“Real and unmistakable genius.”
-- Rebecca West
Seduction of the Minotaur is an example of Anaïs Nin’s most mature and cohesive fiction. The central character, Lillian, arrives in exotically primitive Mexico from New York, in part to forget her crumbling marriage and to find flow in her life after years of stasis. She befriends Dr. Hernandez, who, like Lillian, is also trying to forget, to escape,
Seduction of the Minotaur is an example of Anaïs Nin’s most mature and cohesive fiction. The central character, Lillian, arrives in exotically primitive Mexico from New York, in part to forget her crumbling marriage and to find flow in her life after years of stasis. She befriends Dr. Hernandez, who, like Lillian, is also trying to forget, to escape, which he does with violence, shocking Lillian into facing her inner demon, the “Minotaur.”
Critic Oliver Evans says of Seduction of the Minotaur: “Its symbolism is the most complicated of any of Miss Nin’s longer works…and at the same time it makes more concessions…to the tradition of the realistic novel: the result is a work of unusual richness.”
Consider this passage: “It was the time of the year when everyone’s attention was focused on the moon. ‘The first terrestrial body to be explored will undoubtedly be the moon.’ Yet how little we know about human beings, thought Lillian. All the telescopes are focused on the distant. No one is willing to turn his vision inward… Such obsession with reaching the moon, because they have failed to reach each other, each a solitary planet!”
Seduction of the Minotaur reveals Nin’s struggle for self-awareness through her character Lillian. In a setting that is sumptuously described, with fully developed characters, the plot involves the dichotomy between civilization and the primitive, the dark and bright sides of human nature, with a conclusion that is classic Nin: enlightenment.
-- Rebecca West
Anais Nin (1903-1977) was born in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, near Paris, and was the daughter of a renowned pianist and composer, Joaquin Nin. Abandoned by her father in 1913, she and her family traveled to New York, where she began her now famous diary, comprised of some 35,000 pages over a period of six decades. When the first volume of 'The Diary of Anais Nin' was published in 1966, it began Nin's meteoric surge to fame. However, often overlooked are the works of fiction she created, beginning with 'The House of Incest' in 1936, which was followed by a then-banned edition of a collection of novellas under the title 'The Winter of Artifice.' This original edition has been republished for the first time in 2007. Perhaps Nin's most acclaimed fiction is the series of short stories in 'Under a Glass Bell,' which she self-published in New York during the 1940s when no commercial publisher would take the risk. She then began a series of novels that were interconnected and finally collected into one volume entitled 'Cities of the Interior.' Her final novel was 'Collages,' about which Henry Miller said, "Even the finest collages fall apart with time; these will not."
Anais Nin was one of the 20th century's most innovative and compelling artist, and now her works are finally appearing in digital format.
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