Anais Nin Literary Journal On Kindle

Volume 7 (2010) of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal (the only current Nin journal anywhere) has just been made available on Kindle. In this issue are some amazing articles and excerpts from Nin’s unpublished diary, not to mention an interview with Nin biographer Deirdre Bair and John Ferrone’s account of the birth of Delta of Venus. Eventually, we hope to have Vols. 1 through 6 published as e-books as well.

cafeinspace_2010coverOur aim is to make the journal easy to obtain no matter where one is, and to make the price one that is easy on the pocketbook ($3.99). There’s nothing like the print version in one’s hands, but the quality, photographs, and extra bells and whistles, such as an interactive table of contents, are all there in the e-book. We hope you will support our efforts!

To visit the Amazon.com location for A Café in Space, Vol. 7, click here.

To see a description of the contents of Vol. 7, click here.

Our other Nin titles on Kindle are: The Portable Anais NinHouse of Incest, Collages, The Winter of Artifice, Under a Glass Bell, Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, A Spy in the House of Love, and Seduction of the Minotaur, and The Four-Chambered Heart, with more to follow.

The Portable Anaïs Nin debuts

The Portable Anaïs Nin, the first comprehensive Nin anthology in nearly forty years, has just been released as an e-book, available from Amazon.com for $9.99. It is the equivalent of more than 300 printed pages of the most compelling and representative writings of Anaïs Nin, arranged chronologically over a broad spectrum of genres: passages from the edited and unexpurgated diaries, works of fiction (including House of Incest, “This Hunger,” “Houseboat,” and “Stella”—all in their entirety), erotica, critical writing, and a previously uncollected—and revealing—interview.

portablecoverBecause Nin scholar Benjamin Franklin V has arranged the works in the order they were written (for the table of contents, click here), the entire book presents us with a sort of autobiography, beginning with young Anaïs’s views on her parents’ separation, and ending with facing death, and just about every major event in between. Topics from her diary include her early relationship with Hugh Guiler, a failed affair with John Erskine, her ménage à trois with Henry and June Miller, incest, abortion, Otto Rank, Gonzalo Moré, Robert Duncan, Gore Vidal, her family members, writing philosophy, fictional character sources, failure, editing the diaries, and fame. Franklin has chosen fiction that follows Nin’s life experiences so the reader can see how plots and characters evolved from the diary, and how portraits changed as Nin’s perspective and attitudes shifted. When read thus, The Portable Anaïs Nin becomes Nin’s life story.

Still, each portion of The Portable Anaïs Nin stands on its own, and the book can be read selectively. In this way, as Nin agent and literary collaborator Gunther Stuhlmann once envisioned, the collection is a sort of guidebook that invites a new generation of readers to sample her work and thus be able to make informed selections when diving more deeply in to Nin’s writing.

It occurred to me while reading the book several times (as a proofreader and publisher) is that there is yet another facet of the experience of reading Anaïs Nin, and that is of time. It was 20 years ago almost to the day when I first read Nin’s Henry and June, for example, and at that time it evoked a personal response from me. As I read it today, even though the words are exactly the same in every passage, it inspires something quite different, which reinforces my opinion that Nin holds up a mirror in her work in which we see ourselves—and as we change, so does the reflection.

So, no matter where one comes from in terms of reading background and experience, the bond formed between the author Anaïs Nin and the reader is unique and always evolving, sometimes in new and unforeseen dimensions. It is precisely why Benjamin Franklin V and I believe that The Portable Anaïs Nin possesses real value to readers of every sort.

Our other Nin titles on Kindle are: House of Incest, Collages, The Winter of Artifice, Under a Glass Bell, Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, A Spy in the House of Love, and Seduction of the Minotaur, and The Four-Chambered Heart, with more to follow.

