Richard Centing, co-founder of first Anais Nin periodical, has passed

Richard Centing, of the Ohio State University Libraries, an early Anais Nin supporter, passed away in January of this year, I just learned.

Along with Benjamin Franklin V, Centing produced the first Nin periodical, Under the Sign of Pisces, beginning in 1970 and running until 1981, after which Centing published a similar publication, Seahorse. These publications were what Anais Nin called “a café in space,” where readers and writers could “gather” in their pages.

The longevity of Centing’s periodicals was one of the driving forces behind the decision made by Rupert Pole and Gunther Stuhlmann to produce the annual ANAIS: An International Journal, which ran an amazing 19 issues until Stuhlmann’s death in 2002. A Café in Space: The Anais Nin Literary Journal has carried on the tradition ever since. But it all began with Richard Centing’s idea some 47 years ago.

Richard was the very first Nin scholar I met, back in 1996, in Columbus. He kindly gave me the “grand tour” of the library’s Nin-related holdings, and presented me with many gifts, including a poster promoting Nin’s novels published by Swallow Press, which hangs in my office. He was the first scholar to encourage me with my first project, Anais Nin: A Book of Mirrors. After I showed him the manuscript, he said to me: “This is important work,” which went a long way in validating my efforts. Not only did he contribute an article and photographs to the anthology, he guided me in promoting it after it was printed. I remember him as a kind and generous man.

To read Richard Centing’s obituary, click here.

RC&AN&BFV

Richard Centing (l), Anais Nin, Benjamin Franklin V

Anaïs Nin Podcast 9: A Half Century with Anaïs Nin—Benjamin Franklin V

Benjamin Franklin V has been devoted to Anaïs Nin studies since 1966, the year the first volume of The Diary of Anaïs Nin was published, catapulting her from decades of obscurity to instant fame and acceptance from a wide audience. Despite all the hoopla surrounding Nin, Franklin was determined to go about the meticulous business of compiling a complete list of all her work, resulting in Anaïs Nin: A Bibliography in 1973, the first and only such compilation. He then collaborated with Duane Schneider on Anaïs Nin: An Introduction, which came out in 1979. In 1996 he compiled and edited Recollections of Anaïs Nin.

Benjamin Franklin V and Anais Nin, 1973. Photo: Jeanne Rockwell.

Benjamin Franklin V and Anais Nin, 1973. Photo: Jeanne Rockwell.

Since then, he has spearheaded the republication of The Winter of Artifice, the lost 1939 edition; he authored the Anaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts, compiled, edited and introduced The Portable Anaïs Nin, and has written the introduction to the upcoming Trapeze: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1947-1955. He is a frequent contributor to A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal.

Dr. Franklin not only studied Anaïs Nin, but also knew her and worked with her for several years. His experience with Nin, along with his extensive work on her, gives him a unique understanding of both the writer and the work, and he tells all during this podcast. This is a must-listen for anyone interested in Anaïs Nin and the history of Nin scholarship.

Run time: 47:06

To listen to the podcast in iTunes, click here.

To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.

Comments are welcome.

Duane Schneider, Key Nin Scholar, 1937-2012

Duane Schneider, one of the preeminent Anais Nin scholars of the 20th century and co-author of Anais Nin: An Introduction (1979), has passed away. He once owned his own hand-operated press and published several documents, including An Interview With Anais Nin in 1970, which was reprinted in A Cafe in Space, Vol. 5 (2008). What follows is an obituary written by his widow, Crystal Gips.

Duane B. Schneider of Yarmouth Port MA died Wednesday, December 26, 2012, at The Terraces Orleans after a long bout with Lewy Body, a degenerative neurological disease. He was 75.

Mr. Schneider is survived by his wife Crystal Gips of Yarmouth Port MA; son Jeffrey Schneider, his wife Felicia Jevitt, and their daughter Morgan and son Jeremy of Mason OH; son Eric Schneider and his daughters Laura and Sara of Cincinnati; daughter Lisa Schneider of New Marshfield, OH; daughter Emily Strickland, her husband Wayne, and their daughters Sandy and Rachel of Guysville, OH; and his sister Dona Browne of Farmington Hills, MI. His former wife, JoAnne Dodd of Athens, OH, also survives him.

