New Anaïs Nin Podcast and A Café in Space

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.

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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.

To listen to the podcast with iTunes, click here.
To listen without iTunes, click here.

To order volume 14 of A Café in Space, click here.
It is also available as a digital edition.

Marguerite Young’s reaction to The Diary of Anaïs Nin

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).

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Click to enlarge

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 here for details.

Podcast 22: The Battle to Uncensor Anais Nin’s Auletris: Erotica

When Anaïs Nin’s long-lost erotica collection, Auletris, was published in October 2016 by Sky Blue Press, it was immediately censored by Amazon, the world’s largest retailer. What was amazing is not only was the most recognizable name in female erotica rendered invisible during searches, others were not, including, unbelievably, an entire category of “dinosaur porn.”

Detail of cover, from a card in Nin's collection

Detail of cover, from a card in Nin’s collection

Was this a gross misunderstanding, or was it ignorance? Is it possible that the higher-ups had never heard of Nin despite her bestselling erotica Delta of Venus and Little Birds? This is the story of how Sky Blue Press took on Goliath and ultimately, with help from the media and customers, won.

Run time: 14 minutes

To listen to the podcast with iTunes, click here.

To listen without iTunes, click here.

To purchase Auletris, click here.

To read a review of Auletris by Los Angeles Review of Books, click here.

To listen to a panel of experts discuss Auletris, click here.

Seeking inmates of Amazon’s dungeon

As you may know, The Anaïs Nin Podcast is a monthly program that touches upon anything and everything having to do with Nin and her work. This month we saw the release of her new erotica collection Auletris by Sky Blue Press, and when Amazon placed it into its “adult content dungeon,” which rendered it unsearchable, a controversy arose that led to media coverage and, amazingly, Amazon’s changing their mind.

cover170x170But not everyone is so lucky. Amazon’s dungeon is still filled with several books that will never see the light of day.

Now, to my point: this practice of making books invisible is the topic of the next podcast. It amounts to modern-day censorship. Are you an author or publisher who is in the dungeon, or have been? If so, I want to hear your story. You can write me at skybluepress @ skybluepress . com. I plan on airing in mid-November.

Perhaps together we can make a difference.

To order Auletris: Erotica, click here.

Amazon Releases Anaïs Nin’s Auletris From Its “Dungeon”

auletriscoverIn a move that reminds me of the draconian book-banning obscenity laws of the first part of the twentieth century, retail giant Amazon rendered Anaïs Nin’s new erotica collection, Auletris, unsearchable on its website, citing “adult content” as the reason. This is widely known as Amazon’s adult content “dungeon,” and it makes the book practically invisible to readers even if they actively search for the title. The end result is that sales are effectively killed.

But after the media began to cover the controversy earlier this week, Amazon has now reversed its stance and has made Auletris visible to buyers, just as other mainstream erotica is, including Nin’s Delta of Venus and Little Birds, not to mention Fifty Shades of Grey.

Stories by News.co.au and the Guardian slammed Amazon for the practice of censoring books, and there were other news agencies ready to jump on the bandwagon—this, I believe, helped change the minds of Amazon’s shadowy “catalogue team,” which decides which titles are searchable and which are not. I personally think that the people who comprise this modern-day censorship board did not realize who Anaïs Nin is and had no idea about the implications their soft ban of Auletris would have.

I want to thank everyone who participated in spreading the word about this practice, who helped me connect with the media, and who lent moral support and shared outrage at this twenty-first century form of censorship. We, as readers, have the right to make our own decisions about what we read, and it is insulting for Amazon to dictate our choices to us simply because they feel like it and have the economic power to do so. This right, as far as Auletris goes, has finally been upheld, and I want to commend Amazon for making the right decision.

However, what about all of those left in the “dungeon”? What about those authors who are forced to make significant changes to their work to make it searchable? Who will stand up for them? I, for one, think that Amazon needs to rethink its policy have having a “catalogue team” making such decisions, and seemingly on a whim. When one can readily find “dinosaur erotica” in an Amazon search, why is it that other books don’t see the light of day?

