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.
We often discuss Anaïs Nin’s writing, her love life, her life choices, but we rarely delve into her incredible, creative sense of style—her clothing, her interior designs, even what perfumes she wore. This podcast aims to rectify this. Today I speak with Gwendolyn Michel, PhD candidate and recipient of the Stella Blum Research Grant from the Costume Society of America about how Anaïs Nin’s creativity was far-reaching. When you think about the scope of it, it’s really incredible. Not only did she dress exotically, she oftentimes designed her own clothing, which was occasionally plagiarized by various couturiers. She designed furniture and interior schemes that awed those who experienced them—her apartment at 47 blvd Suchet in Paris and her fabled Louveciennes house are but two examples.
Listen as we discuss how these creations came to be and what has happened to them. Anaïs Nin’s clothes are still around, in various hands, each article a treasure. Gwendolyn Michel has done plenty of detective work and has made some fascinating discoveries—for example, did you know what happened to the dress Nin word in Henry Miller’s favorite photograph of her, or where a shawl she wore when she was an artist’s model ended up? Find out here.
Run time: 48 minutes
To listen to the podcast with iTunes, click here.
To listen without iTunes, click here.
This podcast is sponsored by Trapeze: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1947-1955, which can be pre-ordered here.
Below, I have posted images of some of the clothing articles discussed in the podcast. I hope you agree that this is a fascinating topic and should not be overlooked.
Draft of Cacharel’s description of ANAIS ANAIS:
CACHAREL CREE AVEC DIPARCO son PREMIER PARFUM ANAIS ANAIS
INVENTE POUR LA FEMME CONTEMPORAINE SUR UN THEME FLEURI
CONSTRUIT AUTOUR DE LA FRAGRANCE DU LYS AVEC UN BOUQUET DES ARÔMES LES PLUS VOLUPTUEUX
ANAIS ANAIS UN FLEURI “INSPIRÉ” ?
“Je ne veux vivre que pour l’extase”. Anaïs Nin. Journal. Tome I.
Ailleurs, cette femme ardente déclarait : “J’ai le pouvoir de brûler comme une flamme”.
En son hommage – et pour toutes les femmes qu’elle incarnait – Anaïs Anaïs exhale le plus extatique des parfums, celui des pétales du lys fraîchement éclos. Mystérieux lys, orgueilleux et pur dont le parfum enivre pourtant avec les plus sensuels des effluves. Non moins énigmatique sans doute était dans le mythologie Persane la déesse Anaïtis, Immaculée, tantôt vierge, tantôt prostituée. L’essence dominante du lys, accompagnée d’une touche d’éléments fruités, est soutenue qu’un ensemble de notes florales luxuriantes et voluptueuses : jasmin du Maroc, rose de Grasse, iris de Florence, fleur d’oranger, ylang-ylang de la Réunion.
Non moins cosmopolites, quelques senteurs boisées complètent ce bouquet fleuri : vétiver, patchouli de Singapour, mousse de chêne de Yougoslavie…
Anaïs Anaïs enfin se décline sur fond ambré de musc, d’épices et de cuir de Russie.
Inspiré du visage de femme-fleur d’Anaïs Nin – inexplicablement irradié de quelque chose d’asiatique – une illustration florale, délicatement ombrée de pastels estompés, orne tous les emballages d’Anaïs Anaïs.
La femme se réfugie dans son parfum. Hue, elle est encore revêtue des senteurs qu’elle affectionne. Livrée au sommeil, Marylin parait sa nudité de quelques touches d’un parfum… Insupportable trahison pour un couturier : la femme qui suit fidèlement ses créations échappe à sa griffe dans cette ultime parure. Alors, conscient ou non, un désir de totale possession mène un jour ou l’autre tout grand créateur d’un style ã signer son œuvre par un parfum… C’est-à-dire une image olfactive de la femme rêvée.
Crée en 1958 par Jean CACHAREL, la marque est aujourd’hui du prêt-à-porter. Elle doit semble-t-il son succès à un effort continu pour une meilleure diffusion d’un style unique et de qualité comme les vêtements et accessoires CACHAREL, Anaïs Anaïs tiendra le haut de la gamme parmi les griffes du prêt-à-porter. Créateur d’Eau Jeune, Diparco entend poursuivre une démarche comparable dans le domaine du parfum : la diffusion la plus vaste de la qualité.
ANAIS ANAIS…UN FRAGMENT SOYEUX DE FEMME
Ardente et douce, féminine, raffinée et sensuelle – ainsi se découvre l’auteur du Journal et de Venus Erotica la jeune Cacharel ?
“Je suis un fragment soyeux de femme” disait-elle. Le femme CACHAREL n’est-elle pas attentive au moelleux d’une étoffe, ã le rare perfection d’une coupe ?
A l’image d’Anaïs Nin – toujours vêtue avec une recherche très personnelle – elle accorde une grande importance au vêtement “inséparable de l’art des relations ou de l’art de vivre”. Comme elle aussi, elle sait que l’accessoire peut “jouer cette note lyrique qui révèle la richesse intérieure de la femme”.
