Until after Anaïs Nin published her blockbuster Diary of Anaïs Nin in 1966, there had been very few critical studies of her work. One notable exception was Oliver Evans’ article “Anaïs Nin and the Discovery of Inner Space” in the Fall 1962 issue of Prairie Schooner. His book-length analysis didn’t appear until 1968, but soon thereafter, scholars such as Richard Centing, Benjamin FranklinV, Duane Schneider, Philip K. Jason, and Evelyn Hinz began to take Nin’s work seriously and wrote about it.
Centing and Franklin were the co-founders and co-editors of the first periodical dedicated to Nin, which they called Under the Sign of Pisces: Anaïs Nin and her Circle, a quarterly that debuted at the beginning of 1970.
Nin was a tough critic of those who critiqued her work; Oliver Evans was a victim of her dissatisfaction, as was, eventually, Benjamin Franklin V. Franklin says that he was “fired” by Centing in 1973 at the bequest of Nin. The reasons are explained in Episode 28 of The Anaïs Nin Podcast.
Pisces had a long run, ending in 1981, after which the void was filled by Gunther Stuhlmann’s ANAIS: An International Journal. The story behind how this journal came to be and lasted for 19 annual issues is related by Paul Herron, who knew Stuhlmann personally, and who was inspired to create the most recent Nin journal, A Café in Space.
Herron details how Café came to be, who has been in its pages, how by pure luck he was able to include Janet Fitch (White Oleander) in the first annual volume, and attempts to explain why volume 15 (2018) will be the last.
Sky Blue Press has announced that the upcoming Volume 15 of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal will be the final annual issue.
Café began in 2003 as part of the celebration of Anaïs Nin’s centennial, and it was unsure that a second volume would ever be published. However, the response to Vol. 1 was so great, that Vol. 2 was released the following year; it has been an annual event every year since, with a collection of dozens of excerpts from Nin’s unpublished diaries and contributions from more than 100 writers, scholars, poets and artists from around the world.
In preparation for this final volume, Sky Blue Press is seeking submissions now.
Academic/non-academic articles concerning Nin and her circle (Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Proust, Jean Genet, Henri Michaux, Djuna Barnes, James Leo Herlihy, et al.) are especially valuable; we also consider short fiction, poetry, art, photography, travel memoir if they are somehow Nin-related or inspired.
Sky Blue Press asks that responses and proposals be sent to skybluepress @ skybluepress.com. They will require copy by the end of the year so that the Feb. 21, 2018 deadline can be met.
An anthology of the best of Vols. 1-15 will be released in 2019.
Episode 27 of the Anaïs Nin Podcast is live. Listen to erotica reader Thurlow Holmes describing her experience reading Nin’s Auletris: Eroticafor the new audiobook, just released on audible.com, Amazon and iTunes.
“This was one of the first books that I just read out loud, as I was reading it,” Holmes says in an interview with the book’s editor, Paul Herron. “I was taking this as it came at me, so I could imagine myself in a room with the characters.”
“Anaïs Nin’s words just roll off the page, so you get wrapped up in the moment,” she added.
What sets this podcast apart is a steamy audio excerpt from the first story in the section of Auletris entitled “Life in Provincetown,” during which a lushly-lipped model is making love in studio that is separated by a thin wall behind which, unbeknownst to her, was a young Portuguese sailor listening intently and using his imagination to picture what was being done to her by the nature of the sounds she was uttering.
Holmes was surprised to find out how she got the reading part in the first place, which was a series of events that almost killed the entire production, with the contract being signed on the very day after which Sky Blue Press’s audio rights to the book would have lapsed. “Isn’t it serendipitous how things fall apart, the pieces fall into place and click, and here we are with this wonderful book for your listeners to enjoy,” says Holmes. “Here’s our happy ending,” she joked.
The audiobook version of Auletrisruns 2 hours and 49 minutes and can be found on:
They appear at the beginning of each section of Anais Nin’s first published work of fiction, beginning with the Siana edition in 1936. They appear to be woodcut prints, and they have appeared in every edition since, including Gemor Press, Dutton, Anais Nin Press and Swallow. But what do they mean? I posed this question to the foremost Nin scholars in the world, and no one seems to know.
Can you help us solve this mystery? If you know anything about these strange symbols, please leave a comment and perhaps we’ll get to the bottom of it.
In this episode, Paul Herron, editor of Sky Blue Press, discusses the editing process of the new Anaïs Nin diary, Trapeze, which has just been officially released.
