Anais: The Erotic Life of Anais Nin

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9780316284288: Anais: The Erotic Life of Anais Nin

Anais Nin (1903-1977) was the ultimate femme fatale, world-famous for her sexual exploits, most notably her simultaneous affairs with Henry and June Miller and her bigamous marriages. In the 1920s she fell in love with the creative circles of the Parisian Left Bank. She lived her long life as a liberated woman - author of 11 books of fiction and erotica, uninhibited lover of men and women, and independent figure within the avant-garde worlds of Paris, Los Angeles and London. This biography offers a portrait of her passionate, tumultuous, sometimes bitterly painful life. Setting out to demystify the image that she artfully crafted in her diary, it reveals that behind the coquetry was the desperate yearning of an abused and abandoned girl-child, and a life-long insecurity that resulted in an incestuous reunion with her father when she was 30. The author also wrote "Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation: A History of Literary Paris in the Twenties and Thirties".

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From the Back Cover:

Anais Nin was the ultimate femme fatale, a passionate and mysterious woman, world famous for her 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.

"Nin's Diary", published over the years in numerous volumes, has been hailed as a breakthrough document by literary critics and feminists alike. Yet in the published diary, Nin did not lay bare her true self. She instead constructed a carefully stylized image of the woman the world knew as "Anais" while keeping her inner self hidden. In "Anais", 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 child. This, the first biography of Nin, complements, corrects, and demystifies the image that Nin so artfully crafted in her diary.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Fitch (Sylvia Beach and the Lost Generation, 1983) draws on Ana‹s Nin's voluminous self-revelations (150 volumes of diaries, correspondence, and fiction) to produce what the publisher says is the first biography of the French writer--and what turns out to be a wary and defensive work, the very antithesis of Nin's free spirit. Abandoned and deprived in childhood, Nin enjoyed an enduring marriage (for over 50 years) to Hugo Guiler--as well as a series of affairs with Henry Miller, Otto Rank, Gore Vidal, Edmund Wilson, even her own father (who had seduced her in childhood): with men and women of all kinds, culminating in a bigamous marriage to Rupert Cole that had her commuting between New York and California for at least 25 years. Nin dissected her own protean personality in endless psychoanalysis--to her both a religion and a hobby--and delighted in the deceptions, incarnations, and masquerades that she revealed in her diaries in a fascinating display of a personality constantly reinventing itself. In her lifetime, she inspired parodies, films, scholarly newsletters, dissertations, even a perfume, and served as a catalyst between Hollywood, academia, and the feminists, who competed for her attention even though she reviled much of what they represented, choosing to spend most of her life as a sex object. Here, in a work that focuses on her sex life, Nin comes off--perhaps unintentionally--as trivial and culturally insignificant. Fitch overinterprets at the beginning of her text and is excessively factual toward the end, seeming to have either abandoned her method or simply lost interest in her subject. In spite of her use of the present tense and some vulgar familiarities (``Every spring her sap begins to rise''; ``Desire makes her body ache''), the author seems uncomfortable with Nin. No substitute for Nin on herself. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs--not seen) -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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