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.
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:
One 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.
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.
Australian scholar Jessica Gilbey explains an often ignored relationship—that between Anaïs Nin and her mother. Nin’s connection with her father has received a lot of intention, and to this day search data for their incestuous relationship on this blog remains among the top five. Searches for Rosa Culmell de Nin? Virtually none.
When Gilbey decided to write her doctoral thesis on how motherhood played a major role in Nin’s writing, her supervisor advised her to also explore Nin’s relationship with her own mother, which, at first, Gilbey was reluctant to do—mainly because the mother seemed to be mundane, plain, prosaic. But when she truly began to explore the bond between them, she discovered how much it informed Nin’s decisions, her rebellions, her path in life, her art, and even the other relationship in her life, including her father.
All of these topics are included in Gilbey’s contribution to Volume 13 of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, “Our Mother (Re)Born—The fertile treasure of Nin’s matrilineality.”
Listen as Gilbey brilliantly and objectively discusses how Nin became a symbolic mother to many and biological mother to none, and how critics lashed out at her for her life choices, not to mention her decision to write about them.
Run time: 39 minutes
To listen with iTunes, click here.
To listen to the podcast without iTunes, click here.
To order a copy of Volume 13 of A Café in Space, click here.
NOTICE: WE ARE NO LONGER TAKING QUESTIONS. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED–YOUR QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED ON OUR NEXT PODCAST. STAY TUNED TO OUR BLOG FOR DETAILS.
Imagine you had the chance to ask Anaïs Nin any question you’d like. What would it be? Would it be about a book? A lover? Somewhere she lived? Her double life? Incest? Her writing philosophy? Her family? Her upcoming diary?
And what if you had the chance to actually ask the question and get an answer from Nin experts who will use their extensive knowledge and resources to provide an in-depth and accurate response?
And what if your question and answer would appear on our next Anaïs Nin podcast?
I would say that’s a unique opportunity.
The podcast will be hosted by Paul Herron and Anaín Bjorkquist (of Sex Love Joy fame). Air date will be posted here and on Twitter soon.
Volume 3 of Gunther Stuhlmann’s ANAIS: An International Journal (1985) is now available as an e-book, as plans to digitize all 19 issues move ahead.
Stuhlmann, once Nin’s literary agent and co-editor, created ANAIS in 1983 in the wake of the demise of the only other Nin-related journal, Under the Sign of Pisces. Unlike its predecessor, however, ANAIS became a full-fledged journal of literary criticism that won awards for its excellence. Stuhlmann continued publishing ANAIS annually until just before his death in 2002. Of course, A Café in Space, the current Nin journal was born shortly thereafter.
Volume 3 contains excerpts from Nin’s riveting letters to her mother just as war was about to drive her and most of the other ex-patriots from Paris. Excerpts from Nin’s Early Diary also appear, as well as her views on fame. A study of Cuban author Julieta Campos is presented, with excerpts from her work, translated here in English for the first time. Anna Kavan’s work also appears, as well as articles and studies by Nin scholar Philip Jason, Otto Rank, André Bay and Peter Owen.
To preview and/or order ANAIS volume 3, click here.
For volume 2, click here.
For volume 1, click here.
To see A Café in Space, click here.
Anaïs Nin was born 110 years ago the day this journal, our landmark 10th issue, is to be released, so we have two reasons to celebrate. Ten years ago, I, for one, had no idea that A Café in Space would ever reach such a milestone, and so I must pay tribute to those who have made it happen: our contributors and our readers. Without you, there is no journal on Anaïs Nin some 36 years after her death. It is our aim to continue spreading her words, to enlarge the circle, welcoming new readers and scholars from around the world. I certainly am honored to facilitate this forum for as long as possible, but I am also well aware that this is only a continuation of those who came before us, including Under the Sign of Pisces, edited by Benjamin Franklin V and Richard Centing, and ANAIS: An International Journal, edited by Gunther Stuhlmann. Without such formidable models, this journal would not exist in its present form.
