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An introduction to the life and literature of anais nin a passionate woman

In addition to her diaries, Nin also wrote novels, short stories, and erotica, all of which reflect her attention to physical details along with the effects of sensuality on her characters.

Bold, innovative, and determined, Nin's work transcends conventional standards and calls for an expanded definition of literary art.

By challenging the impediments of literary form and genre, Nin was able to explore methods of expression that allowed some understanding of the individual's hidden psyche.

As a result of her father's travels as a concert pianist and composer, Nin lived a cosmopolitan childhood, visiting various European capital cities, until her father deserted the family in 1914. Nin's mother relocated from Barcelona to New York City that summer, a move that prompted Nin to begin a diary as a letter to her father.

Independent Adolescence and Romantic Affairs Precocious and energetic, Nin largely educated herself during adolescence, reading in public libraries and writing in her journal, in which she carried on an imaginative relationship with her absent father. In her late teens, she studied art and often worked as a model for artists and photographers.

When she was eighteen, Nin fell in love with Hugh Guiler, a banker she married in Havana, Cuba, two years later. Despite Nin's numerous affairs and her bigamous marriage to Rupert Cole, her union with Guiler lasted more than fifty years.

Art and Entanglement Nin's ambition to be a writer was supported by Guiler: Under the name Ian Hugo, he illustrated Nin's books.

When she was twenty-two, Nin and Guiler settled in Paris, and Nin briefly reunited with her father. The artistic atmosphere of Paris provided Nin the opportunity to free herself from social convention in order to develop as a writer, and she worked on an assortment of projects during the 1920s and 1930s that never reached fruition as novels, but appeared piecemeal as prose poems, novellas, and short stories.

Despite her attempts at fiction, Nin's first significant literary contribution was D. An Unprofessional Study, a work that reveals Nin's struggle for aesthetic realization on her own terms.

In fact, in responding to the fiction of Lawrence, Nin describes what she herself would do as a novelist instead of what Lawrence had done, in essence preparing for the emergence of her own fiction. Work Banned as Pornographic Nevertheless, it was almost five years after her study of Lawrence that Nin found her voice in fiction.

During these years, Nin became intimately involved with American writer Henry Millerwhose works were banned in England and the United States as pornographic. Authors like Miller and Nin played a key role in advancing what later became known as the sexual revolution of the Western world. In 1961 Miller challenged existing obscenity laws in the United States with publication of Tropic of Cancer ; a legal battle ensued and, ultimately, Miller's work was labeled a work of literature and freed subsequent novels from similar legal constraints.

Nin became involved with Miller's wife, June, and psychotherapist Otto Rank. While The House of Incest is clearly influenced by an introduction to the life and literature of anais nin a passionate woman, and explores the human psyche through dreams, The Winter of Artifice thinly disguises real people and situations from Nin's diary.

An introduction to the life and literature of anais nin a passionate woman

Artistic Freedom In the early 1940s, Nin moved to New Yorkwhere commercial publishers were unresponsive to her writing. Dedicated to her art, she sought readership by establishing the Gemor Press and printing her work at her own expense.

Her first An introduction to the life and literature of anais nin a passionate woman publication, a shortened version of The Winter of Artifice, captured the attention of poet William Carlos Williamswho praised Nin's quest for a female approach to writing that showed art, not activism.

As Nin continued to explore how she could unify narrative fragments without restricting them to a central plot as did traditional novels, Gemor Press issued This Hunger, a work that helped land her a contract with the E. Tired of life in New York, Nin moved to California in 1946, settling into an environment of artistic freedom that was less frantic and confining than New York or Paris.

Early in the Cities of the Interior series, Nin became more sure of herself as a writer who could not be bound by convention. Life in a Collage Published in 1964, Collages was Nin's self-proclaimed last novel. Most of the stories in the work involve a single character who is the common thread in a series of vignettes that reinforce Nin's view of creative freedom.

Collages is the most autobiographical of her fiction, as characters' real-life counterparts are not concealed, and the factual events recorded in Nin's diaries are embellished with fictional elements. As such, Collages paved the way for the publication of Nin's diary volumes, beginning in 1966. The last volumes of her diaries appeared posthumously in the 1980s, after Nin's death from cancer on January 14, 1977, as did two collections of erotic pieces, Delta of Venus 1977 and Little Birds 1979.

Works in Literary Context Nin's work, particularly her novels and short stories, are significantly influenced by surrealism, a movement founded in Paris in the 1920s by artists devoted to exploring irrationality and the unconscious. In addition, the textual experiments of such modernists as Virginia Woolf and D. Lawrence, whose narrative techniques included expressionistic and stream-of-consciousness narration, helped shape Nin's writing.

