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grace

Anais Nin's Journals

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in another thread, there is a post about some controversy or other, related to nin's diaries. i bookmarked the site referred to, and went there today, to read what it was all about. but the site doesn't seem to work at all. none of the links go anywhere.

this is the link:

http://www.salon.com/weekly/bair960729.html

is the person who provided that link still around? did you check the links at the site? - i.e. do you know if the links worked at the time? - if so, i will just try again another day...

or is there another good source for this info? anyone know?

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Grace, the article I read about Nin was in the New Yorker several years ago. It was pretty scathing, documenting her double marriage, and claimed she was a "nymphomaniac" who had an affair with her father and that the stillbirth child she bore was his. It went on to declaim her diaries, stating that there was much that was untrue about them.

Maybe you could do a search on the New Yorker website.

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thanks, vagansmom. interesting.

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i've just tried that website again, and while none of the links work, there IS a full page of interview with the researcher/author, on the home page. here are some of the relevant extracts:

...when Nin's diaries were published, women in the '60s, in the dawning of the feminist movement, were reading these diaries and were saying, "Oh my God, here's one woman who really had the perfect life. She went around the world independently, she lived independently, she did whatever she wanted, she was in charge of her own sexuality, her own finances, everything. We all want to be Anaïs Nin."  

Many, many women I know left their partners, changed their sexual identity, just totally changed their lives, and in many instances really messed up their lives. And then it gradually filtered out, well, you know, she not only had one husband, she had two, and one of them was incredibly wealthy, and he paid for everything. She was never really doing anything on her own, there was always this big safety net of all these people. And so people turned against her, because the diary wasn't the truth.

- - -

Were you the first writer to fully explore Nin's relationship with her father?  

Yes.  - - - I'm a member of something called the New York Institute for the Humanities, which is kind of a think tank. There's a seminar that's been going for years with eight or nine women panelists of various persuasions, from Freud to Jung to Melanie Klein, who all specialize in various kinds of abuses that women suffer. I asked them to read this passage (from Nin's diaries). I gave it to them at the seminar, because I didn't want it to get into anybody else's hands.  

I only had her written record, I didn't have her father's.  - - -

To be quite honest, no. When I wrote the Beckett book, I was aware that aspects of his life -- his life in Dublin, his relationship with his mother, his analysis -- these were private events that should not be committed to paper. But I knew that as a scholar I had a responsibility to write of those things because they occur again and again in his fiction. I did so with great trepidation, fearing that the whole world would turn against me for being a gossip, that kind of thing. But I knew I had a responsibility to write this stuff, so I did.  

It was the same thing with Simone de Beauvoir, who would say to me every step of the way, "I know you're going to write thus and so," and I'd say, "Yes, I am, and this is how I'm going to write it. If you don't agree with it, you correct it now, and if I don't agree with you, I'll still do it my way."  

But the most moving thing that happened to me in my professional career was that Anaïs Nin's brother Joaquin, a distinguished musician/musicologist who lives in Berkeley and is the former chair of the music department at Berkeley, when I sent him the book, he wrote me a letter. He said, "Well, you've proven every terrible thing I've long suspected that my sister had done. But you wrote it in such a way that you still allow me to love her."

nice note to end on.

alexandra: this topic has already raised ANOTHER new issue for me, with regard to the LITERATURE/READING forum. when discussing adult books, one can very quickly find oneself mentioning things which one MIGHT not want being talked about, on a ballet site which is read by young teens...i believe i have skirted around the detail, but i imagine this sort of thing will come up again, in this forum...what are the rules for such things? :confused:

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I don't think you've crossed any lines, grace.

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OK that's good - but i was more thinking of this as an issue that's going to come up, for any of us, in future...which probably wouldn't have come up in the ballet area...

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grace, thank you for the link. Although my fantasyland of Nin is slowly being updated...I can appreciate your efforts to shed a new light on a subject that has fascinated me since my early teens. Whether her diaries and writings are actually factual or not is really not of great importance to me. They were beautifully written and express many ideas that are contemporary, as well as tell a bit of the inner most sensibilities of woman.

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Vrsfanatic, that's what I ultimately decided about Nin too. Initially, I was crestfallen when I read the accounts in the New Yorker several years ago. But then I remembered my own brief encounter with her and how she was, as an elderly woman, so curious, alert, engaging, and most importantly, KIND. That mirrors my image of her from the diaries.

Whether or not, in practical issues, she was being forthright (and she said many times that she was being careful so as to not hurt people who were still alive), I think that her musings as documented in her diaries, DO reflect her own inner life.

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i have to say that, while the stuff about her father came as a shock, nothing else here surprised me - it was clear from her own writings that she had a cushioned existence, and that there was a benefactor in the background.

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