Richard Centing, co-founder of first Anais Nin periodical, has passed

Richard Centing, of the Ohio State University Libraries, an early Anais Nin supporter, passed away in January of this year, I just learned.

Along with Benjamin Franklin V, Centing produced the first Nin periodical, Under the Sign of Pisces, beginning in 1970 and running until 1981, after which Centing published a similar publication, Seahorse. These publications were what Anais Nin called “a café in space,” where readers and writers could “gather” in their pages.

The longevity of Centing’s periodicals was one of the driving forces behind the decision made by Rupert Pole and Gunther Stuhlmann to produce the annual ANAIS: An International Journal, which ran an amazing 19 issues until Stuhlmann’s death in 2002. A Café in Space: The Anais Nin Literary Journal has carried on the tradition ever since. But it all began with Richard Centing’s idea some 47 years ago.

Richard was the very first Nin scholar I met, back in 1996, in Columbus. He kindly gave me the “grand tour” of the library’s Nin-related holdings, and presented me with many gifts, including a poster promoting Nin’s novels published by Swallow Press, which hangs in my office. He was the first scholar to encourage me with my first project, Anais Nin: A Book of Mirrors. After I showed him the manuscript, he said to me: “This is important work,” which went a long way in validating my efforts. Not only did he contribute an article and photographs to the anthology, he guided me in promoting it after it was printed. I remember him as a kind and generous man.

To read Richard Centing’s obituary, click here.

Richard Centing (l), Anais Nin, Benjamin Franklin V

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  1. I came here because I’m almost finished with reading Nin’s “Trapeze,” which was beautifully edited by Paul Herron. I was thinking of Nin’s question in her diary about why Andre Malraux called his independent-minded book on art history, “The Voices of Silence.” Nin had felt that her literary achievements were met with silence even though she had a unique voice. While searching for this blog, I first found a website that displayed a photograph of the home Rupert Pole and Anais Nin lived in when she was writing “Trapeze,” in Sierre Madre. One commenter on that site wrote, “I have lived in Sierra Madre all my life and I have never heard of Anais Nin.” Another comment followed, asking, “Have you ever read a book or gone to school?”

    Back in the Seventies, I used to receive Richard Centing’s 8-paged, paper pamphlets fairly regularly, always delighted to get more news about Anais Nin, who had not yet begun to show serious signs of cancer. I wish I had my copies of all of Richard Centing’s works. They made me feel part of Nin’s “magic circle” back then, but this newly published diary does just that, so my regrets at no longer possessing them are greatly eased.

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