Anais Nin Quotes

Anais Nin (1903-1977)

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

Anais Nin is best known for her journals, published in ten volumes as The Diary of Anais Nin. Her ideas have influenced feminist thinking -- in agreement or reaction -- although she herself moved away from political forms of feminism.

Selected Anais Nin Quotations

• There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

• We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

• Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage.

• Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live.

• Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

• Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous.

• We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another, unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another.

• There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.

• Anxiety is love's greatest killer. It makes one feel as you might when a drowning man holds unto you.

You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.

• I write emotional algebra.

• We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection.

• To write is to descend, to excavate, to go underground.

• I am in a beautiful prison from which I can only escape by writing.

• My diary is a mirror telling the story of a dreamer who, a long long time ago went through life the way one reads a book.

• The poet is one who is able to keep the fresh vision of the child alive.

• The final lesson a writer learns is that everything can nourish the writer. The dictionary, a new word, a voyage, an encounter, a talk on the street, a book, a phrase learned.

• Man can never know the kind of loneliness a woman knows. Man lies in a woman's womb only to gather strength, he nourishes himself from this fusion, and then he rises and goes into the world, into his work, into battle, into art. He is not lonely. He is busy. The memory of the swim in amniotic fluid gives him energy, completion. The woman may be busy too, but she feels empty. Sensuality for her is not only a wave of pleasure in which she has bathed, and a charge of electric joy at contact with another. When man lies in her womb, she is fulfilled, each act of love a a taking of man within her, an act of birth and rebirth, of child-bearing and man-bearing. Man lies in her womb and is reborn each time anew with a desire to act, to BE. But for woman, the climax is not in the birth, but in the moment the man rests inside of her.

• Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.

• I have the right to love many people at once and to change my prince often.

• What I cannot love, I overlook.

• Dreams are necessary to life.

• Dreams have helped me to live.

• Eroticism is one of the basic means of self-knowledge, as indispensible as poetry.

• We don't have a language for the senses. Feelings are images, sensations are like musical sounds.

• The body is an instrument which only gives off music when it is used as a body. Always an orchestra, and just as music traverses walls, so sensuality traverses the body and reaches up to ecstasy.

• Jazz is the music of the body.

• Don't let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.

• Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.

• I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by loving.

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About These Quotes

Quote collection assembled by Jone Johnson Lewis. Each quotation page in this collection and the entire collection © Jone Johnson Lewis. This is an informal collection assembled over many years. I regret that I am not be able to provide the original source if it is not listed with the quote.

Citation information:
Jone Johnson Lewis. "Anais Nin Quotes." About Women's History. URL: . Date accessed: (today). (More on how to cite online sources including this page)

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Anais Nin Quotes." ThoughtCo, Nov. 30, 2015, Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2015, November 30). Anais Nin Quotes. Retrieved from Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Anais Nin Quotes." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 21, 2017).