Thank you for releasing Anaïs Nin from the dungeon, Amazon. She was perhaps among your most prestigious inmates…but it’s time to eliminate the dungeon altogether.

To purchase Auletris, click here.

Anaïs Nin’s Auletris Erotica Censored by Amazon

NOTE: Amazon has since rescinded it censorship of Auletris. I am leaving this post up as a matter of history.

Anaïs Nin’s new erotica collection, Auletris, has achieved a status that no Nin book has had since The Winter of Artifice (1939) was banned in the USA: censored by the world’s largest bookseller, Amazon. If one does a search for “Auletris,” nothing shows up unless one does the search in “books” or “Kindle store.” So, to the casual observer, Auletris does not exist. There has been a concerted effort on the part of Amazon to block customers from this book.

auletriscensoredAmazon says that it has made the decision that Auletris shall not be searchable because of its “adult content.” Even the cover is obscene, they say. Delta of Venus? Searchable. Little Birds? Searchable. Auletris? In a class by itself. Why?

The contents of all three books are written by the same author, in the same fashion, touching upon many of the same taboos. Delta of Venus has incest, rape, necrophilia, among other topics, and yet anyone can find it easily on Amazon. What sets Auletris apart? What is it about the book that has Amazon skittish about its status? Has Nin gone too far? It is true that Auletris exceeds the taboo standards set by its predecessors, but is that the reason for the censorship?

Or is it a sign that the literary climate in America is returning to the days when censorship boards, whether governmental or private, decide for us what we can see or not see?

Sky Blue Press was told to make changes to Auletris if it is to be deemed searchable: to change the cover, which contains an image from an erotic card from Nin’s personal collection; to change the contents, which is tantamount to telling an artist to alter a masterpiece to make it more palatable to the masses. Sky Blue Press has refused this request. Auletris, it says, is pure Nin, and no changes will be made.

There is only one way to solve this problem—and to make a statement—buy the book from Amazon and prove that censorship will not deter sales.

To order a print copy of Auletris, click here.

To order a digital copy, click here.

How Anaïs Nin’s Auletris Erotica Got Published

When I first discovered a folder from Gunther Stuhlmann’s archive that read “Provincetown Erotica??” I had no idea what was about to happen. I hurried through the correspondence from late 1985 to early 1986, which discussed the fact that a copy of Auletris by “ANin” was up for auction—and that no one, not even Anaïs Nin’s executor, agent or editor, had ever heard of it—and got to the Xeroxed pages from the book itself. I read the following words which open “Life in Provincetown,” the collection’s first section:

aulterisfolderOne long main street running along the Bay outline, Portuguese fishermen sitting in circles like the Italians and chatting. Behind the houses on the main street are wharves which project out on the water at various lengths. On these wharves are the huts, shacks, which the fishermen once used to store their nets, tools, and the boats to be repaired. It is here that the artists live. The roofs are peaked and beamed. Everything is made of rough wood like the inside of some old ship. At high tide the water runs under the wharves, at low tide it exposes a long stretch of sand.

The walls are thin. One can hear everything. Often the shades are not down, and one can see everything.

There are no guardians, no one to say: stop the noise, or to see at what time one comes home. No superintendents, house owners. Just the lonely wharves, in darkness at night, the sound of the water, and little crooked shack-like studios occupied by a variety of people.

The town is full of soldiers, sailors, and beautiful Portuguese girls…and summer visitors in shorts.

There is one movie, one bar where women are not admitted and several night clubs.

In one studio there lived one of the artist’s models, whose mouth was so big, so full, so prominent, that one could see nothing else. When she looked at one, one could notice only the mouth, like the mouth of a negress. She rouged too heavily, and then powdered her face white, so that the mouth stood out even more and was able to eclipse the rest of the face and even the body.