The Portable Anais Nin TOC

Anais Nin, Paris, 1930s

Anais Nin, Paris, 1930s

As promised in a previous post, we are releasing the Table of Contents of The Portable Anaïs Nin, the most comprehensive Nin anthology yet, which debuts only days from now on Kindle at Amazon.com. It comes out just as many of Nin’s titles are becoming available digitally. The selections in The Portable Anaïs Nin were made chronologically and in their entirety by Nin scholar Benjamin Franklin V, whose other titles include Anaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts (author, 2007); Recollections of Anaïs Nin by Her Contemporaries (editor, 1996); Anaïs Nin: An Introduction (co-author, 1979); and Anaïs Nin: A Bibliography (author, 1973).

The fashion by which Franklin put together this table of contents allows the reader to follow Nin’s growth as a writer and to see how life experiences and relationships contributed to character development, fiction, and overall writing philosophy, which was revolutionary in that Nin sought to speak as a woman, and not an imitator of man.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Preface and Introduction
  • Biographical Sketches
  • Linotte (September-October 1915; on Maman and Papa)
  • Early Diary 2 (July 1921; considering Hugh Guiler)
  • Early Diary 3 (January 1925; an early marital crisis)
  • Early Diary 4 (May 1929; attraction to John Erskine)
  • Henry and June (January 1932; on June Miller)
  • Henry and June (March 1932; on Henry Miller)
  • Henry and June (April 1932; Henry Miller and Nin on Guiler)
  • Henry and June (May-June 1932; on René Allendy)
  • Incest (June 1933; in Valescure)
  • Diary 1 (October 1933; remembering Paco Miralles)
  • Incest (August 1934; abortion)
  • Fire (April 1935; on Otto Rank)
  • The House of Incest (1936)
  • Fire (January 1937; on Gonzalo Moré and Henry Miller)
  • Diary 2 (August 1937; on Lawrence Durrell and Henry Miller)
  • Nearer the Moon (March 1939; on Thurema Sokol)
  • “Manuel” (1940-1941; erotica from Delta of Venus)
  •     Preface to Little Birds
  •     Postscript to the Preface of Delta of Venus
  • “Houseboat” (1941; from Under a Glass Bell)
  •     Prologue to Under a Glass Bell (1944)
  •     Preface to Under a Glass Bell (1968)
  • Diary 3 (November 1941; on Robert Duncan)
  • Unpublished diary (June 1943; an affair with Albert Mangones)
  • Diary 4 (April 1945; on Joaquín Nin-Culmell)
  • “This Hunger” (1945)
  •     Prologue to Ladders to Fire (1946)
  •     Prologue to Ladders to Fire (1963)
  •     Preface to Cities of the Interior (1974)
  • “Stella” (1945)
  • Diary 4 (December 1945; on Gore Vidal)
  • Realism and Reality (1946)
  • On Writing (1947)
  • Diary 5 (August 1954; on mother’s death)
  • Diary 6 (Summer 1965; on publishing the diary)
  • An Interview with Anaïs Nin (March 1969)
  • Diary 7 (Fall 1969; on editing the diary)
  • Diary 7 (1975-1976; facing death)
  •  

Our Nin titles on Kindle are: Collages, The Winter of Artifice, Under a Glass Bell, Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, A Spy in the House of Love, and Seduction of the Minotaur, and The Four-Chambered Heart, with more to follow. 

 

      

     

     

Review of An Erotic Evening With Anais Nin

“ANAÏS: An Erotic Evening with Anaïs Nin” ; Written and Directed by Michael Phillips; Starring Sonia Maslovskaya

From now until Oct. 16 at the Sherry Theatre, 11052 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601. For directions and ticket information, click here. For futher details about the play itself from its official web site, click here.

Guest review by Sarah B. Burghauser

“ANAÏS: An Erotic Evening with Anaïs Nin” is a fictional imagining of what might have happened during one summer weekend in 1954, which Nin apparently does not document in her Diary: writer and director of ANAÏS, Michael Phillips, imagines that Nin (played by Sonia Maslovskaya, the lone actor in this one-woman show) is called to visit June Mansfield Miller in an Arizona psychiatric hospital. While there, she attempts to seduce the doctor under whose care June recovers from her suicide attempt, and communicates with Henry Miller from across a great distance as if he were standing right before her. The three other characters in the play (June, Henry, and the doctor), rather than being physically present on stage, are conjured in the imagination of the audience through Phillips’ writing and through the gaze and gestures of Maslovskaya.

