Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin Released as Ebook

Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947 has just been released by Sky Blue Press as an ebook. It is currently available on Amazon.com and will be published on other platforms, including iPad, in the coming days.

Anais Nin, Provincetown, 1941. Photo: Jose Alemany

Anais Nin, Provincetown, 1941. Photo: Jose Alemany

This is the first entirely new work by Anais Nin to be released since 1996, when Nearer the Moon, the unexpurgated diary covering 1937-1939, was published by Harcourt. Mirages picks up where Moon left off–with Nin fleeing Paris just before the war and landing in New York, where perhaps the most turbulent phase of her life was about to begin.

Library Journal said in its recent review:

This fifth in a series of unexpurgated diary volumes by American novelist and short story and erotica writer Nin ( House of Incest; Delta of Venus ) covers a period longer than any other volume to date. The majority of entries take place in New York after Nin flees her beloved Paris in 1939. Although married to Hugh “Hugo” Guiler, Nin (1903-77) continues an affair with writer Henry Miller and also engages in trysts with numerous other lovers–demonstrating why the details of her personal life are often considered as racy and intriguing as her fiction. Many of these lovers resemble the effeminate, artistic types that appear in Nin’s short story collections (e.g., Little Birds), who are loved passionately and then dropped abruptly. This volume not only solves the mystery of the repeated story arc but also reveals the reasons why Nin and Miller separated.

VERDICT Nin’s life was steeped in secrecy, lies, passion, longing, and introspection, perhaps the most so during this period. Of the unexpurgated diary volumes thus far, this one benefits the most from full disclosure, illustrating the greater extents of Nin’s fragility and ferocity and revealing dimensions of the writer that deeply enrich the reading of her work. Recommended for readers of Nin, biography, women writers, and romance.

Mirages is available both in print (Swallow Press/Sky Blue Press) and ebook (Sky Blue Press) formats.

Sky Blue Press Partners with Swallow Press on New Anais Nin Diary

Anais Nin is coming full circle, thanks to the book deal between Sky Blue Press and Swallow Press, founded by Anais Nin’s first true American publisher, Alan Swallow. Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947, the first new Nin diary since 1996, will be released both as a print book (Swallow/Sky Blue Press) and an e-book (Sky Blue Press) on October 15, 2013.

MIRAGES

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Culled from the original handwritten diaries kept by Nin from the time she fled the war in France in late 1939 until she met the man who would become her “West Coast husband” in 1947, Mirages tells the story Nin purposely left out of volumes 3 and 4 of The Diary of Anais Nin, which were published in 1969 and 1971, respectively. Because Nin’s husband Hugh Guiler was alive when these two volumes were released, not to mention her many lovers, Nin was forced to excise the erotic side of her life almost entirely. Not only was the sexual element gone, but also her great struggle to re-acclimate herself to 1940s New York after blossoming as a writer in Paris during the 1930s.

Finally, Mirages completes the story of Anais Nin’s agonizing journey to re-invent herself both as a writer and as a woman.

More information coming soon.

To pre-order Mirages at a 30% discount, click here.

Anais Nin’s problem with American publishers

Anais Nin, who had written the novel A Spy in the House of Love, was having great difficulty getting it published. None of the big New York publishers were interested in Nin’s ethereal fiction, preferring instead Hemingway or Mickey Spillane novels; in other words, uncomplicated and in-your-face good ol’ American writing.

One of the many publishers Nin contacted was Pellegrini & Cudahy, and below is a rejection letter written by a certain Coley Taylor, who decided to be “honest” in his assessment of the novel. What makes this somewhat unusual was Nin’s response to the rejection letter; Nin usually vented in her diary, not in letters to the publisher. Her to-the-point response makes her frustration with the American publishing scene very clear, as you shall see.

Rejection

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Nin’s response:

I was not angry at your frankness and everyone has a right to his personal opinions. However I find that under cover of honesty and personal reactions if you expressed a lack of tact of human courtesy and a limited insight. The whole cause for the deterioration of publishing and writing lies precisely in this lack of literary objectivity and this substitution of unskilled emotional reactions to writers. It is you who are bored, who failed to see the continuity or the revelation of character. Maturity in evaluation consists precisely in examining your inner subjective reactions so as not to inflict them upon writers as criticism. It does not harm me because I am a veteran, but your so called honesty harms young writers. Your letter was insensitive rather than honest, destructive and irresponsible if it had been addressed to a beginner who believes that publishers are impartial, objective mature critics, men of taste capable of evaluating writing.

Nin’s claim that she was unharmed is to be taken with a grain of salt. The repeated and unrelenting rejection of her work in America took its toll on her. It would be another nine years before she was to find the publisher who would put all her fiction into print: Alan Swallow.

