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Letters Between Nin and Henry Miller [Paperback]

Anais Nin , Henry Miller
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

13 Oct 1999
When Anais Nin and Henry Miller first met in Paris in December 1931, both were married. The intimacy between them is documented in this exchange of letters, which charts the climate of the relationship as it shifted from passion to friendship, from estrangement to reconciliation.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Publishers Ltd College Publishers (13 Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 015652791X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156527910
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 640,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) was born in Paris and aspired at an early age to be a writer. An influential artist and thinker, she wrote primarily fiction until 1964, when her last novel, Collages, was published. She wrote The House of Incest, a prose-poem (1936), three novellas collected in The Winter of Artifice (1939), short stories collected in Under a Glass Bell (1944), and a five-volume continuous novel consisting of Ladders to Fire (1946), Children of the Albatross (1947), The Four-Chambered Heart (1950), A Spy in the House of Love (1954), and Seduction of the Minotaur (1961). These novels were collected as Cities of the Interior (1974). She gained commercial and critical success with the publication of the first volume of her diary (1966); to date, fifteen diary volumes have been published. Her most commercially successful books were her erotica published as Delta of Venus (1977) and Little Birds (1979). Today, her books are appearing digitally, most notably with the anthology The Portable Anais Nin (2011).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast 28 April 2013
By loops
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Following an interesting and thorough introduction by the editor, Gunther Stuhlmann, we follow the correspondence as it happened, a letter followed by the reply. And what letters! Charged with intellectual energy and emotional/sexual candour, and full of contemporary details of people, places, literature, the content simply bowled over my initial squeamishness at reading other people's mail.
This is a lovely looking edition with pleasing typeface and an elegant cover. (It helped that the copy I received was in terrific condition for a 26-year-old book.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a true love story 14 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anais Nin and Henry Miller were surely one of the most romantic couples in the history of literature. I have read most of the books written by both of these authors, and thoroughly enjoyed reading the correspondance between them. Some of the letters are a bit long winded, but the overall theme is one of two very romantic and well matched people. A lovely book for anyone interested in their very complicated and passionate relationship.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth Buying 9 Jun 2003
chronicles the outer events and inner perambulations that preceded both Miller’s and Nin’s arrival on the literary scene. Reading Miller’s correspondence with his economic mentor, friend, fellow writer, and lover, we are privy to previously unpublished disclosures of intimacy and compassion, including moments that sometimes border on the electric. However, when the commentaries are something less electric - and this is far too often the case - a perusal of the letters often fails to elicit the interest of both the general reader as well as the Miller or Nin aficionado. It is possible that the fault here lies with the decisions of editor Gunther Stuhlmann, who chose to exclude passages of general interest such as (in his own words): “lengthy discussions of Dostoevsky, Proust, Joyce, D.H. Lawrence; detailed critiques of another’s work-in-progress; ruminations on films, books, and so on, often encased in letters of twenty or more typed pages.”
Although one can understand the quandary concerning the obvious limitations of space, the decision to “eliminate material peripheral to the personal story” leaves the literary palate teased yet unsatisfied. By focusing on the personal concerns and mundane events surrounding the temporal lives of Miller and Nin, the book fails to pay tribute to the larger issues that propelled Miller to greatness and which so profoundly concerned both authors. Perhaps there was a concern that Miller’s historically superior grasp of the issues at hand (in comparison to Nin), as well as his more imaginative ability to creatively respond to them, would too severely overshadow Nin’s contributions?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
150 of 157 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Language of Sexual Liberation 11 Oct 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Whatever you may think of her writing, Anas Nin was definitely a femme fatale. Henry Miller was, he claimed, the "happiest man alive." Together, Nin and Miller created a literary language for sexual fulfillment; she in a diary whose original form still remains unpublished, he in novels banned in both the United States and England until court cases in the early 1960s permitted their publication and turned Miller into something Nin had already achieved: the status of a cult hero.
Nin and Miller met in Paris in 1931. Miller, an aspiring novelist, wanted to meet the banker's pretty wife who had sung the praises of D.H. Lawrence and whose books had been deemed "pornography" outside of France. Neither Nin nor Miller, at that point, had published much. Their mutual interest, as they freely admit, was in sex and in each other and, consequently, they began a long affair.
It was during this affair that both Nin and Miller produced their finest writing--the writings that would eventually become Nin's two diaries and her novel, House of Incest, as well as Miller's Tropic of Cancer and Black Spring. Each believed in, and nurtured, the others genius and Miller wrote that Nin's diary would take its place "beside the revelations of St. Augustine, Petronius, Abelard, Proust and others."