Duane Schneider

Mr. Schneider was born November 15, 1937, in South Bend, IN and grew up there. He was the son of William and Lillian (Pitchford) Schneider. After graduating from high school, he attended Elmhurst College outside Chicago, where he intended to prepare to be a minister. With a change of heart, he transferred to Miami of Ohio, majored in English and was named an undergraduate fellow. He also won the undergraduate prize for the study of Greek. He began graduate school at University of California Berkeley, married his high school friend JoAnne Bennett, and completed a master’s degree in English at Kent State in Ohio in 1960. Mr. Schneider earned a Ph. D. in English in 1965 from the University of Colorado where he was an English instructor for 5 years in the College of Engineering.

In the same year, Mr. Schneider joined the faculty of the English Department at Ohio University. In the late 1970s he served as chair of the English Department’s graduate programs, and then in 1981 was elected Chair of the Faculty Senate. After two years in that role, he returned to the English Department as Chair, and then in 1985 became the Director of the Ohio University Press. Under his leadership at the Press, it flourished and rose to new levels of publishing and sales. One of the scholarly highlights of his career was his deep friendship with the feminist writer Anais Nin, which grew out of his writing of a book, with his colleague Ben Franklin V, about her and her writings including the well known Diaries of Anais Nin. Duane was also the founding president in 1985 of the Thomas Wolfe Society, an international literary society that still flourishes today.

Duane entered early retirement from Ohio University in 1995, and continued teaching fall term each year at Ohio through 2007, for a total of 47 years as a professor. Duane also taught one summer at University of Montana, and part time at California State University Northridge, The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, and The New School in NYC.  He was Emeritus Professor of English at Ohio University. He and Crystal lived in Athens, Los Angeles, Albany NY, Saint Simons Island GA, and Long Beach CA, before moving three years ago to Yarmouth Port on Cape Cod.

Mr. Schneider operated his own publishing firm, Croissant & Co., in the 1970s. He published the short works of such people as Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Nin, and others, all printed on a hand press he operated himself.

Mr. Schneider was an active Unitarian during his adult life. He served as president of the Athens Unitarian Fellowship in the mid 70s during the building of the fellowship hall, and he was recently a member of the Unitarian Church of Barnstable.

The family will hold a private burial in Athens. Memorial services will follow at a later date in Athens and on Cape Cod. 

Duane and his wife are ever so grateful to HopeHealth for its wonderful Hospice care and especially to nurses Deborah and Melanie, social worker Julie, and nurse assistant Ann Marie for their love and kindness along with fine professional care.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mr. Schneider’s honor may be made to the Unitarian Church of Barnstable, P.O. Box 285, Barnstable MA 02630, or to HopeHealth, 765 Attucks Lane, Hyannis, MA 02601.

 

The Genesis of The Portable Anais Nin

The idea of The Portable Anaïs Nin came from Gunther Stuhlmann, who was Nin’s literary agent and co-editor of her Diary of Anaïs Nin. At the time, which was in the mid-1990s, he felt that too much attention was being given by biographers and critics to the sordid side of her love life, and not enough to her work. Complicating all of this was the release of her unexpurgated diary Incest, which covered not only adult-onset incest with her father, but also the fact that she’d had a long, horrifying abortion of a late-term child, both of which she wrote about graphically. This combination of biographies and unexpurgated diaries naturally turned attention to the “verboten” aspects of Nin’s life rather than her literary achievements.

Review of one of the Nin biographies (click to enlarge)

Stuhlmann proposed an anthology that would “introduce a new generation of readers to the writer Anaïs Nin rather than to the ‘personality’ which has been distorted and denigrated in recent years… I visualize a handy volume which creates an overall view of the many facets of Nin’s work and ideas by drawing on her actual writing.” In short, he wished to return the attention to the art, and through the art, the artist.