To see more about A Spy in the House of Love, click here.

To read Nin’s response to a critic, click here.

To purchase A Spy in the House of Love, click here.

To purchase Cities of the Interior (which includes Spy), click here.

 

 

Anaïs Nin’s Cities of the Interior: a history

For the first time, a digital edition of Anaïs Nin’s Cities of the Interior is being made available. To get an idea of the history of this collection of five novels written over a dozen year period, read Nin’s preface, written for the Swallow print edition of the book in 1974:

 

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Cover of ebook edition. Engraving by Ian Hugo.

 

When Ladders to Fire was accepted by E. P. Dutton, I explained that it was part of a larger design, and that other novels would follow and round out the characters. The editors were aghast. They said the American public would never read a novel which threatened to continue, a “roman fleuve” as it is called in France. In 1947 the book was published as an independent novel, and nothing was said about development and continuity. For that reason, I did not develop a method of linking the various narratives.

 

I began the next novel, Children of the Albatross, as if it were a new story. Though the same characters appeared, the theme was altogether different. Dutton’s nervousness was dissipated. Children of the Albatross was published a year after Ladders to Fire, but the link had to be made by the reader (or the critics), and naturally it was not.

 

Then Dutton planned to wait four years before publishing the third novel, The Four-Chambered Heart, and I feared the continuity would be lost in the waiting, so I gave it to Duell, Sloan and Pearce. But it was still to take three years after Children of the Albatross appeared before The Four-Chambered Heart was published. Much was lost by never stressing the continuity and interrelatedness of the novels. Unlike Durrell’s Quartet, which was openly described as a unity, my novels (in a much earlier period) appeared without explanation. Duell, Sloan and Pearce turned down the fourth book, A Spy in the House of Love. It was finally done by British Book Centre four years after The Four-Chambered Heart saw print. The continuity was totally erased by then.

 

Finally, I published Solar Barque myself, making it a small book with interesting drawings by Peter Loomer, age 11. It focused on an episode of Lillian’s life. At the time I thought it contained all I wished to say, but like a piece of music which continues to haunt one, the theme continued to develop in my head; and I took it up again and carried it to completion. Now there was a problem for my new and loyal publisher, Alan Swallow. Should we reprint Solar Barque with the new material? No one would notice then that it had been added to, and the reviewers would not review the same title twice. Swallow decided to make a new book with a new title: Seduction of the Minotaur. Some reviewers complained bitterly because they had already read the first part. Generosity was not exactly rampant, and again I could not come forward to explain how I worked. It might have compounded the difficulties. When all the novels went out of print, and people wrote me asking for them, I published them together under the title Cities of the Interior (1959), and for the first time the continuity was established.

 

Now that the links between the novels are made clear, I hope the journey through the Cities of the Interior will be deeper and less difficult.

 

Anaïs Nin, Los Angeles, 1974

 

You may order Cities of the Interior by clicking here.

 

You may also order the individual novels from the collection below:

Ladders to Fire
Children of the Albatross
The Four-Chambered Heart
A Spy in the House of Love
Seduction of the Minotaur

ANAIS: An International Journal Lives On

The year after Anais Nin’s longtime agent and diary editor, Gunther Stuhlmann, died, I paid a visit to his wife, Barbara, in their hand-built house in the Berkshires. It was a sad visit; Gunther used to fill every room with his bigness—physically, intellectually, spiritually, and sonically—and now in his place was a deafening emptiness, a vacuum, and we were constantly aware of it.

Cover-1983-Volume1When Gunther died, so did his award-winning and long-lived (19 annual issues, 1983-2001) ANAIS: An International Journal. In fact, Nin Trustee Rupert Pole issued a public statement that all distribution would cease immediately.

But when Barbara and I went down into her basement, there were boxes upon boxes of all 19 issues piled high—we knew we had to find a way to continue to put these treasures into readers’ hands, statement or no statement.

So, we packed up a load, and I took them home and have been distributing them ever since, Barbara sending me more copies as needed.

But since Barbara died early last year, I have come to realize whatever I have left in stock is the end of the line.

Yesterday, someone ordered Volume 1, and in the container there was only one left. I am mailing it out today, not without some emotion.

However, Barbara and I had agreed that digitizing ANAIS was another way we could continue to put it into readers’ hands. And so, on the same day that I am mailing out the last Volume 1, I am proud to announce the e-publication of the same issue.

In ANAIS, Gunther Stuhlmann’s bigness can still be felt, and there is still much we can learn from him and those who fill this premier issue’s pages.

To see a preview and/or to order ANAIS: An International Journal, Vol. 1, click here.

