Anaïs Nin Podcast 12: He Said, She Said

Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1939-1947 documents a long period of “erotic madness” when Anaïs Nin, in order to find someone who could relieve her of her stifling marriage to Hugh (Hugo) Guiler, went from one failed love affair to the next. Her paramours included youngsters, artists, homosexuals, and one in particular, with whom Nin claimed to never have consummated the affair, C.L. (Lanny) Baldwin, a businessman who wrote poetry on the side. There is an entire section of Mirages devoted to him, entitled “L’homme Fatal,” meaning the sort of man with whom Nin would fall in love, knowing that it would lead to utter disaster. In Diary 4, which did not chronicle any sort of intimate details of Nin’s love life, Nin nonetheless describes her efforts to convert Baldwin to her way of living—in other words, the artist’s life, or bohemianism, if you will. When he resisted, citing the responsibilities of career, wife and children, she became enraged and turned on him. Mirages goes deeper and reveals that, according to Nin, Baldwin was attracted to Nin and her lifestyle, but did not have the courage to make love to her or to give up the bourgeois life.

Anais Nin at Gemor Press

Fast-forward forty years. Among Gunther Stuhlmann’s archives was a manuscript by Lanny Baldwin called “A Movement in Mauve: A Memoir,” which tells his side of the story. Stuhlmann never published the document, and it lay in a folder for another twenty-five years before its discovery after Stuhlmann’s death in 2002. The memoir is remarkable because it is one of the only documents in which one of Nin’s “boyfriends” actually describes in detail his affair with her. It is also remarkable because it counters much of what Nin said in both Diary 4 and Mirages.

The memoir will be published in its entirety in volume 13 of  A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, available Feb. 21, 2016.

To listen to excerpts from both the diary and the memoir, listen to our podcast:

To listen with iTunes, click here.

To listen without iTunes, click here.

Run time: 15 minutes.

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  1. Anaïs Nin entries about her sexual relationship with Lanny Baldwin were written contemporaneous to the facts, so her version includes details, she wrote, “his caresses contained all but the ultimate.” So, what did Anaïs mean when she wrote, “all,” did she mean cunnilingus, did she mean orgasm? To be sure, we don’t know; we only know from her words that the “ultimate” never happened, and “that the relationship remained unconsummated–no copulation.

    In stark contrast, many years after the fact, and only after Anaïs Nin died, Lanny Baldwin describe his sexual relationship with her in extremely vague terms, he wrote, “the inevitable happened, “and” we made love.” After all, depending on the relationship, phone sex can be described as making love, but it cannot be described as copulation. At the end of the day, not even Lanny Baldwin states that he and Anaïs Nin copulated so it would seem they both agree on this point– their sexual affair never include copulation.

  2. In the memoir, which appears in its entirety in A Café in Space, Vol. 13, Baldwin adds to the “inevitable” his claim that there were other occasions during which they “made love.” One account seems to contradict the other, and we’ll probably never have conclusive evidence of who was telling the truth. However, on one hand Nin was never known to hide her sexual affairs, even with strangers, so if she were “lying,” it wouldn’t add up. On the other hand, perhaps Baldwin wanted to refute the “priest” label Nin put on him by concocting the physical consummation. But all this is conjecture.

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