Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947

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Overview


Mirages opens at the dawn of World War II, when Anaïs Nin fled Paris, where she lived for fifteen years with her husband, banker Hugh Guiler, and ends in 1947 when she meets the man who would be “the One,” the lover who would satisfy her insatiable hunger for connection. In the middle looms a period Nin describes as “hell,” during which she experiences a kind of erotic madness, a delirium that fuels her search for love. As a child suffering abandonment by her father, Anaïs wrote, “Close your eyes to the ugly ...
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Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947

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Overview


Mirages opens at the dawn of World War II, when Anaïs Nin fled Paris, where she lived for fifteen years with her husband, banker Hugh Guiler, and ends in 1947 when she meets the man who would be “the One,” the lover who would satisfy her insatiable hunger for connection. In the middle looms a period Nin describes as “hell,” during which she experiences a kind of erotic madness, a delirium that fuels her search for love. As a child suffering abandonment by her father, Anaïs wrote, “Close your eyes to the ugly things,” and, against a horrifying backdrop of war and death, Nin combats the world’s darkness with her own search for light.

Mirages collects, for the first time, the story that was cut from all of Nin’s other published diaries, particularly volumes 3 and 4 of The Diary of Anaïs Nin, which cover the same time period. It is the long-awaited successor to the previous unexpurgated diaries Henry and June, Incest, Fire, and Nearer the Moon. Mirages answers the questions Nin readers have been asking for decades: What led to the demise of Nin’s love affair with Henry Miller? Just how troubled was her marriage to Hugh Guiler? What is the story behind Nin’s “children,” the effeminate young men she seemed to collect at will? Mirages is a deeply personal story of heartbreak, despair, desperation, carnage, and deep mourning, but it is also one of courage, persistence, evolution, and redemption that reaches beyond the personal to the universal.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/09/2013
This volume collects material that Nin (1903–1977) had excised from previous diaries—in particular, volumes 3 and 4—while her husband and lovers were still alive. The diary opens at the beginning of WWII as Nin and her husband, banker Hugh Guiler, escape Paris for New York City, and ends in 1947 when she meets Rupert Pole, the one lover who satisfied her. At times desperate and suicidal, she finds life more fulfilling when it conforms to her dreams—a series of mirages she conjures to avoid reality, the horrors of war, and an America she finds abysmally immature. Often in a state of semi-delirium where she finds herself drowning in her unconscious, she writes that she needs love “so abnormally” that “it all seems natural” to keep several relationships going at once, “all the one and the same love.” Her lovers included Henry Miller, 17-year-old Bill Pinckard, Edmund Wilson, and dozens of others, including an emotionally charged, but physically unfulfilled, relationship with Gore Vidal. Whether or not one sees this work, as Houghton Mifflin did when they considered these diaries for publication in 1942, as “the ultimate in neurotic self-absorption,” Nin fans will embrace the book’s emotional intensity and sensuality. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“In Mirages, she stands before us, stripped bare, unmasked, triumphant, among her cast of sacred and noires bêtes (Gore Vidal, Henry Miller, et al.) now revealed, by name, as who and what they were to her. Mirages exposes, reveals and humanizes Nin as much more than the sum of heavily edited parts.”

Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, author of The Visitors' Book (or Silva Rerum): An Erotic Fable

Mirages provides a treasure of newly disclosed Nin sentiments. Nin transcends self-reflection and offers a glimpse into what women feel but are rarely able to articulate, whether about daily experiences, or love gained and lost. With intense passion, her powerfully seductive prose shares insights, observations, and confessions about the human psyche. Highly recommended.“

Diana Raab, author of Dear Anaïs: My Life in Poems for You

“Henry Miller called her a ‘masterpiece’ and the greatest ‘fabulist’ he had ever known. Her brother Joaquin referred to her as a ‘steel hummingbird.’ As for me, she was a myth in her own time, the Scheherazade of the diary genre, and epitomizes Harold Bloom’s observation in Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, to wit, ‘Romance, literary and human, depends on partial or imperfect knowledge.’”

Barbara Kraft, author of Anaïs Nin: The Last Days and The Restless Spirit: Journal of a Gemini

“Readers will find Nin a most entertaining companion—her multiple simultaneous relationships with men, her gleefully graphic descriptions of sex acts.... In one late entry, Nin complains, mildly: ‘My world is so large I get lost in it‘; readers will do the same—and gratefully so.”—Kirkus Reviews

"At times desperate and suicidal, (Nin) finds life more fulfilling when it conforms to her dreams—a series of mirages she conjures to avoid reality, the horrors of war, and an America she finds abysmally immature…. Nin fans will embrace the book's emotional intensity and sensuality.”—Publishers Weekly