Barbara Kraft’s reading from Anais Nin: The Last Days

On March 7, the program Lust Letters: Answering Desire With Words was held at Coagula Curatorial in Los Angeles, which included artwork and readings. Among the performers was Barbara Kraft, who read from her memoir Anais Nin: The Last Days, a book that chronicals Kraft’s friendship with Nin during her final two years of life. A synopsis of the reading is as follows:

Barbara Kraft and artwork. Photo: Paul Hughen

Barbara Kraft and artwork at Coagula Curatorial. Photo: Paul Hughen

Barbara Kraft closed the evening with an account of author Anais Nin’s final days, implicitly lassoing together the writings of Aarested with the creative process of Nin modeled by Youd.

Kraft, who formerly worked as a journalist and now runs her own boutique public relations firm, recalled meeting Nin on February 8, 1974 in the author’s Silverlake glass house. Kraft said she was mesmerized by her.

“[Nin] was tall, wearing a floor-length Indian gown…She was poetry in body,” said Kraft, who read an excerpt from her e-book “Anais Nin: The Last Days – A Memoir.”

Kraft described Nin as her teacher during the acclaimed writer’s final years.

“The tutorial relationship turned into an intimacy,” said Kraft, who said that as Nin died of cancer, her body weakened and her pain intensified.

“At one point, I literally got in bed with her, at her request, to hold her,” said Kraft.

Kraft’s diary from her meetings with Nin were compiled and published in “The Restless Spirit: Journal of a Gemini.” Publication ended her marriage, and Kraft’s “whole life came crashing down,” she said.

“If you want to change your life, you pay a price,” Kraft added.

-Matt Hamilton

To read the entire review of the event by Matt Hamilton, click here.

Anais Nin: The Last Days is available as an e-book and can be ordered here.

To read an excerpt from Anais Nin: The Last Days on Huffington Post, click here.

Who wrote “Risk”? Is the mystery solved?

Have we solved the mystery of who wrote the popular poem attributed to Anais Nin, known as “Risk”?

I can say this: Since posting this mystery a few years ago, nowhere has its source been found in any of Anais Nin’s oeuvre. So how did it come to be attributed to her?

That remains a mystery.

However, Elizabeth Appell has come forward with a compelling case that may hold the answer of who, if not Anais, actually wrote the poem:

What I’m about to tell you is going to seem strange and maybe even impossible, but it is the truth. I wrote the quote, “And the day came when the risk to remain closed in a bud became more painful that the risk it took to blossom.”

I wrote it in 1979. I was Director of Public Relations for John F. Kennedy University in Orinda. One of my responsibilities was to write, edit, and publish the class schedule which included events, news, and class information for the up-coming quarter. The target market for the university was and still is, adults going back to school. Every quarter I came up with a theme meant to inspire and motivate.

BrochureI believe it was January when I started on the spring schedule. Up against a deadline, I quickly jotted down the line, and shared it by my colleague, Jerry Skibbins, Vice President of Development. He liked it so we ran with it. Consequently it went out to thousands of households in the East Bay. We also published a poster and put it on BART trains. This was a very wide distribution. As far as I know, attribution was given to the artists who illustrated the designs, but I never thought to attribute myself regarding the poem. My name appeared only as “Editor.”

Another wrinkle: at the time I was using my nickname, “Lassie” as well as my first husband’s last name, Benton. I was known as Lassie Benton. Since then I gave up the nickname to use my given name, Elizabeth, and remarried Allen Appell, hence Elizabeth Appell.

From the beginning the school got a huge response from the poem. I started seeing it woven into tapestries, and then printed on posters, cards and in books. At first the attribution was “Lassie Benton.” One afternoon I attended a calligraphy show at the San Francisco Library. There was the poem, but now the attribution was “Anonymous.” Sometime in the 80’s I found a card using the poem. I bought because it was attributed to Anais Nin. I wrote to the publisher of the card, but received no response. I just let it go.

Recently I gave a reading in Nevada City, California as a part of a women’s writing salon. The woman who read before me began her piece with the poem. I smiled. “What do you know, it still lives.” She was shocked when I told her I’d written it. She suggested I Google the poem to see that always it is attributed to Anais Nin. I did. I am astounded at how it has proliferated the internet, almost always attributed to Anais Nin.

I say almost because I found a life coach in Arizona who uses the poem on her home page. There it is attributed to “Lassie Benton.” She tells me her web page went up in 2006, but she can’t remember where she found the poem.

Yesterday two of my friends brought me copies of their newly published books. Yes, in both books, up front, there it is. The poem. And of course it’s attributed to Anais Nin. That pushed me over to take action.

I wrote the poem in 1979. I am the author of the poem. I’m extremely honored to have written something that has touched so many people.

Elizabeth kindly produced the 1979 brochure on which the poem is printed, as seen above. Judge for yourselves, folks, but it seems that this mystery may be solved.

