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Anaïs Nin Biography

(1903–77), D. H. Lawrence: An Unprofessional Study, émigrés, la groupe surrealiste, Early Diaries

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American diarist, literary critic, and novelist, born near Paris, of a Spanish-Cuban father and a Danish-French mother. At the age of 11 she moved with her mother to New York. She trained as a psychoanalyst under Otto Rank, and practised briefly. The publication in Paris of her first book, D. H. Lawrence: An Unprofessional Study (1932), brought her into contact with Parisian artistic circles and émigrés such as Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller, and William Carlos Williams, and with la groupe surrealiste. In her later years she lived mainly in the USA where she became renowned as a speaker on women's creativity and art for the US women's movement. Her ever-changing life is meticulously documented in her Early Diaries (2 volumes, 1978, 1982) and Journals (7 volumes, 196680), collected by Gunther Stuhlmann, which provide a fascinating first-hand description of American and French literary circles. Nin's interest in dreams, unconscious desires, and her overriding concern with female identities are interwoven in her works, including her prose poem House of Incest (1936) and her novel A Spy in the House of Love (1954). Other novels include Children of the Albatross (1947), Solar Basque (1958), and Seduction of the Minotaur (1961). Her short stories, collected in Under a Glass Bell (1948) and other volumes, demonstrate her gift as a story-teller, a talent that is sometimes overwhelmed by the opacity of her poetic imaginings and private mythologies in her more extended novels. Her critical works include The Novel of the Future (1968). Nin also produced several volumes of erotic fiction such as the stories published as Delta of Venus (1969). Letters between Nin and Henry Miller from 1932 to 1953 have been collected as A Literate Passion (1987).

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