Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller: A literate passion

This compilation of unpublished correspondence between Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller during 21 years!! is a great read that we earnestly recommend. It is a real and fascinating journey through the very heart of the passionate relationship between these charismatic lovebirds and has you hooked from beginning to end.

For those of you that don’t know their story, this is the background so you get the idea…

Anaïs and Henry set eyes on each other for the first time in 1931 at her house in Louveciennes (the west suburban area in Paris). They spoke for hours about literature, philosophy and psychology and mutually seduced each other with their intelligence and on a physical note, inevitably becoming lovers.

Letter from Miller to Nin

“Anaïs, I don’t know how to tell you what I feel. I live in perpetual expectancy. You come and the time slips away in a dream. It is only when you go that I realize completely your presence. And then it is too late. You numb me. […] This is a little drunken, Anaïs. I am saying to myself “here is the first woman with whom I can be absolutely sincere.” I remember your saying – “you could fool me, I wouldn’t know it.” When I walk along the boulevards and think of that. I can’t fool you – and yet I would like to. I mean that I can never be absolutely loyal – it’s not in me. I love women, or life, too much – which it is, I don’t know. But laugh, Anaïs, I love to hear you laugh. You are the only woman who has a sense of gaiety, a wise tolerance – no more, you seem to urge me to betray you. I love you for that. […]
I don’t know what to expect of you, but it is something in the way of a miracle. I am going to demand everything of you – even the impossible, because you encourage it. You are really strong. I even like your deceit, your treachery. It seems aristocratic to me.”

Additionally, and for the duration of their relationship, Anaïs also became Miller’s patron, supporting him financially and helping him to publish “The Tropic of Cancer”. However, in spite of being deeply in love, they did not end up together. Miller went to live to the Big South looking for a change of scenery, among other things, but always hoping Nin would join him. But unfortunately that was not the case, because she hoped they would reunite in New York and the writer’s new plans did not convince her. In any case, they continued to write to each other, helping and admiring one another until the end of their days.

Letter from Nin to Miller

“Before, as soon as I came home from all sorts of places I would sit down and write in my journal. Now I want to write you, talk with you… I love when you say all that happens is good, it is good. I say all that happens is wonderful. For me it is all symphonic, and I am so aroused by living – god, Henry, in you alone I have found the same swelling of enthusiasm, the same quick rising of the blood, the fullness… Before, I almost used to think there was something wrong. Everybody else seemed to have the brakes on… I never feel the brakes. I overflow. And when I feel your excitement about life flaring, next to mine, then it makes me dizzy.”

We invite you to dive into their special universe, full of sensuality, freedom, creativity and intelligence. We are sure you will be extraordinarily captivated.

Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller: A literate passion (Ediciones Siruela)

Interesting facts:

About Anaïs Nin…

Anaïs Nin was born in France in 1903 but her blood was of Spanish and Danish lineage. She was the daughter of a Spanish pianist and composer Joaquín Nin, who marked her personality and perspective on life, and with whom she would later maintain an incestuous relationship.

When Anaïs was eleven, her father abandoned her and the rest of her family to elope with a 16 year-old adolescent. After a time, humiliated and alone, Anaïs’ mother travelled from France to settle down in New York. They never got back in touch with Joaquín Nin and this became an obsession for Anaïs.

At the young age of 19, Anaïs managed to get a job as a flamenco dancer and model. During her adventures, she met a reliable banker Hugo Guiler, who she married in Havana, Cuba and with whom she returned to Paris, a respectable wife.

Anaïs wrote from a very young age. She began writing in the form of letters to her father. Her first novel, “House of Incest”(1936) is a clear sample of the writer’s obsession with her father.

Other novels would follow such as “Winters of Artifice” (1939), “Under a glass bell”(1944), “Children of the Albatross”(1947), “A Spy in the House of Love”(1954), “Cities of the Interior” (1959) and “Collage”(1964).

Nin is specifically well known for her Diaries written over four decades in which she reflects her love for Henry Miller. She reached the peak of her fame after her death with the posthumous publication of “Incest: From a Journal of Love” an open diary detailing her most intimate sexual encounters. Anaïs Nin was a friend and lover of many famous authors such as Artaud, Edmund Wilson, Gore Vidal, James Agee and Lawrence Durrell.

About Henry Miller…

Henry Valentine Miller was a famous American novelist. His work is made up of semi-autobiographical novels, in which the crude, sensual, no-holds-barred tone provoked a series of controversies in the heart of a puritan US that Miller tried to stigmatise calling out their moral hypocrisy of North American society, criticizing in doing so the fate of human existence, stripping down its cynicism and multiple contradictions. Censored because of his style and his provocative and rebellious content compared to the the literary creation of that time, his work had a great influence on the Beat Generation.

He married twice. First, he married Beatrice Sylvas and later married June Mansfield, with whom he had an obsessive, torrid and complicated relationship, as well as his daughter. June and Anaïs had an affair when the former visited Miller in Paris.

When the Great Depression began in 1929, Henry travelled to France. With barely any means. In fact, he survived and ate thanks to charity that he found… But, in the midst of this shabby bohemia, he was lucky enough to meet an American lawyer, Richard Osborn, who took him into his own home and of course, the charismatic Nin with whom he fell hopelessly in love and who changed his life for the better in many ways.

(*) Photo by Lisa Fotios in Pexels


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