For a reliable source of Anais Nin quotes, get THE QUOTABLE ANAIS NIN: 365 Quotations with Citations.

Want to catch up with Anais Nin? THE PORTABLE ANAIS NIN contains nearly 300 pages of her best work.

Long-lost Anais Nin erotica discovered and published: AULETRIS: EROTICA.

The newest Nin diary is here! TRAPEZE: THE UNEXPURGATED DIARY OF ANAIS NIN, 1947-1955.

Anais Nin Takes Center Stage in LA’s Chinatown Event

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 27, 2013 Media Contact: Barbara Kraft Communications and Public Relations 818.760.8498; Barbara@bkraftpr.com

LUST LETTERS READINGS PRESENTED BY CHINATOWN’S COAGULA CURATORIAL MARCH 7, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

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Photo credit: Eric Minh-Swenson

LOS ANGELES, CA – In conjunction with Coagula Curatorial Gallery’s Lust Letters exhibition, the Gallery is presenting an evening of performance and readings March 7, 2013, 7:30 p.m.  The exhibition features Tim Youd’s Delta of Venus – a 30-foot piece of art inspired by Anais Nin’s erotic writings.  Youd will perform his rendition of selections from Nin’s Delta of Venus.

Curator Joan Aarestad will address Eroticism in Art: A Woman’s View and writer Barbara Kraft will read from her newly published EBook Anais Nin: The Last Days.

Coagula Curatorial is part of the Chung King Road Gallery Row located in historic Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles at 977 Chung King Road. (323) 480-7852;  www.coagulacuratorial.com

For further information please contact Barbara Kraft Communications at 818.760.8498.

Anais Nin’s Under a Glass Bell, Manga Style

Anaïs Nin was never afraid of new ways to disseminate her work, working in several different media, much of it ahead of its time. Her words were on the page, read at spoken word events, recorded on vinyl, made into film, and were accompanied by electronic music.

In Volume 10 of A Café in Space, yet another platform for Nin’s work has appeared: comic book (or graphic novel, or manga). Joel Enos, a frequent contributor to A Café in Space and who works in the graphics media, decided to put Nin’s famous story “Under a Glass Bell” into comic book form, using the artwork of the talented Fiona Meng to visualize Nin’s ethereal Jeanne and her two brothers, who, according to critic Oliver Evans, are living out a life of psychological incest in their house. The siblings’ isolation from the world is represented by the glass bell, which, as Nin says, “covered the entire house.”

The prospects of such a representation of Nin’s fiction are tantalizing indeed, and I hope we will see more in the future. Below are some frames from A Café in Space, which can be ordered both in print and digital format.

Below, Jeanne has rushed from disturbing images she sees in the “room of mirrors” to her sleeping brother:

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Adapted by Joel Enos; illustrated by Fiona Meng; lettered by Fawn Lau Click to enlarge

Adapted by Joel Enos; illustrated by Fiona Meng; lettered by Fawn Lau
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A Café in Space can be ordered in print form or as a digital book.

Under a Glass Bell (the ebook) can be ordered by clicking here.

 

 

No Ordinary House: Anais Nin’s 110th Birthday

Anaïs Nin was born 110 years ago on Feb. 21, 1903 at Neuilly-sur-Seine in what was then a newly built luxurious building at 7 rue du Général Henrion Bertier, which still stands today. The house, and the one next door, an identical building, were both built in 1895.

The city of Neuilly was kind enough to send along some specs for the house.

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The specs roughly state that the houses were built parallel to each other and perpendicular to the street, with basements and four floors and a courtyard. The building materials consist of limestone, stone and slate. The front of the house has covered gables, and the roofs are made of long sections. The rear of the house is broken into sections with uncovered gables. There is a spiral staircase which is suspended, and a décor which consists of sculpture.

This was no ordinary house, and this was no ordinary neighborhood. It would perhaps be the most luxurious place little Anaïs ever occupied. The street view is below:


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Alas, the family would not remain long in Neuilly, since Joaquin Nin was a composer and pianist who traveled much of Europe on concert tours. They would go to Havana, Cuba, where 2 year old Anaïs contracted typhoid fever. She became very ill, losing weight and her hair, drawing taunts from her father as an “ugly duckling,” something that would scar Anaïs for life.

After Havana, the Nins settled in a cheaper house in St-Cloud, near Paris, one of many places to which they would relocate, followed by Berlin and Brussels.

To learn more about the Neuilly house, click here.

To see more posts on Anaïs Nin’s birthday, including her family heritage, click here.

To celebrate Anaïs’s 110th, get Volume 10 of A Café in Space, which contains excerpts from her unpublished diary. It is available in both print and digital formats.

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