Sonia Maslovskaya as Anais Nin

Sonia Maslovskaya as Anais Nin

It is shocking—and even a bit disturbing—the weight this one weekend has in Phillips’ overall impressions of Nin’s life. What is fact and what is fabrication already stands as a contentious matter in Nin scholarship. While the show makes explicit from the start the fictional nature of this story, making work that directly addresses this theme is audacious (and perhaps also a little refreshing) despite the presumptuousness toward which creative work on Nin often tends. Biographical accuracy notwithstanding, because Nin is a lover of theater and all things dramatic, a play seems a fitting form for this comment regarding fact/fiction to take.

Of course, we can never know whether Nin herself would have found this show to be amusing, flattering, insulting, or what have you. We can only imagine—and imagination is the key ingredient in this show—whether or not these representations of Nin do justice to her fearless and utterly unapologetic way of living.

Red light illuminates a corner of the stage where a chair, small wooden desk, and glass of water wait at the beginning of the show. The Sherry Theater in North Hollywood, being a small space, lends itself to a feeling of intimacy—the audience seems to huddle in the seats, which are so close to the stage we could all but extend our desirous hand for the player to touch.

But while the physical space of the theater evokes intimacy—a sense which stems from close proximity, a magnified need to reach out, to touch and to be touched—the show itself cannot sustain this intimacy and instead vacillates between fostering a feeling of connectivity (or at least the possibility of connectivity) and isolation. Throughout the show Nin fidgets inside the confines of an invisible encasement—the encasement of her past, her memory, her desire—without the ability to connect with actual people (arguably, aside from the audience).

On one hand, the absence of other bodies on stage seems to make space for audience members to fit themselves into the narrative of the show and into Nin’s world. On the other hand, because of her encasement, the audience watches Nin struggle and perform a kind of insanity, attempting to make contact with other people in vain. This futility is characteristic of so many critics’ and fans’ attempts to connect with Nin through her writing.

I use the word “insanity” here very deliberately not just because the play is set in a psychiatric hospital. While we are told Nin is called there to visit June, a resident of the hospital after her attempted suicide, watching Nin bounce around the confines of the stage, literally talking to herself for forty-five minutes straight, throughout the course of the show the audience is taught that it is not June, but rather it is Nin herself who is crazy. Nin chats with the invisible doctor as if in casual confession as she recalls her past exploits with June and Henry, and laments the insufferable complicity and indecision of her husband, Hugo.

One cannot ignore the problem of setting this show—about a woman artist who has been so vehemently indicted for being a calculating, mind-game-playing, femme fatale, a snake—in a nut house. That this is a one-woman show, wherein Nin stews in her own memories so deeply she hallucinates Henry’s presence, only highlights this glaringly misguided (and some might argue downright offensive) choice, which is sure to drive feminists—at least this feminist—mad. The unintentional misogyny in this aspect of the play exists in the unexamined cultural and historical mores about women writers, what it means to be a “good woman,” and how we define “insanity”; a male writer who goes mad is labeled “tortured genius,” while a woman writer who goes mad is “hysterical.” Furthermore, at the time this weekend supposedly went missing in 1954, Nin would have been 51 years old and—even after her plastic surgery—did not bear the taut-muscles and wrinkle-free fresh-face of Maslovskaya, who played her.

In a post-show interview, Phillips talks about wanting to avoid the common perception of Nin’s life as glamorous by setting the play in an ambient café reminiscent of those in which she spent hours arguing, dreaming, and philosophizing with Henry, Lawrence Durrell, et al. So rather than glamorizing Nin’s life in attempt to avoid a cliché, instead, Phillips frames her as completely off her rocker. And why the cast of one? Phillips expresses his desire to let Nin “speak for herself,” something critics/fans/adversaries don’t normally do. Ironically, it is not Nin speaking at all, but Phillips, a further reiteration of the impossibility of knowing a Truth about Nin and a boon to the critical argument that Nin’s work is “in the eye of the beholder.” In fact, in the show, Nin’s character observes that June does not exist at all, that she only exists in other people’s love for her. Over the course of the show, however, it becomes apparent that this is the very argument Phillips makes about Nin: he positions Nin as June—as insane, as seductive, as heedless—and puts her before a desirous audience in order to make her shudder alive.