Miller, only forty-one, but already somewhat down-and-out, fascinated the twenty-nine year old Nin, whose vague yearnings filled the many pages of the diary she had been keeping since the age of ten. "He's a man who makes life drunk. He is like me," she mused. Nin and Miller, however, were not alike. One of their most essential differences was a difference typical between men and women--Nin censored herself, while the world censored Miller.
Published in 1963, Nin's diary caused a literary sensation. It was begun as a letter to her father, a man who abandoned the family when Nin was only ten, and it remained intensely private. Revised into frequent distortions, the diary was a record of a compulsion to conceal as much as of a quest for feminine fulfillment. A mixture of fact, fantasy and calculated lies, Nin's editor asserts that the diary nevertheless presents a "psychological" truth. Kate Millett hailed Nin as "the mother of us all" and the women's movement immediately embraced her writings. Author Erica Jong said that no woman had told "the story of women's sexuality" more honestly than had Nin.
Despite the praise, if we read between the lines, while still observing Nin's frenetic whirl from bed to bed, we come to realize that she was really never satisfied. Her insatiable appetite aside, Nin was, at heart, a prudish libertine. Her childhood molestation by her father, whom she, herself, seduced as an adult a year after meeting Henry Miller, seems to have contributed greatly to her private inhibitions. Although she flitted from bed to bed she sadly confessed, "I am hellishly lonely." Instead of sex, Nin longed for "what I give Henry: this constant attentiveness."
In the "Black Lace Laboratory," as Miller's apartment was dubbed, Nin and Miller conducted literary and erotic experiments, prompting Nin to write him a thinly disguised warning to herself, "Beware just a little of your hypersexuality!" Toward the end of his life, unable to write about women except as prostitutes, Miller claimed not to know what the sexual revolution was about, saying that he had always loved and honored women. Nin agreed, saying that Miller was a romantic, rather than a rake. At eighty, Miller confessed that far too many people engaged in sex without love.
Basking in the warmth of Nin's caresses, her skilled editing of his work, and the material possessions she lavished upon him, Miller wrote prolifically and with a rare genius. Eventually, his romance with Nin faded (or warmed) into friendship, but the legacy of their literary teamwork remained: In 1974, Nin was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. The Los Angeles Times names her Woman of the Year in 1976, the same year Henry Miller received France's Legion d'honneur. The 1990 movie, Henry and June is a chronicle of Miller's affair with Nin, which later became a triangle involving Miller's wife, June.
Nin and Miller have become cultural icons. Nin is the focus of women's study courses as well as being included in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Miller and his work need no comment. Although both Nin and Miller were pioneers of free speech and sexual freedom, and both helped to forge a new literature and a new culture, the ultimate emptiness of their lives, with its attendant lack of depth and meaning point to the futility of their attempt to wrest security and happiness from sexuality alone.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening. . . 24 Jun 2000
By Marion - Published on
What a provocative read! Having read all of Nin's diaries and fiction, I felt that this book filled in the missing gaps of her life. I came away admiring her perseverence in achieving the goal of publishing her writing. I felt I finally understood how she and Miller drifted apart after having had such a burning, passionate, intense beginning to their long love affair. Alas, they were both mere mortals just as you and I! If you love Nin or Miller, you'll be thoroughly entertained by this book.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful 22 April 1998
By A Customer - Published on
This book gives the reader a candid glimpse into the lives and minds of these two literary geniuses. Erotic, intelligent, and sensitive, this book will turn on your every emotion and awaken your soul.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spying In The House of Love 23 Nov 2001
By Ruth Edlund - Published on
Like many others, I have been fascinated with and frustrated by Anais Nin for many years, since reading the first volume of her expurgated diary in 1977.
This volume of letters enables the reader who has already read other versions of the Nin-Miller story to form additional conclusions about what might actually have happened. Because the letters were sent into the possession of others, they were less subject to the constant revision and reinvention that bedevils all attempts to determine objective facts about the mercurial Nin.
If you are not already an amateur historian of literary trends of the 1930's, fear not. The letters are worth reading as an introduction to Anais Nin and Henry Miller as well, for they depict a real-life romance conducted by two who absolutely relished the game and were highly articulate in dramatically different ways.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immerse yourself 25 Sep 2000
By lulibot - Published on
How much deeper can you get into a person's complexities and simplicities, understand the origin of their joys and frustrations, their motivators and their fears, if not by reading the letters they wrote to one another, and, in this case, one of their best friends and lovers?
This is a powerful door to Anais' heart and soul, and even more powerful than her diaries itself. Because here you get deep into one of the most significant periods of her life, the many years she let her own life and self entwined with Henry Miller's.
Indispensable reading for anyone, even more for those who admire Anais and Miller as ordinary people who loved each other, or as writers ahead of their time, unafraid of other people's opinions.
Immerse yourself: you're gonna want to sink.
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