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.
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)
When Anaïs Nin was born 113 years ago in Neuilly, France, her house was filled with the music of her pianist/composer father and classical singer mother. It is conceivable she heard music while still in the womb. Her brother Joaquín began the piano at a very young age, so even after Anaïs’s father abandoned the family when she was ten years old, music was still a constant in the house after the family relocated to New York. Rosa Culmell, Nin’s mother, had many visitors, including famous singers, musicians and composers…so while Anaïs never took up an instrument or singing, her life was infused with music. As time went by and she began her famous diary, music played a role in her writing, often symbolizing certain moods, events, themes, or phases of her life. In episode 13 of The Anaïs Nin Podcast, we will learn about which artists or songs were among the most important in Nin’s life and work—Debussy, Ravel, jazz, Latin music, and even electronica.
I would like to give a shout-out to Glory Days Magazine for inspiring this podcast, and thank them for presenting Anaïs Nin to their readership in New Zealand.
Music includes: Tonadas by Joaquín Nin-Culmell, Bolero by Maurice Ravel, Popo by the Shorty Rogers Quintet, Sonata for Violin and Piano by Claude Debussy, Chuncho by Yma Sumac, and Bells of Atlantis by Louis and Bebe Barron featuring Anaïs Nin herself.
This podcast is sponsored by Volume 13 of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, available now.
Run time: 14 minutes
To listen to the podcast with iTunes, click here.
To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.
To order or find out more about A Café in Space, click here.
To help celebrate Anais Nin’s 112th birthday, we are offering you the first of a series of podcasts which focus on interesting and unknown parts of her life and work. Today, it is the “come as your madness” party which inspired the movie “Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.” For a fuller description with previously unknown photos, read A Café in Space, Volume 12, either in PRINT or as a KINDLE BOOK. Enjoy the podcast. Running time: 10 minutes.
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.
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 Anais Nin’s birthday, February 21, 1903, this page gives you a chance to easily locate the related information we have posted in the past. If this is your first time here, we hope you enjoy the summaries of Nin’s birth, her family background, and her place of birth, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
Feel free to comment if you have further information or questions.
Post 6: Anais Nin’s 13th birthday
Celebrate Anais Nin’s birthday by purchasing one of the books (some extremely rare and out of print) from her and Rupert Pole’s personal collection at the Los Angeles house.
Or, if you are digitally inclined, visit our Anais Nin e-bookstore.
We celebrate Anais Nin’s birthday every year with a new issue of the only current Anais Nin literary journal, A Cafe in Space. To order your copy, click here.
On Feb. 22, 1916, the day after Anaïs Nin’s 13th birthday, she made this entry into her childhood diary, Linotte (translated from the French):
13 years old! An age when the world gives a glimpse of its abyss of pleasures.
13 years old! An age when the future, which yesterday seemed far away, comes to haunt one’s dreams.
13 years old! An age when a locked heart opens, when one that is open becomes locked.
13 years old! An age when a little girl breaks the frail cocoon and becomes a young lady. I am 13 years old!
It seems to me that yesterday I am newborn or have just died. It seems to me the old Anaïs has nothing to do with the new one. A year ago, 2 years ago, I glimpsed what had just happened like an old remembered story, because memory is like a film, for when the foggy curtain rises, an entire life unrolls before one, all the ups and downs of that long, simple, moving story, “Life.” Nonetheless, yesterday is gone. Today I picked up with the same habits, the same routine, and, I confess, the same disposition. Oh, but it’s difficult to improve oneself. Yesterday when I did the same things, I scolded myself. I promised to stop. Then someone calls me, I turn around, and Plif! it all disappears and I begin again only the regret again later.
Ah, how unthinking we are! And all-powerful God from His throne on high must certainly smile and say: I must make a soul of iron… I don’t think that it would be so frivolous, so forgetful. But then we would be completely useless and I suppose that it’s better to do something wrong that can be mended than nothing.
But I criticize frivolous people and I am one myself. Here is a proof of that. The same evening, after the little party Maman gave for that marvelous 13th birthday, I wrote to Papa, and afterward, the next day, to my confidant. Those are the only two (including Maman) to whom I give my heart and my impressions immediately after the fact, for that is the single instant when they are perfect.
To see posts on Anaïs Nin’s cultural heritage, parents, birthplace, and birth certificate, click here.
On February 24, 1903, at 11 in the morning, this birth certificate was drawn up in Neuilly sur Seine. In it, we learn that Rose Jeanne Anaïs Edelmira Antolina Nin was born at 8:25, the evening of February 21, 1903, to father Joseph Joachim Nin, 23 years old, and to mother Rose Celeste Culmell, 25 years old, at their home on 7, rue du Général Henrion Bertier, Neuilly sur Seine. The midwife was Lucile Marie Anna Mabille, 41 years old. (The spellings of the names reflect the French versions of the Spanish names.)
Interestingly, Rosa’s age is incorrect: she was in fact 31 at this time. Whether this is a clerical error or whether Joaquín and/or Rosa wanted to keep their age difference a secret is pure speculation.
According to Nin biographer Deirdre Bair, Joaquín was not pleased at having a child so early on in his marriage and, perhaps more importantly, his career. He became jealous of the attention Rosa gave her delicate daughter. This seemed to interfere with the performance relationship the couple had…at first Joaquín insisted Rosa perform with him in order to get her away from Anaïs, and then, irrationally, insisted she not perform when he felt Rosa was neglecting both him and Anaïs. From that point forward, Joaquín Nin became a solo performer and Rosa was reduced to a mother who sat in the audience to cheer him.
