Anais Nin by Deirdre Bair
This text is a biography of Anais Nin. It shows how Nin, through her lifelong struggle to become a respected writer and position herself at the right hand of the intellectual elite, constructed a way of life so complicated that it became confused even to herself. Anais Nin was a Gibson girl, a Cuban debutante, a Spanish dancer, the lover of Henry Miller, a Parisian socialite, a pornographer, a serious writer and a bigamist. For this biography, Deirdre Blair gained access to more than 250,000 of Nin's hand-written diary pages. Her diary-writing began with an unsent letter to her absent Catalan father Joaquin, who, having transplanted his Cuban wife Rosa and three children to Europe, abandoned these "peasants" for a musical career and the patronage of young rich women. Rosa resettled her family in New York, where Anais was indulged and bloomed, filing her diaries with embellished versions of her social conquests. Early on she recognized "the double person in me", a duality which juggled with the truth, ignited her prose and in due course led to a double life with two husbands, one on either coast of America. First came the Paris years where husband Hugo Guiler provided a series of exotic domestic stage-sets for her to reign over and dance through. Here Henry Miller was wooed and won. Miller would subsequently denigrate Nin's writing, but only after he plundered her views on D.H. Lawrence and 40 pages of her notes on the subject of women's sexuality, which he used unchanged and unacknowledged in his own book "Tropic of Capricorn". Bair reassesses Nin as a writer: the modernist and the stylist. Her total output - as journalist, critic, novelist, diarist and self-pronounced "literary madame" of esoterica - was prolific. It was also varied, flawed and erratic.