Sometimes we get lucky. We are lucky that Anaïs Nin chose to promote her books by doing public readings. We are lucky that someone decided to record some of these readings. And we are lucky that through modern technology that a sixty-year-old recording can be restored to the point where we can enjoy it.
Anaïs Nin did the reading, probably between 1960 and 1965, and probably in New York. The venue was probably a small one with some very distinguished audience members. Some were probably friends, others die-hard fans who faithfully followed Nin before she reached fame after her Diary was published in 1966. After the Diary was released, Nin rarely did readings from her fiction and instead lectured on more universal topics, especially the role of women artists. The fiction took a back seat. But here we have Nin reading one of her famous short stories, “Under a Glass Bell,” about isolation, unreality, and forbidden desires—distillations from Nin’s life and diary. It is easy to ignore the fiction in light of the Diary and the magnificence of her life, but it was perhaps her most refined art of all. And during difficult times it is easy to ignore art altogether, but this is precisely when it sustains us, when it rises above the chaos and inspires us.
Run time: 20:56
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NEW: To order the new book Reunited: The Correspondence of Anaïs and Joaquin Nin, 1933-1940, click here.