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Anais: The Erotic Life of Anais Nin

Overview

Anais Nin was the ultimate femme fatale, a passionate and mysterious woman, world famous for her steamy love affairs and extravagant sexual exploits, most notably her simultaneous affairs with Henry and June Miller and her bicoastal bigamous marriages. In the mid-1920s, eager to break the confines of American Victorianism both as an artist and as a woman, Nin traveled to Paris, where she fell in with the legendary artistic and literary circles of the Left Bank. For the rest of her long life she lived as a ...
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Overview

Anais Nin was the ultimate femme fatale, a passionate and mysterious woman, world famous for her steamy love affairs and extravagant sexual exploits, most notably her simultaneous affairs with Henry and June Miller and her bicoastal bigamous marriages. In the mid-1920s, eager to break the confines of American Victorianism both as an artist and as a woman, Nin traveled to Paris, where she fell in with the legendary artistic and literary circles of the Left Bank. For the rest of her long life she lived as a liberated woman - an author of more than a dozen books of fiction and erotica, an uninhibited lover of both men and women, and an independent figure within the avant-garde worlds of Paris, Los Angeles, and New York. Nin's Diary, published over the years in numerous volumes, has been hailed as a breakthrough document by literary critics and feminists alike. It is studied in universities across the country, and Kate Millett called it "the first real portrait of the artist as a woman." Yet in the published diary, for all its elaborate detail, Nin did not lay bare her true self. She instead constructed herself for her imagined readers, presenting on those pages a carefully stylized image of the woman the world knew as "Anais" while keeping her inner self hidden in a literary labyrinth of mirrors. Now, in Anais, the first intimate examination of Nin's life, biographer Noel Riley Fitch presents an honest portrait of Nin's passionate, tumultuous, and sometimes bitterly painful life. Fitch reveals, among other things, that behind Nin's coquetry was the desperate yearning of an abused and abandoned girl-child, a lifelong insecurity that resulted in an incestuous reunion with her father when she was thirty years old. A long-awaited account, this book will complement, correct, and demystify the image that Nin so artfully crafted in her diary.

Anais Nin was the ultimate femme fatale, a passionate and mysterious woman famous for her extravagant sexual exploits and scandalous love affairs. In this long-awaited and meticulously researched biography, Fitch at last reveals the woman behind her own diaries. of duotone photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Anais Nin 1903-1977 projected the image of a free woman designing her own life and world into something beautiful, but the multiple selves of her diaries, in Fitch's estimate, are fictive constructs. Tapping hundreds of interviews, library archives and Nin's unpublished erotica and fiction, Fitch Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation convincingly portrays Nin as a complex, neurotic artist, alienated from her own anger and pain, who worked out her neuroses through her art. She traces the psychological damage inflicted by Nin's father, who photographed her nude, beat her and seduced her in childhood, then seduced her again in 1933. Fitch ably reconstructs Nin's simultaneous romantic involvement with Henry and June Miller in Paris, and her bicoastal, bigamous life divided between Hugh Guiler in New York and Rupert Pole in California. Written in the present tense, a risky device that wears thin, and occasionally marred by rose-tinted Nin-like prose, this remarkably intimate, hypnotic, probing portrait nevertheless helps explain the charismatic power and abiding appeal of Nin. Photos. Sept.
Library Journal
When Nin's diaries began appearing in the mid-Sixties, their popularity earned her a bigger audience than she had ever had. The question that always teased readers of the Franco-American novelist was whether and how her fiction depended on her life experiences. It is now generally acknowledged that her novels are pallid reflections of her own journey, detailed here by Fitch, author of Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation LJ 8/83 as well as literary guides to Paris. Fitch presents more than a sensational biography of a sensual woman, also depicting a tumultuous and harrowing life. From her early life, Nin suffered acutely, first after her father deserted the family, then during years of solitude and loneliness. As Fitch shows, her struggle to achieve as a woman and artist was arduous. Recommended for large collections and as a companion to Nin's diaries where they are popular.-- Ali Houissa, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y.
From Barnes & Noble
In her diary, Ana‹s Nin revealed little of her inner self, choosing instead to construct a stylized image of the ultimate femme fatale. Here is an honest portrait of Nin's passionate, tumultuous, and sometimes bitterly painful life, documenting the woman behind the steamy love affairs, the extravagant sexual exploits, and the notorious bigamous marriages. Reveals Nin's childhood abuse & abandonment and the insecurity that resulted in an incestuous union with her father when she was 30 years old. B&W photos.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780840066886
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
  • Publication date: 8/6/1993
  • Pages: 525

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 Too Much Reality 10
2 Passion and Penitence 27
3 Portrait of a Wife 52
4 Intimate Betrayal 71
5 A Literary Passion and a Passion for Literature 100
6 A Season in Hell 145
7 Drifting Toward War: Publishing and Politics 185
8 Village Life: Starting Over 224
9 This Hunger for Acceptance 261
10 Changing and Turning: Beginning the Bicoastal Life 290
11 The Diary of Others 328
12 Dancing Toward Daylight 372
Postscripts 411
Acknowledgments 415
Notes 420
Anais Nin Selected Bibliography 494
General Bibliography of Works Cited 498
Index 511
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