Anaïs Nin Biography

Writer, Diarist

Portrait Of Anais Nin
Portrait Of Anais Nin, 1966. Fred Stein Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Anais Nin was born Angela Anais Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell in France on February 21, 1903 and died on January 14, 1977​. Her father was the composer Joaquin Nin, who grew up in Spain but was born in and returned to Cuba. Her mother, Rosa Culmell y Vigaraud, was of Cuban, French, and Danish ancestry. Anais Nin moved to the United States in 1914 after her father deserted the family. In the United States she attended Catholic schools, dropped out of school, worked as a model and dancer, and returned to Europe in 1923.

Anais Nin studied psychoanalysis with Otto Rank and briefly practiced as a lay therapist in New York. She studied the theories of Carl Jung for a time as well. Finding it difficult to get her erotic stories published, Anais Nin helped found Siana Editions in France in 1935. By 1939 and the outbreak of World War II she returned to New York, where she became a figure in the Greenwich Village crowd.

An obscure literary figure for most of her life, when her journals -- kept since 1931 -- began to be published in 1966, Anais Nin entered the public eye. The ten volumes of The Diary of Anaïs Nin have remained popular. These are more than simple diaries; each volume has a theme, and were likely written with the intent that they later be published. Letters she exchanged with intimate friends, including Henry Miller, have also been published. The popularity of the diaries brought interest in her previously-published novels.

The Delta of Venus and Little Birds, originally written in the 1940s, were published after her death (1977, 1979).

Anais Nin is known, as well, for her lovers, who included Henry Miller, Edmund Wilson, Gore Vidal and Otto Rank. She was married to Hugh Guiler of New York who tolerated her affairs. She also entered into a second, bigamous marriage to Rupert Pole in California.

She had the marriage annulled about the time she was achieving more widespread fame. She was living with Pole at the time of her death, and he saw to the publication of a new edition of her diaries, unexpurgated.

The ideas of Anais Nin about "masculine" and "feminine" natures have influenced that part of the feminist movement known as "difference feminism." She disassociated herself late in her life from the more political forms of feminism, believing that self-knowledge through journaling was the source of personal liberation.

Partial Bibliography - By Anais Nin

  • Celebration! with Anais Nin.
  • Cities of the Interior. Paperback. 1975.
  • Collages. Jean Varda, illustrator. Paperback. 1964.
  • Delta of Love: Erotica. Paperback. 1989.
  • Fire: From a Journal of Love, the Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1934-1937. Paperback. 1996.
  • The Four-Chambered Heart. Paperback. 1974.
  • Henry and June. Paperback. 199
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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Anaïs Nin Biography." ThoughtCo, Jun. 12, 2017, thoughtco.com/anais-nin-biography-3528374. Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2017, June 12). Anaïs Nin Biography. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/anais-nin-biography-3528374 Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Anaïs Nin Biography." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/anais-nin-biography-3528374 (accessed November 21, 2017).