Podcast 38: The Story Behind Anaïs Nin’s Newest Book—Reunited

Some 87 years ago, Anaïs Nin and her father Joaquín Nin, who had been estranged from each other for twenty years, dramatically and cataclysmically reunited in Louveciennes, France. He had left the family for a young lover when Anaïs was ten years old; she and her family, because they were destitute as a result, left Europe for New York to eke out a living. He married his young lover and was supported by her wealthy parents, living a life of luxury; they struggled to put food on the table. He tried to manipulate Anaïs with letters; she eventually gave up the idea of ever seeing him again.

Joaquin Nin

Then, in 1924, Anaïs moved back to Paris with her husband; her father lived in Paris too. They only met once, briefly, and resumed their separate lives. But one day, through friends, he reached out to her, asking for a meeting. She said yes. And thus began what would be one of the most famous incestuous affairs in modern history.

What was not known was the existence of any correspondence between Anaïs and Joaquín, especially during this era; even Deirdre Bair, Nin’s biographer, said they had destroyed each other’s letters after reading them. Then, in 2007, a folder with the label “Father Letters” was found hidden in Nin’s studio in Los Angeles. Not only did the letters exist, they were full of details of the relationship, and much more. These letters now appear in the newly-released volume Reunited: The Correspondence of Anaïs and Joaquín Nin 1933-1940, a co-publication of The Swallow Press and Sky Blue Press. Listen to how this book came together and why it is one of the most important Nin publications in print. Paul Herron describes how he found the letters, how they were transcribed and translated (a miracle), and how they not only lead to a better understanding of Nin’s life and art, but shed light on the type of relationship that is often left in the shadows.

Run time: 16:40
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To order Reunited, click here.

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