Ana´s Nin: a biography

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Deirdre Bair, renowned for her biographies of Samuel Beckett and Simone de Beauvoir, has now written the definitive biography of the complex and controversial Anais Nin. With exclusive and unprecedented access to all of Nin's unpublished archives, including more than 250,000 handwritten diary pages, Bair paints a startlingly different portrait of Nin, hitherto best known for her sexual peccadilloes and especially her affair with Henry Miller. Bair reveals Nin's lifelong struggle to become a respected writer, to position herself at the right hand of the intellectual elite, and to construct a way of life so complicated that it verged at times on incomprehensibility, even to herself.
"To live life as a dream" was Nin's motto, and she did so. She was a bigamist for more than thirty years, creating a "Lie Box" to help her keep her stories straight. And always she kept her diary, which eventually became one of the most astonishing renderings of a contemporary woman's life, noted as much for what she left out as for what she included. Bair's biography fills in the blanks and shows how Nin reflected the major themes that have come to characterize the latter half of the twentieth century: the quest for the self, the uses of psychoanalysis, and the determination of women to control their own sexuality.

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ANAIS NIN: A Biography

User Review  - Kirkus

Though Bair can at times seem like a referee deciding which version of Nin's life is most accurate, this exhaustive account of the former feminist icon is impressive. The challenge of writing about ... Read full review

Ana߯s Nin: a biography

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In her Samuel Beckett (LJ 6/15/78) and Simone de Beauvoir (LJ 3/1/90), Bair was overtly judgmental by a forthright middle-class ethic. Still, readers could appreciate that her fastidious grounding of ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

Deirdre Bair is the critically acclaimed author of four previous works of nonfiction. She received the National Book Award for "Samuel Beckett: A Biography," and her biographies of Ana´ s Nin and Simone de Beauvoir were also prize finalists. Her biography of C. G. Jung was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and received the Gradiva Award from the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis. She has been awarded fellowships from (among others) the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College. She has been a literary journalist and university professor of comparative literature and now divides her time between New York and Connecticut.