Anaïs Nin Podcast 9: A Half Century with Anaïs Nin—Benjamin Franklin V

Benjamin Franklin V has been devoted to Anaïs Nin studies since 1966, the year the first volume of The Diary of Anaïs Nin was published, catapulting her from decades of obscurity to instant fame and acceptance from a wide audience. Despite all the hoopla surrounding Nin, Franklin was determined to go about the meticulous business of compiling a complete list of all her work, resulting in Anaïs Nin: A Bibliography in 1973, the first and only such compilation. He then collaborated with Duane Schneider on Anaïs Nin: An Introduction, which came out in 1979. In 1996 he compiled and edited Recollections of Anaïs Nin.

Benjamin Franklin V and Anais Nin, 1973. Photo: Jeanne Rockwell.
Benjamin Franklin V and Anais Nin, 1973. Photo: Jeanne Rockwell.

Since then, he has spearheaded the republication of The Winter of Artifice, the lost 1939 edition; he authored the Anaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts, compiled, edited and introduced The Portable Anaïs Nin, and has written the introduction to the upcoming Trapeze: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1947-1955. He is a frequent contributor to A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal.

Dr. Franklin not only studied Anaïs Nin, but also knew her and worked with her for several years. His experience with Nin, along with his extensive work on her, gives him a unique understanding of both the writer and the work, and he tells all during this podcast. This is a must-listen for anyone interested in Anaïs Nin and the history of Nin scholarship.

Run time: 47:06

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Comments are welcome.

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  1. Thank you so much for this fascinating dialogue. I have been reading Nin and collecting books by and about her for 40 years. Your spoken, personal testimony filled the sails of my imagination with the gust of her presence in a way that has never happened for me before.

    I fell enchanted with her style and was inspired by her compulsion to write in my youth, so long ago, but even when I read Diary One at the age of 20, I suspected there was more to this woman than being a Muse incarnate. I am not amoral by any means, but nothing she has done or written about offends me. It is not the subject matter on the canvas that interests me, but the brush stroke of the artist. I came to the conclusion that the subject or main character of Diary One is not a magnificent persona with the author’s name, but the legendary diary itself.

    Mr. Herron, do you or Mr. Franklin think there is a chance Anaïs Nin fabricated the incest passages to get back at her father rather than actually living them out? The diary narrative sounds artificial to me, but I don’t have the analytical skills to bear out my intuition. Thank you both again!

  2. Thank you, Kevin, for the feedback. As to the incest passage, there has been, ever since it was published, questions about is authenticity. First of all, I have the Xerox of the original handwritten passage, which was written shortly after the event in 1933. It is in bold strokes, no hesitation, no cross-outs, and eventually in bad handwriting probably because Nin had drunk heavily while writing it–which is to say, she needed a way to get through it. Deirdre Bair, Nin’s biographer, ran this passage by several experts in the field of adult-onset incest, and they all concluded that it was indicative of someone who had truly experienced it. Putting all these pieces together, it is safe to say that yes, this was something that actually happened, and it was probably represented with brutal honesty in the passage from the diary.

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