us. She would interfere and get angry at him and the struggle usually ended in a great battle. … As far as I could remember we all hated this and begged to be forgiven.” ( Nin is referring to her brothers here, Thorwald and Joaquin.) I wept violently at the humiliation and hated my father. Now I ask myself if the hand that administered the powerful spankings must have awakened, at the same time as pain, a region of pleasure. I do not remember feeling the pleasure then, but much later when I remembered the beatings, it was as if the warmth of the hand had awakened not only the pain…but the dormant regions of sensibilities about the backside.” A previous “unexpurgated” volume says much more about Nin’s incestuous relationship with her father and his abandonment of the family, once he was confronted about what they called “the problem”, all of which seem to be connected to Nin’s perpetual sexual seeking. These are realms that the world still has immense difficulty being honest about.

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