Books rarely remain as relevant as Anaïs Nin’s The Novel of the Future, which was originally published in 1968. America then was in many ways the same as today—absence of imagination and poetics in its literature, increasing hostility to art, national hardness and callousness, and violence in place of imagination. Nin’s aim in her work was to provide a connection with the unconscious and, as Jung once put it, “proceed from the dream outward,” resulting in what she called “psychological truth” in fiction.
When Nin met resistance and outright hostility to her novels in the 1940s, instead of acquiescing to her critics by making them more “realistic,” with sequential plots, crisply defined characters, beginnings, middles and ends, she published two documents explaining the value and purpose of her work. The first was Realism and Reality (1946), and the next was On Writing (1947), both published by Alicat Bookshop.
She also embarked on a lecture tour to bring her thoughts directly to her audiences, and this was a pattern she followed for the rest of her life—to get people thinking about tapping the vast unconscious and converting subterranean dreams into literature. In this sense, she was in accord with the surrealists.
Once the Diary of Anaïs Nin (1966) made her famous, she felt at liberty to incorporate the Alicat chapbooks and expand on the thoughts laid out in them in one book—and the result was The Novel of the Future. There are few publications which so clearly and deeply explore the creative process—and now The Novel of the Future is available as a digital book, as well it should be since most of Nin’s fiction is digitally available.
With chapters entitled “Proceed from the Dream Outward,” “Abstraction,” “Writing Fiction,” “Genesis,” “Diary Versus Fiction,” and “Novel of the Future,” Nin provides a blueprint for young writers seeking to rebel against the deadness of modern American fiction and produce psychological truth in their work.
“This book is dedicated to sensitive Americans,” Nin says. “May they create a sensitive America.”
To preview or purchase The Novel of the Future, click here.