Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (6)  | Personal Quotes (18)

Overview (3)

Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Seine [now Hauts-de-Seine], France
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (cardiac arrest, malnutrition, metastatic carcinoma)
Birth NameAnaïs Nin Culmell

Mini Bio (1)

Anaïs Nin was born February 21, 1903 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris, France. She moved to the United States in 1914 with her mother, singer Rosa Culmell and two brothers, Thorvald and Joaquin. Her father was Joaquin Nin, a Spanish pianist and composer, who abandoned the family after leaving his family at various intervals in his career to tour Europe and Cuba, when Nin was eleven. Shortly afterward, on the boat Monserrat, Nin began her childhood diary, "Linotte", written as an extended letter to her papa.

Anaïs wanted to be an artist from the very moment she could speak. She loved books, stories, artists, musicians, fine music, good food, and grew accustomed to being surrounded by the sounds of late night bohemian laughter from her parents dinner parties heard from the downstairs parlor before the two were separated. Anaïs was a model for her father's early photographs at this time and used to steal into his study when he was away and read all his books voraciously. She was seriously ill as a child and nearly died twice from various internal organ afflictions. If not for a kind Belgian couple and the care of three Belgian nurses, Anaïs Nin might never have made the impact on literature and the feminist movement that she did later on in life, from her work spanning her Diaries written in the the tumultuous 30's to her eventual critical success in the socially aware 60s and 70s.

In New York, Anaïs loved writing in her diary, dreaming, philosophizing, and recording her thoughts and reflections as she grew into a beautiful young woman with grand dreams and a host of insecurities. She had an active imagination and preferred rainy days of reading curled up with a wonderful book or her diary at the little windowsill seat - and she loved to dance and had a connection to nature heavily influenced by poets like Byron, Blake and the New England Transcendentalists. Her Catholic faith wavered in and out due to philosophical doubts about the meaning of life and suffering, caused by her anguish over her beloved war torn France and the deep rift felt inside her since being uprooted.

After living in New York for nine years, at twenty Anaïs married Hugh Guiler (later known as engravist and filmmaker of "Bells of Atlantis" and "Jazz of lights" Ian Hugo), a banker in the twenties and thirties, and moved back to Paris with him. Nin began writing short stories (later published as Waste of Timelessness) with publication in mind, but felt torn between her duties as a conservative banker's wife and her desire for artistic expression. Nevertheless, it was around this time that Nin published her first work, D. H. Lawrence: An Unprofessional Study (1932), which was well-received.

Then she met self proclaimed gangster-poet 'Henry Miller'(I), a struggling Brooklyn writer in Paris, through her lawyer. Miller and especially his wife, the mythic June Mansfield Miller, enchanted Anaïs by their 'hard' bohemian living and their associations with the crème de la crème of Paris' underbelly (including actor and creator of theatre de cruelte, Antonin Artaud).

She became deeply influenced by writers like Lawrence, Proust, and in particular Djuna Barnes' novel Nightwood. Nin channeled her evolving psycho-sexual impressions of the vicious circle/love triangle between her, Henry and June into the surrealistic prose-poem House of Incest and in her Diaries. She also worked along her compatriots on a dollar a page erotica, later the poetic, emotive bestselling Delta of Venus and Little Birds.

In the mid-to-late 1930s, Nin, Miller, Lawrence Durell and other writers in the Villa Seurat circle who experienced difficulty finding publishers founded Siana Editions (Anais spelled backwards!) to publish their own works. Nin in particular could find no one to publish House of Incest (1936) or Winter of Artifice. In 1939 these books were well-received in Europe. However, when Anaïs eventually moved back to New York City in 1939 with her husband, she found American publishers and the average reading public closed off to her work. Miller achieved critical and commercial success decades before Nin, despite her initial efforts to edit, support and publish him along with her own work. After several years of trying to place her works with American publishers, Nin bought a second-hand printing press with a loan from Bookseller and founder of New York's famed Gotham Book Mart and with the help of Anaïs' latest paramour, Peruvian political activist Gonzalo More, she began to typeset and print her own books. Nin's work eventually caught the attention of critic Edmund Wilson, who praised her writing and helped her on the road to obtaining an American publisher.

It was Nin's Diary, however, that brought her the greatest success and critical acceptance that she was to receive. Nin never intended the two hundred manuscript volumes for publication, and many, including Miller, Rank, Alfred Perles, Durrel and Allendy, tried to convince Anaïs that her obsessive diary writing was destroying her chance at writing the great American novel. However Nin decided she had to "go her own way, the woman's way" and continue her lifelong odyssey of self exploration and reflection through the Diaries. To reconcile fiction and fact Nin eventually began rewriting diary entries into her fiction and vice versa, protecting those who wanted to maintain their privacy (usually lovers) while still writing in her preferred medium.

Nin was involved in the some of the most interesting literary and artistic movements of the 20th century including the outskirts of Paris' 1920's Lost Generation, the psychoanalytic and surrealist movements of the 30s and 40s, the Beat movement of the 50s in Greenwich Village, the avant garde crowd in 60s California and the women's movement of the 70's. She maintained relationships (and kept two bi-coastal "husbands" in the later part of her life) with many vital artists and writers over her lifespan and was in great demand as a lecturer at universities across the United States until she died of cancer in 1977.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: paris@dreamlike.org

Spouse (2)

Rupert Pole (17 March 1955 - 1966) ( annulled)
Ian Hugo (3 March 1923 - 14 January 1977) ( her death)

Trivia (6)

Born at 8:30pm-LMT
Worked as a dancer.
She was very close with author Henry Miller and put a great deal of time and effort into finding a publisher for his novel, Tropic of Cancer.
Was cremated; her ashes were scattered over Santa Monica Bay, California.
In 1935, she helped establish the publishing house Siana Editions because no one would publish her writings, which were deeply intimate and erotic.
Brother of composer and pianist Joaquin Nin-Culmell.

Personal Quotes (18)

I write emotional algebra.
Don't let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.
My ideas usually come not at the desk writing but in the midst of living.
We don't have a language for the senses. Feelings are images, sensations are like musical sounds.
Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.
The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.
Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, or a new country.
On personal power: I will not be a tourist in the world of images, just watching images passing by which I cannot live in, make love to, possess as permanent source of joy and ecstasy.
On mothering: I know why families were created, with all their imperfections. They humanize you. They are made to make you forget yourself occasionally, so that the beautiful balance of life is not destroyed.
On experience: The wisdom of those who have lived longer than I, though I never recognize it at the moment, is afterwards nearly always justified.
On truth: There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of us acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.
On art: The artist not there to be at one with the world, he is there to transform it.
On imagination: Imagination is the source of all my unhappiness as well as of my pleasures.
[on the film, "The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser"] The story of Kaspar is more fascinating than the story of Jesus Christ.
Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with.

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