A Swallow Press Book
By Anaïs Nin
“Lawrence has … given me a world to live in, a world where I fit. Over and over again, in his descriptions of women I find myself. In his treatment of language, in the poetic intensity of his prose, I find courage for my own writing. I find, at last, a kind of home.”
In 1932, two years after D. H. Lawrence’s death, a young woman wrote a book about him and presented it to a Paris publisher. She recorded the event in her diary: “It will not be published and out by tomorrow, which is what a writer would like when the book is hot out of the oven, when it is alive within oneself. He gave it to his assistant to revise.” The woman was Anaïs Nin.
Nin examined Lawrence’s poetry, novels, essays, and travel writing. She analyzed and explained the more important philosophical concepts contained in his writings, particularly the themes of love, death, and religion, as well as his attention to primitivism and to women. But what Anaïs Nin brought to the explication of Lawrence’s writing was an understanding of the fusion of imaginative, intuitive, and intellectual elements from which he drew his characters, themes, imagery and symbolism.
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 →
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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.
Anaïs Nin made her reputation through publication of her edited diaries and the carefully constructed persona they presented. It was not until decades later, when the diaries were published in their unexpurgated form, that the world began to learn the full details of Nin’s fascinating life and the emotional and literary high-wire acts she committed both in documenting it and in defying the mores of 1950s America.
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 The Novel of the Future, Anaïs Nin explores the act of creation—in film, art, and dance as well as literature—to chart a new direction for the young artist struggling against what she perceived as the sterility, formlessness, and spiritual bankruptcy afflicting much of mid-twentieth-century fiction.
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