As one knew she was a model, well known in the Village in New York, one assumed she had a beautiful body, but somehow one only looked at the mouth. Somehow or other one imagined the other mouth to be equally luxuriant, equally prominent. Just as one felt that the thin-lipped mouths of Puritan women must he the exact replicas of their thin-lipped sexuality.

Then it stopped. Just like that, I was at the end of the copy, and I could tell just by this short passage that Auletris contained classic Nin prose and heralded a very erotic story. It was this passage, stuck in the folder and hidden there for thirty years, that drove me to find the rest of the book. I had to know what came next! It was a supreme tease, you see.

Once I located a copy, I prayed that the rest of it would fulfill the promise that Nin seems to make in the opening pages. As they say, the rest is history. Not only does Auletris deliver on its promise, but it exceeds much of Delta of Venus or Little Birds in its boldness and variety.

I decided to publish it because, as far as I’m concerned, it deserved to be. The book came out yesterday. Now, at last, the world can discover this treasure for itself.

To order a print copy of Auletris, click here.

To order a digital copy, click here.

To listen to an expert panel discussion of Auletris, click here.

Podcast 21: Lost Anaïs Nin Erotica Part 2

We are celebrating the publication of the new collection of Anaïs Nin’s new book! Listen as The Anaïs Nin Podcast gathers some dynamic experts who discuss the long-lost collection of original Anaïs Nin erotica, Auletris, which is being published today.

My guests—erotica writer, reader and popular podcaster Rose Caraway; women’s sexuality expert Anaín Bjorkquist; erotic writer and publisher Lana Fox; and Nin scholar Jessica Gilbey—have all read Auletris and give their reactions. It is a lively, sometimes hilarious and yet serious discussion of Anaïs Nin’s demolishment of taboo, poetic descriptions of even the most forbidden topics, the effect her erotica has on the reader, and the standing it has in the world of literature. And featured in this podcast is Rose Caraway reading from Auletris.

This is a must-listen for any fan of Anaïs Nin, erotic fiction, or both.

Run time: 53 minutes

To listen with iTunes, click here.

To listen without iTunes, click here.

To order a print copy of Auletris, click here.

To order a digital copy of Auletris, click here.

For a brief history of the discovery of Auletris, click here.

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Podcast 19: Anaïs Nin’s Family with Gayle Nin Rosenkrantz

Gayle Nin Rosenkrantz was the daughter of Thorvald Nin, the middle child of the Nin family, between his big sister Anaïs and little brother Joaquín. She was born in Latin America during the 1930s and has vivid memories of not only her aunt, uncle and father, but also of her grandparents, Joaquín Nin y Castellanos and Rosa Culmell. Listen as she, like no one else can, describes the family dynamics, how Aunt Anaïs kept them at arm’s length to keep her bigamy secret, a humorous account of her grandfather calling her and her brother “savages” after they met him in Cuba in 1939, and her stories about her father and uncle, many of which are entirely unknown until now. If you are interested in Anaïs Nin, this podcast is a must-listen, for it contains some real treasures from one of the only descendants of the original Nin family.

Run time: 41 minutes

To listen to the podcast with iTunes, click here.

To listen without iTunes, click here.

To learn more about the Nin family, click here.

This podcast is sponsored by The Quotable Anaïs Nin, which contains 365 cited quotations.

Opening track: Joaquin Nin “Suite Espanole II

Closing track: Joaquin Nin-Culmell: “Ball pla i l’esquerrana

 

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Thorvald, Rosa, Joaquin, Juan Manen, Anais Nin ca. 1920

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Barbara Kraft reads from Henry Miller: The Last Days

Barbara Kraft, author of a new memoir on Henry Miller, recently gave a reading at a Santa Monica library, which was video recorded and is now ready to be viewed.

Kraft not only speaks of her close relationship with the literary titan during his final two years, but also reminisces about her friendship with Anais Nin during the years just before her death–a relationship that was independent of that with Miller. Kraft’s gift to Miller and Nin fans are her two beautifully written memoirs:

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Each book is the perfect companion for the other.

To watch the video, click here. (Run time: 49 minutes)

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