Raffinés, cette femme l’est sans sophistication : le goût du détail lui est naturel et l’harmonie nait spontanément de ses compositions de matières et de couleurs. Elle intègre son élégance ã la vie quotidienne. Passéiste en quelque sorte, son goût des raffinements va de avec une adhésion sans réserve au monde d’aujourd’hui : engagée dans la vie active, la femme CACHAREL est consciente de participer à l’évolution de sa condition.
Elle est la femme contemporaine et en assume les contradictions.
A 30 ans elle porte à tout jamais l’âge de la jeunesse. Comme Anaïs Nin, éternellement adolescente. Comme une autre illustre Anaïs, Mlle Anaïs, née Anaïs Aubert, artiste dramatique (1802-1871), sociétaire au Français dans la première moitié vouée aux emplois d’ingénues par la grâce de son physique miraculeusement juvénile.
EAU DE TOILETTE, EAU DE PARFUM, PARFUM GEL ET SAVON
(Fiche technique de présentation et de prix des différents articles Distribution : toutes les parfumeries, et grands magasins. Comme les vêtements et accessoires CACHAREL, Anaïs Anaïs sera accessible au plus grand nombre. Dans l’univers de prestige, son prix est particulièrement compétitif.
L’EAU DE TOILETTE, Tout le monde connait : on aime s’en asperger le matin. Avec le maquillage, ce rituel constitue l’ultime garant de la beauté quotidienne. La journée peut commencer.
Plus concentrée, L’EAU DE PARFUM réserve ses sortilèges pour les instants privilégiés les fêtes du cœur et des sens, les voluptés secrètes ou partagées. La femme qui porte Anaïs Anaïs manie en experte l’art de se parfumer. Pour exhaler son odorant mystère, elle connait les heures favorables et les endroits propices. Elle a d’ailleurs délibérément choisi son eau de parfum, sans attendre qu’on lui offre. Attentive tout au long de la journée à sa fraîcheur et sa beauté, elle sait raviver quand il le faut la rare fragrance qui l’accompagne, avec une caresse de parfum gel discrètement volée ã son précieux boitier.
Anaïs Anaïs en PARFUM GEL : le geste d’une nouvelle féminité. Sortir un boîtier de son sac, l’ouvrir pour y vérifier dans un miroir sa beauté… Sous l’apparence anodine de ce geste familier se cache une nouvelle complicité entre la femme et son parfum : nonchalamment l’index glisse à la surface brillante du gel pour déposer, derrière l’ore1lle, au creux des seins ou à la naissance du poignet, toute la quintessence d’Anaïs Anaïs.
To learn about the Costume Society of America, click here.
We are celebrating Anaïs Nin’s 114th birthday with two major events: First, the publication of the 14th volume of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, and the 24th episode of The Anaïs Nin Podcast.
The theme of this year’s A Café in Space is twofold: erotica and Nin’s relationship with her parents. Scholars from India and England look at Nin’s childhood and how it affected her life: Kastoori Barua’s essay uses popular theory to explain how Nin’s life choices were influenced by the unusual relationship she had with both parents, while Jean Owen explores adult-onset incest, using Nin and Kathryn Harrison as examples. Casandra Lim uses Freud’s theory of Oedipus to explains Nin’s relationships. The erotica aspect comes from the recent release of Nin’s long-lost collection Auletris: Erotica, and we present the introduction to the book as well as a lengthy excerpt. Erotica writer Lana Fox then uses Auletris as inspiration for her short story “L’Étalion.”
Also included is never-before-published correspondence between Anaïs Nin, Joaquin Nin-Culmell and Eduardo Sanchez regarding contentious character descriptions of family members in the first volume of The Diary of Anaïs Nin, some of which is explosive.
Nin scholars Simon Dubois Boucheraud and Jessica Gilbey also provide article to volume 14, while David Green treats us to his experiences in Durrell country in France. There is an excerpt from and a review of Kazim Ali’s new book Anaïs Nin: An Unprofessional Study and a tribute to John Ferrone from Tristine Rainer.
Short fiction, poetry and art are from Danica Davidson, Katie Doherty, Kennedy Gammage, Harry Kiakis, Steven Reigns, Chrissie Sepe, Colette Standish, David Wilde and Changming Yuan.
At $15, and with this caliber of work, it’s a steal.
Podcast 24 concentrates on the history and future of Anaïs Nin’s diary publication. As you may know, we are fast approaching the May 2017 release of the sixth unexpurgated diary, Trapeze, which covers the beginning of Nin’s double life with husband Hugh Guiler and lover Rupert Pole on opposite ends of the country. We talk about the misconceptions behind the original series (the controversy surrounding the “missing husband”), the development of the early diary series, and a look at the rocky unexpurgated series, one which has reached incredible heights with Henry and June, and horrible lows after Incest was published in 1992, setting up the collapse of Nin’s popularity. I talk about the editing of both Mirages and Trapeze, and the two future diaries, about which few know at this point.
