Visualizing Anaïs Nin’s and Henry Miller’s relationships

The 1930s was a volatile decade for Anaïs Nin. At its dawn, she was a sheltered housewife and aspiring writer with nearly no grand life experiences. At its end, she was the author of three highly-regarded Paris publications (D. H. Lawrence: An Unprofessional Study; The House of Incest; The Winter of Artifice), and the lover of many men, including Henry Miller, Gonzalo More, Otto Rank, René Allendy, and her own father, Joaquín Nin. Arguably, it was her meeting of Henry Miller in late 1931 that served as the catalyst for much of her transformation as a woman and as an artist.

But as the decade wore on, some of the relationships died while others bloomed; hers with Miller persisted, but by 1937 Nin was becoming increasingly aware of stark contrast in their relationships with others, and with each other. Nin became annoyed with Miller’s friends, some of whom she called “white trash”; at the time Miller was at the head of a group of “disciples” that included Alfred Perlès, Michael Fraenkel, David Edgar and Abe Rattner, none of whom Nin had any respect for. She sometimes referred to them as “minor Henrys” or a pack of dogs. Nin represented the fundamental difference in her and Miller’s approach to relationships by drawing two diagrams.

About Nin’s relationships, she said: “Woman sits in the center and brings the vaster peripheral into the center. I bring the Tibet, Lao-tze—philosophy—creation as represented by Henry. I go out little to the periphery.” At her core lie Nin’s relationships with Miller, Gonzalo and Lawrence and Nancy Durrell. On the periphery lie “[Conrad] Moricand, [Jean] Cateret, [her near-amorous friend] Elena or others who personally I don’t feel: they could die, I would not mind: Stuart Gilbert, Charpentier, Svalberg, Laura, Dorrey.”

RelationshipsAN

About Henry, Nin says: “Henry lives in the periphery—he seeks the fragments. I say this diminishes the intensity, makes for collective writing (Max, newspaper types, all kinds of types.”

RelationshipsHM

The core is blank; the periphery consists of: “Brassai, [Abe] Rattner, [David] Edgar, all sorts and kinds of other friends of whom he says: they could die I would not care.”

Nin says: “I say to Henry: ‘I swing into your rhythm not to sit alone in the center—as all women do—lamenting. It is not natural to me, but necessary.’ Henry does not understand this. He denies the reality of all this—but says at the end: ‘Man’s impersonal world masks the personal.’ […] He says, ‘We are friends.’ I say: ‘We are not friends. We are exaggerated men and women—we represent others only exaggeratedly.’”

Get the final issue of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, Volume 15 (2018) here

Order the new edition of Anaïs Nin’s Lost World: Paris in Words and Pictures, 1924-1939 here.

Listen to episode 31 of The Anaïs Nin Podcast, in which Steven Reigns discusses the mystery surrounding Evelyn Hinz, the woman Nin chose as her “official” biographer. With iTunes; Without iTunes

Podcast 31: Evelyn Hinz, Anaïs Nin’s “official” biographer with Steven Reigns

Mystery has surrounded the never-produced biography that Canadian scholar Evelyn Hinz was appointed by Anaïs Nin to do for decades. Why did it never appear? Why was a single page never shown? And where is it today? Did it ever exist? Los Angeles poet and educator—and Nin aficionado—Steven Reigns wanted to know, so some years after Hinz’s death, he approached her widower, John Teunissen, who graciously granted Steven an interview in which he answered his questions and also dropped a bombshell in the process. There were plenty of politics, bad blood, intrigue and some radical decisions made by both Teunissen and The Anaïs Nin Trust that few know about.

HinzTeun
Steven Reigns’ interview appears in Volume 15 of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal and is a must-read for anyone–scholars, readers and fans alike–with an interest in Anaïs Nin and her biographers.

Run time: 42 minutes

To listen with iTunes, click here.

To listen without iTunes, click here.

To order a print copy of Vol. 15 of A Café in Space, click here.

To order a digital copy of Vol. 15, click here.

 

Steven Reigns is a Los Angeles-based poet, educator, and was appointed the first City Poet of West Hollywood. He organized three of the largest Anaïs Nin events in the past twenty years, one being “Anaïs Nin @ 105” at the Hammer Museum in 2008 and most recently he co-produced “The Allure of Anaïs Nin” at Antioch University Santa Barbara. He has published dozens of chapbooks, poetry collections, and edited four anthologies.  He holds a BA in Creative Writing from USF, a Master of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, and is an eleven-time recipient of LA City’s Department of Cultural Affairs’ Artist in Residency Grant program. He edited My Life is Poetry, featuring his students in the first-ever autobiographical poetry workshop for LGBT seniors, and has taught writing workshops around the country to LGBT youth and people living with HIV. Visit him at www.stevenreigns.com.