Speaking of the roots of Nin scholarship, one of its key members, Duane Schneider, whose work on Nin led to Anaïs Nin: An Introduction (1979) and An Interview with Anaïs Nin (1970), which was reprinted in Vol. 5 of this publication, died in December 2012. A long-time teacher of English, publisher, author and scholar, he will be missed by his loved ones, his students and the Nin community. His old friend and “partner in crime,” Benjamin Franklin V, pays him tribute in this issue.
One of the 20th century’s greatest men of letters, Gore Vidal, also died in 2012. His connection to Anaïs Nin has long been one that attracts both interest and controversy, especially in light of his vitriolic attacks on her character even long after her death. It seems fitting, then, that we present three looks at Vidal, one of them by Anaïs Nin herself, and try to uncover the truth of their legendary relationship.
The Vidal excerpt from Nin’s unpublished diary also serves as a “preview” of Mirages: From the Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin 1939-1947, which is slated to be released in late 2013 as a co-publication of Sky Blue Press and Ohio University Press. This diary, the first to be published since Nearer the Moon in 1996, reveals how Nin’s forced return to New York nearly destroyed her personally but also helped her become a prolific and more mature writer. In a style of which only Nin is capable, she details the ends of her relationships with Henry Miller and Gonzalo Moré, her futile bonds with increasingly younger men, her publishing woes, and redemption in the form of Rupert Pole, the young, ardent lover who lured her to California, thus beginning her bicoastal double life.
The work of Anaïs Nin, which has by now been largely digitized, is beginning to spread around the world as electronic reading devices become more popular. In the past year or two, Germany, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, India, Japan, Canada, and Brazil are all serviced by popular ebook portals such as Amazon.com, and anyone with a computer, smart phone, tablet, or one of many other devices can now download Nin’s work, making it widely accessible in new locations.
As digital books increase Anaïs Nin’s readership, other formats are also emerging, and one of them appears in this issue: a graphic novel form (or, if you will, a “comic book” version) of one of Nin’s iconic works, “Under a Glass Bell.” Told by Joel Enos and drawn by Fiona Meng, Nin’s characters come “alive” on the page, and a portion of the ethereal story is presented in a way not seen before. Who knows what other kinds of digital media will lend themselves to popularizing Anaïs Nin’s work in the future?
To order the print version of Volume 10 (to be released Feb. 21, 2013), click here.
To purchase the digital version, click here and begin reading today.
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.
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.
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The inaugural issue of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, which celebrated Nin’s 100th birthday, is now available on Kindle. This is the story of how it came to be.
After Gunther Stuhlmann, who edited the amazing 19 annual issues of ANAIS: An International Journal, died in 2002, there was suddenly a severe vacuum in Nin studies. Stuhlmann had planned a special centennial issue of ANAIS for 2003, and even began gathering material for it when he became seriously ill and had to abandon the project. After encouragement from several Nin and Miller scholars, this editor decided to create a new Nin journal that would pick up where ANAIS left off. Because Nin described Richard Centing’s and Benjamin Franklin V’s Under the Sign of Pisces as “a café in space” in which the literary community could gather, we were inspired to so name the new journal.
In February of 2003, I traveled to France with the intention of visiting famous Nin sites, especially her birthplace in Neuilly-sur-Seine and the house in Louveciennes, which Henry Miller called “the laboratory of the soul.” I was fortunate enough to find the Neuilly house newly refurbished, probably looking much as it did when Nin was born there. But the most amazing stroke of luck was being invited to the Nin house in Louveciennes by its new owner, actor Jean-Hugues Anglade, with a group of distinguished guests, one of them a famous actress from the Comédie-Française. After having spent more than a decade wishing for the chance to enter this fabled house, after watching it
decay to the point where it was being considered for demolition, to be inside the house on Nin’s 100th birthday, toasting her with a group of people Nin would have admired, was nothing short of miraculous. Of course, I took dozens of photos and recorded each moment of the day, and wrote it up for A Café in Space. (Click here to see a previous post on the Louveciennes visit.) On top of this, I met Claudine Brelet, who was a close friend of Lawrence Durrell, and she took us on a nostalgic tour of Montparnasse. She agreed to write an article about the special places that Durrell and Miller frequented, through which readers can experience the tour themselves.