It is a risky business making creative work based on Anaïs Nin’s life and writing; an artist who broaches Nin’s life with a creative lens is sure to meet harsh reactions from Nin lovers and critics not necessarily because the work is “good” or “bad,” but rather because Nin herself is the subject with whom critics and lovers contend. The complexities and subtext of this show stem almost exclusively from the choice to have a cast of one, namely in the tendency this show has to seduce the audience into a feeling of intimacy, only to remind us—sometimes gently, sometimes coldly—that Nin can never be truly touched. Within this play, between intimacy and repulsion, is the most accurate reflection of Nin I could imagine. ANAÏS is a valiant attempt even as it requires, at best, a suspension of belief, and at worst, an agreement to suspend your misogyny sensor.

House of Incest ebook offer

Cover of Gemor Press edition

Cover of Gemor Press edition

We have spent the last couple weeks celebrating  The Portable Anais Nin, an upcoming entirely new and compelling anthology, by tweeting the entire prose poem House of Incest on Twitter. The process was fascinating because within each phrase there is beauty and hauntingness, not to mention a deep and sometimes disturbing truth. After examining each element of the book, reading the entire interwoven text is mind-blowing, at least in my opinion. To give readers this experience, we are offering the entire ebook free for the next week (until Sept. 17, 2010). To obtain your own copy, visit us on Twitter. If you go back a few tweets, you will find a code, which, when entered on the Smashwords site, will allow you to download the book in any format you wish for nothing. (House of Incest will also be included in The Portable Anais Nin.)

Although the book has been considered unfathomable, even by Henry Miller, it is a matter of letting one’s self go, to submit to the dream, as Nin put it. And as in most dreams, symbolic truths are flavored with their “real” counterparts (or, if you will, manifestations): June Miller (Sabina), D. H. Lawrence (the modern Christ), Louveciennes, the ancient house with a “lost” room, the heavy green gate that symbolized imprisonment, the struggle for freedom, completeness, and rebirth.

We hope you take up the offer and that you enjoy your “trip” out of the house of incest into a new and more elevated world.

Anaïs Nin as Inspiration: the stage

For many years, the life and work of Anaïs Nin has inspired one genre of work in particular: the stage play, whether it be musical, dance, spoken word, or a combination of all of these elements. Lately the pace seems to have picked up: there are at least three plays worthy of mention, and most certainly others about which we have yet to hear.

From Anais Nin, Woman of the Dream

From Anais Nin, Woman of the Dream

Recently, we posted a notice for the reading of a play written by Doraine Poretz, entitled Anaïs Nin: Woman of the Dream, the script of which was read publicly by the actors in August 2010. The play, which incorporates the novel format of having Nin at different stages of her life onstage together, during which times they interact and sometimes clash about her life’s direction as compared with her young and idealistic visions. Characters from Nin’s diaries appear as well: Henry and June Miller, Gonzalo Moré, and her father, Joaquín Nin. According to Poretz, the reading was a smashing success, and there are plans to fully produce the play in the near future. We will keep you updated on new developments.

David StallingsAnaïs Nin Goes to Hell was a selection at the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival, where it received good reviews. Now, Stallings is presenting a reading of the play at 7:30pm Sunday, Sept. 26th, 2010 at Time Out New York Lounge @ New World Stages, located at 340 W. 50th St- NY, NY 10019. Thomas March’ s review of the play for A Café in Space, Vol. 6, 2009, is excerpted below:

Waiting for Nin in the afterlife, on a darkened island near Hades, are several exemplary women whose relationships with the men they loved have become legendary—Andromeda, Heloise, Queen Victoria, and Cleopatra. Each has spent eternity (thus far) longing for and awaiting the man she loved in life. Joan of Arc longs to meet the God whose voice she has come to rely on for guidance and for a sense of her own purpose.