In my opinion, one of the biggest problems of Nin publication is the way they were presented originally. Nin not only had the need to write about her life, even early in her career, she longed to share the diaries with her readers. For obvious reasons (the fact that the nature of her life meant multiple deceptions and lies to her significant partners), she could not possibly have published the diaries as they were. Her first attempt to express what she’d written in secret was through her fiction, which was mainly a veiled version of her life and its principle personages. This she found unsatisfactory, and the critics agreed. While there is plenty of psychological truth in the fiction (which in itself makes it valuable), it was still smoke and mirrors, illusion, and vague.

Nin struggled for years to find a way to publish her diaries, and it was only late in life that she came up with the only possible solution: to offer extremely expurgated versions of them, versions that would not hurt those still living. Her husband, Hugh Guiler, asked to not be mentioned, which added another complication, because she could only recount her life without mention of the husband who financially and emotionally supported her (this omission was ammunition for attack by feminists, who were attracted to her in the first place because the diaries made it appear she’d live an independent life). So, seven volumes of heavily edited diaries appeared on the market, and it was left to readers to “read between the lines” to figure out that Henry Miller and her own father were among her many lovers. When the unexpurgated diaries came out posthumously (beginning with Henry and June in 1986), several of Nin’s friends, fans, and associates felt betrayed. The revelations are many, and some of them are stunning. I remember being invited to a get-together of some women who’d thought they knew Anaïs Nin until the unexpurgated diaries came out. Some of them refused to believe that their Anaïs was capable of such atrocities, especially incest. One of them said, “I think Gunther Stuhlmann and Rupert Pole concocted those passages themselves just to make money.” No one seemed to disagree.

This fractured approach to Nin publications eventually led to the point where the world seemed to turn against what was once the champion of self-discovery, the lover of life, the one who refused to despair, the one whom an entire generation admired for daring to seek and tell the truth. Reviewers of the biographies and the unexpurgated diaries didn’t bother to review the books—instead, they laid judgment on the author’s life. Lost in all of this was the work.

Gunther Stuhlmann’s proposal for The Portable Anaïs Nin was rejected by certain publishers who by that time had formed some harsh opinions about Nin, and it was placed in a folder and filed away in a drawer. After Stuhlmann’s untimely death in 2002, his wife, Barbara, discovered the proposal while sorting through the massive amount of documents he’d left behind. She sent it to me. There were only a couple yellowed pages in the folder, but the idea was as fresh and as important as it had ever been. I contacted Benjamin Franklin V, who is the world’s foremost Nin scholar and bibliographer, and he was overjoyed with the idea of a new anthology. After months of painstaking work of selecting, introducing, and annotating selections from the entire spectrum of Nin’s writing, Stuhlmann’s vision was realized. The Portable Anaïs Nin was first released as an ebook, and now it is finally available in print.

It is, as Stuhlmann envisioned, “an open invitation to an engaging literary adventure trip, which could, and should, gain an entirely new audience for Anaïs Nin’s work.”

To order a print copy of The Portable Anais Nin, click here.

To order a digital version of The Portable Anais Nin, click here.

To see our complete list of available Anais Nin ebooks, click here.

To order books from Anais Nin’s and Rupert Pole’s Silver Lake Collection, click here.

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. 

 

      

     

     

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. 

From Gemor to Kindle: Anaïs Nin’s Under a Glass Bell

Anaïs Nin began writing the stories collected in Under a Glass Bell in Paris during the mid to late 1930s and finished in New York after she fled France because of the war. When she could not find a publisher for her original collection of eight short stories, she resorted to self-publishing (with engravings by her husband Hugh Guiler) with her Gemor Press in 1944, hoping that she would win the interest of a commercial firm. It received the notice of critic Edmund Wilson, who favorably reviewed the book for The New Yorker.

The first commercial firm to republish the collection was Editions Poetry London in 1947. Because the original edition consisted of only 65 pages, Nin added another short story, “The All-Seeing,” as well as The House of Incest (her famous 1936 prose poem) and the two novellas from her self-published (Gemor Press in 1942) Winter of Artifice: “The Voice” and “Winter of Artifice.” In 1948, Nin’s then friend and supporter Gore Vidal used his clout to encourage his publisher, Dutton, to publish Under a Glass Bell as well as other Nin fiction. The Dutton edition consisted of the original eight stories, “The All-Seeing,” and four new short stories: “The Child Born out of the Fog,” “The Eye’s Journey,” “Hedja,” and “Through the Streets of My Own Labyrinth.” Also included were the two novellas from Winter of Artifice.