I was able to contact some of the contributors to the never-to-be-finished issue of ANAIS, including veteran scholars such as Franklin, Lynette Felber, Phil Jason, and others, all of whom agreed to partake in the first issue of A Café in Space. Furthermore, after attending a centennial Nin conference in California early in 2003, and after hearing talks given by author Janet Fitch and Kazuko Sugisaki, Nin’s Japanese translator, I was able to collect article versions of the talks for the new journal. Fitch’s talk, titled “No Women Writers,” describes how she discovered Nin after her a junior high school substitute teacher declared that there were no important women writers. “He challenged the class to think of a single one… And then a girl in the front row raised her hand, I can still see her, her frizzy ash-blonde hair, her plump arm, waving, and she asked, What about Anaïs Nin? …And I ripped off a note which I passed up the row… WHO IS ANAÏS NIN?” The girl “corrected the spelling and sent it back, saying, ‘Read the Diaries, they’re incredible!’” The rest is history, and Fitch says that Nin’s influence is present in her famous novel White Oleander.
After the conference, we took a drive up to Oakland, CA to visit with Nin’s last surviving family member, her brother Joaquín Nin-Culmell, who, although he’d suffered a stroke shortly beforehand, was incredibly lucid, welcoming, and enthusiastic. He took us on a journey back to his childhood, explaining how cruel and selfish his father was, how Anaïs was protective of her brothers, how the family was instructed by the mother to speak only French in the household in order to keep alive their native language after coming to America. He showed us photographs and artifacts from the past, but the sight of his piano sitting silent in his living room was haunting—since his stroke, he neither played nor listened to music again. Less than a year later, he was gone. How fortunate it was to catch him on that day, a clear, warm, sunny day, the aura of which shined through Joaquín’s face. Not having originally planned to, I ended up writing up the occasion (“An Afternoon With Joaquín Nin-Culmell”) for A Café in Space.
But what about Anaïs Nin herself? What would she contribute to A Café in Space? Serendipity once again played a role in this: I was given a portion of Nin’s unpublished 1940s diaries, and in it I found passages that epitomized Nin’s first years in America after fleeing war in Europe. Disillusioned and disconnected to anything vital, she was drowning in depression and despair when she met a young and somewhat naïve young man from Iowa, who’d arrived in New York to seek artistic freedom. His youthful zeal and exuberance were exactly what Nin was lacking in her life, and thus began a torrid affair. The entire experience Nin summed up in one word: “Mirage,” a word which could be applied to her entire existence in New York.
After reading about Nin’s affair with the young John Dudley, I couldn’t help but wonder if a photo of him didn’t exist somewhere. Nin’s descriptions were vivid, but one likes to have a real image with which to compare them. Only weeks before the publication of Vol. 1, I was in Massachusetts gathering up boxes of back issues of ANAIS: An International Journal, which I’d volunteered to distribute. I opened a desk drawer (with permission) and discovered a pile of photographs that had, I imagined, been set aside for future issues of ANAIS. Among them was a young blond man standing, smiling, in front of what looked like a plantation house. Was the house Hampton Manor, where the affair occurred? Was the young, vivacious man John Dudley? I collected this and several other photos, and after some research, I discovered that yes, these were indeed of Dudley. I had barely enough time to submit them before publication.
Looking back on all this, I can say that nearly everything in the first issue of A Café in Space was the result of bonne chance.
To see further information and/or to order a print version of Vol. 1, click here.
A Café in Space, Vol. 1, 2003, the Kindle version, can be ordered here.