By the time Anaïs’s brother, Thorvald, was born in Havana in 1905, she was afflicted with typhoid fever, becoming violently ill. Joaquín was repulsed by the sight of his now very thin, sickly daughter and made sure she knew how ugly he found her. By the time Anaïs’s youngest brother, Joaquín, was born in Berlin, the family life had deteriorated to the point of chaos and violence. Beatings were brutal and often, at the hand of the father. The violence between Joaquín Sr. and Rosa intensified to the point where Anaïs feared for her mother’s life (see the introduction to “Prelude to a Symphony—Letters between a father and daughter,” A Café in Space, Vol. 6). By 1913, the family as Anaïs knew it was destroyed when her father abandoned them, and for the rest of her life she would be torn by the loss.
It is also interesting to note that while we readily celebrate Anaïs’s birthday, she rarely refers to it—or to Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or other traditionally notable days—in her adult diary. On Feb. 20, 1925, just before her 22nd birthday, she wrote: “On the eve of my birthday and bowing to tradition, I try to consider thoughtfully the significance of this venerable day—in vain. Dates never agree with my transformations. My real birthday this year was when I read Edith Wharton’s books. My New Year began when I succeeded in having my story run smoothly, when I found a renewed interest in my second book. My holidays are many—every time I go downtown with Hugh, when the agitation of the city, like the quick rhythm of some Spanish danza, makes my heart beat faster. My religious festivals fall on whatever day the sun shines—those are my Mass-going days, when I can pray.”
If you have thoughts to share on this day, Anaïs Nin’s 107th birthday, leave a comment or visit our guestbook.
To read more about Nin’s birthplace, get Britt Arenander’s Anais Nin’s Lost World: Paris in Words and Pictures, 1924-1939, which has descriptions and an interactive map that includes the house.
To see a sample or to purchase Anaïs Nin’s Lost World, click here.
To view a sample interactive map drawn from the book, click here.
Shortly before Anaïs Nin’s birth on February 21, 1903, Joaquín Nin and his wife, Rosa, moved to the plush Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine and took a flat at 7 rue du Général Henrion Bertier, a short walk from what is now avenue Charles de Gaulle, from where one can see the Arc de Triomphe in the distance to the east. Today, the neighborhood is overshadowed by the futuristic silhouette of La Défense and is choked with cars parked where there is no space, but at the turn of the 20th century it could have been the setting for a passage from Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu. There would have been well-dressed couples strolling on the trottoir, elegant carriages coming up and down the narrow street, the well-heeled horseriding in the nearby Bois du Bologne. For Joaquín Nin, whose musical career was just beginning, it was the perfect place for his upper-crust tastes. For Rosa, it was a source of strain because it was very expensive and it was her father supplying the funds.
The house (and its identical neighbor at no. 11) is listed by the Invetaire générale des monuments et des richesses artisitiques de la France, Département des Hauts-de-Seine. It was designed by the architect Gustave Gridaine (who designed other prominent buildings in the area) and completed in November 1895. According to the Invetaire, there is a basement, 4 rectangular stories, and a penthouse, and it is constructed of cut stone with a slate roof. There is an interior suspended staircase, spiral and windowed, and the décor is listed as “sculpture.”
The family didn’t spend much time in Neuilly; they traveled back to Havana in 1904 where Joaquín took Cuban citizenship and shortly thereafter performed in Paris for the first time as a Cuban. Rosa was by then pregnant with their second child, Thorvald, who was born in 1905 in Havana. Rosa’s father, Thorvald Culmell, was dying and sought to tighten the spending. So, after returning to France, the Nin family moved from Neuilly to a less expensive house in St-Cloud, outside of Paris. For an article on Neuilly, see A Cafe in Space, Vol. 1.
To read more about Neuilly, get Britt Arenander’s Anais Nin’s Lost World: Paris in Words and Pictures, 1924-1939, which has descriptions and an interactive map that includes the house.
To see a sample or to purchase Anaïs Nin’s Lost World, click here.
To view a sample interactive map drawn from the book, click here.
When Rosa Culmell, 30, met Joaquín Nin, 22, in Havana, Cuba, she was swept off her feet by his beauty, talent, charm, and eloquent manners. He had a habit of dazzling women by playing piano for customers in music stores, and Rosa, although defiantly single and of the elite class, was caught in his spell. Joaquín, who was penniless and living off his meager earnings and his Cuban relatives, felt Rosa was the perfect vehicle for his success in living the life of a dandy and in his professional career. Rosa, though not the most beautiful of her single sisters, was the most mature and forthright, not to mention she had a professional-quality singing voice. Joaquín and Rosa married April 8, 1902 in Havana, and soon left for Paris with enough money for a grand piano and a monthly stipend, thanks to Rosa’s father, Thorvald Culmell.
Once in Paris, the couple soon discovered their immense differences: she was honest, loving, and giving. He was selfish, arrogant, and wanted nothing but the best for himself. She provided the money, but he made the decisions. Their relationship became a series of monumental battles followed by passionate reconciliations, according to Anaïs Nin biographer Dierdre Bair.
Rosa became pregnant almost immediately after the marriage, perhaps the result of one of their clashes. Although Rosa had won a battle to live in St-Germain-des-Prés, which was relatively inexpensive, shortly before their first child, Anaïs, was born, Joaquín precipitated the move to Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris’s most luxurious suburb, setting an ominous pattern for the rest of their marriage.