“This fifth in a series of unexpurgated diary volumes by American novelist and short story and erotica writer Nin (House of Incest; Delta of Venus) covers a period longer than any other volume to date…. Nin's life was steeped in secrecy, lies, passion, longing, and introspection, perhaps the most so during this period. Of the unexpurgated diary volumes thus far, this one benefits the most from full disclosure, illustrating the greater extents of Nin's fragility and ferocity and revealing dimensions of the writer that deeply enrich the reading of her work.”—Library Journal

"The fifth volume in the unexpurgated series that is gradually replacing the earlier, sanitized edition of Nin’s famous diary begins with her 1939 flight from war-shadowed Paris to New York and tracks her struggles to adapt to America and reconfigure her writing life…. Nin—calculating, theatrical, and prodigious—provides cascading insights into the traumas that made her a ‘demon of intensity’ determined to turn her life into a literary work of unique psychological revelation.”—Booklist

Library Journal
09/15/2013
This fifth in a series of unexpurgated diary volumes by American novelist and short story and erotica writer Nin (House of Incest; Delta of Venus) covers a period longer than any other volume to date. The majority of entries take place in New York after Nin flees her beloved Paris in 1939. Although married to Hugh "Hugo" Guiler, Nin (1903–77) continues an affair with writer Henry Miller and also engages in trysts with numerous other lovers—demonstrating why the details of her personal life are often considered as racy and intriguing as her fiction. Many of these lovers resemble the effeminate, artistic types that appear in Nin's short story collections (e.g., Little Birds), who are loved passionately and then dropped abruptly. This volume not only solves the mystery of the repeated story arc but also reveals the reasons why Nin and Miller separated. VERDICT Nin's life was steeped in secrecy, lies, passion, longing, and introspection, perhaps the most so during this period. Of the unexpurgated diary volumes thus far, this one benefits the most from full disclosure, illustrating the greater extents of Nin's fragility and ferocity and revealing dimensions of the writer that deeply enrich the reading of her work. Recommended for readers of Nin, biography, women writers, and romance.—Benjamin Brudner, Curry Coll. Lib., Milton, MA
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
In a book published in association with Sky Blue Press, the celebrated diarist, novelist and electric personality reappears with all the fire of her eroticism in pages untouched by a Bowdler or a Puritan. Or an editor, it seems: There are no notes, timelines or other aids for readers embarking for the first time on Nin's ocean. Even the photographs bear only the names of the subjects and a location ("John Dudley at Hampton Manor," for example). These annoyances aside, readers will find Nin a most entertaining companion--her multiple simultaneous relationships with men, her gleefully graphic descriptions of sex acts. The author does not include much in these diaries about public events (Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima and V-E Day merit brief mentions); mostly, she is interested in her interior world--and in the choreography of sexual relationships, in and out of bed. Her lovers were, in some cases, celebrities--among them Henry Miller, critic Edmund Wilson (whose pudgy body she compares unfavorably with those of her younger beaus) and actor Rupert Pole. Nin yearned for the unknown, as well, including random young men she met on college campuses during her readings. Among the most interesting passages involve her relationship with young Gore Vidal, whom she found incredibly attractive and bright (she cooled when she saw how he portrayed her in his novel The City and the Pillar). Though he reciprocated, nothing much physical could occur between them due to his homosexuality, which he initially lied to her about. (She was not fooled.) Nin also examines her many sessions with her therapists, her dreams, publishing projects, frustrations with critics, fears and fantasies, regrets and resolutions. "I live drunk with desire," she writes. In one late entry, Nin complains, mildly: "My world is so large I get lost in it"; readers will do the same--and gratefully so.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804011464
  • Publisher: Ohio University Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2013
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 440
  • Sales rank: 456,331
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Anaïs Nin was born in Paris in 1903. At age eleven, she began her lifelong practice of keeping a diary, the literary form that would make her famous. She moved to the United States during her youth but returned to France after her marriage to Hugh P. Guiler. During her time in France she met the writer Henry Miller, who became her lover and an important figure in her first published diary. In Paris during the 1930s she also began therapy with Otto Rank, a disciple of Sigmund Freud, and this therapeutic relationship was a significant influence on her life and work.

Nin returned to America in 1939, establishing friendships with a number of writers and artists. She developed a small but devoted following as a fiction writer, though her work often defied genre conventions and became known for its innovation and experimentation. But it was the publication of her diaries, spread over many volumes, that made Nin a major literary figure in the late 1960s and 1970s. Deeply reflective, lyrical, and erotic, the diaries were embraced by numerous readers for their insight into a fascinating woman and the many relationships she developed over her lifetime.

Paul Herron is the editor and founder of Sky Blue Press.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2014

    Even diaries can be imaginative and not true

    One winter read them all and have never been so bored but now surprised if one can find them outside of nook. Mom

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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