Coming in at 20 minutes, I guarantee it’s worth the listen.
We are celebrating the publication of the new collection of Anaïs Nin’s new book! Listen as The Anaïs Nin Podcast gathers some dynamic experts who discuss the long-lost collection of original Anaïs Nin erotica, Auletris, which is being published today.
My guests—erotica writer, reader and popular podcaster Rose Caraway; women’s sexuality expert Anaín Bjorkquist; erotic writer and publisher Lana Fox; and Nin scholar Jessica Gilbey—have all read Auletris and give their reactions. It is a lively, sometimes hilarious and yet serious discussion of Anaïs Nin’s demolishment of taboo, poetic descriptions of even the most forbidden topics, the effect her erotica has on the reader, and the standing it has in the world of literature. And featured in this podcast is Rose Caraway reading from Auletris.
This is a must-listen for any fan of Anaïs Nin, erotic fiction, or both.
Run time: 53 minutes
To listen with iTunes, click here.
To listen without iTunes, click here.
To order a print copy of Auletris, click here.
To order a digital copy of Auletris, click here.
For a brief history of the discovery of Auletris, click here.
A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal is seeking contributions for its 2017 issue.
Articles (both academic and non-academic) on Nin, Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell, or anyone within Nin’s literary circle, are welcome. We also accept photo essays, poetry, short fiction, travelogues and book or event reviews.
Articles are generally around 2,500 words, but we are extremely flexible, depending on the theme.
All styles (Chicago, MLA, etc.) are welcome and will be modified to our house style.
Poetry and short fiction do not have to necessarily be about Nin per se, but should have a certain quality that evokes her spirit.
We do accept short erotica, but we ask that the style be somewhat in line with Nin’s.
You can contact us a firstname.lastname@example.org with proposals or queries.
Australian scholar Jessica Gilbey explains an often ignored relationship—that between Anaïs Nin and her mother. Nin’s connection with her father has received a lot of intention, and to this day search data for their incestuous relationship on this blog remains among the top five. Searches for Rosa Culmell de Nin? Virtually none.
When Gilbey decided to write her doctoral thesis on how motherhood played a major role in Nin’s writing, her supervisor advised her to also explore Nin’s relationship with her own mother, which, at first, Gilbey was reluctant to do—mainly because the mother seemed to be mundane, plain, prosaic. But when she truly began to explore the bond between them, she discovered how much it informed Nin’s decisions, her rebellions, her path in life, her art, and even the other relationship in her life, including her father.
All of these topics are included in Gilbey’s contribution to Volume 13 of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, “Our Mother (Re)Born—The fertile treasure of Nin’s matrilineality.”
Listen as Gilbey brilliantly and objectively discusses how Nin became a symbolic mother to many and biological mother to none, and how critics lashed out at her for her life choices, not to mention her decision to write about them.
Run time: 39 minutes
To listen with iTunes, click here.
To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.
To order a copy of Volume 13 of A Café in Space, click here.
Re-Viewing Anaïs (Scars Publications, 2015) is a collection of author Rochelle Lynn Holt’s essays and reviews regarding her mentor, Anaïs Nin, with whom she collaborated in the 1960s and 1970s. Culled from several different publications, the book gives us a good overview of Holt’s regard of Nin’s work. As Holt says in her postscript:
Re-Viewing Anaïs is a semi-academic collection of forty-nine essays/reviews that have been published individually in various periodicals from the Sixties to the present time. They represent virtually every one of Anaïs Nin’s publications in her lifetime and posthumously.
According to the postscript, Holt operated a handpress much in the same way Nin did in the 1940s, and Nin herself mentions Holt’s press in her Diary. Holt earned her MFA from Writers Workshop and her Ph.D. from Columbia Pacific University.
Re-Viewing Anaïs can be viewed and/or purchased by clicking here.
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.
Popular writer, poet and blogger Diana Raab discusses how Anaïs Nin and she have lived parallel lives, both beginning diaries at age ten after losing a loved one (Nin’s father abandoned the family for a young woman, Raab lost her grandmother to suicide). Both women kept diaries their entire lives, and both found them key tools for the creation of a world in which they could not only survive, but thrive.
Raab discovered Nin in her early teens, and then re-discovered her on a much deeper level some 25 years later around the time she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Raab was inspired to win an MFA and to turn her writing into art, resulting in a memoir (Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal, 2007), two poetry collections (Dear Anaïs: My Life in Poems for You, 2008 and Lust, 2014) and several books on how writing can heal.
A strong advocate of journaling, Raab candidly discusses Nin’s influence on her work and art, and she reveals an upcoming event (January 29, 2016 at Antioch University in Santa Barbara) called “The Allure of Anaïs Nin,” featuring five speakers, three of whom knew Nin personally.
Run time: 14 minutes
To listen to the podcast on iTunes, click here.
To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.
Diana Raab can be found at www.dianaraab.com.
This podcast is sponsored by Sky Blue Press, publisher of a new print edition of The Quotable Anaïs Nin.