Perhaps the most powerful influence on Nin was the literary partnership she had with Henry Miller. Despite their differences in both personal and professional matters—Nin was elegant and sensual, Miller crude and sexual; Nin's writing was implicit, Miller's explicit—the two inspired and provided valuable feedback for each other for more than three decades.

Transformation Although Nin's diaries have led to her being criticized as a narcissist, such charges seem unsubstantiated in light of her psychological insight, the feminist perspective of her works, and her quest for selfknowledge. More than a recurring theme, Nin's preoccupation with personal creation—specifically, that of the female psyche—marks her diaries and novels alike. An optimist in a world of psychological desolation, Nin contended that individuals are obligated to pursue completeness, even though the journey is difficult and one's success not guaranteed.

In all of Nin's fiction, characters have opportunities to solve their problems by being resourceful and creative. Her work explores the psychological barriers women face and the importance of overcoming those obstacles in order to reach a state of inner peace in their personal lives.

In Cities of the Interior, for example, the female faces a basic duality: Unlike women in her erotica, however, the female characters in Cities of the Interior are rendered psychologically powerless by this situation. American playwright who based many of his works, including A Streetcar Named Desire 1947on his family experiences.

In The Golden Notebook 1962Lessing compartmentalizes life by approaching experience from different fictional perspectives, including parody and political documentation.

An introduction to the life and literature of anais nin a passionate woman

British-born poet who, like Nin, spent much of his later professional life in the United States. At risk of not being taken seriously as a writer, Nin, aware that American literature was lacking female sexual expression, intended for her work to describe sexual experience from a woman's point of view as an avenue of learning about the nature of the true self and transcending ordinary life.

Whereas all five parts of Cities of the Interior accentuate the sexual experiences of her main characters, their eroticism is not gratuitous; instead, like all other worthwhile experiences, sexuality leads to self-knowledge. Although far from popular Nin was influential in that she tested the social norms of sexuality in the context of literature, challenging previous definitions of acceptability.

Certainly for many years she was neglected as a serious writer by critics as well as readers, garnering only a few books of criticism through the years. With the publication of the first volume of her diary in 1966, combined with the women's movement of the 1970s, Nin's readership grew; however, focus was almost solely on the diaries, not her fiction. Criticism of Novels When her first three novels were reissued in 1974, the few positive reviews Nin received for her poetic style and psychological insights were overshadowed by voices of disapproval.

Called tedious, abstract, and obscure, Nin's writing was further attacked as intrusive and editorial in its narrative. Her characters, according to some critics, were unattractively self-absorbed. However, Evans evaluates only Nin's fiction. Criticism of Erotica To a great extent, Nin's more recent fame rests on her reputation as a writer of erotica. Much of this attention is the result of the short erotic pieces that were collected and published in the late 1970s as Delta of Venus and Little Birds.

Of great interest in 1986 was the appearance of Henry and June: Philip Kaufman adapted this particular section of Nin's diary for his 1990 film Henry and June. Responses to Literature Nin's diaries were not originally written with the intention of being published.

In this sense, like all diaries, they were not meant to be read in the way her other, crafted work was. In your opinion, is it possible for such work to have literary or artistic merit? If a writer reworks his or her own diaries with an eye toward publication—dramatizing certain elements, improving descriptions, or expanding upon certain insights—does the work lose some of its authenticity as a true living record?

Much of Nin's writing is considered erotic. The same is true of author Henry Miller, with whom Nin had a passionate affair. However, Miller's novel Tropic of Cancer 1934 an introduction to the life and literature of anais nin a passionate woman widely praised by critics even as it was banned for its obscene content. Nin's work remained largely obscure, with her most explicit writing remaining unpublished for several decades.

Do you think this represents a fundamental difference in how male and female writers are perceived by readers, or do you think the difference between the two is based mostly on the difference in literary quality of their work?

Could the truth lie somewhere in between? How do you think this reflects Nin's own experiences with love in her life? Throughout the years, Nin has been a source of inspiration for those who are willing to take professional or personal risks for the sake of art, including the authors of the works below: Atlas Shrugged 1957a novel by Ayn Rand. Mexican-born Lopez outraged many Catholics with her representation of the Virgin Mary wearing a bikini of flowers.

Satanic Verses 1988a novel by Salman Rushdie. Rushdie earned a fatwa an edict calling for his death from the spiritual leader of Iran for this comic allegorical story that continues to earn praise for its satiric artistry as well as its psychological truths and self-consciousness. Tender Buttons 1933a poetry collection by Gertrude Stein. Though some considered Stein's linguistic techniques vulgar distortions of the English languageshe persisted in developing her own poetic methods.

Ohio University Press, 1979. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973. Retrieved April 1, 2008, from http: Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.