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Search tags: Anaïs-Nin
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review 2017-08-24 23:26
Delta of Venus - Or, Anais Bin gets freaky
Delta of Venus - Anais Nin

I have such mixed feelings on this collection. Here's the thing: Nin can actually write a really hot erotic scene. However, she can also write a really messed up disturbing scene, and those two things often get stirred together in these stories. I think she hit Kink Bingo in this collection. There is bondage, exhibitionism, prostitution, masochism, rape, incest, pedophilia, beastiality, necrophilia, and probably more that I'm forgetting at the moment. Now, to be clear, not all of those things are necessarily bad (though some certainly are), but it can make for an uncomfortable surprise when the erotic story you are reading takes a disturbing turn and someone is raping their daughter.


There is a lot to find interesting in here beneath the surface though, especially when you take into account when Nin was writing these stories. She does some really interesting things with the female and male gaze, and the societal commentary on sexual mores was also intriguing. These stories must have been absolutely scandalous and taboo when they were published. For that reason alone I found the collection interesting. But more often than not I found many of these stories more disturbing than arousing. If you're looking for something light and hot to read I'd consider looking elsewhere, but if you go into the collection knowing what to expect there's some interesting (and yes, on occasion very sexy) stuff to be found in these pages.

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review 2017-07-22 00:00
Apprenticed to Venus: My Secret Life with Anaïs Nin
Apprenticed to Venus: My Secret Life wit... Apprenticed to Venus: My Secret Life with Anaïs Nin - Tristine Rainer https://msarki.tumblr.com/post/163284976113/apprenticed-to-venus-my-secret-life-with-ana%C3%AFs

…In fact, for me, having come of age in the 1950’s, a man taking you while you were helpless was a secret fantasy. One where I could have pleasure without guilt, as when I imagined myself being bound to a factory conveyor belt and carried on it to a man like nougat centers to the chocolate dip—moving toward desire free of volition.

Tristine Rainer, an academic professor in her later years, now confesses her rapturous secret life at once riveting and hinged on a sensuality deemed as generally too dangerous. But Rainer today must not care what most of us think and perhaps she feels strongly about the importance of her subject. In the early sixties Anaïs Nin had become her mentor as Rainer signed on as confidant. The story of their relationship reveals in greater detail what Nin has previously confessed to in her diaries. This is the backstory, and it offers a deeper glimpse, or even perhaps a more honest gaze, into what impelled Nin to behave in ways that are still, in some holy circles, unacceptable today. The sexually liberated woman is still at risk for condemnation. Anaïs Nin was either a precursor to the women’s movement, or perhaps, in degrees, a founding mother of it. Having to wait thirty years to publish this revealing memoir due to Nin’s second husband remaining alive, this confession proves to be graciously insightful as well as an interesting read.
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quote 2017-06-22 20:34
We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

― Anaïs Nin

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quote 2017-05-15 18:04
I am finished with myself, with my sacrifices and my pity, with what chains me. I am going to make a new beginning. I want passion and pleasure and noise and drunkenness and all evil. But my past reveals itself inexorably like a tattoo mark. I must build a new shell, wear new costumes.
Henry and June: From "A Journal of Love"--The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin (1931-1932) - Anaïs Nin

Anaïs Nin

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review 2017-05-15 14:33
"Henry and June" by Anaïs Nin
Henry and June: From "A Journal of Love"--The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin (1931-1932) - Anaïs Nin

I've spent months with the writings of Anaïs Nin collected in this book, reading much as she might have written them, at night in the hours winding down to sleep a page or two at a time. The writings come from her diaries, written in 1931 and 1932 when she came to know June Miller and her husband, the writer Henry Miller, culminating in a passionate affair with Henry.  


The writing here can be fantastic, though as you might expect in a diary, it can also be uneven. There are transcendent passages, even more compelling in many cases than Henry's fictional(ish) accounts of the same world, and it tells in real time the story of a woman awakening to some knowledge in herself she's tried to ignore.


The Millers become a conduit for Nin's sexuality to open in a way she couldn't have imagined. Nin first finds herself enthralled with June then, after June leaves the country, gets drawn into a physical relationship with Henry and she lives the whole affair through her writing. There are entries full of rapture and passion, but there are many others about her doubts and fears. Nin, who was married at the time, struggled with her passion and how her actions could hurt her husband. What's more, she is haunted by the promise of June who holds a strange power over both Henry and Nin and will return at some point threatening their relationship.


If you are the type who reads one book at a time, Henry and June can feel tedious, as I learned during some periods when I was more consistent in my reading. It was not written as a self-contained story so it reflects the uneven way life actually moves. Nin has remarkable character shift in these years but it happens in fits and starts. On one page she may come to a declaration like, "I want passion and pleasure and noise and drunkenness and all evil." But an entry or two later she may again be convinced that Henry is cruel or she is.


If you're able to stick with it, Henry and June is a remarkable book both for Nin's honesty and her ability to charge the writing with such emotion without going over the top. Her cruel moments, her insecurities, her lust, her indiscretions, Nin spreads it all out on the page and we're lucky enough to get to read it.  


Henry and June is a great read for this and for anyone who has been avoiding the big questions in their head, about a relationship or sex or work or even religion and politics. Nin's willingness to explore her passion — intellectually, physically and in writing — may embolden us to face the doubts and dark corners of our own minds honestly.

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