Critical Response To Anais Nin

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Best known for her diary, Anais Nin was also the author of several novels, short fiction, and a book on D.H. Lawrence. As a woman who made a career of her aesthetic femininity, her works helped shape the future of gender studies and feminist literary criticism. Her writings have challenged numerous critics, while her life has been equally fascinating. The selections in this book represent the critical response to her works, from her first efforts in the 1930s to the posthumous publication of unexpurgated diary volumes beginning in 1986, including the views of major biographers and contemporary critics.

Born in France in 1903, Anais Nin spent her life in New York, Paris, and Los Angeles, where she died in 1977. Like the chaotic passages of her life, her writings have not easily fallen into neat categories. Though she published several novels, short fiction, and erotica, she is best known for her enormous and captivating diary, which sometimes commanded more attention in unpublished form than her published fiction did. As a woman writer who made a career of her aesthetic femininity, her works helped shape the future of gender studies and feminist literary criticism.

The selections in this volume trace the critical response to Nin's works from the 1930s to the present. Though Nin died nearly 20 years ago, the posthumous publication of several of her works, including three unexpurgated diary volumes, has prompted renewed critical attention, including two major biographical studies. Because biographical concerns dominate critical studies, this book contains not only sections on her work in general, her short fiction, and her novels, but also special sections on her monumental diary and on her public and private selves. Within each section, critical articles and reviews are reprinted chronologically, so that the reader may trace the response to Nin over time. A bibliography lists works for further consultation, and an introductory essay explores the direction of critical attention to her writings.

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Editorial Reviews

Presents highlights of the critical reception to Nin's short fiction, novels, and diaries, with essays from the 1960s to the 1990s concentrating on continuing themes of her work rather than particular works. Includes essays by Henry Miller and Erica Jong, and a 1970 interview with Nin. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Meet the Author

PHILIP K. JASON is Professor of English at the United States Naval Academy.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Introduction 1
Anais Nin 9
Anais Nin and the Discovery of Inner Space 17
Anais Nin and the Feminine Quest for Consciousness: The Quelling of the Devouring Mother and the Ascension of the Sophia 29
Anais Nin: A Critical Evaluation 45
The Music of the Womb: Anais Nin's "Feminine Writing" 55
Passion in Parenthesis 67
Refinements on a Journal 68
"Men ... Have No Tenderness": Anais Nin's Winter of Artifice 70
Review of Under a Glass Bell 75
Review of Under a Glass Bell 76
Review of Under a Glass Bell 77
The Textual Evolution of the First Section of "Houseboat" 80
Discourse and Intercourse, Design and Desire in the Erotica of Anais Nin 89
Surrealist Soap Opera 105
Freudian Noah's Ark 106
Temperament vs. Conscience 107
Humanity Is the Principle 108
Nin: The Topic of Paris 111
Sexuality and the Opposite Sex: Variations on a Theme by Theophile Gautier and Anais Nin 118
Lillian Beye's Labyrinth: A Freudian Exploration of Cities of the Interior 133
Un Etre Etoilique 147
The Charmed Circle of Anais Nin 154
Free Women 158
"Excuse Me, It Was All a Dream": The Diary of Anais Nin, 1944-1947 161
The Diaries of Anais Nin 172
Anais Nin in the Diary: The Creation and Development of a Persona 178
Truth and Artistry in the Diary of Anais Nin 190
Dropping Another Veil: Anais Nin's Henry and June 199
A Story Never Told Before - Reading the New, Unexpurgated Diaries of Anais Nin 205
Looking Again at Anais Nin 215
A Mirror of Her Own: Anais Nin's Autobiographical Performances 233
Bibliography 253
Index 269
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