Today is Anaïs Nin’s birthday. She was born February 21, 1903 in Neuilly, France, near the Bois and the Seine. Her house was in a stately neighborhood where, perhaps, Proust’s characters could have lived. It was a time of horses and carriages, top hats, long voluminous gowns, gaslights and the rare telephone. In such a setting, who would have imagined someone was born who would become one of the leading modernists of the twentieth century, someone an entire generation not yet conceived would admire and look to as an inspiration, a guide, a guru, someone who would break all the rules, both in literature and in life? A little, sickly girl with a stern but musically gifted father, a mother whose own musical career would be stifled, a little girl who would nearly die from a burst appendix, a little girl whose father called “ugly,” whose father would abandon, thrusting her from all sense of comfort and security into a life of struggle and poverty in a foreign land? Who could imagine?
And yet, here we are, 113 years later, celebrating the birth of this amazing icon of feminine literature by reading her work, talking about her, listening to her words recorded long ago, watching Anaïs Nin Observed or Henry and June, or just thinking about her for a few moments. This day in 1903 was a gift to all of us who have somehow been touched by Anaïs Nin, or are yet to be. To you, to us, to Anaïs…I lift a glass of gratitude.
A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, Volume 13, is out now. Check it out for the latest on Anaïs Nin.
Episode 13 of The Anaïs Nin Podcast has just dropped. You can listen to “The Music in Anaïs Nin” by clicking here. (14 minutes)
In her contribution to Volume 13 of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, Barbara Kraft shares the beginning of her forthcoming memoir Henry Miller: The Last Days, which will be published soon by Sky Blue Press.
After delivering An Open Letter to Henry Miller on public radio in 1977, Miller invited Kraft to cook dinner for him, and she eventually became a regular at the Miller household.
Here, Kraft describes her first meeting with Miller:
“A half hour had passed when I heard a slow shuffling noise in the kitchen and then the famous voice. Leaning on his walker, it was a labored crossing and there he was. Dressed in pajamas and a blue terrycloth robe, fluffy white bedroom slippers and white socks on his feet, Miller continued to charm. Frail, fragile, deaf in one ear, blind in one eye, lame on one side but not broken. Age could not touch him; his spirit was indefatigable and still quite miraculous. The eternal clown, the gentle jester.”
Read the entire excerpt in volume 13, along with an excerpt from Anaïs Nin’s forthcoming Trapeze: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin and Benjamin Franklin V’s introduction to the book, essays by Nin scholars from around the world, testimonies by women writers influenced by Nin, short fiction, poetry, photographs and visual art.
To order Volume 13 of A Café in Space, which is available in print and as an ebook, click here.
As editor of this journal for the past 13 years, I can personally say that this is one of the most satisfying issues we’ve ever produced, with an excerpt from the forthcoming diary Trapeze, a memoir from one of Anaïs Nin’s lovers, powerful testimonies from women writers affected by Nin’s life and work, critical articles about Nin and those who affected her own work by talented scholars, an introduction to Trapeze by Benjamin Franklin V, poetry, short fiction, photographs and visual art.
Anaïs Nin recounts her first weeks with Rupert Pole in 1947, Lanny Baldwin counters Nin’s account of her relationship with him in the only known memoir by one of the characters in her diary, Barbara Kraft offers an excerpt from her new memoir Henry Miller: The Last Days, Jessica Gilbey explores the little-known relationship between Nin and her mother while Jean Owen tackles the father-daughter entanglement, Erin Dunbar discusses the affect Djuna Barnes had on her work, and Lana Fox delivers a moving account of how Nin came along at the right time as Lana was transitioning from a tragic beginning to a triumphant present.
Other contributors include Diana Raab, Marina Ferrer, Ellie Kissel, Chrissi Sepe, Danica Davidson, Colette Standish, David Wilde, Marc Widershien and Kennedy Gammage.
You can order A Café in Space, Vol. 13 in both print and digital issues by clicking here.
And stay tuned for the next Anaïs Nin Podcast, which will be dropped Feb. 21, 2016.
When Anaïs Nin was born 113 years ago in Neuilly, France, her house was filled with the music of her pianist/composer father and classical singer mother. It is conceivable she heard music while still in the womb. Her brother Joaquín began the piano at a very young age, so even after Anaïs’s father abandoned the family when she was ten years old, music was still a constant in the house after the family relocated to New York. Rosa Culmell, Nin’s mother, had many visitors, including famous singers, musicians and composers…so while Anaïs never took up an instrument or singing, her life was infused with music. As time went by and she began her famous diary, music played a role in her writing, often symbolizing certain moods, events, themes, or phases of her life. In episode 13 of The Anaïs Nin Podcast, we will learn about which artists or songs were among the most important in Nin’s life and work—Debussy, Ravel, jazz, Latin music, and even electronica.
I would like to give a shout-out to Glory Days Magazine for inspiring this podcast, and thank them for presenting Anaïs Nin to their readership in New Zealand.
Music includes: Tonadas by Joaquín Nin-Culmell, Bolero by Maurice Ravel, Popo by the Shorty Rogers Quintet, Sonata for Violin and Piano by Claude Debussy, Chuncho by Yma Sumac, and Bells of Atlantis by Louis and Bebe Barron featuring Anaïs Nin herself.
This podcast is sponsored by Volume 13 of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, available now.
Run time: 14 minutes
To listen to the podcast with iTunes, click here.
To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.
To order or find out more about A Café in Space, click here.