Hugh Guiler's cover art

Hugh Guiler's cover art

In 1957, the collection was republished as a facsimile of the Dutton edition minus the Winter of Artifice novellas by the Anaïs Nin Press. Swallow Press republished the collection of thirteen short stories in the 1960s, but in 1995 the order of the stories was changed, leading to a bit of controversy. In his introduction to the 1995 edition of Under a Glass Bell, Gunther Stuhlmann explains that his rationale for reordering the stories “chronologically” (meaning that since Nin used diary passages as source material, Stuhlmann sequenced the stories in the order of the events that inspired them), his rationale being that Nin’s growth as a writer would then be reflected in this new order.

Benjamin Franklin V, perhaps the world’s foremost authority on Nin bibliography, argued that reorganizing the stories violated Anaïs Nin’s literary intentions in his 1997 article “Noli Me Tangere” (“Touch Me Not”). In his article, Franklin quotes Nin herself from her introduction to the original edition as saying that “Everything is related and interactive,” and therefore the order of the stories was a significant ingredient in the collection’s content—reading the stories in order results in a more enriching experience, and reordering them robs the reader of this effect. Franklin went as far as proposing that the new Swallow Press edition be allowed to go out of print and the original order be re-established in subsequent editions. However, the current Swallow Press edition retains the order that Gunther Stuhlmann had placed them.

When it came time to place Under a Glass Bell on Kindle, an issue that had to be addressed was in what order to place the stories. Sky Blue Press decided to use Nin’s original placement, feeling that her intentions should be honored. So, Under a Glass Bell has come full circle after a 65 year odyssey.

An interesting set of facts compiled by Franklin is below—citations of diary sources that inspired the stories of the collection. (This list was created to illustrate that the current Swallow Press order is not exactly chronological.)

“Houseboat”: Diary II, 119 (September 1936), 126 (September 1936), 127 (September 1936), 129 (October 1936), 168 (February 1937), 176 (February 1937), 303 (Summer 1938), 318 (January 1939).

“The Mouse”: Diary II, 179 (March 1937), 186 (March 1937), 206-08 (Summer 1937), 316 (January 1939).

“Under a Glass Bell”: Diary I, 167-70 (January 1933), 171-73 (January 1933); II, 61 (October 1935).

“The Mohican”: Diary II, 85 (June 1936), 99-101 (August 1936), 134 (October 1936), 165 (February 1937), 257-58 (October 1937), 311 (October 1938).

“Je suis le plus malade des surrealistes”: Diary I, 187 (March 1933), 229 (June 1933), 230-34 (June 1933), 245-46 (August 1933); II, 188-91 (March 1937).

“Ragtime”: Diary II, 104-06 (August 1936).

“The Labyrinth”: Linotte, 3-14 (25 July-12 August 1914).

“Through the Streets of My Own Labyrinth”: Diary II, 71-81 (April 1936), 184 (March 1937).

“The All-Seeing”: Diary II, 192 (March 1937), 275-77 (November 1937), 288-89 (January 1938), 295 (March 1938), 315 (October 1938).

“The Eye’s Journey”: Diary II, 162-63 (January 1937).

“The Child Born out of the Fog”: Diary IV, 141 (April 1946).

“Hejda”: Diary III, 225-28 (Winter 1942), 233-35 (Winter 1942), 303-04 (January 1944); IV, 33 (December 1944).

“Birth”: Diary I, 337-49 (June and August 1934).

(Details of book history from Anaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts by Benjamin Franklin V)

(List from Studies in Short Fiction Fall, 1997)

To see or order Under a Glass Bell on Kindle, click here.

Sky Blue Press has also put the original Obelisk Press edition of The Winter of Artifice on Kindle.