As the title of the diary suggests, this is the story of how Nin was able to pull off what was—and still is—the seemingly impossible feat of maintaining two men, two homes, two lives on opposite sides of the continent without either man knowing about the other. The idea that Nin’s husband, Hugh Guiler, know about Nin’s lover, Rupert Pole, is debunked. With the help of loyal friends, including Guiler’s maid, and countless fabrications, explanations, fictional employers and assignments, she was able to spend about half the year, on and off, with each man and live within two completely opposing worlds. New York was the center of art world and internationalism, high-energy, and Nin moved in vast social circles, living what she called a “big life” with Guiler. In California, she was with Pole, a forest ranger, in a cabin at the foot of the mountains in Sierra Madre, a sleepy town disconnected from the rest of the world, in the middle of nature, and the pace was almost impossibly slow. Each man had his attributes that Nin found irresistible, and yet each man’s negative traits drove Nin mad, even to the point where she found herself not going TO each man, but FLEEING from each. And yet, it was a lifestyle she maintained for the rest of her life, and a story that is only now exposed to the public in full, in Nin’s own words.
Herron also discusses the back-stories of Trapeze, including the fact that Nin was increasingly excluded from the American literary world, and her work was chastised by friend and foe alike to the point where she was ready to give up on her writing career altogether.
Also discussed is one of the major supporting characters in Nin’s life at the time—James (Jim) Leo Herilhy, who would later achieve fame with his novels, including Midnight Cowboy. Herlihy not only supported Nin’s writing at the very time when no one else did, he also know Guiler and Pole well enough to give Nin objective and honest feedback on her relationships with them in his eloquent correspondence to her, which is quoted in this podcast.
Trapezeis Nin’s record of the early years of her double life (a husband in New York and a young lover in California) and how she was able to maintain this lifestyle in spite of perilous consequences if she ever let either man know about the other. She was metaphorically swinging on a bicoastal trapeze with no net below. The lengths to which she had to go, as well as the psychological and physical strain, are told in excruciating detail—and when one reads her tale, it is hard to believe that she pulled off this feat for the rest of her life.
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.
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 Parisand her fabled Louveciennes houseare 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.
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.
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 Miragesand 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.
To listen to the podcast with iTunes, click here.
To listen without iTunes, click here.
Anaïs Nin had always favored writers who were outside of what was considered the norm of modern literature, beginning with D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller and Djuna Barnes in the 1930s. In the 1960s, Marguerite Young, the author of the massive Miss MacIntosh My Darling, was championed by Nin as a writer extraordinaire of poetic prose. Both before and after the book was published, Nin mentioned Young in articles, a review, interviews and lectures whenever she had the chance. Young repaid Nin the favor by offering to write a “statement” about Nin’s forthcoming The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume One, which debuted in 1966. I have recovered the handwritten draft of Young’s reaction to the diary and have rendered it below without editing. This is indeed a rare gem. Whether the statement was actually used (I find no trace of it anywhere) it certainly does capture the nature of Nin’s writing and how it came to be. The statement was given to Hiram Haydn, Nin’s editor at Harcourt Brace & World, as annotated on the first page of the draft (see the figure below).
The Diary of Anaïs Nin, covering the years 1931-1934, is a fascinating segment of that journal which she began as a Spanish-speaking child who came from a fabulous, sophisticated, and aristocratic European background to live the impoverished life of a displaced person in New York City.
When she stepped off the boat with her mother and two younger brothers who came here because of their abandonment by their father, a famed pianist, the darling of European musical circles—she clutched in her hand that notebook in which, like Henry James’ Maisie, she would tall all she knew of life’s displacements, discussions, and cruel tragedies which needed the illumination of her vision, her intelligence, her compassion, her transmuting imagination.
Like Henry James’ Maisie who triumphed over the childhood sorrows cause by the perversities of tempestuous and temperamental adulthood—in this case, the foibles and fantasies of the wandering father, for mother was a source of peace and strength—the little girl writing down first intuitions and perceptions lived to become that beautiful lady whose portrait we see in the diary—a literary lady who had grown up to fall in love with the beauties of English prose, who became herself a master of lyric style, the visual and the energetic, the luminous revelation of the psyche, ever the psyche dreaming at her glass, returned to Europe as one who is half American, half European. Say that hers is a transatlantic consciousness—she has made many journeys back and forth although probably the one journey which interests her most is a journey into the underworld of memory or a journey across a sea of dreams.
America is fortunate in having at least this quasi-citizen—though we may entertain the suspicion that in Europe she seems the European who never left the place of her beginnings, perhaps because she is a seeker always of origin. And yet by chance we may claim her as most distinctly our—one who gives a new dimension to the crude immediacy of American life, a tone of elegance, that art which is always the most formal thing and which has elicited, because of its insistence upon informative musical tone and precise hieroglyphic image, the admiration and even the imitation of thousands of America writers, particularly the poets and the young experimenters with prose, a prose which should be something more than dull, flat, neutral, uncommitted—a prose which should burn with that personal and impersonal intensity which they have found in her as in the firefly and the star.—Marguerite Young
Anaïs Nin’s long-lost erotica Auletris is now in print after a 66 year wait: click herefor details.