Mirages : The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947

By (author) Anais Nin , Edited by Paul Herron


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Mirages opens at the dawn of World War II, when Anais Nin fled Paris, where she lived for fifteen years with her husband, banker Hugh Guiler, and ends in 1947 when she meets the man who would be "the One," the lover who would satisfy her insatiable hunger for connection. In the middle looms a period Nin describes as "hell," during which she experiences a kind of erotic madness, a delirium that fuels her search for love. As a child suffering abandonment by her father, Anais wrote, "Close your eyes to the ugly things," and, against a horrifying backdrop of war and death, Nin combats the world's darkness with her own search for light. Mirages collects, for the first time, the story that was cut from all of Nin's other published diaries, particularly volumes 3 and 4 of The Diary of Anais Nin, which cover the same time period. It is the long-awaited successor to the previous unexpurgated diaries Henry and June, Incest, Fire, and Nearer the Moon. Mirages answers the questions Nin readers have been asking for decades: What led to the demise of Nin's love affair with Henry Miller? Just how troubled was her marriage to Hugh Guiler? What is the story behind Nin's "children," the effeminate young men she seemed to collect at will? Mirages is a deeply personal story of heartbreak, despair, desperation, carnage, and deep mourning, but it is also one of courage, persistence, evolution, and redemption that reaches beyond the personal to the universal.

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  • Hardback | 440 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 43.18mm | 771.1g
  • 01 Nov 2013
  • Ohio University Press
  • Swallow Press
  • Ohio
  • English
  • Unexpurgated
  • Unexpurgated
  • black & white illustrations
  • 080401146X
  • 9780804011464
  • 307,235

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Author Information

Anais Nin was born in Paris in 1903. At age eleven, she began her lifelong practice of keeping a diary, the literary form that would make her famous. She moved to the United States during her youth but returned to France after her marriage to Hugh P. Guiler. During her time in France she met the writer Henry Miller, who became her lover and an important figure in her first published diary. In Paris during the 1930s she also began therapy with Otto Rank, a disciple of Sigmund Freud, and this therapeutic relationship was a significant influence on her life and work. Nin returned to America in 1939, establishing friendships with a number of writers and artists. She developed a small but devoted following as a fiction writer, though her work often defied genre conventions and became known for its innovation and experimentation. But it was the publication of her diaries, spread over many volumes, that made Nin a major literary figure in the late 1960s and 1970s. Deeply reflective, lyrical, and erotic, the diaries were embraced by numerous readers for their insight into a fascinating woman and the many relationships she developed over her lifetime. Paul Herron is the editor and founder of Sky Blue Press."

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Review quote

"The fifth volume in the unexpurgated series that is gradually replacing the earlier, sanitized edition of Nin's famous diary begins with her 1939 flight from war-shadowed Paris to New York and tracks her struggles to adapt to America and reconfigure her writing life. Here she records the intimate details of her long, profoundly complicated marriage to Hugh Guiler, or Hugo, her "jailer" and "lifesaver," and explicitly chronicles her descent into "erotic madness" as she conducts concurrent affairs that include a pragmatic liaison with critic Edmund Wilson and obsessive entanglements with much younger lovers and her "children," a coterie of gay men, including 20-year-old Gore Vidal. Exacting and eviscerating, Nin tirelessly dissects her desperate longing to be transported by love. A self-described "Dona Juana," she feels like Don Quixote until she meets Rupert Pole, who dispels her mirages and offers her the nurturing counterbalance to Hugo she needs. Nin--calculating, theatrical, and prodigious - provides cascading insights into the traumas that made her a "demon of intensity" determined to turn her life into a literary work of unique psychological revelation."--Donna Seaman, Booklist, October 2013 "In Mirages, she stands before us, stripped bare, unmasked, triumphant, among her cast of sacred and noires betes (Gore Vidal, Henry Miller, et al.) now revealed, by name, as who and what they were to her. Mirages exposes, reveals and humanizes Nin as much more than the sum of heavily edited parts." - Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, author of The Visitors' Book (or Silva Rerum): An Erotic Fable "Mirages provides a treasure of newly disclosed Nin sentiments. Nin transcends self-reflection and offers a glimpse into what women feel but are rarely able to articulate, whether about daily experiences, or love gained and lost. With intense passion, her powerfully seductive prose shares insights, observations, and confessions about the human psyche. Highly recommended." - Diana Raab, author of Dear Anais: My Life in Poems for You "Henry Miller called her a 'masterpiece' and the greatest 'fabulist' he had ever known. Her brother Joaquin referred to her as a 'steel hummingbird.' As for me, she was a myth in her own time, the Scheherazade of the diary genre, and epitomizes Harold Bloom's observation in Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, to wit, 'Romance, literary and human, depends on partial or imperfect knowledge.'" - Barbara Kraft, author of Anais Nin: The Last Days and The Restless Spirit: Journal of a Gemini "The celebrated diarist, novelist and electric personality reappears with all the fire of her eroticism in pages untouched by a Bowdler or a Puritan... Readers will find Nin a most entertaining companion - her multiple simultaneous relationships with men, her gleefully graphic descriptions of sex acts... In one late entry, Nin complains, mildly: 'My world is so large I get lost in it'; readers will do the same - and gratefully so." - Kirkus Reviews "At times desperate and suicidal, (Nin) finds life more fulfilling when it conforms to her dreams - a series of mirages she conjures to avoid reality, the horrors of war, and an America she finds abysmally immature... Nin fans will embrace the book's emotional intensity and sensuality." - Publishers Weekly

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