Anais Nin: “We Travel”

Photographer Unknown, (We Travel)

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”

—Anais Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume 7: 1966-1974

Anais Nin was a twentieth-century essayist, author, and diarist, born in France in 1903 to Cuban-born parents. Her father, composer Joaquin Nin, abandoned the family, prompting them to sail to America for a new life. This event at her age of eleven prompted Anais Nin to begin her life-long work of writing in her diary. 

In 1923, Nin married a young banker, Hugh Guiler, and moved to Paris. She continued her education by reading contemporary literature and writing analyses of controversial novels, Nin met writer Henry Miller and his wife June in 1932, beginning a period in her life of socializing with artists and becoming more liberated from society’s mores. She achieved some literary success during this peiod with fictionalized portions of her diary, including  the 1939 “Winter of Artifice”, a one-volume series of three novelettes published in Paris.

With Europe on the brink of war in 1939, Nin and her husband traveled back to New York, where she struggled to publish her highly stylized fiction. Experiencing many frustrations in the publishing world, Nin purchased her own printing press to self-publish her books, many containing artwork of her husband under the name of Ian Hugo. Beginning in 1947, she met and embarked on a secret relationship with Rupet Pole, marrying him eight years later in 1955 without divorcing Hugh Guiler. During these emotional years, Nin wrote a one-volume novel series of five books that fictionalized her experiences, publishing it in 1959 under the title “Cities of the Interior”

While living a dual life in New York and Los Angeles during the 1960s, Nin made the risky decision to allow her diary to be published, though she chose to remove the most private details of her romantic relationships.  The first installment, published in 1966, was titled “The Diary of Anais Nin” and it was an immediate success.  Though it was a profoundly personal work, it hit a universal vein of experience,  especially with women.  Nin found herself, then in her sixties and seventies, playing the part of an international feminist icon.

While Nin traveled the world speaking about her writing and meeting fans, subsequent volumes of her edited diary were published.  They covered the period up through the end of her life and totaled seven volumes.  In 1977, Anais Nin died of cancer in Los Angeles with Rupert Pole by her side.

Before she died it was Nin’s decision to have her early diaries published, as well as erotica she’d written in the 1940s.  As a result, “Delta of Venus”, “Little Birds”, and  the childhood diary “Linotte” were released. Also, in a decision that generated much controversy, Nin asked Rupert Pole to publish the “secret” parts of her previously-released diaries.  The first of these diaries is titled “Henry and June”; it includes the material removed from Nin’s first published diary and was made into a feature film.

Main Image reblogged with thanks to :

Tope Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “.Anaïs Nin”, circa 1930, Granger, Bridgeman Imagesjpg

Bottom Insert Image: Irving Penn, “Anaïs Nin”, 1971, Platinum-Palladium Print, 49.8 x 49.5 cm, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC

One thought on “Anais Nin: “We Travel”

  1. I knew she was big deal but was never sure why. I tried reading her stuff but it never grabbed me. Maybe it would now.

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