From Anais Nin Goes to Hell (Photo: Erica Parise)

From Anais Nin Goes to Hell (Photo: Erica Parise)

When Anaïs Nin (Shelly Feldman) arrives on the island, she is surprised to find these great women languishing. Armed with her diaries, the most basic insights of psychoanalysis, and 20th Century pharmacology, Nin leaves the island’s inhabitants humbled, liberated—and sometimes destroyed. Feldman’s Nin is not merely a believable impersonation—and it is certainly that. Feldman captures the assurance and fervent urgency of Nin’s sensitivity and sympathy, manifested here in an impulse to free others from self-destructive, self-limiting desires.

Aly Wirth’s Heloise is the emotional foundation of the play, which opens with Heloise’s child-like sadistic teasing of Andromeda. It is Heloise whom Nin helps the most, reminding her of her own beauty and enabling her to recognize the love for Andromeda that has replaced her love for Abelard. Wirth must cover an emotional range that begins with brassy domination, proceeds through tender vulnerability, and ends in a profound disappointment that, shored up by her renewed faith in herself, she prevents from developing into despair and resignation. That’s a lot for any actor to manage, and the anguished silence of her pain commands just as much attention as her exuberant glee.

In his treatment of Anaïs Nin, Stallings has dramatized an important aspect of the process of self-actualization that Nin explored throughout her life—the difficulty of fashioning an approach to self-analysis that does not begin and end in self-regard. Stallings’ Nin quickly realizes the failures of her own understanding and, after first abandoning the Diary, rediscovers the value of what she can offer and realizes the value (or at least inevitability) of paths not her own. Faced with failure and, in some cases, just a simple unwillingness (or inability) to accept the freedom she offers, Nin learns that, however well-intentioned it may be, the imposition of the will—the forced revelation of the “truth” she offers—can have violent, destructive consequences.

Ultimately, those who are free when the play ends are those who can accept the painful fact that liberation from destructive habits does not always bring relief from pain—at least not at first. The freedom to see yourself clearly—and to love yourself fully—also allows you to see the truth about those who love you (or don’t). To love yourself only in terms of another’s love is to be lost in that other’s absence, trapped in an old identity that can only groan at its unraveling seams.

This is a play worth perfecting, as it offers a more thoughtful and subtle psychic landscape than its broad strokes might at first suggest.

sonia-16

Sonia Maslovskaya

Yet another play, An Erotic Evening with Anaïs Nin, is set to begin a run at the Sherry Theatre, 11052 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601, from September 10th to October 16th, written by Michael Phillips (@MPhillipswrites). According to the web site (found here), the plot of the play is as follows:

Anais lived a public life; her diary was exhaustive and complete. But one weekend in the early 1950’s, while Anaïs was living in Los Angeles, she traveled to Arizona. No one, not even her closest friends ever knew why she went there.

The play is set on that missing weekend, at a mental institution, where June is a patient after attempting suicide. Anaïs, through conversations with June, a doctor and an imaginary Henry, the Henry Miller she knew in the early 1930’s, tries to work out why June asked for her and no one else, how she feels about Henry, about June, and if June is still in love with her. It is an emotional, shattering journey of secrets, seduction and betrayal.

To see a video of Phillips and the actress Sonia Maslovskaya (@lylyth79), who portrays Nin, discussing the play, click here. The video reveals fascinating insight of the creative process and how Nin still inspires art. It is well worth watching.

A Café in Space will be reviewing the play, and we will post the review on this blog as well as in Vol. 8, which comes out in February 2011.

