Anita Jarczok teaches American literature and contemporary cultural theory at the University of Bielsko-Biała, Poland. Her research interests include literature, narrative, and gender and cultural studies, and she is the author of many articles and book chapters on Nin, celebrity, and sexuality.

Writing an Icon

Celebrity Culture and the Invention of Anaïs Nin

By Anita Jarczok

Anaïs Nin, the diarist, novelist, and provocateur, occupied a singular space in twentieth-century culture, not only as a literary figure and voice of female sexual liberation but as a celebrity and symbol of shifting social mores in postwar America. Before Madonna and her many imitators, there was Nin; yet, until now, there has been no major study of Nin as a celebrity figure.

“Some voyages have their inception in the blueprint of a dream, some in the urgency of contradicting a dream. Lillian’s recurrent dream of a ship that could not reach the water, that sailed laboriously, pushed by her with great effort, through city streets, had determined her course toward the sea, as if she would give this ship, once and for all, its proper sea bed…. With her first swallow of air she inhaled a drug of forgetfulness well known to adventurers.”

Although Anaïs Nin found in her diaries a profound mode of self-creation and confession, she could not reveal this intimate record of her own experiences during her lifetime. Instead, she turned to fiction, where her stories and novels became artistic “distillations” of her secret diaries.


In Essentials, Unity
An Economic History of the Grange Movement
The Patrons of Husbandry—or the Grange—is the longest-lived US agricultural society and, since its founding shortly after the Civil War, has had immeasurable influence on social change as enacted by ordinary Americans. The Grange sought to relieve the struggles of small farmers by encouraging collaboration.


Writing an Icon
Celebrity Culture and the Invention of Anaïs Nin
Anaïs Nin, the diarist, novelist, and provocateur, occupied a singular space in twentieth-century culture, not only as a literary figure and voice of female sexual liberation but as a celebrity and symbol of shifting social mores in postwar America.


Penumbra
Poems
Penumbra—Michael Shewmaker’s debut collection—explores the half-shadows of a world torn between faith and doubt.


The Secret of the Hardy Boys
Leslie McFarlane and the Stratemeyer Syndicate
The author of the Hardy Boys Mysteries was, as millions of readers know, Franklin W. Dixon. Except there never was a Franklin W. Dixon. He was the creation of Edward Stratemeyer, the savvy founder of a children's book empire that also published the Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew series.


The Jacksonian Conservatism of Rufus P. Ranney
The Politics and Jurisprudence of a Northern Democrat from the Age of Jackson to the Gilded Age
In The Jacksonian Conservatism of Rufus P. Ranney, David M. Gold works with the public record to reveal the contours of the life and work of one of Ohio’s most intriguing legal figures.