Anaïs Nin’s The Winter of Artifice is on Kindle

The long odyssey of The Winter of Artifice has taken a new turn, seventy years after its publication in Paris—it is now available as a digital e-book on Kindle 

A brief history of The Winter of Artifice: After years of incubation, Anaïs Nin fictionalized three major events in her life: 1) her affair with Henry Miller and the subsequent infatuation with his wife, June; 2) the reunion with her father after a twenty year absence, which resulted in a series of incestuous encounters; 3) the analysis (and affairs) she experienced with pyschoanalytical pioneers René Allendy and Otto Rank. These events resulted in the following novellas, respectively: “Djuna,” “Lilith,” and “The Voice.”

Only weeks after Anaïs Nin held a copy of her new book in her hands, two events occurred that were to redirect its future—war broke out, and the editor of Obelisk Press, Jack Kahane, died. Because of the war, Nin fled Paris for New York with a few copies of her book, and once in America, she realized that The Winter of Artifice would never survive the censors because of its explicit nature, especially that of “Djuna.” A few copies of Paris edition ended up in the hands of Nin’s friends and associates, but it was largely absent from the market in Europe and impossible to distribute in America or England.

 Anaïs Nin, Paris, late 1930s

Anaïs Nin, Paris, late 1930s

These novellas comprised Nin’s second work of fiction, The Winter of Artifice, which was published by Obelisk Press in the summer of 1939 as part of the Villa Seurat Series—Miller’s Max and the White Phagocytes and Lawrence Durrell’s The Black Book made up the other titles. The series name came from the three authors’ unofficial headquarters, Miller’s apartment on Villa Seurat in Montparnasse.

 Nin set about altering the contents of The Winter of Artifice for an American audience. She completely eliminated “Djuna” and cut out or drastically altered several passages in the remaining two stories. Her gutted prototype, made from an Obelisk Press copy, still exists. When Nin could not interest any American publishers in the book, she decided to publish it herself, buying an old printing press and setting up shop with her collaborator and lover, Gonzalo Moré. In 1942, the handset Winter of Artifice was finished, under the imprint Gemore Press, containing the two novellas, one untitled (formerly “Lilith”) and “The Voice.”

The book underwent further incarnations: In 1947, the untitled novella was revised and titled “Winter of Artifice,” and, along with the revised “The Voice,” was included in the 1947 English edition of Under a Glass Bell (Editions Poetry London). In the 1948 Dutton edition of Under a Glass Bell, the two revised novellas were included, but “Winter of Artifice” was renamed “Djuna,” not to be confused with the “Djuna” of the original edition. In 1961, Swallow published Winter of Artifice, which included facsimiles of the text the now-renamed “Winter of Artifice, “The Voice,” and Stella, taken from the 1946 book Ladders to Fire, “Stella.” The current Swallow edition is much the same.

The original “Djuna” ended up being heavily revised and incorporated into Ladders to Fire, with very little remaining of its erotic spirit. Later in life, Nin claimed that “Djuna” contained “bad writing,” but there is good evidence that she wanted to avoid public scrutiny of her affair with Miller, not to mention her changed attitude towards him after their break-up in the early 1940s. Miller, after all, was instrumental in the development of the prose contained in the story—for a detailed look at this, click here. His heavy influence in her writing was something she didn’t want publicized.

Many scholars are unaware of the original edition of The Winter of Artifice and the explicit representation of the Henry-June-Anaïs triangle in “Djuna.” Benjamin Franklin V, an important Nin scholar, recognized this gap in Nin scholarship and was the momentum behind a facsimile of the Paris edition of The Winter of Artifice being released in 2007. With this edition, Nin readers can finally experience Nin’s early foray into realistic prose—a turnaround from the heavily veiled The House of Incest (1936)—which was lost by circumstances and life-forces beyond anyone’s control. And now, with the new Kindle edition, Nin’s writing has finally entered the world of digital text, with other titles to follow.

 

Anaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts review

anaisnincharacterdictionaryAnaïs Nin Character Dictionary and Index to Diary Excerpts by Benjamin Franklin V has been reviewed by someone who happens to know a bit about Nin bibliography—Valerie Harms, whose Magic Circle Press published Waste of Timelessness and Other Early Stories, culled from Nin’s early fiction. In Harms’ review, she concludes: “This book belongs in the personal library of all those who love Nin’s work and to university and public libraries around the world.” You can read the entire review by clicking here.

 

 

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