Tweetfest of Anais Nin’s House of Incest

Gemor edition of House of Incest

Gemor edition of House of Incest

As mentioned in the last post, to celebrate the upcoming publication of The Portable Anais Nin, we are tweeting Nin’s House of Incest, 140 characters at a time. Join us on Twitter to follow the enchanting words as they wind about one like dream filaments, each one standing alone as a stroke of unconscious genius, and all of them creating an epic work as they are woven together.

The House of Incest was originally published in 1936 by Siana (Anais spelled backwards) Editions in Paris as a small edition. Nin republished it in 1947 through her Gemor Press (named after Gonzalo More, her lover and collaborator), handset with engravings by Ian Hugo (pseudonym of Hugh Guiler, Nin’s husband), and once again by Swallow Press including photomontages by Val Telberg. Soon, it will be included in its entirety in The Portable Anais Nin. No matter the edition, Nin’s famous prose poem inspires the reader to plunge into the interior where creation begins.

Our Nin titles on Kindle are: Collages, The Winter of Artifice, Under a Glass Bell, Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, A Spy in the House of Love, and Seduction of the Minotaur, and The Four-Chambered Heart, with more to follow. 

New Anaïs Nin anthology coming soon

We are only a few weeks away from the release of a new collection, The Portable Anaïs Nin, which will appear on Kindle in the coming weeks. It will be the first full-length anthology of Nin’s writing since Phil Jason’s The Anaïs Nin Reader (1973).

anaisuagb1

Anais Nin with her self-published Under a Glass Bell

Editor and compiler Benjamin Franklin V notes in his introduction, “Since [the publication of The Anaïs Nin Reader]…the number of Nin titles has approximately doubled, with eleven new volumes of the diary and two books of erotica being most important. Now, the time seems right for another sampling of Nin’s work, not only because of the existence of this new material or because almost forty years have passed since the publication of Jason’s book, but also to encourage a reconsideration of Nin’s writing, which no longer attracts the dedicated readership it did in 1973.” Another consideration is that The Portable Anaïs Nin will appear in conjunction with several new Nin titles on Kindle, acting as a sort of guidebook to her work, helping to gain the new audience Franklin envisions.

Franklin’s philosophy is to include entire passages of Nin’s work in The Portable Anaïs Nin, including titles of fiction such as House of Incest. Soon, we will post the table of contents here, and will provide regular updates on the book’s progress.

In the meantime, follow us on Twitter, where we are about to do something along the lines of what was done to promote Marguerite Young’s Miss MacIntosh, My Darling: Nin and several others read the entire 1200 pages on the New York radio station WBAI over the course of a year. In this light, I feel Anaïs would approve of our tweeting her House of Incest, 140 characters at a time, to celebrate The Portable Anaïs Nin.

Our Nin titles on Kindle are: Collages, The Winter of Artifice, Under a Glass Bell, Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, A Spy in the House of Love, and Seduction of the Minotaur, and The Four-Chambered Heart, with more to follow. 

Anais Nin’s Response to a Critic

When Dutton published Anaïs Nin’s first full-length novel, Ladders to Fire, in 1946 (which then contained a section entitled “Stella”), the critics railed against Nin’s use of language in general and her distillation of characters in particular. Nin had revolted against America’s tradition of detailed and realistic descriptions in favor of symbolism, striving to describe the events occurring beneath the surface. 1940s America was not, perhaps, ready for her work, which scholars agree today was far ahead of its time, and thus began the war between Nin and her critics.

One critic in particular raised Nin’s hackles: The New York Times’ Herbert Lyons, whose review was entitled “Surrealistic Soap Opera.” In it, Lyons not only stated that Nin’s male characters were “pale, weak young men,” but also said,

Insomuch as the “avant garde” may not listen to the radio, it is perhaps worth noting that numerous daytime serials are almost exclusively devoted to less fancy variations on this same theme of woman’s struggle to understand her own nature… As in much of modern music, there is little originality. The novel contains traces of Djuna Barnes, Henry Miller, and Edmund Wilson and a large deposit of French surrealism. These days many things get by under the banner of complexity and super-sensitivity; artiness and obscurantism, as always, are sometimes disguises for second-rate talents. But Miss Nin’s novel has a certain interest as a pastiche of contemporary preciousness.The New York Times, October 20, 1946

Nin’s response in a letter dated shortly thereafter:

Dear Mr. Lyons: When it comes to modern literature you show yourself to be almost totally illiterate. You cannot decipher the simplest facts and resort to distortions.

