“I have to begin where everything begins, in the blindness and in the shaddows. I have to begin the story of women's development where all things begin; in nature, at the roots. It is necessary to return to the origin of confusion which is woman's struggle to understand her own nature.”
from the prologue (first edition)
“My original concept was a Roman Fleuve, a series of novels on various aspects of relationships, portraying four women in a continuous symphony of experience. All the characters are presented fully in the first volume, Ladders to Fire. They are developed later in the succeeding volumes, Children of the Albatross, The Four-Chambered Heart, Spy in the House of Love, and Seduction of the Minotaur.”
from the introduction (British edition)
After struggling with her own press and printing her own works, Anaïs Nin succeeded in getting Ladders to Fire accepted and published in 1946. This recognition marked a milestone in her life and career. Admitted into the fellowship of American novelists, she maintained the individuality of her literary style. She resisted realistic writing and drew on the experience and intuitions of her diary to forge a novelistic style emphasizing free association, the language of emotion, spontaneity, and improvisation.
Ladders to Fire is the first volume of Nin’s celebrated series of novels called Cities of the Interior
For Anaïs Nin, her writing and her life were not separable, they were both part of the same experience. She claimed that “is it the fiction writer who edited the diary.”
Anaïs Nin continues to find an audience, whether for her fiction, her diaries, or her own life story, which has enjoyed the attention of biographers and filmmakers. This 1995 reissue of Ladders to Fire has a new cover and foreword.
Anaïs Nin (1903–1977) is an iconic literary figure and one of the most notable experimental writers of the twentieth century. As one of the first women to explore female erotica, Nin revealed the inner desires of her characters in a way that made her works a touchstone for later feminist writers. Swallow Press is the premier US publisher of books by and about Nin. More info →
Anaïs Nin’s Ladders to Fire interweaves the stories of several women, each emotionally inhibited in her own way: through self-doubt, fear, guilt, moral drift, and distrust. The novel follows their inner struggles to overcome these barriers to happiness and wholeness. The author’s own experiences, as recorded in her famous diaries, supplied the raw material for her fiction. It was her intuitive, experimental, and always original style that transformed one into the other.
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