The trailblazing memoirist and author of Henry & June recounts her relationships with Henry Miller and others—including her own father.
Anaïs Nin wrote in her uncensored diaries like they were a broad-minded confidante with whom she shared the liberating psychosexual dramas of her life. In this continuation of her notorious Henry & June, she recounts a particularly turbulent period between 1932 and 1934, and the men who dominated it: her protective husband, her therapist, and the poet Antonin Artaud. However, most consuming of all is novelist Henry Miller—a man whose genius, said Anaïs, was so demonic it could drive people insane. Here too, recounted in extraordinary detail, is the sexual affair she had with her father. At once loving, exciting, and vengeful, it was the ultimate social transgression for which Anaïs would eventually seek absolution from her analysts.
“Before Lena Dunham there was Anaïs Nin. Like Dunham, she’s been accused of narcissism, sociopathy, and sexual perversion time and again. Yet even that comparison undercuts the strangeness and bravery of her work, for Nin was the first of her kind. And, like all truly unique talents, she was worshipped by some, hated by many, and misunderstood by most . . . A woman who’d spent decades on the bleeding edge of American intellectual life, a woman who had been a respected colleague of male writers who pushed the boundaries of acceptable sex writing. Like many great . . . experimentalists, she wrote for a world that did not yet exist, and so helped to bring it into being.” —The Guardian
Includes an introduction by Rupert Pole
Picking up where Henry and June (1986) left off, this portion of Nin's diary, which was cut from the expurgated editions published in her lifetime, records her steamy love affair with Henry Miller in Paris, but here her intense adoration gives way to disillusionment. She describes Miller as crude, egotistic, imitative, childishly irresponsible, ``a madman.'' Her real focus, however, is her father, Joaquin Nin, a Spanish pianist and aristocratic Don Juan who seduced her after a 20-year absence. Her graphic account of their lovemaking and of her incestuous romantic feelings is fairly shocking. Nin sought absolution from her psychiatrist and lover, Otto Rank, who advised her to bed her father, then dump him as punishment for abandoning her when she was 10. Nin's ornate, hothouse prose is much rawer than the chiseled style of the expurgated diaries. She seethes with jealousy at Miller's wife June, swoons over poet and actor Antonin Artaud, neglects her protective husband, Hugh Guiler, and describes her traumatic delivery of a stillborn child. Her extraordinary, tangled self-analysis is a disarming record of her emotional and creative growth. Photos.