You see a book full of pale, weak young men when there is only one of them and he plays a minor role. The rest of the men are more than full length, ruddy, lusty characters.

Number One: Bruno. An able bodied and most satisfactory lover whose only handicap in Stella’s eyes lies in his loyalty to his wife and children which is clearly described in the book as being only a problem to Stella’s lack of confidence.

Philip: also a healthy, humorous, confident character, guilty of merely liking too many women.

Stella’s father. Equally powerful and dominant.

Lillian has a perfectly adequate husband.

Jay is big, healthy, joyous. “He sat like a workman before his drinks, he talked like a cart driver to the whores at the bar; they were all at ease with him.”

Djuna, you say, also has trouble with various men, but Djuna has no relationship to any man in the book.

No pale weak men appear at the party. Nowhere in the book can you find that Sabina represents modern woman.

The men in the book are in fact powerful and self confident. You must be one of the pale weak young men of our times to identify so exaggeratedly with one of the minor characters.

Sincerely yours,

Anaïs Nin

Gore Vidal, 1940s

Gore Vidal, 1940s

Not only did Nin berate Lyons, but Gore Vidal (who was an editor for Dutton at the time, and, since he promoted Nin to his superiors, may have had self-interest in mind) lambasted him with his own diatribe:

Dear Sir:

I have just finished reading Herbert Lyons’ review of Anais Nin’s new novel LADDERS TO FIRE. I consider his attack on her work absurd, irresponsible, and an excellent example of sloppy reviewing. Since Anais Nin is a literary figure of considerable stature, I wish to come to her defense and to examine the Lyons review.

After making his case, he sums up with:

It is certainly healthy to disagree on the merits of a writer. Mr. Lyons might very well be on the right side, but he has not, certainly, proven his case. He has written an emotional and inaccurate review, bristling with antagonism and not much else. It is sad for authors to read reviews like his; one has the feeling that books can be reviewed by anyone, that reputations can stand or fall on the opinion of some near-illiterate with an axe in need of grinding.

Gore Vidal

Of course, Nin’s and Vidal’s responses fell upon deaf ears, and for most of her life, until the Diaries were published in 1966 when she was 63 years of age, she would endure the harshness of the New York literary establishment.

***

Anaïs Nin’s Under a Glass Bell is now being offered in mulitple formats on Smashwords. Other Nin titles on Kindle are: Collages, The Winter of Artifice, Under a Glass Bell, Ladders to Fire, Children of the Albatross, A Spy in the House of Love, and Seduction of the Minotaur, and The Four-Chambered Heart, with more to follow. 

Revised Anais Nin study is published

Anaïs Nin: An Understanding of Her Art, a book-length study by Rochelle Lynn Holt, was first published in 1997. Now, after thirteen years, Holt has published an updated version of the title.

anaisunderstandingherartHolt traces Nin’s growth as a writer while intertwining the major events in her life with the work—everything from Nin’s introduction to the work of D. H. Lawrence to Holt’s hypothesis that Nin was suffering from an undiagnosed case of bipolar disease. Holt creates a unique vision of Nin’s work informed not only by her long correspondence and friendship with Nin, but by vast knowledge of her work, as evidenced by several excerpts from the diaries and fiction selected to support her theories. The result is a text that will encourage the reader to rethink what they know about Anaïs Nin and how her writing came to be the powerful force that it was and still is.

This revised edition includes a look at what has occurred in Nin scholarship since 1997, including literary criticism, previously unpublished works by Nin, and the explosion of Nin-related internet sites, including this one.

Anaïs Nin: An Understanding of Her Art can be ordered by clicking here.

Rochelle Lynn Holt can be contacted by e-mail at this address: rochellel0317@comcast.net.

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