Under a Glass Bell is one of Nin’s finest collections of stories. First published in 1944, it attracted the attention of Edmond Wilson, who reviewed the collection in The New Yorker. It was in these stories that Nin’s artistic and emotional vision took shape.
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 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 She recorded the event in her diary: “It will not be published and out by tomorrow, which is what a writer would like when the book is hot out of the oven, when it is alive within oneself.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.
“Collages began with an image which had haunted me. A friend, Renate, had told me about her trip to Vienna where she was born, and of her childhood relationships to statues. She told me stories of her childhood, her relationship to her father, her first love.I begin the novel with:Vienna was the city of statues. They were as numerous as the people who walked the streets.
An excerpt from Seduction of the Minotaur: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.She
The Four-Chambered Heart, Anas Nin’s 1950 novel, recounts the real-life affair she conducted with caf guitarist Gonzalo Mor in 1936. Nin and Mor rented a house-boat on the Seine, and under the pervading influence of the boat’s watchman and Mor’s wife Helba, developed a relationship. Mor named the boat Nanankepichu, meaning not really a home.
Children of the Albatross is divided into two sections: “The Sealed Room” focuses on the dancer Djuna and a set of characters, chiefly male, who surround her; “The Café” brings together a cast of characters already familiar to Nin’s readers, but it is their meeting place that is the focal point of the story.As always, in Children of the Albatross, Nin’s writing is inseparable from her life.
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.
“The genesis of House of Incest was in the dream. The keeping of dreams was an important part of that exploration of the unconscious. But I discovered dreams in themselves, isolated, were not always interesting. Very few of them had the complete imagery and tension to arouse others’ interest. They were fragmented. The surrealists delighted in the image themselves. This was satisfying to the painters and to the film-makers.